Bow Down to Sark!
Steve Sarkisian has been a godsend to the University of Washington football program. Despite his 19-19 record as head coach, the team has drastically changed it’s persona, transforming into a hungry program looking to climb the ladder of the Pac-12.
To see a before and after of the team and its success since Sarkisian’s arrival shows how much impact the rookie head coach has had on this team.
While there’s a lot of work still to be done in Montlake, Coach Sark is turning this Huskies team into a competitor in the Pac-12. This year, they need it more than ever with even more big name coaches in the conference.
To go along with Chip Kelly at Oregon, Lane Kiffin at USC, Jim Mora at UCLA, Jeff Tedford at Cal and David Shaw at Stanford, 2 big names were added to this year’s stiff competition. Rich Rodriguez took over the Arizona program while Mike Leach took over at Washington State. These 2 new coaches may have checkered pasts, but there’s one thing you can’t argue…they’re winning coaches.
I still wouldn’t take any of them over Steve Sarkisian.
Here are 5 reasons why Coach Sark is the best coach in the Pac-12.
There aren’t that many coaches nowadays who actually have much experience playing the sport they coach at a high level. Steve Sarkisian has the experience to bring to the table, being a former player himself.
As a former baseball player and star collegiate quarterback, Sark knows exactly what these kids are going through and can show them the ropes much easier than a less experienced coach.
When someone goes through the trials and tribulations themselves, it’s a lot easier to relate to the players going through the same thing.
With his experience, Coach Sark has a leg up on most of the other Pac-12 coaches.
Until he came to Washington, Sark was an assistant coach and coordinator. Taking over a program for the first time had people sketchy about his full potential coaching ability.
He maybe be .500 at Washington, but with his coaching, he has turned the program around in a big way.
While it may be true that he is an offensive guru with little defensive experience, he has found a way to coach the Huskies to several shocking upsets of larger foes. His defenses may have been less than stellar, but his offenses have kept his teams in games.
One of his biggest accomplishments that go unnoticed is the transformation of Jake Locker. When Coach Sark arrived at Washington, Locker was just another tuck and run quarterback who couldn’t throw the ball very well. After working with Sarkisian, Locker transformed his game.
He went from a run first QB to a QB who sat back in the pocket, checked his reads and delivered the football.
With Sark holding onto play calling duties, it only benefits the team he has molded into his own.
In the past, Washington recruiting has been knocked many times. Being in a conference as strong as the Pac-12 makes it especially difficult to grab top recruits. Who in their right mind would choose Washington over USC?
Well it’s slowly starting to happen and the recruiting is finally taking shape in Sark’s favor.
While he is still poked and prodded about his lack of in-state recruits, Sark is starting to more than make up for that deficiency, grabbing top recruits from all over the western United States.
This year was his prized recruiting class thus far, grabbing a 5 star standout and several four star players including Brandon Beaver, Jeff Lindquist, Cyler Miles, and Jaydon Mickens.
If losing in-state talent like Zach Banner means snagging a Five Star like Shaq Thompson, I’m all for it.
You can’t mention recruiting without mentioning the rest of the staff, because one guy can’t do it all. Sarkisian has surrounded himself with a seemingly All-Star cast of coaches this season after a big shake up in the offseason.
While at USC, Sark and ex-Husky defensive coordinator Nick Holt together dominated the then-Pac-10. Sark brought Holt to Washington and things went poorly.
It was a tough decision, but Sark took it upon himself to fire his good friend Holt in order to bring respectability to this Husky defense.
This offseason, Sarkisian went out and grabbed a handful of talent to go with his current staff.
The biggest names were ace recruiter Tosh Lupoi (D-Line, Defensive Run Game Coordinator) and Eric Kiesau (Offensive Coordinator, QB Coach) from Cal and Justin Wilcox (Defensive Coordinator) and Peter Sirmon (Linebackers Coach) from Tennessee.
Throw in Dan Cozzetto (Offensive Line, Run Game Coordinator ), Jimmie Dougherty (Pass Game Coordinator, WR Coach), and Keith Hayward (DBs Coach) and you have yourself quite a staff.
And let’s not forget Ivan Lewis, who is one of the top Strength & Conditioning coaches in all of college football.
Since his arrival at Washington, Lewis has sent several players to the NFL combine to break numerous records generally impress everyone in the room.
Steve Sarkisian’s persona may be his most valuable asset. He is a very friendly guy to both his players and everyone outside of the program. He is widely known as a player’s coach and is loved by all in Husky Nation. His laid back attitude allows him to smile while still keeping things all-business on the field.
His loyalty to Washington has been second to none. He has been wooed by numerous teams looking for a head coach, including the NFL’s St Louis Rams.
He has turned down all offers in order to stay in Seattle to lead these Huskies back to prominence.
If you’ve heard his interviews on tv or on radio, you will hear how genuine he is and how much he cares about this program and his players. He isn’t afraid to call someone out, but at the same time, will stand by his players to the very end. He doesn’t make excuses and he doesn’t throw people under the bus.
Now that Steve Sarkisian has all his pawns in place, it’s time to see how he handles the gauntlet of the new Pac-12. WOOF!