In some ways, Nick Holt may be able to relate to Washington State head coach Paul Wulff. For the last year, we've heard the rumblings, with Wulff sitting on a perpetual hot seat while fighting for his job. And this year, we've seen the same with Holt: the fans are restless and angry, and calls for Holt to be relieved of his duty seem like a weekly occurrence.
Is the Apple Cup the end of the line for Holt? Is he coaching for his job, and does he need a strong performance by the Huskies' defense to stick around? Nobody knows for sure, despite much hemming and hawing from the fans, but it does make for an interesting Apple Cup subplot.
Over at UW Dawg Pound, kirkd offers perspective about Holt and how perceptions of coaches change over time, spurned on by an Oregon State blogger offering to trade defensive coordinators, taking Nick Holt, straight up.
I bring all this up because I think we need to remember that it's hard to judge a coach. What we think we know about a coach can change over 2-3 years. Is it because coaches stagnate? Is it because even really good coaches are not immune from tough times? Is it because most coaches are roughly average, and there are few truly outstanding coaches out there? I tend to think the latter 2 points are true, and point number 1 has some merit as well.
For the moment, Washington fans just don't know. As kirkd mentions, Holt could be sent packing and the Washington defense could improve by leaps and bounds. Or he could be sent packing and the defense could further slip into the abyss. Nobody knows.
Keep an eye on Holt's defense in the Apple Cup and how it handles a Washington State offense that comes into the game battered and bruised, with a backup quarterback whose limitations are well known. How the Huskies perform could decide what comes next for Holt.