"Play-calling" has been a buzz word, not only this week, but ever since the Huskies limped off a wet field at Notre Dame Stadium in the first week of October with a 37-30 overtime loss.
Coach Steve Sarkisian took some heat for his approach in the game, going for it on fourth-and-goal on a Jake Locker run. And since then, Husky Nation has had him under a bit of a microscope, fairly criticizing some of his play calls from games against Arizona State, Oregon and UCLA in crucial situations.
Has it gotten to the point where we start asking, "Should Sarkisian be the offensive play-caller AND the coach at the same time?"
Of course, when asked Monday at the Pacific-10 Conference coaches teleconference with reporters, his response was an adamant "Yes!"
"All in all, I think it's gone extremely well," Sarkisian said.
Here is a little bit of a roll call on the other Pac-10 coaches, who were all once coordinators, and the evolution of how their personnel controls the game plan:
• ARIZONA: Coach Mike Stoops called the defensive plays in his first couple seasons, and now has surrendered that duty to his younger brother, Mark, who is the defensive coordinator.
Why do I bring attention to this? A common thread runs through the Pac-10 – and I would assume, in most BCS conferences – that when a coordinator takes over his own program, early on, he calls all the shots. Only Wulff is the exception among his league peers.
Sarkisian should be no exception, and should be given a pretty long leash in his first season or two.
I guess what I'm saying, it's more than play-calling. It's laying the foundation for a program. Schooled in a very strict way, by a man who has been extremely successful, Sarkisian thinks he has a handle on how to handle all the chores of being the head honcho of the program.
"It's not pulling me away from my football preparation," Sarkisian said.
And considering who the former coach was – a man who not only didn't embrace the public spotlight, he despised it – isn't it important for Sarkisian, good and bad, to quickly become the new face of the UW program? Shouldn't he be fully praised – and accepted – as doing all the stuff Tyrone Willingham was reluctant to do?
I'm not here to opine whether or not Sarkisian is a good or bad play-caller. What I do think is the sample size at the UW is small. What I will say is that I think in the early stages, if he wants to be the boss in every capacity with the program, the university is paying him $1.8 million to make that decision.
From what the other Pac-10 coaches discussed today, once the groundwork was laid out, once the ball was rolling, that was when they were more willing to examine their "head coach role" in a clearer frame of mind, but also at a better time in their tenure. They were willing to give up something in order to shift their attention in other areas of the program.
Maybe someday, the 35-year-old Sarkisian will reach that point, too – if he wants.
Some quick hit stuff from practice Tuesday: