Besides a galling defeat, the Huskles lost two starters for the season due to injuries. Coach Chris Petersen said he and others felt “a strange energy” leading into the game.
Bad as was Washington’s 13-7 loss Saturday night at Arizona State, the malady lingers on. LT Trey Adams and CB Jordan Miller are done for the season after serious injuries. Adams tore the ACL in his right knee and Miller broke his right ankle in a late-game collision with a teammate.
“It stings,” Huskies coach Chris Petersen said Monday at his weekly presser. “It’ll probably be harder in a few weeks when it all settles in, and they’re not out there any more. But they’ll be back down the road, and they will both be better players. They’ll probably appreciate this game a little more just from having to sit out.”
The Huskies, however, are unlikely to be better losing two productive starters. They were already down WR Chico McClatcher, done for the season with an ankle broken in September.
Adams may have played his last game at UW. A first-team all-conference pick last year, the 6-foot-8, 327-pound junior from Wenatchee was projected as a likely first-round draft pick.
He was replaced Saturday by fifth-year senior Andrew Kirkland of Portland, who has played all line positions except center in his UW career.
Miller, (6-1, 184), a junior from Oceanside, CA., was in his first season as a starter, and had a career-high nine tackles Saturday against the Sun Devils. The secondary was already missing another starter, freshman Byron Murphy, out with a broken foot. Junior Jomon Dotson, a former running back, may be his replacement.
The Huskies coaches get a chance to plan for newbies because of a bye this week. They return Oct. 28 with a home game against UCLA, which starts at 12:30 p.m., perhaps a small victory for Petersen, whose complaints about late-game starts blew up into a minor national controversy.
“I was really kind of happy for our fans,” he said, while taking no credit for the daytime kickoff. “I don’t think it’s that. I know they’re scheduling and doing match-ups how they like them. It’s great we’re playing in the day.”
Petersen still had a hard time explaining Washington’s first loss of the season, especially to a team whose defense was ranked 120th in NCAA defensive stats. And on top of the fact that they all knew that upsets that visited three other Top Ten teams — Washington State, Clemson and Auburn.
“You would think (the upsets) would be a good thing (for his team),” he said. “Like, ‘Pay attention to this.’ And we do talk about that stuff. You can talk ad nauseum about this stuff. There’s not much we don’t talk about or miss.
“We’re paranoid about everything. Sometimes you don’t have your fastball, and it’s painful when you don’t.”
Petersen said from the beginning, things felt odd.
“For whatever reason, there was kind of a strange energy in my opinion with our guys,” he said. “It’s not from a lack of knowing what we were going into, or anything like that. It’s that thing where these games are so emotional, and every weekend is different. Some of the guys even felt that.
“Then we get off to a really poor start offensively and don’t get anything going. Then Trey’s hurt . . . I don’t know. It was a little bit different.”
Petersen said fans don’t want to hear it, but maintaining a competitive edge each week is a difficult task.
“I think it’s really, really hard to play every game at the peak — motivation, energy, mental state,” he said. “From the outside, it’s like, ‘Huh? You only get 13 games.’
“That’s why you can try to take some of the emotion out of it. You don’t have to rely on that all the time. But it’s such an emotional game. And when you don’t have exactly what you need to have . . . It’s always a bunch of little things that add up when you don’t get it done.”