Tag Archives: Nick Holt

Catching Up With The Dawgs

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks at Montlake for Sark and his football team.  Matthew wrote about the recruiting aspect a few weeks ago and that combined with all of the coaching news has made for an interesting month since the Alamo Bowl.  Tonight, I’ll take a look at most of the news (date-by-date fashion) and add a few thoughts to it.

December 14th, 2011 – What Happened: Demetrice Martin, who was the cornerback coach at UW, left to fill the same position at UCLA.  He was one of the top recruiters on the Husky staff and his loss was felt immediately in the recruiting realm.  Several commits flipped from UW to UCLA and a few other guys dropped the Huskies from their list.

Looking At It Now:  It doesn’t seem like a big deal now and, frankly, I think it might help the Huskies.  Martin was undoubtedly a good recruiter but I don’t know about his coaching.  Maybe we won’t see our corners lack confidence now?  Maybe they’ll play a little closer to the receiver.  None of the corners have developed under Martin (Q. Rich regressed significantly) and maybe they will under the new coach.  Maybe not, but I think it was time for a change at this coaching position anyway.

December 29th, 2011 – What Happened:  Kevaire Russel, one of the top recruits in the state, announces that he has verbally committed to Notre Dame over the hometown Huskies.  Message boards erupted (I’m talking about you Dawgman) in fury over how Sark can’t recruit.  It was a little shocking and interesting to see that the Huskies couldn’t keep a recruit at home.

Looking At It Now: It’s still a bit alarming that a lot of in-state recruits are turning elsewhere but it was never worth freaking out over.  The Huskies are still in on several big name guys and will probably end up with a very solid class.  I should have saved some of the comments from the Dawgman boards because it’s hilarious how blown out of proportion some were.

December 29th, 2011 –  What Happened:  The Huskies lost one of the most entertaining, frantic, fascinating football games I’ve ever seen.  The Alamo Bowl ended in with Baylor winning 67-56.  I still see that score and am astonished.  Both defenses were absolutely terrible and both offenses were phenomenal.  It’s a shame that a lot of the focus gets put on how horrible the defense was (which I admit, both were horrible) and not put on how good the offenses were.  Watching the national title week several weeks later, I couldn’t help think of how entertaining that game was.  By the way, the Dawgs and Baylor would score touchdowns on LSU and Alabama.

Looking At It Now:  You always want to win.  Let me start off by saying that.  A bowl win is nice because trophies are cool and you don’t want to have 67 points scored on you on national TV.  This game may be responsible for what all happened next and what happened next may be what takes the Dawgs back to the top of the Pac-12.

December 31st, 2011 – What Happened:  Sark fired Nick Holt, Mike Cox and Jeff Mills from his staff.  The Alamo Bowl seemed to be the final straw with the defense and Sark had enough.  It wasn’t much of a surprise and speculation quickly turned to candidates.

Looking At It Now:  It had to happen and it did.

January 2nd, 2012 – What Happened:  The Huskies hired away Justin Wilcox from the Tennessee Volunteers, he was their defensive coordinator.  He brought Peter Sirmon along with him and he will coach the linebackers.  This seemed to be Sark’s first choice and he made the move quickly.  People around the country were impressed by the hire of the up and coming DC and his right-hand recruiting man.

Looking At It Now:  When Sark gave Husky fans a day to speculate about who the new guy might be, Justin Wilcox was my top choice.  Needless to say, I was pleased with the hire.  Wilcox has an impressive resume and seems to know what he’s doing.  His players seemed to love him and he was successful at both of his stops.  He may leave for a head coaching gig soon, but that means that he’d have been successful.  I’m all for this hire and it seems like everyone else is too.

January 12th, 2012 – What Happened:  The Huskies hired Keith Heyward to be their new defensive backs coach.  He is a younger guy who had the same position at Oregon State.  There’s a theme to these hires and it’s that they’re all younger guys.  He was said to be one of the best recruiters on the OSU staff.  I don’t have any examples of his coaching ability.

Looking At It Now:  I don’t have a lot of basis for this but I think this might be the most underrated hire the Huskies made.  It seems like this one was forgotten after all of the news.  Heyward is well liked by recruits and may steal a few from Oregon State this year.  Again, I don’t know much about his coaching ability but he was loved at OSU and was said to be a good hire by many experts.

January 16th, 2012 – What Happened:  The Huskies hired Tosh Lupoi away from the California Golden Bears.  He was their defensive line coach and a pretty successful one.  He is said to be the best recruiter on the west coast and everyone was impressed with the hire.  Many Cal recruits were shocked and said to be opening their recruitment back up.

