In the months following Washington’s traumatic 4-9 season in 2007, tensions have been running high amongst the fractured Husky fan base. Those in favor of last December’s retention of coach Tyrone Willingham are professing optimism, while those still haunted by the 12-36 record over the past four seasons brace for more carnage.
There are signs of improvement on this football team, with quarterback Jake Locker a year older and newfound quickness abounding at the skill positions. The defense– which in 2007 was the worst in UW history– is taking to new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell. Donatell brings a style of upbeat confidence and increased technical skill to replace the woefully inept Kent Baer. Word has it that the UW players are responding and working harder than they have in years.
But Washington’s greenhorn defense will be thrown straight to the Wolves Ducks and their perrenially potent offensive attack in the opening game August 30.
Even with Oregon quarterback Nate Costa himself lacking in experience, a fine supporting cast surrounds him, including running backs Jeremiah Johnson and the bruising LaGarrette Blount. Expect the Ducks to test Washington’s embryonic defensive line from the opening series. Unless Jake Locker can keep the chains moving and will his team to victory, Autzen Stadium may continue to serve as a Husky House of Horrors– at least for one more year.