The 2021 Husky Football Team Has Found A New Low, Needed To Fire Jimmy Lake

It’s impossible to say the Washington Huskies football team has hit rock bottom, when 2008 is still a thing that existed, but this is about as bad as it gets.

We headed into the game on Saturday against Arizona State with Jimmy Lake suspended for the one game. Earlier in the day, the Seattle Times dropped a bombshell of a story from 2019 – when Lake was still the defensive coordinator – corroborated by multiple players that he attacked then-wide receiver Quinten Pounds, unprovoked, at halftime in the locker room. There’s a bit of he said/she said going on – and Pounds, to my knowledge, hasn’t commented one way or the other – but if the final straw didn’t already break the camel’s back, this looked like a Bane vs. Batman scenario.

What’s more damning from the same article is that only 4 of 17 outgoing Huskies from that 2019 season would recommend players come play for Washington during their exit interviews. That’s appalling! That means the culture was fundamentally rotten, and given all the defectors over the last year-plus, points squarely at Jimmy Lake having lost the team. No doubt about it: he needed to go.

Of course, Lake will almost certainly be hired as a defensive coordinator at Alabama – or some other successful SEC school that doesn’t give two shits if coaches beat up their players – which will completely rehabilitate his image and have him back as a head coach somewhere else within the next five years. But, that’s neither here nor there.

Things looked especially galling for Washington when the Huskies jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter against the Sun Devils. The offense looked crisp, efficient, and wildly effective. John Donovan should never be allowed to coach in football ever again.

But, unfortunately, the Huskies got saddled with terrible field position the rest of the first half. The defense kept us in it for a while, leaving us with a 17-7 halftime lead, and a 24-14 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

We saw extended Sam Huard action FINALLY, but he was not put into a position to succeed. His first couple drives saw us backed up deep into our own end of the field. Then, the only drive he got in the second half was a TD drive comprised entirely of handoffs to running backs.

Meanwhile, after the first quarter, Dylan Morris was atrocious. He threw yet another miserable interception, and was WAY off-target throughout. I refuse to blame the weather for this, because he’s been WAY off-target all season, rain or shine. He stinks. If it wasn’t announced that the team is now planning to redshirt Huard (as long as he doesn’t play in TOO many games, the redshirt is still in play), I would be clamoring harder for Morris to get benched. As it is, whoever the third QB is on this roster can’t be any worse. It’s time to dump Morris and let him transfer away in the offseason.

As a result of Morris’ jackassery, the Sun Devils were able to take over in the fourth quarter. Certainly, the defense being gassed – thanks in large part to a 20-play, 9-minute drive in the period, followed by no rest from the Husky offense on the subsequent drive – had everything to do with it.

I hate the 2021 Huskies. They stink. They’re 4-6 and will probably have a decent chance to win in Colorado next week, but that’s only the precursor for losing the Apple Cup and watching the Cougs dancing on our field on Black Friday. Yay. I can’t wait.

Who the Huskies hire next will be the big story of the offseason. I fully expect to be underwhelmed.

It’s Time For The Washington Huskies To Fire Jimmy Lake

Look, he’s officially become a clown. I don’t know how else to explain it. He’s trying to straddle some line between aggressive and conservative, between brash and humble, between forthright and cryptic. Which ultimately makes him intentionally contradictory, and proves without a shadow of a doubt that he has no identity for himself, nor any actual plan as to how to lead a football team.

If you’re going to shit-talk the Ducks about how they let dum-dums into their program, then fucking lean into it! Don’t sprinkle in something you KNOW is going to be twisted and contorted into Bulletin Board material (you’ve been around the game of football long enough, you know how the media works by now; if you don’t, then we have a completely different problem on our hands) and then try to play it off as a media-contrived misunderstanding.

If you’re going to talk about how we’re going to have this aggressive offense that takes shots down the field and is all about explosive plays, then fucking run that offense! Stop with this run-heavy bullshit, and ditch the fucking Wildcat on critical third and fourth downs; defenses have figured that shit out.

If you’re going to preach competition and the best man for the job, then that has to apply to everyone – especially the starting quarterback. You can’t talk out of one side of your mouth one day, but then do something completely counter to what is supposedly your character. Dylan Morris is not the starting quarterback for this team and this offense. He might not even be a competent starting quarterback PERIOD. You know who is? The only 5-star recruit you’ve managed to bring into this program in ages. It’s time for Sam Huard to get his shot.

You say you want to be aggressive, then why are you punting on 4th and 10 when you’re down by 8 with less than two minutes left in the game. I don’t care if you’re on your own 10 yard line; it’s idiotic! And if you don’t believe in your quarterback to make a crucial play on 4th and 10, then YOU HAVE THE WRONG QUARTERBACK IN THE GAME!

