Jimmy Lake is obligated to hold a Monday morning briefing following each University of Washington football game, and in three of these five sessions he's had to explain away a loss.
The second-year coach, depending on his mood, does this with or without notes present. It's no easy task. It's the ultimate test of self-control, having to replay mistakes when you're ready to move on.
Like all coaches in his position, Lake tries to accentuate the positive whenever he can yet will shorten his answers to something curt whenever an inquisition steers down a negative path. He just can't have anything counterproductive coming through the door of his football program.
The tone of these weekly exchanges is always tactful and even-keel with no one in the audience turning overly accusatory over a decision-making misstep nor apologetic on the coach's behalf.
Media members are just looking for explanations they can share with the fan base, which often times already has its mind made up about the state of program affairs and doesn't want to hear them.
Taking all of this into account, I basically asked Lake that, with all of the experienced players on hand and the due diligence to film study and other laborious preparation for this season, had his world been turned upside down in any manner by having more losses than victories at this stage of the season?
"No, it hasn't," Lake maintained, his brow furrowing as he made eye contact. "No, we know we have things to clean up. We know if we could have operated a little better, in all three phases, those games could have have gone the other way very, very quickly."
In order, he explained away the 13-7 season-opening upset loss to Montana, the 31-10 road bashing by Michigan and this past weekend's 27-24 last-second setback to Oregon State in Corvallis.
"[We were] one drive away from the first one, from game one, of getting that one," Lake rattled off. "We're one drive away from last week of getting that one done. I think there's only one game so far that we didn't play well in all three phases, and the game was in doubt into the fourth quarter.
"So to answer, your question, no."
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