Husky Trails: The Washington Husky Offense Is Making Strides

Ian PetersonCorrespondent ISeptember 15, 2009

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 05:  Running back Chris Polk #1 of the Washington Huskies rushes against the LSU Tigers on September 5, 2009 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Tigers defeated the Huskies 31-23. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Anyone looking back on the last year of Washington Husky football will tell you that the offense was hopelessly inept at times.

Once Tyrone Willingham was fired, the majority of the candidates for his replacement were offensive minds, and the hiring of Steve Sarkisian shows where the school wants to put its eggs.

So far, in the extremely limited sampling you can get from only two games, the hiring has paid dividends.

The recent statistical rankings, released by the NCAA, place the Huskies 36th in the nation in total offense. They have averaged 436 yards per game, which is much higher than the 263.2 yards they averaged in all of last year.

The Huskies also lead the Pac-10 in passing offense thus far, and are 20th in the nation with 287 yards per game.

This is down to two factors, Locker's growth as a passer and the updated schemes that Sarkisian has implemented.

Tyrone Willingham put way too much emphasis on Locker's running ability, and seemed to have only a limited understanding of how to run a spread scheme.

Sarkisian has instituted the pro-style offense, which is predicated on first the run and then the play-action pass.

The scheme also likes to rely on shorter passes with yards being gained after the catch. This has helped Locker significantly boost his passing percentage, and helped the Huskies move the ball much more effectively.

The Huskies have been able to convert two-thirds of their third downs, at 22-of-33, and have converted both of their fourth downs.

There was some wasted yardage during the LSU game, where they only got field goals. However, they scored touchdowns on their first five drives against Idaho.

The real test is coming this weekend, against USC. The Trojans run the same scheme as the Huskies because of Sarkisian's connection to the Trojans.

The Trojan defense will know what the Huskies will be like on offense, that can be guaranteed.

Let's see of Sarkisian learned enough at USC to pick apart the Trojan defense.