Washington Huskies football: Grading Steve Sarkisian and company

Stephen Lam

How have the coaches fared so far this season for the Huskies? We chat with Jack Follman and Chris Landon of UW Dawg Pound to learn more.

Midterm time: Grade your coaches! How are the assistant and position coaches all performing based on your level of expectation coming into the season?

Chris Landon, UW Dawg Pound:

Head Coach: B

Steve Sarkisian gets very high marks from me for having the courage to overhaul his offensive philosophy and to flow with the times. Many coaches can't get past their own ego when it comes to the playbook. To make such a course correction in the offseason tells you all that you need to know about his executive management skills and his professional humility. It also seems clear that Sark has done a nice job building cohesion amongst his players, all of whom speak in a unified manner about their strong belief in the quality of their team. The inability for Sark to get his team a 'W' over one of Stanford or Oregon is the big ding on his report card.

Offensive Staff: B-

The addition of Marques Tuiasosopo as the QB coach seems to have had the desired impact on Keith Price and the shifting of Eric Kiesau to OC / WR coach also seems to have sparked some production out of that crew. The emergence of Jaydon Mickens is a great example. It has been frustrating to see the offensive line still struggle in pass protection and one has to wonder if Coach Coz is getting through. In addition, the inability of the staff to find more ways to exploit Austin Seferian-Jenkins warrants a demerit.

Defensive Staff: B+

Justin Wilcox is the ring leader, but there is a crew of defensive coaches all coaching above their paygrades so far this year. Keith Heyward, the secondary coach recruited from Oregon State a year ago, has been absolutely brilliant in prepping his players to replace first round NFL pick Desmond Trufant. Peter Sirmon has the linebacking crew fully prepared to defend against the myriad of offenses that they see over the course of the year. Tosh Lupoi has also shown that even with less than ideal pieces, he can motivate his defensive linemen to stick their noses in their lanes and fight off more accomplished offensive linemen. Sark really couldn't ask any more of the defensive coaching staff than what he has gotten. The only thing holding these guys from getting an "A" was their inability to come up with a plan to at least dare the Ducks to make some mistakes last week. The "bend but don't break" strategy can work when deployed against teams that don't always execute well, but it is a poor strategy for a team like the Ducks.

Special Teams Coaching: D
While there is only a single name associated with the unit, the truth is that all coaches share some of the load in preparing Special Teams. This unit has been a near disaster for the Huskies the last two weeks. While it may be the case that they are limited with their kicker options, the performance across the rest of the Special Teams is not generating plus plays, even when the starters are in there. That is on the coaches.

Jack Follman, Pacific Takes

Eric Kiseau (WR) - C+: The receivers have improved their blocking but still drop a fair amount of passes, don't seem to kill anyone with their routes.

Dan Cozetto (OL) - B-: This might be the best a Cozetto-led unit has ever performed at Washington, but that isn't saying a ton.

Keith Hayward (DB) - B: He has really helped Peters and Parker improve but his unit got destroyed by Oregon.

Tosh Lupoi (DL) - B-: Solid in run defense but the struggle to find a pass-rusher really limits the defense.

Johnny Nansen (ST) - D: This unit performs horribly for how much speed and experience the Huskies have on their roster now.

Jordan Paopao (TE) - D: Seferian-Jenkins has been invisible for a lot of the season and there looks to be no one else at the position with the vanishing of Michael Hartvigson and moving of Evan Hudson to defense.

Peter Sirmon (LB) - A-: Every linebacker seems to be really improved from 2012.

Marques Tuiasosopo (QB) - A-: Keith Price seems to be really improved in the little things as a quarterback and much more comfortable.

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