Huskies Insider Blog

Apple Cup 2011: Will the Apple Cup be Nick Holt's 11th hour?

In today's News Tribune, columnist John McGrath takes a look at maligned Huskies defensive coordinator Nick Holt and the job he's doing. As usual John does a fantastic job of using the situation at Georgia last year as  the perfect example. Before we get to McGrath's column, what do you think ...

From John's column ....

“It falls on myself,” Holt acknowledged last Saturday, after Oregon State became the Huskies’ sixth opponent to score at least 30 points on them this season. “I need to probably do a better job of making it simpler, so our guys are playing faster.”

Holt is three months into his third season as defensive coordinator, and he’s only now tinkering with the notion of dumbing down?

The numbers on the Huskies’ defensive stat sheet broach absurdity:

They’re giving up 34.5 points a game, second-most in school history.

They’re giving up 430.4 yards a game, third-most in school history.

The odds of them making a third-down stop are dead even – 50 percent – worst conversion rate in a conference not associated with stout defenses.But the decision isn't quite so easy for head coach Steve Sarkisian. Holt is his friend, who he recruited up here from USC. Sarkisian believes in Holt and his system in place. But as McGrath points out, football takes precedence over friendship. This program can't continue to have these types of defensive performances and expect to reach the next level.  McGrath pointed out a similar situation in Georgia with head coach Mark Richt.

Richt was faced with a dilemma: Defensive coordinator Willie Martinez had an accomplished résumé and a nine-year association with the school. Furthermore, he was a former teammate of Richt’s at the University of Miami.

How do you tell one of your best buddies that his work isn’t cutting it?

Simple. You tell him that his work isn’t cutting it.

Before the Bulldogs’ appearance in the 2009 Independence Bowl, Richt informed Martinez, along with linebackers coach Jon Fabris and defensive ends coach John Jancek, that they wouldn’t return in 2010.

Richt must’ve lost sleep while mulling a defensive-staff makeover.

Fabris was a loyal lieutenant who had turned down an assistant’s position at Oklahoma; Jancek had rejected a defensive-coordinator offer from another school to remain at Georgia.

But Richt concluded change was necessary. The pink-slipping of the two assistants gave the incoming defensive coordinator some autonomy.