How much is Nick Holt to blame for UW’s defensive struggles?
By Michael Simeona, MyNorthwest.com intern
Saturday’s 41-0 drubbing at the hands of the 13th-ranked Stanford Cardinal has the Washington Huskies scrambling to find the optimism so evident at the beginning of the season.
Mike Salk and Ray Roberts examined the many issues surrounding UW’s defense on Monday’s Brock and Salk show, as the Huskies search for three wins in their last four games in order to become bowl eligible.
UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt became the highest paid assistant in school history after signing a three year, $2.1 million contract in 2009. Now, eight games into his second season at UW, Holt is responsible for the 100th-ranked defense in the nation, giving up an average of 427.8 yards per game.
In Saturday’s blowout loss to Stanford, Washington gave up 470 yards of total offense, allowing the Cardinal to score on five of its first six possessions. It was the Huskies’ third loss this season in which they’ve allowed more than 40 points.
“Nick Holt was given more money to come here and be the defensive coordinator, because they expect him to get this defense on track, and they are not getting better,” Salk said Monday. “That has to be the reason he is in the crosshairs today for a lot of Huskies fans.”
Holt joined the Huskies after spending three seasons as defensive coordinator of the USC Trojans, where they won three consecutive Rose Bowls from 2006-2008. Roberts thinks continuity is crucial in establishing an identity for a football program, considering fluctuations within the coaching staff can create more problems:
“This is only their second year. And to be able to recruit the type of players that you want and have the type of players that you want, I think it obviously takes more than a couple years to do that.
“To his (Holt’s) defense, I think if you get into the situation where every couple years you are kind of rotating coaches, whether it be assistant coaches or head coaches, that doesn’t do the program well.
“If you really truly think you have the right guy, then you have to give them time.”
Just as Pete Carroll has done with the Seahawks, Roberts believes it’s important for a program to get the players that fit their system the best:
“If there is a defensive philosophy with Nick Holt, maybe some of these guys, especially up front, just don’t fit what he’s trying to do. I think you have to give Nick Holt a little bit of time to find guys that fit his system, but he still should be able to put a product on the field that is a little bit more competitive than what it is.”