The coup de grace was video that came out of Jimmy Lake getting so angry with one of his own players on the sideline – admittedly, that player was doing too much shit-talking, in a game where the Huskies had already been penalized multiple times for doing dumb shit just like that – that he took a swing at the player, connecting with his helmet. I’m sure that hurt his hand more than the kid, but just think about the optics for a fraction of a second and you see why Jimmy Lake is not the guy for the job. Chris Petersen wasn’t the be-all, end-all, but if this is the guy you’re trying to emulate, you’re doing a TERRIBLE job of it!

And I’m tired of Jimmy Lake “taking responsibility” by saying things like, “It’s on me.” Yeah, no shit it’s on you. YOU are the reason the Huskies are underperforming. It’s your decision-making – starting with an offensive coordinator we all knew was a terrible choice the moment he was hired – that has gotten us into this mess! Of course, blessings and good-tidings, we no longer have John Donovan to kick around anymore; we’ve been beating that dead horse since the Montana game. The simple fact that Donovan wasn’t immediately fired after we only scored 7 points at home to Montana goes to show Jimmy Lake is inept.

I don’t know how Jimmy Lake hasn’t lost this team yet. Maybe he’s a different, more inspiring guy behind closed doors. But, from the outside he looks as clueless as it gets. And when you factor in all the guys who’ve already transferred out of the program, and all the guys who have decommitted, I’m beginning to think my assumption is accurate.

There’s only one reason why the program would hang onto Lake at his point: money. He’s only two years into a five-year deal; he’s set to earn nearly $10 million through the 2025 season. It’s mind-boggling to see how fast his approval rating has fallen. I remember everyone was worried about Lake leaving for some other program while Petersen was still at the helm; now you can’t ride him out of town fast enough!

The big thing is feeling like we’ve been sold a bill of goods. I think we all expected the best things of the Petersen regime – great defense and discipline – with a more high-flying offense after the debacle that was Bush Hamdan. Instead, we brought in yet another failed retread to gum up the works even more on offense, while losing every semblance of discipline on this team.

The only problem from here is: I don’t have any solutions. All I know is I’m living in a college football nightmare right now and I desperately want someone to wake me up. I couldn’t give you a single name to come in here and fix this mess; all I know is I want the architect of this mess out of my life. Jimmy Lake needs to go. Literally anyone else is invited to come and give it a shot.

Who’s In A Worse Position Right Now, The Huskies Or The Cougars?

The simple answer is to say: the Cougs. Always the Cougs. But, I dunno. There are, as usual, good people idiots on both sides.

Earlier this week, Nick Rolovich was fired by WSU. The short story is that the governor of Washington instituted a mandate stating all state employees needed to be fully vaccinated by October 18th. The head coach of Washington State University is technically considered to be a state employee. Nick Rolovich is not vaccinated and does not wish to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Therefore, he was let go.

That’s obviously an oversimplification. Muddying the waters is the fact that the state is supposed to grant legitimate religious exemptions, Rolovich applied for one as a Catholic, and it’s unclear if he was granted one or not. I’m assuming it’s also an oversimplification to say that since the Pope encouraged getting the vaccine, that negates Catholicism as a viable pathway towards an exemption, but either way, even if he was granted the exemption by the state, Wazzu refused to grant the accommodation that would be needed to make everything work. With the accommodation denied, there was nowhere else to go but job termination.

It doesn’t really help Rolovich’s public relations cause that he spent EVERY press conference answering questions about the vaccine mandate like Marshawn Lynch at the Super Bowl. Then again, once people have their minds made up on an issue like this, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of leeway as far as listening to differing viewpoints. I’m not so naive as to think Rolovich could’ve changed any minds by speaking his beliefs. But, saying literally nothing on the matter, other than he’s going to follow the mandate or whatever, just makes this all look like litigation was his goal all along.

Maybe that’s just a college football thing, though. College coaches are notoriously tight-lipped about even the most innocuous of subjects. In that sense, Jimmy Lake of the Huskies is as bad as any of them. Just try getting a straight answer out of him about the program! At best, he’s going to give terse, meaningless replies about keeping things the status quo. That’s fine if you’re winning – because why give your opponent any information they can use against you – but when you’re 2-4 (after being projected to contend for the Pac-12 title), you better fucking come up with some different answers, or else it’s going to be your ass with a pink slip stapled to it.

My point of view on this whole vaccine mandate thing is: I don’t think these issues have any business being turned into a political conflict. I think there are lots of legitimate sources that provide quality information on the benefits of being vaccinated against COVID-19, and I think there are lots of bullshit sources raising questions that infect the minds of people who are on the lookout for contrarian viewpoints. The same people questioning the safety of vaccines – because of some bullshit they read on the Internet – are also people who will blindly gorge themselves on unhealthy foods and beverages, or take medications prescribed by their doctors that they haven’t themselves vetted. Everyone’s a fucking scientist all of a sudden.

