Past the Hump
Last year the Washington Huskies couldn’t get past the 7-6 hump…again. With many UW fans calling for Steve Sarkisian’s head after a loss to Washington State in the Apple Cup and Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl, this may very well be Sark’s last year in Seattle, especially if he doesn’t produce the improvement many fans expect entering year five.
And speaking of Sarkisian’s time at UW, it’s almost hard to believe that he will be entering his fifth year with the program.
Taking over a team that was in disarray and virtually helpless after an 0-12 season, Sark has reinvigorated a program but failed to get it over the “hump of mediocrity”. Heading into year five, there are definitely a lot of expectations for a Washington team that has the talent to perhaps disrupt the Pac-12 North.
Picked to finish behind Oregon, Stanford, and Oregon State in the division, not many people know what to exactly think about UW football in 2013. Uncertainties surrounding Keith Price at quarterback and Austin Sefarian-Jenkins’ timetable for return to the program lead many to question their potential in the coming year.
Here’s what the Husky football panel at Pac-12 Media Day had to say.
Sarkisian had a positive demeanor surrounding him but was a bit more stern in past years. Reflecting an attitude of confidence and development about his program, Sark truly believes his team is ready for some big improvements in 2013.
“I think we have a great team in place, a tremendous amount of depth on our roster and one that can withstand the injuries that may occur where there is not the disparity to execute our one’s and two’s that they look similar on both sides of the ball.”
“The reality is we are a better football team,” said Sark when asked about why the Dawgs would be better in 2013. “We were a better football team last year and unfortunately the record isn’t indicative of how good that football team was. Ultimately we’re judged on our final outcome and record…In our heart of hearts we were better than 7-6, but we didn’t get it done.”
As ambiguous as the prospects are for Washington’s 2013 season, one of the big things Sark addressed yesterday was the fact that ASJ would be back with the team at training camp.
“Austin will be with us when we open training camp,” said Sark. “He’s been tremendous throughout this entire process. He’s handled himself like I knew he would. He’s a great kid who made a mistake.”
It’s good to see that Sarkisian is giving the kid a second chance, but knows that ASJ will not be allowed any more chances should he mess up again. Look for him to maintain a good relationship with the budding tight end and allow him to be integrated into the offense in due time.
Of all the players on Washington’s team, Keith Price may be the one fans are most optimistic and frustrated about. Having a down year last season, many were calling for him to be replaced, especially after the loss to Boise State.
Still named the starter by Sark, Price has been building towards a 2013 season where he wants to prove his doubters wrong.
“I’m ready,” said Price when asked about the coming season and expectation. “I have a lot to prove to myself and a lot to prove to you guys. I can’t wait. I think this is when I perform best, when people are doubting me and people don’t think I can do what I did. I believe I’m going to be better than I was 2011 season, but that’s just me.”
A confident statement by any means, it’s good to hear that Price is not getting down on himself after a tough year and looking ahead to proving all his doubters wrong.
Washington may very well be looking to contend in the Pac-12 next year. However, the ambiguity surrounding this team leads many to question just how successful they will be.
One thing is for sure, however: Steve Sarkisian’s legacy at UW will be determined by what he does in 2013. Should he get over the hump and inaugurate Husky Stadium in style, he will start on a path towards greater glory. Should he falter, this will be he last year in Seattle.