2009 Washington Huskies Football Preview
2008 Record: (0-12, 0-9)
2008 Bowl: none
Coach: Steve Sarkisian (First year at Washington, 0-0 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Doug Nussmeier
Defensive Coordinator: Nick Holt
Other Key Returnees: LB Donald Butler, RB Willie Griffin, OT Corey Habben, DE Darrion Jones, DT Senio Kelemete, QB Jake Locker, WR Alvin Logan, OT Ben Ossai, DT Alameda Ta’amu, G Ryan Tolar
Key Losses: P Jared Ballman, CB Mesphin Forrester, C Juan Garcia, TE Michael Gottlieb, K Ryan Perkins, G Jordan White-Frisbee
There is not much to get excited about after Washington suffered through a dismal 0-12 campaign. Coach Tyrone Willingham is gone and Coach Steve Sarkisian is in. Coach Sarkisian spent 2007 and 2008 as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at USC and that experience should turn the Huskies into a power once again…but it will take a while.
Washington 's Strengths:
Coach Sarkisian’s specialty fits right into Washington’s best player. Quarterback Jake Locker is a superb dual-threat quarterback who can make things happen with his arm and his feet. He might not be the next Mark Sanchez, but Locker certainly has the talent to turn things around. During the 2008 campaign, Locker missed nearly the entire season due to an injury and now he is healthy and ready to turn around what was one of the worst offensive teams in the nation. Running back Chris Polk is full of potential and the redshirt freshman could be starting from day one. There are even some decent young receivers hanging around Seattle. D’Andre Goodwin was backup quarterback Ronnie Fouch’s favorite target a year ago and sophomore Jermaine Kearse could emerge as the team’s much needed deep threat.
Washington 's Weaknesses:
Like the offense, the defense ranked near or at the bottom of every major statistical category in the Pac-10. The defense also returns a majority of their starters, but they do not get back a player like Locker. However, injured linebacker E.J. Savannah is back and he should immediately help bolster the defense. With Mason Foster also back, the linebackers could actually be pretty good. The front line has to get more pressure on the opposing quarterback since this team barely averaged more than one sack per game. That job will fall to ends Daniel Te’o-Nesheim and Darrion Jones. Amazingly the secondary did a decent job last year, led by safety Nate Williams, despite the lack of a pass rush. If the Huskies can find a way into the opposing backfield, the Huskies defense should be better.
The Bottom Line for the Huskies:
However, simply being better might not be good enough to win many games. Washington has a lot of rebuilding to do and Coach Sarkisian has a lot of work to do. The goal this year should not be a bowl game, but that is an outside possibility if Locker and Savannah can be the difference makers that everybody expects them to be. But with LSU and USC on the schedule by the middle of September, the Huskies will most likely start off slow and be chasing victories the rest of the season.
By Joel Welser
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