Husky Trails: Conditioning the Key for the 2009 Washington Huskies

Ian PetersonCorrespondent ISeptember 2, 2009

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 23:  Defensive end Nikola Dragovic #96 of the UCLA Bruins moves around the block by offensive tackle Ben Ossai #79 of the Washington Huskies on September 23, 2006 at Husky Stadium in Seattle Washington. The Huskies won 29-19. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

With the season fast approaching for the Huskies, a lot is being made of the chances the Huskies are going to have for a successful season. 

Essentially, the consensus is that the Huskies will make little to no impact on the college football landscape. No upsets on the clocks, only a few wins, and another Pac-10 cellar appearance.

However, the Huskies will be better this year, maybe not in the wins/losses column, but certainly in how competitive the team plays.

Coach Steve Sarkisian stated earlier this week that he did not expect a win against LSU, but did expect them to respect the Huskies after the game.

Bold words for a team who showed up as badly as they did last year.

If the team is going to gain any respect this year, and by conventional logic they will make a better showing of themselves, it comes down to conditioning.

Sarkisian's first priority in coming to UW was getting the conditioning program back on track. The team needed to get leaner and stamina needed to be bred back into the program.

The hiring of head strength coach Ivan Lewis was one of the most underrated assistant hires that Sarkisian made, and it is paying dividends.

The offense line has lost, all told, almost 200 pounds between all the players.

If any of you watched the debacle of the Tyrone Willingham era, you'd know that the team looked sluggish at best, and almost always faded in the fourth quarter as they wore out.

The loss of weight on the offensive line is the biggest news. Last year the line was supposed to be a strength, with experienced and huge offensive linemen.

It became apparent quickly though that no mount of experience could make up for the fact that the line was too big, and couldn't keep up with the faster defensive lines around the conference.

If the 2009 team is going to have any success, it is going to come on the back of having a leaner and more athletic team than it did in the past.

This Saturday is going to be a huge test, against a strong LSU team, but the team is hardly shying away from the challenge. They are enthusiastic to start playing and to put everything that Sark has taught them on the field.

It's going to be an exciting season, there is no doubt.