Looking At It Now:  Well, these last couple only happened a few days ago so there’s not a ton to add except for my opinion.  This is a great hire.  Lupoi probably can’t live up to the hype he has come with because I’ve never seen an assistant coach have so much hype aside from Ed Orgeron, who is the other top recruiting assistant in the Pac-12.  It was the best defensive-line coaching hire Sark could have realistically made.  It was the final piece of, what I consider, the best staff he could have put together.

January 16th 2012 – What Happened:  Nick Montana, the heralded quarterback, decided to transfer from the UW.  He came to the Huskies with much fanfare and didn’t perform very well in his only start (not that it was all his fault).  From what I saw he has a future as a college quarterback.  In fact, from what I saw he could start for Alabama or LSU and win a national championship.

Looking At It Now:  It was inevitable, really.  The guy wants to play and wasn’t going to have much of a chance here.  Watching his demeanor in practice, I was never a huge fan of his but he’s got talent and is a smart kid.  I hope he does well in the future.

January 17th – What Happened:  The Huskies offensive coordinator, Doug Nussmeier, left UW and took the same role at Alabama.  It’s hard to blame him, he’ll get to call his own plays for the defending national champions and he’ll get a raise.  Unfortunately for the Dawgs, Nussmeier was a great coach and they had to fill another position in their staff.  This was the date it became official, it was known quite sometime in advance.

Looking At It Now:  Nussmeier is a good coach and deserves a ton of credit for the progress Jake Locker and Keith Price made.  With that being said, everyone knows this is Sark’s offense.  He is the creative young mind and he has his system.  I would be surprised if the Huskies felt a huge impact by the loss of Nussmeier.  Best of luck to him at Alabama.

January 18th – What Happened:  The Huskies poached another Cal coach in Eric Kiesau to fill the role of offensive coordinator.  He’s another guy who’s said to be a good recruiter.  He was the wide receiver coach at Cal and will coach the quarterbacks here.  Cedric Dozier, another top recruit in Washington who committed to Cal, is said to be reconsidering because of this news.

Looking At It Now:  Another good hire, although I don’t really think it’s an upgrade from Nussmeier.  Time will tell what Kiesau will do on the recruiting trail and I’ll be interested to see if there’s any drop off in the development of the quarterbacks.  I would guess no, because of the presence of Sark.

Wow, a lot has happened.  When I put it all out like this I’m somewhat amazed.  So, where is the program now compared to about a month ago?  It’s hard to tell without a game being played, of course.  Everyone thinks the staff is better than it was.  The recruiting sure seems like it’s going to gain steam at some point in the next couple of weeks, if not days.  With all that in mind, I think the program is trending up.  These hires have given the Huskies some steam but, as we learned with Nick Holt, some hires aren’t as glamorous as they first seem.  Sark did the best that he could, but you just never know.

Two weeks until signing day!  I love that day.  For now, be careful out there in the snow.  It’s a little crazy out there.  Go Dawgs!

Oh, and Nick Holt Jr. transferred to Montana!

Andrew

 

 

 

 

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Montlake’s Going Crazy!

The last week has been a wild one for University of Washington football.  Between the Alamo Bowl, coaching changes, and recruiting news, there have been no shortage of emotion swings.  I’m going to save the recruiting talk for a future post, but I want to offer some thoughts on the rest of the news.

Plenty has already been said on the Alamo Bowl, so I’ll keep it short, but it’s hard to ask for much more out of a bowl appearance.  Besides a win, that is.  Everyone expected a shootout, but this one went to a completely different level.  I’ve heard people say that the lack of defense was embarassing, and I suppose that it probably is.  I certainly wish the Huskies would have pulled out the win.  Still, I can’t get overly upset about it.  That was one of the craziest things we’ll ever get to see.  I talk a lot on here about how I increasingly watch sports for the chance to be amazed.  Winning is great, but I want to see great performances and events that surprise me.  The Alamo Bowl had both. Continue reading

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‘The 2-Hour Rule’

On Thursday night I wrote about what tonight’s game meant for the Washington football program.  A win, or even a respectable, hard-fought loss would have earned this team national respect and shown that the Dawgs are another step up Sark’s metaphorical mountain.  Well, instead of that happening, the Huskies took out their toboggans and sled down the mountain as if it were the historical December of 2008 (Ty’s last game as Husky head coach).

Being out of the game at halftime was a sight Husky fans have grown accustomed  to seeing but we thought it was behind us.  Tonight it wasn’t behind us and that’s a pretty disgusting and annoying feeling.  The defense didn’t move and the offense, while racking up quite a bit of yards, didn’t have the firepower to stay with a physically dominant Stanford team.  The Huskies will be elite again soon, we’ve seen flashes of it, but that doesn’t change how frustrating that game was.

