SEATTLE — These are not typical times for Dennis Erickson.
The 1965 graduate of Everett High School returns to his home state for Arizona State’s game against Washington, and he does so while experiencing something rare for the two-time national champion.
For Erickson, who has a 160-74-1 record as a college football coach, the Sun Devils’ current six-game losing streak is about as familiar as a snow storm in Tempe.
“Sept. 6 was the last time we won a game,” said Erickson, a three-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year honoree. “That’s a long time. I don’t remember that ever… We’ve got to find a way to win.”
Prior to this season, Erickson had just three losing seasons in 18 years at the college level. The Sun Devils now must win their last four games for Erickson to avoid a fourth.
“This is new to him,” said Washington offensive coordinator Tim Lappano, who worked under Erickson at Washington State, Oregon State, and in the NFL. “He’s never been through this at the collegiate level. We had one of these with the 49ers our second year there, but at the collegiate level, he’s never been through anything like this and I know it’s weighing on him.”
And while the Sun Devils have lost six in a row, they still figure to be a tough challenge for the 0-8 Huskies. Since losing a shocker to UNLV, ASU has lost to Georgia, California, USC, Oregon and Oregon State, all teams with winning records.
“It is not a 2-6 team,” said Oregon State coach Mike Riley, whose team escaped last weekend with a two-point win over the Sun Devils. “When you look at five of those losses, I think they were to pretty good teams… They’ve hit a rough spot, but I think they are very, very capable.”
Erickson will not only be attempting to end this season’s six-game losing streak Saturday, but also a career-long drought at Husky Stadium. For all of his success in college football, Erickson has never led a team to victory at Montlake. Erickson has an 0-4 career record at Husky Stadium. He is 0-5 in road games against USC, the only other team he hasn’t beaten on the road in four or more tries.
“It’s always nice to come into Husky Stadium since I haven’t as a coach won a game there,” he said. “I’ve had some close ones, but never have had a chance to go in there and beat the Huskies. I have a lot of great memories of Husky Stadium. As a young guy I grew up watching Hugh McElhenny and Bob Schloredt and all those guys you probably don’t remember. That was a great experience. Coaching there hasn’t been as good. Obviously it will be nice to go home. I still have family and friends and so forth. Obviously it would be nice to win one there.”
Freshmen mistakes: With so many young players on the field, the Huskies are bound to be hurt by mistakes made by inexperienced players from time to time. One very visible example of that was the play of redshirt freshman cornerback Quinton Richardson against USC.
Richardson, a product of Seattle’s O’Dea High School, was burned on both of the Trojans’ first two touchdown passes, both time by USC’s Patrick Turner. Richardson said he isn’t getting down on himself for the mistakes, and that he plans on learning from those two touchdowns.
“That’s where that whole freshman ordeal kicks in,” he said. “I gotta keep my eyes on my man. I take the blame for all of that. Those are my mistakes and I’ve got to pick it up. That’s what I plan on doing this week… That was just bad coverage on my part. I’m way better than that.”
Injury update: Linebacker Donald Butler practiced in red for the second straight day with a sore neck, but is expected back for Saturday’s game. Also in red but expected to play is defensive tackle Cameron Elisara. Elisara suffered a stinger in pregame warm ups against USC, making him the second starting tackle in as many weeks to get hurt before kickoff.
Senio Kelemete, who is recovering from knee surgery after going down prior to the Notre Dame game, won’t be back this week, but could play as soon as the Nov. 15 game against UCLA. Cornerback Mesphin Forrester, who injured his knee against Notre Dame and missed the USC game, is also likely out this week.
Herald Writer John Boyle: email@example.com. For more on UW sports, check out the Huskies blog at heraldnet.com /huskiesblog