But, I’m not here to solve all the world’s problems. I’m here to talk about the Huskies and Cougars.

In a vaccuum, it’s always better to be a Dawg than a Coug. We have access to better recruits, we have better facilities, we’re located in a more populous city with more things to do, and our history in the game of football is vastly superior. We’ve actually won a national championship! We’ve actually played in the College Football Playoffs within the last decade.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that it has to stay that way forever. If the Cougs ever found the right coach – who was willing to stay there for the long term – he could certainly build up a program that eventually surpasses UW. It’s not impossible.

But, it’s also not likely. What I see are two programs in need of new head coaches, and new directions overall. And, I see one program – Wazzu – that’s got a head start. The lawsuit is just a distraction, but it’s not like there’s any chance he gets his job back; that’s a headache for the university, not the football program. The football program is going to move on with a new coach by next season. When will Washington follow suit?

Jimmy Lake very nearly inherited one terrible offensive coordinator, but Bush Hamdan was fired at the close of the 2019 season. He hired another terrible offensive coordinator, who he finds himself tethered to. The decision at the time was justifiably panned, and it’s proven everyone but Lake knew best. As I’ve written about, he’s weirdly aggressive-yet-conservative in his decision-making. He goes for it on fourth down like no one we’ve had around here before, but he’s also committed to running the ball even though our offensive line sucks at it, and opposing teams are gearing up to stop it.

Lake is also supposed to be this defensive mastermind, but we can’t stop the run to save our lives, and he refuses to let his elite defensive secondary play man-to-man to open up extra defenders to try to stop the run. As I’ve written before, he’s coaching this team like it’s got Vita Vea in the middle, when he has no one even close to that level of talent along the interior!

I’d still be bitching if the Huskies were merely mediocre, but mediocre would be an improvement! The Washington Huskies don’t lose to teams like Montana or Oregon State. They don’t get consistently out-muscled at home. And they sure as shit don’t struggle this mightily to move the football on offense! This isn’t the worst it’s ever been for the Huskies, but it’s as bad as it’s been since 2008.

As for the Cougs, they’re actually 4-3, having won three games in a row. They managed to take care of business against Cal, Oregon State, and Stanford; we’ve beaten only one of those teams so far. They’re at least in the hunt for a bowl game, if not a full comeback to win the Pac-12 North. What do the Huskies have going for us right now? We’re 18-point favorites down in Arizona tonight, and you KNOW we won’t be covering that spread!

I’ll be honest, part of me is jealous that the Cougs have this head start on a new coaching regime! Not only do I think the Huskies are stuck with who we’ve got, but that’s probably going to extend into next year. We MIGHT get lucky with a change at OC, but I don’t think Lake is going anywhere. And, as long as we’re saddled with his philosophy, we’re going to continue to be disgruntled with the play-calling. Considering we’ve got a 5-star quarterback just sitting there, collecting dust on the sidelines, it’s a total nightmare.

No one expects anything from the Cougs. That’s why they’re able to delight their fanbase when they do anything well. That’s as beaten-down a group of fans as you’ll find across all sports, but they always come back for more like a fucking Whac-A-Mole game.

Huskies are expected to be great. Husky fans are a different sort of delusional, because we still believe this program has a chance in hell at competing for a national championship. The fact of the matter is: as long as we’re saddled in the Pac-12, recruiting is going to forever be at a sub-optimal level, and we will NEVER compete with those other national programs. The best we can hope for is Pac-12 success, and maybe a seat at the playoff table when they expand it so every major conference gets a slot.

What Husky fans don’t realize is, to the Alabamas and Georgias and Ohio States of the world, WE are what Wazzu is to us: the perpetual little brothers, ineffectual and unimportant. I would argue that we’re in the worse spot, because denial isn’t just a river in Egypt.

The Cougars succeed when they win the conference once in a blue moon. The Huskies are expected to contend every year. Falling short of that – settling for an Alamo Bowl or a Holiday Bowl, or God forbid a Las Vegas Bowl – is unacceptable. The Huskies have been trending in the wrong direction for a while now, and when your goal is to be among the college football elites, it’s much harder to turn everything around.

This Is The Worst Washington Husky Football Team Since 2008

It’s difficult to explain just how terrible that 2008 team really was. Nothing could possibly top that squad when it comes to sucking! But, that was the end result of deep-seeded, entrenched sucking. Sucking that started towards the tail-end of the Rick Neuheisel era. Husky fans like to point to the head coaches that followed in the wake of Neuheisel’s firing, but the team was clearly going in the wrong direction by his final season here in 2002; that’s what happens when there’s such a discrepency between your recruiting of skill guys (very good!) and your recruiting along the offensive and defensive lines (pretty mediocre).

