Husky Trails | Steve Sarkisian Shows His Leadership Chops

Ian PetersonCorrespondent IApril 10, 2009

LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 29:  Assistant coach Steve Sarkisian of the USC Trojans smiles as he walks on the field after the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on November 29, 2008 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  USC won 38-3.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)

Steve Sarkisian is bringing an interesting approach to Husky football with him to the Washington Huskies. Each practice is a named day, with a different theme to it.

Some good examples are like Wednesday practice which was "Turnover Wednesday" or on Monday it was "Competition Monday." As you would expect it was the defenses job to try and force a turnover at every opportunity while the offense had to hold onto the ball.

One of the more interesting sounding themes for practice won't come until fall, when the Huskies will be in season. "Tell the Truth Mondays" are an honest look at what went right and wrong during a game.

Sarkisian has a good coaching pedigree, with stops at USC and at the Oakland Raiders, so he knows how to coach. He can inspire leadership where he goes, and it was needed in practice on Wednesday.

Cornerback Quinton Richardson and receiver Anthony Boyles got into a scuffle which drew other players on the field into it. However, Sarkisian and the coaches stopped it quickly, with Sark calling all the players together for a quick lesson and then a sideline to sideline sprint.

In no uncertain terms, Sarkisian left an indelible message to the assembled players, that's how losers play.

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In post-practice interviews, Sarkisian had softened considerably and was much more philosophical on the point. The new practices are physical and intense, but at times frustrating because of the amount of material the players need to learn in the new offense.

Tempers flare, rivalries boil over, testosterone rules, but it was good to see the coaches try and focus the energy to stuff on the field instead of each other.

The previous staff punished fighting severely, and this staff is no different, but there is still a recognition of the energies these guys are putting in.

That is, as opposed to recognizing it as a failure on the players part.

Personally, it's good that there was a little scuffle, as long as it didn't amount to anything in the long term. It shows the players are competing, not only that, they are hungry once again.

It was hard watching the utter collapse of the Huskies last season, and it's nice to see that there is still some fire left in these guys.

In his first year as a head coach, it is important that Sarkisian set the tone early and forcefully. He has done that well, and the culture that Sarkisian is bringing to Washington will be a huge benefit in the years to come.

News and Notes

Mike Holmgren was an unexpected and high profile visitor to Huskies practice on Wednesday. His son-in-law Matt Peterson helps the Huskies coordinate recruiting and writes the blog on Coach Sark's website.

Chris Polk has sat out the last couple practices with an unspecified leg injury.

Erik Folk was affirmed as the starting kicker for the Huskies, even though he has shown spotty accuracy throughout practice.

Will Shamburger and Nate Fellner will be asked to grayshirt this season as the Huskies will be over their scholarship quota this season. Shamburger has an injury, but Fellner comes as somewhat of a surprise and a bit unfortunate for him.

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