BY Steve Rudman 02:57AM 02/12/2011

Numbers Crunch

Zeitgeist’s got numbers — good, bad, amusing, intriguing — that take the pulse of the Seattle sports scene

    UW's Matthew Bryan-Amaning will join Chris Welp in an exclusive club / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

    Feb. 6-12, 2011

  • 19
    Pitchers in Mariner camp who longtime team trainer Rick Griffin said he’d never seen throw before this week. That includes kids up from the farm system and veterans who were in different organizations last year.
  • 31
    Pitchers who will be healthy enough to throw for Mariners when Spring Training camp opens in Peoria Monday. The number making the opening day roster is probably 12.
  • 27
    Years for Dave Cutaia as Pac-10 Coordinator of Football Officiating. Cutaia will be stepping down and the newly formed Pac-12 says it will perform an overhaul of its officiating structure.
  • 13
    Consecutive home wins by the Washington men’s basketball team by 10-or more points, the longest streak in Hec Ed history.
  • 2
    Players with 1,500 career points, 300 assists and 100 steals in Husky history. Isaiah Thomas joined Eldridge Recasner with his 23 points against California on Thursday night.
  • 1
    Number of blocks needed by Matthew Bryan-Amaning for 100 steals and 100 blocks in his Husky career. He would join Chris Welp as the only other to do that.
  • 37
    Times Mariner starting pitchers went seven or more innings while allowing one or zero runs in 2010. How that adds up to 101 losses we have no idea.
  • 1
    Parent who forged the signature of her son on a National Letter of Intent this year. Floyd Raven, a defensive back who will be going to Texas A&M, had to explain to Mississippi that his mom actually signed his name.
  • 3
    Number of top 10s that junior guard Isaiah Thomas has reached in the University of Washington basketball record book. He is in the top 10 in scoring, assists and steals. Only one other player is in all three, Eldridge Recasner.
  • 5
    Number of teams in college football’s big six conferences that do not have a player attending the NFL combine. Duke, Kansas, Minnesota, Northwestern and Vanderbilt will not be represented. Washington is sending three players: Mason Foster, Jake Locker and Nate Williams.
  • 5
    Number of touchdown passes that Aaron Rogers, then of California, now of the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, threw against Washington in his two starts against the Huskies in the 2003 and 2004 seasons. In 2003, Rogers riddled UW for 348 yards and 3 TDs in a 54-7 win at Berkeley. In 2004, he threw for 161 yards and 2 TDs, including a 29-yarder to current Seahawk Marshawn Lynch, in a 42-12 Cal romp at Husky Stadium.
  • 5
    Longest losing streak for Lorenzo Romar during his tenure with the Huskies. Romar-coached teams have lost five in a row twice, during the 2003 season (his first year at UW) and again in 2004. Romar teams have also had two four-game losing streaks, in 2007 and 2008. The team’s current three-game losing streak is the longest since last January.
  • 201
    Points scored by Washington in two games against Cal this season, a school record against any Pac-10 opponent.

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YourThoughts

  • 1coolguy

    Wow Art – You gave Holt a pass, which frankly is shocking.
    As you know an offense is much more complex than a defense and generally more difficult to assemble (witness the Seahawks, the 49ers, the Ravens, etc) and since Sark has completely turned around the offense in his 3 years, Holt should have accomplished much more than his defense showed.

    Ricky and Willingham had BETTER defenses – that simple fact is enough in my book to show Holt the door.

    As the Huskies defense will be ranked in the triple digits nationally, as a manager who wants to play for championships, Sark had no option.

    He will have a number of very qualified defensive coordinators available for his staff – here’s to the future, may it be bright!!!

    • Art Thiel

      1coolguy,  if you read my responses here, I think you will catch my drift — Holt had to be accountable in an impatient sports world, but no DC would have succeeded with the post 2008 hand Holt was dealt. Better? Perhaps, but you can see for yourself that outside of Foster, Butler and Goldson, the Huskies haven’t had NFL quality defenders in a decade through four coaches. It’s an institutional problem, not a Holt problem.

  • Soggyblogger

    Seems like you are swinging in two directions with this article, Art, but you seem to mostly believe Holt is a scapegoat. You have a right to your opinion, but I, and approximately 85% of the public disagree.  Your credentials are better then mine, and so I won’t even make my argument – though it is largely summarized in second to last paragraph. “…breadth and depth of shortcomings….” but goes beyond that, too….his demeanor belongs in the Jim Owens era when what is needed is more finesse to win the recruiting battle.

  • jafabian

    Holt has an established track record.  He was USC’s defensive coordinator and was a head coach as well.  The Huskies simply do not recruit like they did under Don James and that’s because kids want to play at Oregon, Oregon State and Boise State.  USC still recruits better than UW also.  The Dawgs have no players on the roster from Idaho or Oregon and all 6 QB’s are from California.  NONE from Washington.  UW needs to recapture dominating in-state recruiting as well as in all of the NW.  If they did maybe the defense would have had a better year.

