SEATTLE — They’ve been here before. That’s not a good thing.
The Washington Huskies (3-4 overall, 1-3 Pacific-12 Conference) are staggering through a losing streak of three games or more for the fourth time in Steve Sarkisian’s four seasons as coach.
His first season (2009), Washington lost four in a row to start the second half of the season before winning the last two.
In 2010, Washington dipped to 3-6 following three consecutive thumpings by ranked teams, during which it was outscored, 138-30, before recovering by winning the next three in a row – the last two narrowly – to earn a Holiday Bowl berth.
In 2011, Washington was battered late in the season three consecutive times by a total of 112-55. It handled Washington State in the Apple Cup to snap the three-game losing streak.
This season, the Huskies have been outscored in the past three debacles, 128-52.
Can they fix it again?
Getting right will be a chore this time because seventh-ranked and unbeaten Oregon State looms Saturday.
The Huskies need to plug the middle of their defense. Get the quarterback to believe in play calls. Have a consistent game on the offensive line.
All have proven elusive, which left Sarkisian seeking remedies Monday.
“I only know one way and that’s through hard work to find your way out of it,” Sarkisian said. “There is no magic potion. In times like this, your belief has to be stronger than ever. It can’t be about hope.
“Hope is the guy that goes down to the local liquor store and buys five scratch-offs and hopes to make some money, and belief is the guy that believes in preparation and works hard and when he gets his opportunity he earns his money. We have to play with belief, not hope.’’
It appears of late quarterback Keith Price has been playing with little of each.
Sarkisian said after the 52-14 loss to Arizona on Saturday night in Tucson that the trust between Price and himself has declined, and he would spend the flight back figuring out why.
Monday, Sarkisian said he and Price went through a similar spell midway through last season, though that did not result in the rash of turnovers of this season (Price has 10 in the past three games) .
Sarkisian was a quarterback at BYU and in the Canadian Football League. Relating to a quarterback is viewed as his forte. He has grappled with Price’s problems.
“I felt like I think like Keith felt – I want to make sure about the call, rather than, ‘I’m not so sure’ – I want to make sure,” Sarkisian said. “In turn, what happens, you are trying to see guys get open rather than anticipate them getting open. That’s the biggest issue with it, to me.”
So, in this instance, seeing is not believing. Awaiting a visually open receiver is discarding the anticipation a quarterback needs to play with, so that produces multiple problems.
Sarkisian explained that a quarterback with that approach can be late with the ball. The rush can catch up because he holds the ball too long. Passing windows close.
“When you add all that up, that’s not great,” he said.
Which is an observation that can be applied to much of what Washington has done of firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports @Todd_Dybas