By Scott M. Johnson Herald Writer
SEATTLE — While Husky Nation has spent all week looking for someone to blame after Washington lost to Arizona State on a 50-yard touchdown pass in the waning seconds last Saturday, the Huskies themselves had a scapegoat from the moment the game ended.
Linebacker Donald Butler said Wednesday that defensive coordinator Nick Holt walked into the post-game locker room and told the players: “Blame me.”
Butler wasn’t so quick to point the finger at his coach Wednesday night.
“Realistically, (the coaches) call the plays,” Butler said, “but on the field, the players have to take care of business.”
On Wednesday, which was the first day Holt addressed the media since the loss, the defensive coordinator said he has continued to second-guess the Cover-3 defense he called on that play. With the Huskies trying to defend both the intermediate routes and deep ball, ASU receiver Chris McGaha ran unchecked down the seam of UW’s defense and caught a 50-yard touchdown pass with five seconds left.
“That defense has won a lot of battles for us, but obviously hindsight is 20-20,” Holt said Wednesday. “I wish I had that play over again. Maybe I’d do something different — a different call or just reminding our guys what they need to do.”
Neither Holt nor any of his players were willing to point fingers when asked who made the key mistake.
Free safety Nate Williams said that the play came down to “guys trying to do a little too much at the end and be Mr. Hero. … We just got caught out of position.”
Williams added that he had a talk with head coach Steve Sarkisian earlier this week, during which time the coach told him to put the play in the rearview mirror.
“He told me that that kind of stuff happens even to the greatest of the greatest players,” said Williams, who jumped a crossing route and left the secondary susceptible to the deep ball. “He told me to put it in the back of my mind because we have Oregon this week, and I need to have a good practice. I need to leave that in Arizona.”
When Williams was asked whether he made the wrong read on that play, he said: “I don’t know. That’s not really my call. … That’s what happens when you try to do too much. I’m not pointing fingers at anybody.”