Another loss, another week spent trying to highlight the positives. In that sense, first-year coach Bob Diaco has become very good at the sunny disposition in the face of substandard football, while always keeping the long view in perspective.
Following Saturday's 41-1 loss to Memphis, Diaco explained that he saw some good things from sophomore quarterback Tim Boyle (12 of 24 for 160 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), who has struggled for much of his short career.
"I'm pleased with Tim Boyle," Diaco said. "Tim Boyle could have easily changed his demeanor and gone in the tank, and he didn't. He came back out there and he executed. And I told him, `Listen, this is going to be like Tin Cup. I'm just going to keep teeing the ball up and keep trying to hit it over the river. So get your mind right and let's go do it, because you're not coming out.' And he was like, `Yeah, let's go.' He went back in there and he executed the plays and ran the offense and threw a few nice balls."
Now 2-9, the Huskies have one game left -- a Saturday meeting with SMU -- before Diaco's first season is officially in the books. But the message remains positive -- and more importantly, realistic.
"Listen, everybody is disappointed," Diaco said. "We play these games to win the games. The preparation was good. We love these guys. I understand Husky nation, and it's got a rich, rich tradition of excellence. Right now, we have a lot of work to do. It's just a moment in time, and it's going to take some time, so everybody is going to need to have some patience -- the players, the coaches, everyone. We have a lot of work to do.
"We're going to get the work done. I'm excited about the problem. The identification process is done, and a plan of action, an action plan, a real one to address the issues, is in place and is full steam ahead. We've made so many strides in so many areas. Even fundamentally tonight, you can see, if you're looking, if you want to look at the glass a little half full -- I'm trying to and hopefully it doesn't irritate everyone at home -- we ran the ball with authority. We haven't been able to do that.
"We threw our strike passes down the field," Diaco continued. "That looked good. The defenders can block, destruct and tackle. They really weren't getting, until the very end, their runs going. We just have some young guys on the perimeter that were exposed a little bit. But they fought and they battled."
Diaco even pointed to Memphis as proof that change can take place.
"There were a lot things, a lot of areas to look to and say, `Hey, we're developing.' You can look at Memphis. Look at that model and say, `Hey, three years ago this was where this team was at. Now they're in year three, and through the adversity and through their stick-to-itiveness, and the execution of their model, they created a champion.' It's awesome, just awesome. And that's what we're going to do. There's no doubt.
"There's so many new things that the players are experiencing that are winning that I wish I could involve everyone in Husky nation and all these spectacular stories. Because that's what you need, because you're not seeing it on the scoreboard, and I feel terrible about that, I really do. And so does the team. Husky nation deserves to see it on the scoreboard. But the alumni that wore that uniform, and the alumni Huskies, that not too long ago were champions, they had 100 percent success and no attrition - nobody washed out of that program. There was all this great, bleed blue mentality. We're going to get back there. We're on our way."