Nevertheless, Keith Gilbertson and especially Tyrone Willingham did nothing to help the cause, with Willingham’s final season here being the perfect storm of ineptitude that was 2008. The Huskies had been so mismanaged, so neglected, for SO LONG, that even if we didn’t suffer numerous injuries to key starters that year, we still wouldn’t have been worth two shits.

The turnaround started in 2009 when Sark came to town, but really solidified into the Huskies being BACK when Chris Petersen was hired away from Boise State in 2014.

But, Petersen’s sudden retirement after the 2019 season has thrust the Huskies into a tailspin. And, of course, the pandemic didn’t help, particularly when you consider the one thing Jimmy Lake does well – recruit – is something he couldn’t do nearly as effectively with COVID restrictions being what they are.

And now, I mean, how do you recruit on a 2-4 record? And would it even matter?

The Huskies have to have the most overpaid and inept collection of assistant coaches in all of college football. At the very least, all of the Pac-12 (which, again, puts us well in the running for all of college football). Right at the top, you have to talk about John Donovan, who is the second offensive coordinator in a row – Bush Hamdan being his predecessor – who has gotten the absolute least out of his players thanks to his scheme and his play-calling. But, don’t forget all the positional coaches below him. Don’t forget the wide receivers coach, who oversaw a mass exodus of players this past offseason. Don’t forget the offensive line coach, who has had tremendous stability among his starters, yet everyone seems to be regressing as they go along.

And we shouldn’t discount how diluted the defensive coaching staff has gotten. Jimmy Lake’s promotion turned our biggest strength – our defensive coordinator – into a clear weakness; this was furthered by Pete Kwiatkowski jumping this sinking ship for greener pastures in Texas. Talent alone seems to be holding things together reasonably well, though the defense isn’t perfect, and isn’t able to overcome an offense incapable of making big plays or scoring when it needs to.

Defensive line is the biggest problem on this team, and has been for years. It’s nice that UW has become DB-U over the last decade, but how does that help us when teams are able to ram the ball down our throats? I would argue the D-Line problem extends back for decades now, and the “good” ones since then were held together by maybe one or two dominant defensive tackles. That string of good fortune has come to a close, and with it our ability to control the line of scrimmage and get to the quarterback.

Jimmy Lake might be a decent head coach, but he doesn’t have the pieces around him to succeed. He doesn’t have the coaching staff, nor the recruiters, to make this a successful program. He’s also hamstrung by being in the Pac-12, but that’s no excuse for being this terrible AGAINST the Pac-12, let alone a program from a lower division like Montana.

I don’t think it’s going to work out with Lake, because once again there’s some deep-seeded, entrenched sucking going on. As usual, it stems from the offensive and defensive lines. He’s also both weirdly aggressive (going for it on 4th downs, which I like) and bull-headed (not making a switch at quarterback when it’s clearly in the program’s best interest). There’s no salvaging this season. The Huskies are 2-4. We’re clearly not as good as Oregon or ASU, we probably have no business going down to Stanford and beating them. That’s 7 losses, for those of you needing help with the math; that means no bowl game.

We should probably go down to Arizona this week and beat the winless Wildcats, but I’m not holding my breath. You would think we could take care of business against the Buffaloes next month, but that’s a road game, so you never know. And, the Cougars’ whole season is going to hinge on beating our asses for the first time since 2012 (since they just lost their head coach and will probably need that game to make a bowl game).

There’s a version of this team that goes winless the rest of the way, with our easiest remaining games being on the road. Best case scenario, I think the Huskies might scrape by with a 3-3 record the rest of the way, which is still not good enough to make a bowl. So, what are we playing for? Why are we clinging to Dylan Morris, who has 8 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, and a miserable 60% completion percentage? Why would we risk alienating our only 5-star recruit, who has the kind of arm talent most schools only dream of?

It’s not like we’d be breaking any kind of mold by going with a true freshman, plenty of WAY better programs do it all the time. Shit, we just had one in Petersen’s tenure with Jake Browning!

Nothing is quite so damning to this program than just having a BYE week – giving us two full weeks to shake things up and prepare for UCLA – and coming out with the same exact problems as before. That tells me Jimmy Lake, ultimately, isn’t the man to lead this program. If he can’t get this team to get its shit together at home, with multiple weeks to prepare, then what the fuck are we even doing here?

The collapse under Lake’s watch has been immediate and a total embarrassment. What’s worse is there’s no hope for the future. There’s only burning it all down and hoping the next regime knows what the fuck it’s doing.