    • Art Thiel

      The UW’s partial answer has been to renovate the stadium, which they have been trying to do ever since the new Autzen Stadium debuted 10 years ago that helped launch the Ducks. Most kids today are all about the bling, and no West Coast program has more of it that Oregon,  in fashion, facilities and style of play.  Also in recruiting high-risk players at a time when UW went straight-arrow because of the Neuheisel fallout.

  • Dcava

    Art, I agree with just about everything you say except that the firings were probably necessary. They were not necessary unless Sark was ordered to make the changes. If it was his choice all the way, I think he made a mistake for the exact reasons you mentioned. Talent is more of an issue than coaching and the coaching change is probably not going to help. It could very well slow the development of the defense because a brand new defensive staff has to start all over.  For these reasons, I don’t like the firings. The same people who called for Holt’s head will be calling for Sarkisan’s head as early as next year unless the defense is dramatically improved over what it was this year. I think the defense had a better chance of improving with the 2011 staff than a new staff in 2012. Sark contradicted himself big time. He emphasized the importance of continuity and then on the basis of one bad half  of  defense against Bayor fires virtually the whol defensive staff. Johnny Nansen I’m sure would have been fired too if he was not also the recruiting coordinator. The ironic and almost tragic thing is if the ball had not been knocked out of Chris Polk’s hands, the Huskies would have probably gone up by 3 scores and made it much more unlikely that Baylor’s running game would have realized so many rushing yards in the second half. If the Huskies had won the game and Baylor’s total yards would have been about 100 less, there is no way Sark fires the  3 coaches unless he would have been ordered to.  If Sark was not ordered to fire the 3 coaches, the firings was a visceral reaction by Sark and not as a result of a thorough evaluation of the job the defensive coaches did considering everything, especially where they were when they took over 3 years ago. Art, you nailed it with your statement that Holt did not become stupid overnight. I don’t think the Huskies’ defense in 2011 would have been much better, if any better, if Pete Carroll had been the Huskies DC in 2011. And did Sark stop to consider what effect the firings is going to have on recruiting this year? I feel Holt could have really turned the defense around in 2012 if he had the chance. I feel he needed just one more year to show undeniable improvement and optimistim for the future.

    • Art Thiel

      Dcava, you made good points about this being a harder call than merely 777 yards of offense in one game. The problem is in big-time college ball that when a passionate but lightly informed fan base gets a mad-on for a simple solution, that irrationality takes on a life of its own and cannot be dismissed, even when it may be flat wrong — especially at a time when the school is seeking donors to renovate the stadium. Boosters/donors can have an enormous influence, and I suspect pressure was put on Woodward, who passed it on to Sark. Sark truly does value continuity, which this program desperately needed. He pulled the trigger with great reluctance, but I also suspect he told his defensive assistants that they had to give him at least a fig leaf of results against Baylor to protect them. Instead, they were naked against the storm, which had been building for two years. The big money (including ticket prices,Tyee fees and donor costs) means patience is rarely found in college sports. 

  • Folta

    Great article!

    • Art Thiel

      Thanks

  • Guest2

    The coaches – including Holt – had plenty of time to remedy the bad 2008 class with better recruiting.  I’m just not buying 2008 as an excuse for the talent deficit on the defensive side of the ball. 

    • Art Thiel

      Well, Shirley had three sacks Thursday, and Jamora was lost for the season, and Parker had 15 tackles. They are Holt/Sarkisian guys. But if your senior leadership is thin and weak, it’s a big deal.

  • Dforest05

    i defended holt all year to anyone that would listen, but when you have a month to prepare for a offence that is very similar to the one they play in eugene, there is no excuse for there performance on thursday. It looked as if they had never defended the read option. Its not all holts fault but for what he was being paid the prouduct was not to par and somthing had to change.

    • Art Thiel

      The big difference with Baylor is their 240-lb RB. Oregon never has had a guy like that. Both the QB and RB were better than Oregon has had in the position, and the OL averaged 310, much bigger than Oregon. That said, Holt had the month to come up with a few stops, and he did get 4 sacks of RGIII, but the big plays were astounding.

  • Gordon

    The reason I didn’t like Holt or the coaches is what was said about the fundamentals – through the whole season there was no shown improvement.  There was no change in scheme to help the less talented players be more successful.  3 years of coaching and players still looked lost on assignments.  The players didn’t look ready, didn’t look mad enough to play.  On defense, you have to play with controlled anger and want to ‘stick’ someone, not grab or hopefully push them down.  You have to replace players who don’t want to improve or show improvement.  Is Richardson really the best corner or safety we had to play that position?  If so, then the recruiting for the last 3 years hasn’t been very good either.  Don’t know who the new guy will be, but hopefully he can teach and demand and expect better fundamentals and performance from his players.  And Sark has to demand and expect a better performance, from day 1 next spring, from his defensive players.

    • Art Thiel

      Being assignment-correct is a function of giving players a plan they can handle. That was a large downfall. Whether the players weren’t bright enough, or the coaches overloaded them, is hard for anyone outside the program to say. But the results were inarguable.