There.  I’ve said it and it’s out my system.  As far as the Good Guys go, Dan and Joe are usually the emotional reactors.  They have no problem telling us about how much our teams sucked it up.  There’s value in that because without it, you get the Cougar syndrome (I’ve coined this phrase right now and I do apologize Cougar fans) and then, you justify your team keeping a coach for a 4th year even though he’d won 2 pac-10 games in his tenure.  Matthew and I usually take things a little differently then that and try to be a little more optimistic (as hard as that is with Seattle sports).  There’s value in that too, especially when talking about the Huskies this year.  It’s easy to get greedy, and start dreaming of Rose Bowls but the truth is this team is still only 3 seasons removed from 0-12 and has made steady progress each year.

Having said that, Dan was the one who sent me a text to remind just how far the Huskies have come in a short amount of time and how great this coaching staff has been for the program.  There is progress being made and there’s no reason to doubt that progress won’t continue, even after tonight’s debacle.

No, maybe the Huskies aren’t quite ready for a regular slot in prime-time.  They are a good football team, who clearly wasn’t at their best tonight, that is fun to watch and will continue to grow.  If they plan to continue to grow they have to forget about this game quickly.

Sark has a 24 hour-rule, where the team is allowed to think about the game for 24 hours afterwards whether it’s a win or a loss.  From what I can tell in his tenure, this rule has worked and the team has generally shown up to play the week after an ugly loss.  Maybe this week the 24 hour-rule should turn into a 2 hour-rule though.  And maybe this rule should go for fans this week too?  There is no point in dwelling on this game.  There may be a few teachable moments for the team, but mostly they got beat by a much better team tonight.  That might not be the case next year, but it is this year.  Because of that, it’s time to move on.  Once the team gets off that plane tonight I hope Keith Price is smiling, Sark is scheming up some more amazing offensive game-plans, Nick Holt is coaching instead of screaming, and our Dawgs are ready to beat the crap out of Arizona.

A few more thoughts after the jump and then the 2-hour rule (it might be 3 hour-rule by the time I’m done writing this) kicks in. Continue reading

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Recapping Cal and Looking Ahead

On Saturday, the Huskies won a thrilling game against California 31-23.  You’ve all probably either watched the game or read the stories, so there’s not much point in me giving a blow-by-blow recap.  I will point out a few things that stuck out to me.

First of all, what a great birthday.  Saturday was my 21st and I got to spend it with my family and my girlfriend.  As far as I can remember, this was the first time my entire family had gone to a Husky game and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  To many guys, Saturdays are their day off to spend in front of the TV (or at a game) getting some time by themselves and drinking a few beers.  That’s all good and I don’t mind watching a game by myself now and then, but Saturdays in the fall are family affairs at Husky Stadium and I’m so incredibly thankful for that.

It was also a great birthday because the Huskies won.  As we’ve all grown somewhat accustomed to, they won in a nail-biter.  Our Dawgs have won 7 of their last 8 games and only 2 of those wins have been by double digits.  It sure would be nice to beat a time by a couple of touchdowns but, in a ploy to make more people buy season tickets because every game is nerve wracking, the Huskies have decided to make sure they win in the last second, if they win at all.  Matthew and I were talking about if they will ever win in a blow-out.  We decided that will happen in about 2017.

With that paragraph full of sarcasm out of me, it’s amazing how far this program has come in a short amount of time.  This would have been the kind of game the Huskies easily would have lost a few years ago.  A few years ago, this team would have been 1-3 after 4 games.  0-4 wouldn’t be out of the question right now.  Sark has done a phenomenal job and it says a ton about how far he’s taken us when we say that we expect more out of this team.  And we all should expect more because this team can be quite a bit better.

Some bullet holes on the game and what lies ahead after the jump.   Continue reading

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UW vs. USC: Postgame

When we began the season, 2-2 was the record most people predicted after4 games, myself included.  A win against BYU and Syracuse and then a team that would probably be out-matched by the talent of Nebraska and USC.  That’s not exactly what happened, but it’s better this way.

After showing a serious amount of inconsistency the first 3 games, the Husky offense turned in a showing that all Dawg fans have been dreaming of since demolishing Cal last December.  Because of this, the Huskies won their first road game in 3 years and started Pac-10 play with a victory against powerhouse USC.

Since many people have covered this game, and did a better job than I could, I’m going to keep this short.  I’ll have more in-depth analysis once I watch this game again later tonight but for now, I’ll look at what this game means.  As several coaches and players said, this win was huge for a number of reasons.  Let’s take a look at those reasons.

