Steve Sarkisian, with his offensive play-calling prowess and excellent recruitment, has catapulted the Washington Huskies from a dreadful 0-12 season in 2008 back into national ... legitimacy, perhaps more, in 2012, but the offensive side of the football has been decidedly more effective. Because of the struggles on defense, the Huskies fired their coordinator Nick Holt and hired up and coming star Justin Wilcox to whip things into shape. If he's able to, he'll be on a fast track to a Head Coaching job, according to a couple of recent columns. First, Ted Miller of ESPN's Pac-12 Blog weighs in:
Justin Wilcox, Washington, defensive coordinator: It seems like it's just a matter of time for Wilcox, who has been a hot assistant coach for years after building an elite defense at Boise State under Chris Petersen. He is young -- 35 -- and has been around. If he transforms the rotten Huskies defense into a top-ranked unit, he'll have his pick of jobs. By the way, Brock Huard beat me to the punch on this one.
Indeed Brock did. In an ESPN Insiders' column, Huard notes, among many other things:
The challenge at Washington may be [Wilcox's] biggest to date, as the Huskies have been broken defensively, fielding units in the past five years that have ranked among the worst in the program's history. Further, the Huskies have depth issues up front and will face a brutal early-season schedule to start Wilcox's tenure: LSU and Oregon on the road, plus Stanford and USC at home, all within the first six weeks.
Wilcox is a grinder in the business. His career path from Eugene to Berkeley to Boise to Knoxville and now Seattle is as diverse as that of any 35-year-old in the game. The wide-open WAC, the offensive-friendly Pac-10 (now 12) and the physical, demanding SEC have left their imprint on the one-time All-America high school quarterback. Mack Brown looked into him a bit before hiring Diaz at Texas, and it wouldn't be surprising if success at Washington brings him a head coaching job shortly.
Let's not put the cart before the horse though. The Huskies must turn their dreadful defense, one that gave up 67 points to Robert Griffin III's Baylor in last year's Alamo Bowl, into a respectable unit, and that doesn't happen overnight. Still, Wilcox has the pedigree to do so, and Sark is counting on him coming through.