December 05, 2008

Steve Sarkisian

Interesting hire by the Washington Huskies. I guess you never really know how this hire will turn out since Sarkisian has never been a head coach, but his credentials speak for themselves.

1) Second team All-American at BYU as a quarterback under the tutelage of Norm Chow
2) Learned at the knee of Norm Chow as a qb coach at USC
3) Quarterback coach with the Oakland Raiders under Norv Turner
4) Offensive coordinator at USC at age 32

Sarkisian is only 34 years old, but he has already been in some high-profile positions that people his age usually don't land until later in their careers. Not that the Raiders are any type of standard for finding coaches, but they offered the head coach job to Sarkisian a couple years ago before they offered it to Kiffin.

Here's a pretty good article on Sarkisian. This blurb jumped out at me.

Sarkisian says he tries to incorporate the teachings of all the coaches he has worked for into his own style. They include Norv Turner and Carroll, who considers Sarkisian "a sure-bet deal" as a head coach -- because of the very thing the message-board posters rip him for regularly.

"When you hire a guy that's done what Steve's done, you know you're getting the offense," Carroll said. "You're getting all of the technology, all of the history, all of the potential. You're getting a guarantee of the system. There's a lot of proof of what that can become."

It sounds like it was only a matter of time before Sarkisian got a head coaching job. Is there a some serious risk?? Definitely, and it sounds like some USC fans aren't that sad to see him go. I expected to see Washington hire a coach with some head coaching experience, so this hire is a bit of a surprise.

What can we expect from Sarkisian at Washington?? Tough to say, but I would imagine that he will hit the ground running on the recruiting trail. As a young guy with West Coast ties, he should be able to reach into California to get some talent to the Pacific Northwest. Long term, he should be an upgrade in the recruiting department over Ty Willingham. Then again, anyone would be an upgrade over Willingham.

In the short term, Washington has had a culture of losing for a long time, so it will be interesting to see how long it takes for Sarkisian to change the culture up there in Seattle. He is going to have to deprogram them from the malaise of the Willingham era. From what I saw out of Washington this past year, they are weak everywhere. Poor line play, no speed, bad defense, bad special teams. Sarkisian will have Locker next year, but we'll see how Locker fits into the pro-style offense that Sarkisian uses.

Could Washington have lured a more proven commodity like Mike Leach?? Guess we'll never know. Leach at least has some sort of track record and a proven record of success. Sarkisian is pretty much a blank slate, but I think this hire makes sense for Washington. No head coaching experience, but Sarkisian has been around a winning program at USC and knows what it takes to play at a championship level and how you need to practice and compete to be successful. He is probably going to have to learn on the job how to be a head coach, but this move could pay off in the long run. Washington has the potential to be one of the top 2-3 programs in the Pac 10, so Sarkisian will have some resources to work with. There is something to be said for taking a chance on a young up and comer who is hungry over a more experienced guy who has had middling success somewhere else. If Sarkisian takes the right measures to be a program builder, he can be successful and rebuild the Huskies brand.

Should be interesting to see what the Huskies look like when they come to South Bend next year. I'll be honest that I would have been worried about this game if they had hired someone like Leach or Brian Kelly. Washington is somewhat of a regular opponent for Notre Dame, so I'll be curious to see how Sarkisian does there. At the very least, he might be able to steal some recruits from USC and provide a little balance to the league. Anything that weakens USC a little bit is a good thing for Notre Dame.

1 comment:

Dan said...

I am curious at to the continued linking of Mike Leach's name to several potential jobs - Washington, Auburn, etc.

Are we even sure he wants to leave Texas Tech? He has a system there that seems to work. He's not in any risk of ever being fired. I realize he is in Lubbock, and will likely never win his division, let alone conference. However, Texas is so talent rich that even as the 3rd or 4th option for most kids in the region, he can still recruit the type of talent he needs to run his system. The Big 12 is easy enough on the bottom that he can still put up a winning record every year.

I'm not sure he would be all that interested in packing up and moving to a place like Auburn where his schedule, in most years, would be much more difficult. I think he has a pretty good set up, and the fans love him down there.