Category: Washington Huskies

Steve Sarkisian

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?


Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Expect Oregon’s quarterback rotation to continue for the next two weeks

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Oregon touched the ball 15 times in its 41-24 win over Colorado on Saturday night. Jeff Lockie played seven of them, including the first. Taylor Alie played eight.

As long as Vernon Adams nurses his broken finger, this appears to be the plan for the Ducks.

“They’d both done enough good things in practice last week to merit playing,” head coach Mark Helfrich told the Oregonian. “We just felt looking at the game plan we could parcel out aspects with each.”

“Of course you want to get into a better rhythm but that’s how it goes,” Lockie said. “We’re just going to play the best we can and as long as we’re winning games, there’s no problem with me.”

Lockie completed 8-of-11 throws for 54 yards with an interception while rushing five times for 18 yards. Alie connected on 4-of-9 throws for 83 yards and a touchdown while adding 22 yards on five carries. Not quite Marcus Mariota numbers from either signal caller.

“It’ll just depend on the game plan,” Helfrich said of Alie and Lockie. “I think those guys they have differences. There are some strengths and weaknesses to different areas of their game and so we’ll think about that going forward of just how the Washington State game plan comes out.”

With Oregon playing Washington and Washington State (combined Pac-12 wins thus far: zero) before a tough closing stretch, Helfrich and company have time to alternate signal callers.

Arizona LB Scooby Wright out “several weeks” with sprained foot

Vizio Fiesta Bowl - Boise State v Arizona
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Gather your collective sighs. Yet another key player has suffered yet another key injury. This time the injury bug has bitten for the second time, as Arizona All-American linebacker Scooby Wright will miss “several weeks” with another lower-body injury.

Wright injured his lateral meniscus in Arizona’s opener against UTSA, then returned for the Wildcats’ 59-30 loss to UCLA Saturday, a game in which he looked like a player fresh off an extended injury break.

And now he’ll miss several more weeks, this time with a sprained foot.

“If it was broken, which was a concern, we could have gotten a medical redshirt if we applied for it,” Arizona head coach Rodriguez said Monday. “Jamar Allah and Anthony Lopez suffered foot sprains in camp, and they returned in a few weeks, and with the way Scooby attacks his rehab, hopefully we’ll have him back in a couple of weeks.”

Wright collected 163 tackles (first nationally), 14 sacks (third) and 29 tackles for loss (first) in 2014, a season in which he won the Nagurski, Bednarik and Lombardi awards.

Freshman Tre Tyler will place Wright in the middle of Arizona’s defense.

As far as silver linings go, Arizona’s October schedule is about as easy as it gets in the Pac-12. The Wildcats visit Stanford Saturday, host Oregon State Oct. 10, visit Colorado 17, host Washington State Oct. 24, and then visit Washington on Halloween before closing with road trips to USC and Arizona State sandwiched around a home date with Utah.