A new era starts at Washington today with Head coach Steve Sarkisian directing his first fall camp as a head coach. He has the same mandate as any first year coach and that is he has to win with somebody else's players before he gets a chance to win with his own. In this business that takes around five years and the average length of longevity you get to prove yourself in is only three years on the average.
Welcome to life on the hot seat Steve Sarkisian. You haven't coached a game yet and the expectation is that you will somehow win six games your first year and get your team bowl eligible a year ahead of schedule. Sure this is the honeymoon period and nobody out there is going to ask for your head if you only wins three or four games, however if you win at least six and go to a bowl that will earn you an extra year or two. With that extra year or two you can really get things rolling and establish a sound foundation at Washington.
Sarkisian has Jake Locker for two more years. Whenever you have Jake in the lineup it gives you a chance to win. He makes the players around him better. Sark has to take advantage of that while he is here. That is a big reason I am going out on a limb and predicting at least six wins this season. I see no reason why the turnaround has to wait for 2010 when their is a season of football still to be played with Locker at QB. Why shouldn't it start on the first snap against LSU?
I think Locker with the right coaching can get this team headed in the same type of direction that Marques Tuiasosopo did at the start of the decade. That is right I am talking about making a run at the big one in Pasadena in 2010 when he is a senior. Finishing in the league top three in 2010 after a better than expected 2009 is the track I see this team taking under Locker in partnership with Sarkisian.
Here are ten things that Washington needs to do in 2009 to have a break out season and qualify for a bowl game.
What does Washington need to do in 2009 to finish .500 or better?
- Jake Locker needs to stay healthy. All hopes are still on his shoulders even though Sarksian is trying to surround him with some other tools which can take the load off. If Jake stays healthy we are going to see an improved QB with incredible skills that will get better every single game.
- The offensive line needs to provide holes for the running game. The conditioning has to make a difference. We need to recruit the future talent but this staff has to win with these guys for a couple of years.
- The running backs need to take advantage of those holes. Chris Polk was tentative last season in limited play. Curtis Shaw took the year off and is getting his groove back. Demetrious Bronson had a great spring but what will he look like against a real defensive line?
- The WR's need to see the end zone. How many TD passes did we have last year? We have some speedy kids who can get behind defenses. Locker needs to get them the ball.
- The FB's and TE's need to be more involved in the offense. We have a real solid group of athetes at thes positions and we need to get defenses thinking about them.
- The DL needs quantum improvement inside. Ta'Amu needs to start taking up more tahn just space going backwards. Elisara needs to break out.
- The LB's need to stay healthy. We have a very talented group who will do well if they stay healthy.
- The DB's need to take it up a step or two. UW finally has enough experienced depth back here to get some things done. Gaisie gives UW an honest to goodness Pac 10 corner.
- Batts, Gaisie, and Mafoe need to get in school. You add Batts and Gaisie to the secondary and you really are helping yourselves. If Mafoe is in the OL rotation it will by you some time to develop Kelemete.
- We need to win the special teams game. UW needs to solve the place kicking problems or there will be a lot of sadness at the end of close games.