What Time Does The National Championship Football Game Start Tonight College Football – Steve Sarkisian – A Real Breath of Fresh Air For Washington’s Huskies

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College Football – Steve Sarkisian – A Real Breath of Fresh Air For Washington’s Huskies

He is apparently half Armenian and half Irish, 34 years old, and the new head coach of the University of Washington football team. He meets Steve Sarkisian, young, energetic, successful, and excited about the opportunity to turn the fortunes of the Husky soccer program around.

That won’t be as difficult of a problem as Washington’s current 0-12 season record might suggest. We purposely do not mention the fired coach whom Sarkisian is replacing. Sarkisian and the University of Washington deserve a clean slate at this point. The old is better left unwritten history.

Before coming to Seattle to be announced as the new coach, Sarkisian had never been the head coach of a major college football program. Some experts consider hiring him a liability due to his inexperience as a head coach. I see his inexperience as an advantage because Sarkisian doesn’t bring with him a bunch of failed practices, tired beliefs about what worked 20 years ago and old cronies on the coaching staff.

Just winning a single game next season will make it more successful than its predecessor.

Sarkisian has been the quarterbacks coach, offensive coordinator and assistant head coach at the University of Southern California for the past 2 years. USC is a national powerhouse led by head coach Pete Carroll. So what’s the deal with USC and Pete Carroll? Just this one:

In the 7 years leading up to this season, Carroll is 76-14 (84%) at USC, the best winning percentage of any current Division 1 coach with at least 5 years of experience. Carroll won national championships in 2003 and 2004, won an unprecedented 6 straight Pac 10 titles, and appeared in an NCAA-record 6 straight BCS bowl games, won an NCAA-record at least 11 wins each season, and has been ranked in the AP Top 4 on each of those stations.

This year, the Trojans won their seventh straight Pac 10 title, and are again 11-1 going into their seventh straight BCS Rose Bowl appearance, this time against Penn State.

So what does Sarkisian have to do with Carroll’s success? He was there 7 of the last 8 years, first as the quarterbacks coach and then as the quarterbacks coach, offensive coordinator and assistant head coach the last 2 years. Sarkisian led USC’s offensive effort while helping develop Heisman Trophy winners Matt Leinart (drafted by the Arizona Cardinals) and Carson Palmer (drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals). He also helped develop John David Brody (drafted by the Minnesota Vikings).

It’s also one thing to coach quarterbacks when you haven’t been one or been very successful, and it’s another thing to do it like a great college quarterback, which Sarkisian was at Brigham Young University.

After two years at community college, Sarkisian started for BYU as a junior, passing for 3,437 yards and 20 touchdowns. Finished his freshman season going 31-of-34 passing for 399 yards and 3 touchdowns in BYU’s 45-28 win over Fresno State, setting an NCAA record for completion percentage (91%), and 2-of-3 passing incompletes were intentionally discarded. limits to avoid pass rush.

As a senior, Sarkisian threw for 4,027 yards and 33 TDs with a 173+ passing efficiency rating, best in the NCAA. BYU finished the regular season with a 13-1 record, won the Western Athletic Conference Championship, and then beat Kansas State 19-15 in the Cotton Bowl. He was selected as the WAC Offensive Player of the Year and a member of the NCAA All-American second team.

While Washington will be Steve Sarkisian’s first head coaching job, he is clearly a winner as a player and a winner as a coach at USC.

So far, Sarkisian has made 2 quality decisions: He accepted the challenge in Washington and didn’t take any of the holdover coaches from the 0-12 team he inherited. Good job Steve. Who wants or needs winless coaches?

Sarkisian’s first order of business (besides staffing and recruiting like there’s no tomorrow) will be to change the culture of the Washington program by restoring a faith-winning attitude.

Only time will tell how successful Sarkisian will be with the Washington Husky football program, but one thing is for sure: Athletic director Scott Woodward’s decision to hire him is a giant step in the right direction.

Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley

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