As we sit here just eight days away from the start of Washington Huskies practices, we're now allowed to start getting really excited about the potential of this season.
Sure, the opening of every season has high hopes, but for the Washington Huskies, just two years removed from a winless season, this year has more meaning than most. So, as you prepare for the season, and unfurl your purple and gold wardrobe, here are some things to get your blood pumping.
The Husky offense showed some good signs last year, but also some weaknesses. This year, with most of the starters returning, they should be more successful and more fun to watch. With Polk, Locker, Kearse and Aguilar, the Huskies have more than enough weapons.
Coach Sarkisian will now be able to use the pass to set up the run, or vice versa, depending on the opponent. Seeing how Sarkisian puts all of them to use will be fun to watch. In addition, some of the youngsters like Deontae Cooper or Jesse Collier will be able to provide a change of pace as well.
If Defensive Coordinator Nick Holt is to be believed, he will have the ability to be more aggressive this year, given that his players know the system. That's all well and good, but given the performance last year, it may not be aggressiveness that will help the Dawgs.
The Huskies' defense in 2010 should be exciting to watch, not just because of Holt's professed aggressiveness, but also because of the creativity they should be able to show. With several returning defenders, such as Foster and both starting corners—Trufant and Long, the Dawg defense should be fun to watch.
Jake Locker, QB— Heisman Candidate
With either a baseball or football career ahead of him, Jake decided to come back for one reason only—to lead the Huskies back to glory. En route to that glory, he needs to lay the foundation for this future success. Husky fans will love watching Jake throw great passes and use his legs to keep defenses off balance.
In his second year in Sarkisian's system, Jake will have more freedom, and it's going to be fun to see that development. How successful he is in stretching his playbook and making good decisions will have a dramatic impact on his Heisman candidacy as well. With the Pac-10 race wide open, Jake will definitely bring some excitement to the great Northwest!
Chris Polk, RB
Chris Polk has the ability to run both between the tackles and bounce outside; Chris Polk was an exciting player to watch last year. He rushed for over 100 yards in eight of 12 games, and averaged over five yards a carry in five of those. In some games, he played the workhorse smashing between the tackles. In five other games, he broke runs of over 30 yards.
This year, the Huskies have more depth at running back to help Polk out. With the bench providing more speed and change of pace, he'll be able to play harder when he's out there, and be fresher for finishing off games in the 4th quarter. In addition, any improvement and evolution in Jake Locker's development will only increase Polk's production.
The above areas are just an appetizer to get you excited for the season. Those are the known players, the known areas that we can look forward to.
However, the best part of any college football season are the unknowns: Who are the players we haven't heard of who will change a game? Which recruit will step forward for some playing time? Which game will turn on a split-second decision? Those kinds of questions are the things that excite me. Who do you think will be a breakout player?
Leave a comment below and add to the discussion!