2-2 after four weeks was somewhat expected and doesn't come as a huge surprise to me. There is no shame in losses to Ohio State, nor is there any shame in yet another loss to UCLA on the road. However Saturday night was one huge missed opportunity.

It was a more than legitimate shot at winning a Pac-10 road contest against one of the Los Angeles schools that was wasted. That is extremely disheartening, particularly for a coach that relishes contests like this as "terrific opportunities." Willingham had to have slept poorly on Saturday night.

Coming off an embarrassing blowout loss to Mountain West's Utah, UCLA had seven starters down. One thing that the Bruins could not afford on Saturday was an injury to their quarterback Patrick Cowan, who was the starter due to a concussion to Ben Olson. Cowan hobbled off the field early in the fourth quarter after getting his knee banged up on a play where he threw an interception.

That was the play that should've turned the tide for good to the guys in the roadie white uniforms. Dan Howell had created the type of big play that teams need to win on the road.

A good team would seize that opportunity and never let go of it. It was time for the Husky seniors to show the young guys how to do it, to take a UCLA team that was clinging to a lead but fading fast after a Dan Howell interception and the injury to Cowan. Time for the seniors to step up and be counted, and show that they were ready to assume the mantle of victory.

Enter UCLA's third string quarterback, untested McLeod Bethel-Thompson, a walk-on no less. Given the task of holding a 7-point lead, Dorrell did what any coach worth his weight in salt would do – run the football. What else could he do?

The Husky coaches and defense all knew what was coming. Even the fans knew what was coming. There was no way that Bethel-Thompson was going to throw the ball.

So how on EARTH can you give up a 72-yard touchdown run to a tailback given these circumstances? Unforgivable. Yet there was tailback Chris Markey, bolting straight up the middle of the porous Husky defense, past the tired interior defensive line, through the somehow confused linebackers who appeared to be lined up incorrectly and reacted even worse to the sudden misfortune. Then Markey, despite not being a true burner, outran the Husky safeties to the end zone to complete an incredible run.

Incredible that it even happened. Incredible that the defense was unable to stop it even though the entire Rose Bowl knew it was coming. Incredible that the defensive coaching staff wasn't ready for it, or wasn't able to get their guys in an alignment that would allow for a Husky defender to at least lay a finger on Markey.

Let me say that it wasn't as if Washington gave up. They didn't. They very much wanted to stop that play, to stop the Bruins in their territory and force a punt that would allow Jake Locker to lead them to the tying touchdown.

But wanting to do something and actually doing something are two different things. One is planning and the other is execution. You need both.

So Washington answers that with a touchdown. I love the heart that the offense showed on Saturday. That was an awesome display of not lying down when they could've. They answered the call and responded with a score. And that was an incredible good sign of things to come from this offense in the future behind Jake Locker's leadership.

Just as you thought it was safe to cheer again, you blinked. Washington was within seven again despite the defensive breakdown. Then that familiar pit in the stomach that has been there since 2002 showed up again as we watched the kickoff coverage team give up the unforgivable – an 85-yard touchdown return to the fastest man on the UCLA team.

The kickoff teams have been atrocious pretty much all season, and in the past two games it has really bitten this team. Washington is a better team than they were the last two years, I am certain of that. But I am also certain that they aren't to the point where they can survive the kinds of mistakes they are making. To spot Ohio State a possession at your own 25, and to spot UCLA 7 points in the midst of a comeback, well, the margin of error on this team just isn't big enough to surmount those gaffes.

The kicking game is something that can give you an edge when you have weaknesses in other areas. It can give you good field position if your offense struggles to run the ball, it can give your defense long fields to defend, and if you are lucky, it can get you extra possessions and perhaps points.

For Washington, it has not worked like this. The kickoff returns against UCLA and Ohio State were terrible. Fumbles, muffs, and returns for touchdowns against you are certainly not the types of things that are going to help you win football games. The kicking game has been nightmarish, and to put it nicely, a liability. Jared Ballman is going to be a good punter as he becomes more consistent. About the only good thing you can really hang your hat on in any of the special teams has been Danny Morovick, the deep snapper. He is solid.

Jake Locker in the fourth quarter against UCLA was fun to watch, and hopefully it will serve as his arrival as a passer. He got hot and he was feeling it for the first time in his career. He will build off of that, I'm sure.

But oh how nice would it be if he had some sort of rushing attack to help him out? Boise State's defensive alignment in the second half of game 2 is proving to be the blueprint on how to defend the Huskies. Keep Locker between the tackles and put seven to nine guys in the box. Flood it with linebackers that can run around the big but not too athletic Husky offensive line. Washington has size up front but they aren't quick enough to stop stunts and other gap-stuffing gimmicks that are allowing opposing lines to stop the Huskies rushing attack in the backfield. That is what Ohio State did and it most certainly is what UCLA did. With the exception of about four long runs, Locker's effectiveness as a runner has been contained since the Syracuse game, and the Orange just weren't athletic enough on defense to do it. Jake is an amazing runner and when he breaks containment he's unstoppable, but he cannot do it alone. Someone on the Husky roster has to find a way to get yards between the tackles. There aren't a lot of holes up front, so it's going to require some patience and perhaps some creativity. The "big banger" tailback isn't on the current roster. While I'm not willing to put all of the blame on Louis Rankin, I do think it may be time to put another back in for at least a couple of series just to see if the offense takes on an added dimension. At the very least, it would look different than the film of the Huskies that the defenses are currently watching and preparing to stuff.

So now USC comes to town. I don't really want to think about them, other than the fact that they may be the best and most talented and deep team I've seen in five years. All we can worry about is what Washington can do to address their issues.

Is it time to panic yet? Probably not, but they do need to solve the rushing ills and the kickoff debacles, and solve them now.

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