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Thursday, October 16, 2008
Pac-10 midseason report: Washington

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

What can you say about a winless team that almost certainly will fire its head coach by season's end, at the latest?

The fan base, split over coach Tyrone Willingham following the 2007 season, is now almost entirely unified behind his ouster. The Huskies have been terrible on both sides of the ball, but the defense has been particularly awful, ranking 118th in the nation in total defense (495.4 yards per game) and 116th in scoring (42 points per game).

The schedule has been brutal -- Oklahoma and BYU offering a pair of top-10 nonconference foes -- and losing quarterback Jake Locker likely for the season to a thumb injury seemed to quash any reasonable hope for a surge once the competition eased.

A 34-point loss at Arizona suggested that the gas may be out of the tank, and the Huskies and Willingham are just playing out the string.

Offensive MVP: Locker hasn't been terribly good this year, but that's largely a function of his green and mediocre supporting cast due to poor recent recruiting. Before getting injured while throwing a block against Stanford, he had rushed for 180 yards and three touchdowns and passed for 512 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.

Defensive MVP: It's hard to pick an MVP on one of the nation's worst defenses, but defensive lineman Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, a three-year starter, has been more a part of a potential solution than the problem. He's fourth on the team with 27 tackles and leads the Huskies with 4.5 tackles for loss. He also has the defense's only three sacks of the season.

What's next: What's next is probably a lot of losses and then an Apple Cup against equally beleaguered Washington State in a game that will be a national punchline.

Then there will be a search for a new coach, with the fan base hoping for a big name home run, such as Missouri's Gary Pinkel or California's Jeff Tedford, which won't happen.