And just like that, the Huskies have opened Fall Camp. The Chris Petersen Era has arrived, and so have high expectations given his proven pedigree. Petersen led Boise State to a 92-12 record over his 8 seasons coaching the Broncos. Boise State finished half those seasons ranked in the AP top 10. He won two BCS Bowl games (R.I.P.). He’s considered the second best head coach in college football according to NFL.com. And most importantly, he has never lost to Oregon.
As impressive as Petersen’s resume is, Husky fans shouldn’t expect national prominence right from beginning. The new “Leader of the Dawg Pack” faces many uphill battles in his first season at Washington.
Replacing Keith Price – As Sam pointed out almost two weeks ago, Petersen faces the challenge of replacing one of the greatest quarterbacks in Husky history. Price finished his senior year at Washington as the leader in career completion percentage, career passing efficiency, and career touchdown passes. He holds those records over some of the greatest players in UW history: Warren Moon, Sonny Sixkiller, Billy Joe Hobert, Mark Brunell, Marques Tuiasosopo, Jake Locker, and many other great Husky quarterbacks. And this doesn’t even get into how much of a leader and how well-respected Price was in the locker room. So, yes, Keith Price is going to be extremely difficult to replace. It’s up to Cyler Miles, Jeff Lindquist, and Troy Williams to fill his enormous shoes.
Replacing Bishop Sankey – Oh yeah, Bishop Sankey was pretty good too and now he’s gone. Sankey left Washington a year early, but that didn’t stop him from being the career leader in rushing touchdowns (and tied for total touchdowns) at UW. That’s more than Napoleon Kaufman. More than Chris Polk. More than Greg Lewis. Had he returned, he would have had a major shot at breaking Kaufman’s Husky all-time career rushing yards record (he finished third in basically two seasons). His 2013 season was arguably the greatest in Husky history (Corey Dillon was pretty good in 1996). Chris Petersen will likely have to (try to) replace Sankey with a running back-by-committee approach featuring Jessie Callier, Deontae Cooper, Dwayne Washington, and Lavon Coleman. Or possibly…Shaq Thompson?
Chris Petersen has never coached in a major conference – Oh yeah, and then there’s this bit. As prominent as Boise State was under Petersen, the Mountain West isn’t considered an elite conference. That’s not to say Coach Pete hasn’t beaten the best, because he certainly has. The new UW coach won against Oklahoma, Oregon (twice lol), a No. 3 TCU squad, Virginia Tech, and Georgia during his time in Boise. However, he has never endured the grueling, season-long schedule that is Pac-12 football. Can he win in this conference? Will he lead Washington back to being title contenders? These are the questions that will be answered over the course of this season and in future years.
There is no doubt in my mind that Chris Petersen is an upgrade over Steve Sarkisian. Give Sark credit (even though he’s a snake). He made UW a respectable program. But Petersen is the one who will take a respectable program to the next level. I love what he preaches. His disciplined approach of helping boys grow into men through football has gotten him to the top before. Will it happen this season? The odds are against him, but you never know. More likely, Petersen’s system will take at least a couple years to truly show its effects. The potential to be great is there, and I’m as excited as anyone to see this era of Husky football begin.
Today is the beginning of an era. An era that will put Washington back on the map as a national powerhouse. The journey begins…NOW.
HOW CAN YOU NOT BE PUMPED UP???
OMG FOOTBALL IS BACK!!!