It's getting hard to rationalize the Washington Huskies. We are ten games in. "It's early" is no longer a viable rationalization. "It's a new coaching staff" has run its course. "Cyler Miles missed the first game and he's still getting acclimation" has flown away.
Maybe it's just time to admit the obvious. Maybe the Huskies just aren't very good.
The dismissal of cornerback Marcus Peters send the secondary's depth issue from a not-too-many-guys-but-they're-decent level to wait-we're-really-starting-three-freshman-and-a-sophomore? level. Add in Shaq Thompson playing more offense than defense and the defense went from great to...meh.
I'm patient. I understand it's hard to change coaches, on both the players and the coaches. Chris Petersen had so much early-career success at Boise State because he was internally promoted. He recruited those guys ad kept the same system. It was a figure head change, not a program makeover.
So I guess patience is the name of the game.
But it's so disappointing because of the defensive talent that will not be back next year. Danny Shelton. Gone. Hau'oli Kikaha. Gone. John Timu, Evan Hudson, Andrew Hudson, Shaq Thompson. Gone, gone, gone, and most likely gone.
There is something good about this team, though. Most teams that play as many freshman and sophomores end up being pretty good in a couple of years. That aforementioned very, very young secondary has a lot of good players. The UW has some good young linebackers and good young defensive linemen.
Similarly, the offense has a lot of good young players, too. Most all of the starting offensive linemen are seniors, but every one else has eligibility. There's a notable name that I left out: Kasen Williams. He just hasn't been the same since his leg injury last year.
I'm thinking about Washington's upcoming game against No.14 Arizona, and I'm worried. Washington hasn't played well in Tucson lately and haven't played ranked teams well lately. Washington is 6-4, with all four losses coming to teams that were ranked at the time: Stanford (16), Oregon (9), Arizona State (14) and UCLA (18). It means Washington has no losses. It also means they can't beat ranked teams.
Well, obviously, Arizona is a ranked team, and a pretty good one at that. I just don't know that I'm looking at. Play-to-play, Washington changes. They're so inconsistent right now, and it's frustrating.
I'll still watch, I'll still support the kids and the coaches and I will never lose my fandom. But, at some point, Washington has to beat a ranked team. They have one last shot.
Here's the thing, though, the UW can still win eight games. Both Oregon State and Washington State are winnable games, and, if they can pull off a win in Tucson, the Huskies could win nine.
Honestly, I'll take that.