- September 12, 2021
- Comments: 0
- Posted by: admin
Jimmy Lake not only suffered an inexplicable college football defeat on Saturday night, he had something else taken from him.
The University of Washington football coach lost some credibility with his fan base.
Maybe his players.
Lake lost 13-7 to Montana, to an FCS school, to the type of underdog that typically never comes closer than three touchdowns to a ranked Power 5 team.
Through a month of spring practices and another month of fall camp, the second-year coach talked about how tough and together his players were, how they couldn’t wait to hit someone else.
The Huskies didn’t check any of those boxes last weekend.
They got off their busses acting like Hollywood stars, according to one former UW player who witnessed the moment and said Don James never would have permitted such an attitude display.
They took part in their new team-building Dawg Walk pre-kickoff and then proceeded to go in different directions.
Lake’s team looked poorly coached, running an offense that didn’t work, and his guys didn’t fly around and hit people with any authority.
That was as bewildering as the outcome.
Lake said he wasn’t shocked by the loss.
Well, everyone else was.
To be clear, this was the kind of game that can scuttle a coaching career. It easily could ruin the season. It could keep more recruits away following a pair of low-ranked classes.
If Lake thinks this is just another loss to deal with, he’s fooling himself.
This sort of setback happened to Michigan 14 years ago, sent it reeling in front of a home crowd of 109,000-plus and the Wolverines as a program still haven’t fully recovered from it.
A 34-32 stunner to Appalachian State from tiny Boone, North Carolina, to open the 2007 season effectively transformed the Big Ten team from staunch powerhouse to perennial also-ran status.
Prior to the upset, Michigan advanced to the Rose Bowl in three of the previous four seasons. The Maize and Blue hasn’t been back to Pasadena since. In fact, the Wolverines have played in just a pair of New Year’s Day games in a decade and a half, the 2011 Sugar Bowl and 2016 Orange Bowl, in the aftermath.
They’ve had to deal with four losing seasons, three unpopular coaches and repeated calls for Jim Harbaugh’s head.
While one game shouldn’t dictate a coach’s future, the loss to Montana puts Lake in a most vulnerable position.
He needs to regroup and show everyone that Saturday’s train wreck was an anomaly, not a habit.
For starters, Lake needs to quit coddling his players.
He hides injuries and greatly limits interviews, demonstrating continual coaching paranoia.
Linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio was the only player who spoke to the media following the Montana loss.
That was bad form and hardly courageous.
Former UW coaches, players and school officials have said as much about the general approach.
Lake needs to own up to being poorly prepared for Montana rather than insisting that he wouldn’t know how to explain it until watching the video.
The Huskies got beat by an inferior opponent that cared more.
They need to hit someone.
This game was like Montana losing to Carroll College.
Stuff that should never happen.
But on Saturday it did.
Most of all, Lake needs to avoid beginning a once promising season 0-2 and beat Michigan rather than become another version of it.
This article first appeared on FanNation Husky Maven and was syndicated with permission.
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