More on the Arizona benchmark
Richard Linde, 19 January 2009
In my last
the subject, I concluded that Mike Stoops' record of achievement at
Arizona, as far as Pac-10 coaching records are concerned, could well serve as a
benchmark for tracking Steve Sarkisian's progress at Washington.
Stoops took over a moribund program in 2004 and
transformed it into a winner in five years' time.
Likewise Sark is taking over a dying program at UW, one that is on the
verge of collapse. The records of the two teams in the year prior to
both coaches' takeover seasons are prophetically alike (see Table 1).
Table 1. Starting numbers before takeover seasons are similar
|Sark/Stoops' starting numbers
||UW -- 2008
||UA -- 2003
|Pass Defense Efficiency
|Last bowl appearance
Stoops took over a 2-10 team and Sark
is taking over a 0-12 team -- which easily could have been 2-10 with a
little luck (count wins over BYU and WSU here). Also, Washington might
have beaten Stanford if wunderkind Jake Locker hadn't been injured
midway through the second quarter, in this the fourth game of the season.
Over the last 11 years,
Washington is 6-5 against Arizona.
Stoops' 2005 and 2006 recruiting classes, which were ranked 15th and 19th in the
nation by scout.com, undoubtedly were factors leading to Arizona's winning
season of 2008. See Table 2. (*)
Table 2. Arizona's numbers during Stoops' tenure.
Note the last five Arizona recruiting classes are compared with
Washington's. (Figures from scout.com).
|UW Rec. Class
Count Sonny Dykes as a factor, also. Dykes
assumed the offensive coordinator's role at Arizona in 2007, and added
130 yards to the Wildcats' offensive output that season.
Willie Tuitama, who was part of Arizona's 2005 class, finished second in the
Pac-10 this season in pass efficiency, posting an impressive 144.9.
Dykes was Tuitama's quarterback coach.
As far as the benchmark is
concerned, can Sarkisian win three games this upcoming season
to match Stoops' three wins in 2004? Based on a look at the
I'm guessing the Dawgs should be favored to beat Idaho and Washington
State a priori (fancy expression for "right off the bat," which during the
saying of you stroke
your chin or goatee at the same time -- and act like a guru). And, ironically, I
think the Huskies should beat Arizona at Husky Stadium.
Tuitama has spent his last season at Arizona, and
Jake Locker returns for his junior season at Washington. Washington
returns 8 on offense and 9 on defense, while Arizona returns 6 and
7, respectively. Arizona's last two recruiting classes compared with
Washington's last two classes were inferior to the Huskies': 42 versus 29 and 39 versus
Is a fourth win possible in the
2009 season? If so, it would be a signature win for Sarkisian and propel
him past the Stoops' benchmark, with a winning season possible in 2010,
Jake's last year at UW. And then, maybe, we're comparing Sarkisian's
progress with Jeff Tedford's at Cal.
The point of all of this is to
be patient and not harbor any unrealistic expectations for Sarkisian. A
nuclear bomb has gone off, and the fallout is lethal.
Amidst the devastation, I'm giving Sark five to pull
the Dawgs out of their nosedive.
Nick Daschel of Buster Sports thinks Sarkisian can
spirit the Huskies into being a winner within three years. (Link).
See my comment posted at the bottom of the page following his article.
(*) See my article on the subject of recruiting