Last year head coach Steve Sarkisian took over a team in horrific shape. After the winless 2008 campaign, as long as Sark beat the Cougs, the Husky faithful would have been happy.
However, Coach Sarkisian did himself no favors by significantly exceeding those expectations. The win over USC declared, perhaps prematurely, that the Washington football program was relevant again.
Building on USC, the Dawgs won four other games and nearly won three others. They played ASU very tough and almost beat Notre Dame and UCLA.
In each case, the Huskies were just “a play away” from victory. To prove they are relevant again, can they close those games out this year?
One question is now worth considering: Did the Washington Huskies' 2009 team overachieve or underachieve?
Coach Sarkisian and his staff did an excellent job working with a set of players that had not experienced many wins in the previous couple of years. However, given how close they came in those wins, could they, should they, have done more?
This year, the Huskies are still made up largely of players that went through the 0-12 season. However, those same players also experienced last year’s rebirth.
Can one year of success counteract the previous painful experiences? Could be. With better coaching, an improved conditioning program, and a taste of victory, the 2010 Huskies have a chance to be the start of something great.
In order to make sure that the trend continues upward, the Washington Huskies must do the following three things:
The Huskies have enough talent to win several games in the Pac-10, and they need to show it.
They need to finish off every play and every game. Several of last year’s close losses could have been prevented with some finishing power. Finishing is a matter of conditioning, discipline, and desire.
Over the course of last season, the Huskies experienced being both the finisher and the finished.
Keep Their Eyes on the Prize
As the Dawgs start spring practices this week, they must keep their focus on winning the Pac-10.
They cannot settle for just being bowl-bound or improving over last year. They must set their eyes on that prize and work hard at every practice to get there.
Accept Success and Move On
Yes, the Huskies were an improved team last year. Yes, they won some big games. Yes, the fanbase is beside themselves with excitement. The Huskies must accept all of those as facts and move on.
The 2010 record is the only one that matters now.
In order to avoid any letdown in 2010, the motto for the Husky team, and the Dawg fans, needs to be: Last year is over. This season, this game, this play—is all that matters.