The other day I was getting my car worked on and talking Husky Football with the mechanic. As we talked about new UW coach Chris Petersen, we both agreed the hire was a good one and that the future is bright. But then he spit out the lazy platitude that is so common among Husky fans right now: We should be grateful to former coach Steve Sarkisian for getting us to where we're competitive, but now we need Petersen to get us to the next level.
I agree with the part about Petersen but I reject the notion about Sark because Washington has so many built in advantages conducive to success. You could install virtually any coach at UW and they would go 5-4 in conference every year.
During pregame warm ups prior to the 2007 Washington-Oregon game, assistant coach Chip Kelly walked down the Husky Stadium tunnel for the first time. His Ducks were about to face Tyrone Willingham's Huskies. Kelly looked at the plaques commemorating the many bowl games the Huskies have played in. He shook his head and turned to an associate. "With all the resources this place has," he said, "how the hell can Willingham not go at least .500 every year?"
Sark had lots of resources but ran an undisciplined program full of bravado, bluster and excuses. Who could forget his ill-fated guarantees of undefeated seasons at home, boasting of playing with house money after winning six games, and blaming his quarterback Keith Price when things didn't go right on the field.
But now Husky Football sits in an enviable position with new head coach Chris Petersen. For the first time since 2003, I have high hopes for a fun season. For the first time in over a decade, we have a competent adult in charge of the program.
When Petersen was hired last December, Carol James, the wife of the late Don James, called Mrs. Petersen and congratulated her. "I think Don would be pleased by this news," Carol said later.
Last week, at Pac-12 Media Day, Petersen was asked what makes the differences between coaches that succeed and those who don't.
"We all do the same stuff," he said. "It’s got to come down to something. I'd guess it's the details."
His 92-12 career record and 2 BCS bowl victories speak to his system's success. His reference to details isn't the type of BS espoused by Sarkisian. When a modest man with a successful track record like Petersen says something, you can take it at face value.
As we've always said on this website, there are standards that Husky Football is held to by us longtime fans. Posts of anguish will populate the Hardcore Husky message boards if Sark's tradition of 7-6 seasons continue under Coach Petersen.
But until such time, peace of mind has returned to this fan. September 27th can't come soon enough.