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Is Sark feeling the heat?
Rich Linde, 22 September, 2012

Well-known for its pro-WSU bias and double standards in covering UW and WSU sports -- see Edward R. Murrow for starters, then extrapolate -- the Seattle Times could be gearing up for October 20th. Note that date on your calendars, Dawg fans.

According to the smart money, the Dawgs (2-1) could easily be 4 for 14 after playing Arizona in Tucson on October the 20th; that is, having won just 4 of their last 14 games dating back to the last 7 games played in 2011 when they won just two of them.

Starting with number 9 ranked Stanford next Thursday, the Huskies then play Oregon (3), USC (13) and Arizona (23), all of them currently ranked.

Expect, then, a flurry of Times' criticism, mixed with frothy howls from rabid fans, heaped on head coach Steve Sarkisian and his program for its 4 for 14 debacle (2-5 on the 2012 season and 2-5 the last 7 games of 2011).

Coach Sark (21-20) has been on a mission over the last three plus years, rebuilding the Huskies from their 0-12 season in 2008. But some fans have become impatient, and being 4 for 14 in October won't play well with them. In order to dodge the barbs thrown by restive fans and Times, Sark needs to win at least one of the next four games.

Running Game:

In other words, UW will need to run the ball and stop the run in one of those games, something the Dawgs have been unable to do against ranked teams lately.

Table 1. Last year's rush defense against top-25 teams bodes ominously for the Dawgs in 2012. Emboldened rows are from this year's defense.



UW Rushing Defense





L 38-56




L 21-65




L 17-34




L 17-40




L 56-67




L 3-41

Media Criticism:

Criticizing a Washington coach while praising a WSU coach is one path the Times might take if UW loses the next four games. It has happened before. (*)

Warming up for this event on the 20th -- whatever it may be -- the Times editorial board recently wrote, "This is the behavior of a fiefdom," in response to the new UW policy on reporting injuries.

Editorial: UW Football should remember it's a public institution

Local columnist Art Thiel, seemingly carrying the Times' water, wrote recently, "For sure, there was a moment: A coach ahead 45-0 calling a team meeting on the sidelines before going in at halftime, choosing to animatedly castigate his team in front of TV, God and the rest of the cosmos.

"The needle on the absurd-o-meter landed somewhere between John Belushi in “Animal House” and Lou Piniella vs. umpire C.B. Bucknor."

Thiel: Man of secrets, Sark barks publicly at team

This was in response to Sark's unexpected sideline rant during the PSU game. Angrily slamming his visor to the turf, coach Sark did an imitation of former coach Keith Gilbertson -- at a few of the practices I witnessed, anyway -- to the dismay of his startled troops who were gathered around him. After all they were up by 45 points.

"I guess I didn't expect it," Justin Glenn said. "But that's fine. That's what coaches are supposed to do."

Having drawn a flag, Glenn had precipitated the outburst for his out-of-bounds hit on a Viking, who had run a kickoff back near the end of the half.

Is Sark feeling the heat?


See "Coach Rick Hamlet." Excerpts from Seattle Times main editorial page, Dec. 14, 2002.

"Cougar coach Mike Price is a different matter. His solid reputation and patient success naturally attracts attention. He has made Washington State University proud, and he has earned the right to seek new challenges and other coaching opportunities.

"But Price is the coach we want to stay put. His teams play hard for him and he runs a clean program."

As irony would have it five months later, with license to roam, Price shot himself in the foot at a nightclub in Pensacola, Florida (May 2003).

See "Dancing with Destiny"


Richard Linde can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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