Picking up the Pieces and Moving On

It's almost hard to fathom how demoralizing the 65-21 defeat to Stanford must have been to the players and coaches of the Husky football team. What could have been an unbelievable win quickly turned into a devastating defeat. A loss is a loss no matter what the score was, and it simply goes in the right hand column.

Game over, learn from it, get better and move on to the next game: Forget about being "back" as an elite program; forget about national rankings; forget about firing the defensive coach; forget about not being able to match up physically (at least for right now); forget about being too young, too inexperienced, and too unsure; forget about which of the five remaining games the Huskies "should" win.

Concentrate on winning the next game and go from there. There is still a lot to play for such as a winning season, a bowl game, and gaining back a little personal respectability.

Point no fingers because it wasn't the fault of any one side of the ball, any one player or any one coach. When you lose, everyone on the team accepts the responsibility. Coaches also know and accept that whenever you lose, you got out-coached. Mistakes need to be corrected, confidence needs to be restored, coordination and communication needs to max, and the whole team must be determined to beat Arizona. This is the most important game of the year, and to win it the Huskies must fire again in all three phases of the game.

Remember - this is a process, and that was just a bad performance by a Husky team that is still rebuilding. As coach Sark openly admits, "we're still climbing up the mountain". If it wasn't obvious to you that Stanford's kids were bigger, stronger, and more mature than the Husky team, then you weren't watching the same game I was. I watched it from the sidelines and there was a visible difference from the physical standpoint.

It wouldn't surprise me to see Stanford play for the National Championship this year because they are just so sound in all phases of the game. I hope they beat USC next week and then sweep the Oregon schools. That would be good for the Huskies in the conference race. Losing to this Stanford team was no surprise and there were reasons why they were a three-touchdown favorite. The score simply made it embarrassing, but other than that it still only counts as one loss. Get one win back and with it get your confidence back. It's really that simple because there is a lot of the season remaining. Get back on the horse and work as hard as you can to get better every day until the Arizona game, then play the hardest you can with purposeful concentration.

As sad as the game was, it still gave me great pleasure to continue to get to watch Chris Polk play. He is such a special player that I tend to watch him individually and lose much of the team play. He is really a tough blocker and will smack a blitzer just as much as he'll run over a linebacker. He is easily as good in college as Corey Dillon, Napoleon Kaufman, and Greg Lewis were for us. I helped recruit all those guys and always had a special relationship with each. I think Chris might be better simply because those guys had better surrounding casts. He will pass all of them statistically, and when it's all said and done will be a Husky Hall of Famer. He is easily the MVP so far this season. Build everything around him so that he gets 25-30 touches per game, he's that good.

This team got rocked but it's really important to bounce back and win a game at home. Prepare to win a close game with Arizona and realize a victory here makes you bowl eligible. Learn from history but don't let it define you. All was not lost in the Stanford game. There is still so much to play for. Think about winning and don't worry about losing.

Go Dawgs.

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