As part of this becoming the all-sports blog for are three San Gabriel Valley Newspapers, and part of our college football coverage, I will post a capsule of all Pac-12 teams for the upcoming season. We continue our trip in the Pac-12 North, and today we take a brief look at Washington
Coach: Steve Sarkisian
Years at school: 2
2010 Record: 7-6 overall (19-7 win over Nebraska in Holiday Bowl); 5-4 in conference.
2011 prediction: Third
Outlook: The Huskies have taken big strides with Sarkisian at the helm the past two years, and continued growth is expected this season. But the concept of what they do will change in 2011. A year ago, Washington’s hopes relied on the exploits of QB Jake Locker, who is now in the NFL. This year, the offensive game plan stays in the backfield, but shifts to running back Chris Polk, whose combines speed with physicality. He rushed for 1,415 yards yards and 9 TDs last season. Expect those numbers to increase as he will get a bigger work load in 2011. The question is will the Huskies’ defense be good enough to backup up a solid run game. Against most opponents, most say it is. The problems will be in trying to keep up with Stanford and Oregon in the race for the North Division title. Washington will come up short, but the Huskies should go bowling for the second year in a row.
Quotable: “The reality of it is we’re not going to be able to rely on (the) quarterback position like we were able to with Jake for (the past) two years,” Sarkisian said. “It’s going to be more on relying on Chris, and Jesse Callier (and) running the ball, then utilizing the one-on-one matchups on the outside. I love where we’re headed. I love the fact that our community is rallying behind a football program and a style of play that they believe in and that they’ve grown up watching under Coach (Don) James, and now as we go into 2011, it’s great for the University of Washington to be part of this Pac-12 and where it’s headed.”