Pac-10 Analysis

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Why has Washington been so unpredictable so far this season?

When the Washington football team knocked off USC in Seattle on Sept. 13, coach Steve Sarkisian's squad was praised as one of the first signs of a what could be a new Pac-10 hierarchy.

Since then, however, the Huskies' prospects in 2009 have become cloudier than, well, Seattle.

They have gone 1-2 since that remarkable upset, losing to Stanford and Notre Dame before stealing a three-point victory against Arizona last week.

In some sense, Washington has been inconsistent all season long -- so far, at least.

The Huskies (3-3, 2-1 in the Pac-10) have scored as few as 16 points in a win, over the Trojans in week three. They have scored as many as 30 in defeat, against the Fighting Irish on Oct. 3.

So, which team is Washington? Is it a legitimate contender for a conference title? Or is it a slightly improved version of the doormat it was last season?

With junior quarterback Jake Locker under center, the team has managed 237.2 passing yards per game, good for second place in the Pac-10.

It is leading the conference on crucial-down success, converting more than half of its third-down opportunities.

But the Huskies' defense needs serious work, as its opponents have amassed an average of 418 yards per game.

Aside from senior Donald Butler, who has recorded 8.5 tackles per game and two forced fumbles, their collective performance off the ball has been less than impressive.

In addition, three of their next four games are on the road, where they are winless so far this season.

For Washington to remain in the top half of the Pac-10, it'll have to do what it hasn't done since beating USC:

Play defense.

Tags: PAC-10 FOOTBALL, WASHINGTON, JAKE LOCKER, STEVE SARKISIAN


Contact Jeff Goodman at [email protected]



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