  • Redemption: The Huskies were just 2 weeks removed from playing the worst game of the Sark era.  Being embarrassed at home, 56-21, caused many people to question whether the program was actually on the right track.  There were all kinds of criticism coming at the Huskies, and rightfully so.  The game-plan was bad, the team didn’t, and Jake Locker played the worst game of his career.  But, last night the Huskies came back and had the best game-plan (offensively, anyway) of the Sark era, showed more heart than I’ve seen in years, and had Locker play the best game we’ve seen yet.  People didn’t know if this team was built up too much, and they still have reasons to question that, but last night, the Huskies found redemption in the L.A. Coliseum.  And, for a week at least, that feels pretty good.
  • A Road Victory! As I mentioned earlier, the Huskies had not won a road game since 2007.  That was against a bad Stanford team.  You could argue that this is the most impressive Husky road victory, as far as quality of opponent, since their 2002 road victory at Oregon.  Now, the monkey is off the back.  Of course, this doesn’t mean that they’re going to go on and win the rest of their road games.  But, as we saw with this years Husky basketball, winning that first road game can do wonders for a teams psyche.  If nothing else, people won’t be able to say that, “They just don’t know how to win on the road.”  Which is a blessing in its’ own right.

More after the jump.  Continue reading

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Huskies Practice Report – 4/17/2010

The Huskies completed their 3rd week of practices this afternoon.  There was a little rain as the practice began but then the sun poked through the clouds, Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix came through the speakers, and I became very thankful that I live in Seattle.  There were about a thousand people at the practice including quite a few high school and junior college coaches who were attending the UW coaches clinic.  I spotted Paul Wulff trying watching the coaches, trying to figure out how to coach his own players (that was a joke and completely false).

To tell you the truth, there wasn’t a lot to report today.  During the team drills there was a lot of work on special teams.  Most of the practice was pretty typical and then there was about a half an hour scrimmage at the end.  The offense dominated early in the practice and then the defense had the upper hand in the scrimmage portion. 

Nick Holt was even more animated than usual today.  At one point he made the entire second string defense do up-downs after a 10 yard play by the offense.  The coaching staff has to be in such great shape because they sprint everywhere.  They really set the tone for this team.

The defense used a few different looks today.  Alvin Logan rushed off the edge quite a bit in the scrimmage and was quite effective in doing so.  He might be playing defensive end on 3rd downs this season.  They rotated linebackers a lot more today than they usually do.  I imagine they are just finding who is best where and when.  They also went to a 3-4 at times today, it seemed to work pretty well.

At this point in spring everyone seems to be settling in on where they should be in the depth chart.  Sure, every once in a while someone will bust out with a great practice but it’s usually the same suspects every practice now.  It’s nice to see that consistency because I don’t know if there were players who would consistently have good practices on the Huskies a few years ago.

With that said here are my players of the day:

  • Jermaine Kearse was great today.  He scored 6 touchdowns in a row during drills.  I think he ended up with about 10 on the day.  The Huskies don’t have a corner who can defend him and I don’t know if anyone in the Pac-10 does. 
  • James Johnson also made some very good catches.  He got called for two offensive pass interference penalties but one of them was extremely questionable.  In the offenses only touchdown drive in the scrimmage, Johnson came up big several times.  He is pretty physical and looks bigger than he did last Fall.
  • Chris Robinson is a red-shirt defensive tackle who has played well all spring.  He continued to do so today, getting into the backfield and making some tackles.  I think him and Tyrone Duncan may have played themselves into the rotation for next season. 
  • Demetrius Bronson had a few very physical runs today.  He may not carry the ball very often because he is switching between fullback and running back right now but, I think Bronson would be very good at the goal line as long as he takes care of his fumbling problems.  With that being said, Polk and Cooper are/will be very good at the goal line also. 
  • The freshman running backs were good.  I’m going to stop putting this in the practice reports and you can all assume that they were good.  I can’t wait for my fellow good guys to see them in action and then say how excited they are about them.  If they play like they’re capable of on April 30th people will be buzzing about Jesse Callier and Deontae Cooper through the whole summer.  

Other guys were good too but you already knew that because their names are Jake Locker, Mason Foster, and Cort Dennison.

Two more weeks of practice to go.  I like what I’ve seen overall but I’ll save that for another post.  Now, it’s time to watch the Mariners and Justin Verlander (if the Mariners get shut down tonight, which is entirely possible, take a minute to enjoy how good Verlander is.  He is the Tiger’s Felix.  Should be fun to watch regardless of what happens).  Thanks for reading!

Andrew

Andrew

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