  • Dbagnell

    What is not mentioned here is that Holt is responsible for evaluating recruits and selling them on UW.  Most of the players playing for Holt were recruited by Holt and staff.  The problem I see is that the players didn’t progress enough and that is on the coaches.  Oregon State had a better defense with less talented players.

    • Art Thiel

      Don’t lose sight of the fact that 4th and 5th year players were Willingham’s players, and he was recruiting into a death spiral, partly of his making, partly the making of the school administrators following the Neuheisel/women’s softball fiascoes.

  • swampdog

    two words and 1 figure:

    missed tackles

    $650,000.

  • toddcscar

    Holt was overrated as both a coordinator and recruiter coming out of USC.  Pete Carroll’s teams have always been defense focused and he is a good recruiter of talent (look at the good young defensive talent on the Seahawks).  USC was in the inevitable college up/down cycle when Holt took over the defense. It was Carroll’s recruiting and defensive focus that put USC on top.  

    • Art Thiel

      Holt did ride some serious coattails with Carroll, whose defensive adjustments with the Seahawks personnel was impressive.

  • Rjgoodwin

    Holt was also a victim of his own style. His in your face demeanor & pacing the sideline doesn’t play well when you get pounded week in week out. Tie on the $650k/yr & people think he should perform miracles. I don’t see how the D will be much better next year. I was suprised w how quick he got canned (New Years eve?) but I think Sark might have been ready for months or Woodward & the alums couldn’t take it any longer.

    • Art Thiel

      Point taken. Holt’s salary became such a focal point that few alums wanted to hear the cupboard was bare (or is that Kent Baer?).

  • Bruce Kitts

    From the 1950s:

    Doug McClary was a 3-year letterman in both football and basketball at the UW and was a member of the Husky team that placed 3rd in the NCAA basketball tournament.

    Doyle Perkins was a 3-year letterman in both basketball and tennis at the UW, an unusual combination.
     

  • Phil

    Ray Evans was an All America half back and defensive back and two time All America basketball guard at Kansas in the 1940′s.  Played professional football with the Steelers.

  • Gregb

    The best are often overlooked

  • Seahawk84

    really good article. I would have never known. I am a proud owner of a Seahawk #7 Kitna jersey. It may just have to make an appearance soon.

  • Gordon

    What a great article!  What I remember about Kitna was he was always a good gentleman as well as a quarterback.  He seemed to make the most out of what gifts he was given, and will be able to walk away from the game with his head held high.  I’m sure his family is proud of him, as well as all the State of Washington football fans should be for him.  All the very best to you and your future Jon Kitna!

  • Seattlehawk94

    Wrong on a point…A Port Angeles born Pullman raised QB product threw for more yards than Kitna, Bledsoe, and Chandler…Nane: John Elway..

  • dingle

    Nice article, although I think that ranking Warren Moon above Kurt Warner is an error.

  • Herb Huseland

    After several years in denial, I have finally concluded that the Japanese owners of this franicise have no intention of going for it all. Boeing, Microsoft, where are you when your town needs you.

  • Sultanturk86

    Thankyou for this story it really shows how once in a great while that how the little guy from a small school can do great things.That is for all the guys who play there heart out each week and never have a chance for the NFL.

  • Ji1di1

    DJ-The new Michigan DC changed their defense, vastly improved it in 1 year. 1year!!!
    Reagan took an economy much worse off than now and turned it around in 3 years.
    Your expectations are sorely lacking.
    Holt had to go, absolutley no one could defend his results. Just like no one can, with any  intellectual honesty, defend Obama.

  • Art Thiel

    Thanks, Dan. Exactly my point — as a culture, we blame current leadership for failings that have been years in the making, whose roots are not with the politicians, but with us, whether we are sports fans and media, consumers, voters or citizens. If you believe in the quick fix, you are part of the problem. An appreciation of history, nuance and subtlety is not in great abundance.

  • Fred Rutherford

    You’re wrong. The economy Reagan inherited was nowhere near as bad as the mess W left for Obama. Stop watching Fox News. They are lying to you.

     But this isn’t a political discussion so I’ll leave it at that.

  • Art Thiel

    Every program’s circumstance is different. Who can say for sure that Holt wouldn’t have a respectable defense next year with the growth in the Sarkisian-era recruits?
    t

  • Dustin

    Fred,

    Any economist will tell you the economy Reagan inherited was worse than Obama’s. Have you seen 17% inflation anytime in the last three years? Socio-economic debates aside: the Nick Holt years produced WORSE defenses than the Willingham years, which is amazing bc Ty Willingham virtually gave up during his last couple years.

  • Art Thiel

    Thanks. There’s always more to an epic fail like this, and we haven’t heard the last, either.

  • Art Thiel

    Holt looked pretty good a year ago holding the Nebs to 7 pts, yes?

  • Art Thiel

    I knew we’d drift into politics. But y’know, sports is a pure and immediate reflection of every issue in society. To make the leap is not difficult at all.

  • Ji1di1

    Not a big leap at all, you are right on Art.
    Keep up the good work, we appreciate it.