Because this is the worst sports time of the year in my opinion and fall camp is just days away, thought it would be the perfect time to do a The Good, The Bad & The Unknown for one of the most-interesting Husky off-seasons in a while. With the Petersen hiring pretty much already analyzed to death, this will only focus on what happened since the Fight Hunger Bowl.
Chris Petersen settles in - Obviously we don't know how his team is going to perform yet on the field, but (at least in my opinion), Petersen has seemed to settle in and feel like a natural fit right away. He has only been the coach for a handful of months, but it kind of already feels like he has been here for years. Petersen's immediate transition with the team also seemed supremely smooth on the surface. My biggest evidence for this is the lack of transfers thus far. In this era of college football, it seems like a coaching change immediately prompts a glut of transfers, but they have been minimal since Petersen took over with the only major one, Demore'ea Stringfellow, being due to things outside of his control. Also, bringing back Andrew Hudson and DiAndre Campbell were moves that I think were positive for everyone.
Minimal spring injuries - It seems that nary a spring football session goes by for any team that an integral piece of the team doesn't suffer a serious injury, but it looks like the Huskies pulled one off in 2014. This one is a pretty simple "good," but it is still a huge "good."
Closing local recruiting strong - Much had been made about a rumored disconnect between Steve Sarkisian and his staff with local recruits, so it was an excellent sign and step in the right direction when Petersen miraculously pulled Budda Baker from the evil clutches of Oregon and kept Kaleb McGary at home even though he seemed more like an Oregon State/Washington State kind of guy. Overall, Petersen's first class was probably average (though great in comparison to Sarkisian and Willingham's first classes), but doing a good job within the state allowed the process to end on a positive note.
Kikaha, Peters and Shelton stay - None of these guys were likely first round candidates in 2014, but each would have been drafted had they declared and players of that nature are prone to go ahead and declare when there is a coaching change, but each remained. Getting these three back is the difference between the Huskies looking like a team that could finish near the bottom of the conference into a pre-season Top 25 team.
Sankey and Seferian-Jenkins go in the second round - Sure, everyone would have loved if Sankey and Seferian-Jenkins returned for their seniors seasons, but realistically, they made the right decisions and it was great to see both of them go in a place that was about as good as possible after all of the scouting was said and done. Getting back to the days when the Huskies regularly have players drafted in marquee rounds is a major positive for the program.
The Miles/Stringfellow debacle - I don't even know where to start with this thing... two integral players for 2014, including the projected starting quarterback for the next three seasons, get into a dust up(s) with Seahawk fans after the Super Bowl? Basically, no matter what happened, it was a horrible situation and resulted in the Huskies losing their projected starter at quarterback for spring and the opening game and their most-promising receiver. Regardless of how Miles is able to bounce back from the incident, it will probably not be forgotten and there is a good chance that we are all going to be enraged when Stringfellow ends up being an All-SEC receiver at Mississippi.
Starting QB/RB opportunities not taken advantage of - With Miles on the shelf and Sankey off to the NFL the starting quarterback and running back spots were wide open for someone to step up in spring, impress and grab hold of, but no one did anything close to that. At quarterback, many had speculated that Troy Williams was actually the quarterback of the future as opposed to Miles, but he didn't come close to grabbing hold of the starting spot with Miles on the shelf and Jeff Lindquist did about the same.
At running back, many thought that Dwayne Washington had all of the tools to be Sankey's heir apparent, but he didn't distinguish himself in spring and it looked like feel-good story Deontae Cooper may have come out of spring as the top running back.
Sankey and Seferian-Jenkins left - As I said earlier, everyone should and pretty much does support them going onto the NFL, but it still doesn't mean that losing both of them isn't a bad thing. The Huskies are spoiled from getting Jake Locker and Chris Polk to return when they probably shouldn't have, but when you look down at Oregon who got Marcus Mariota, Hroniss Grasu and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu to all come back despite potential first round stock, you kind of wish at least one of them would have made the call to return.
Losing Tosh & Tui - This is just personal opinion, but the departure of both of these assistants hurt. Obviously the weird controversy with potential violations may have left the Huskies with no choice, but I felt like having Tosh on the staff gave the Huskies the recruiting juice they need to have a shot against college football's elite.
With Tui, obviously he is a fan favorite, but also, I think the Huskies should always have a former player who is from the state of Washington for recruiting purposes to authentically sell local recruits on the positives of staying in-state to play college football. It may have been very hard and I (kind of) understand why it sounds like he couldn't be kept, but man, I wish they would have hung onto him.
Kasen Williams - The Huskies really need Williams since they are breaking in a new quarterback, don't have a proven running back and lost Stringfellow, but his progress back from injury is questionable, but you never know how accurate rumors of that nature are. Regardless, his status is unknown heading into fall camp.
Petersen in the Pac-12 - No matter how confident you are in Petersen's ability to have success at Washington in the Pac-12, his ability to actually do so is a complete unknown until he starts doing it on the field. Personally, as much as I have confidence in him, his predecessors Dirk Koetter and Dan Hawkins' struggles at the next level aren't helping.
The offense - While I think the Husky defense has the potential to be the best since Don James was coaching at Washington, I have no effin idea what to think about the offense. I love that the offensive line returns all five starters including four seniors and could be the best since the 2000 Rose Bowl team, but I'm a little bit worried about the almost complete lack of proven skill position players adjusting to a new offense. The good news for me is that it is a lot easier to piece together a good offense than a good defense and I think the Husky defense will give them a lot of chances with the ball and keep them from having to score too much to win.
Recruiting - Recruiting is going to be a much different ball game under Petersen than it was under Sarkisian, but if that is going to be a good, bad or lateral thing won't be seen for a few years. The Huskies probably won't be in the fight for as many high-profile recruits as they were under Sarkisian, but they could have more success in the long run in Petersen's mode of getting guys that fit their system, but only time will tell.