Step No. 1: Being competitive.
Where the Huskies landed in 2009: 5-7, and on the doorstep of a postseason bid.
Step No. 2: Winning.
Where UW coach Steve Sarkisian sees the Huskies landing in 2010: On the doorstep of a Pacific-10 Conference champion.
It's that simple. That's at least the way Sarkisian conveyed the message Thursday in his annual pre-fall camp press conference in the Founders Club at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
"Last year was kind of the appetizer," Sarkisian said. "People are excited about what is in store next."
Fall camp, which opens Sunday for the players, and Monday for the public and media with a 3 p.m. practice, is critical. He has 30 newcomers to break into the team, so efficient evaluation is crucial. The second-year coach said every one of the incoming true freshmen have a chance to earn playing time.
With the roster now a little more than half of Sarkisian's guys in his 20 months on the job, he feels he has more options with whom to work, especially creating depth.
He's annoyingly antsy.
"Been annoying my wife enough. I'm up at night, writing down notes. Assistants who are … on vacation, I'm calling them four or five times," Sarkisian said. "I was ready for ball mid-vacation."
In other UW-related news, per position group:Quarterback:
King was three-sport captain last season, and left the school with 10 varsity letters. He's big (6-foot-3, 210 pounds), and has added 20 pounds of good weight in the summer.
"After the season, I sent out 20 videos to (NCAA Division I) to Div. II programs this side of the Rocky Mountains," said Ron Clark, the Aberdeen coach. "First video I sent was to the UW, not to be a scholarship player, but just to get an opinion from Coach (Joel) Thomas. They told me he could be a walk-on."
King is a mobile athlete. He's also high-intelligence, and could "run the scout team the way a Stanford quarterback would."
Oh yeah, King's favorite quarterback? Locker.Running back:
"Looks perfect," Sarkisian said.
Group is deep with additions of super-freshmen Deontae Cooper and Jesse Callier, and a bigger, quicker Johri Fogerson.
Also, Lakes High product Willis Wilson is walking onto the team.
"Willis had offers to go to lower-level schools, but felt like he wanted to challenge himself at the highest level," Lakes coach Dave Miller said. "(Coach) Thomas said he could walk on. He's going to get in there, get in line. He knows it's an uphill battle, but he'll compete."
Fullback Austin Sylvester has developed into one of the team leaders, Sarkisian said.Receivers: Tight end:
"I love Chris Izbicki right now," Sarkisian said. "I don't know if anybody had a better offseason. … He's bigger. His weight is up 15 pounds. ... He's assumed leadership role."
Marlion Bennett is still in the mix, and intrigues the coaches. Dorson Boyce will play both tight end and fullback.Offensive line: Defensive line:
"Alameda is a new man," Sarkisian said. "He dominated the spring game, playing like a guys who is 330 pounds with his size and speed."
Controversial newcomer Josh Shirley, who still has to deal with theft charges stemming from earlier in the summer in Los Angeles and a late arrival to the UW, is slated to the team's 'Leo" position (stand up and drop back into coverage), which will enable Crichton to play some more conventional defensive end, too.
A new conference rule now allows 70 players to travel. Sarkisian said that will give the team a bigger opportunity to allow more defensive linemen to go on the road.Linebacker:
The staff would like to see Wallace get time at 'Will" linebacker, so Foster can be moved around the field.Defensive back:
Of all the newcomers, Sarkisian seems most interested in seeing how Ducre makes the transition. If he does well, it could create an interesting dynamic at the cornerback spot opposite Desmond Trufant, who is far-and-away the team's top cover man (and healthy from a nagging groin injury).
As camp opens, Trufant and Quinton Richardson are the starting tandem.
Strong safety Nate Williams is locked and loaded, and a guy who's "knowledge of the defense is superior to anybody on the team." Nate Fellner and Will Shamburger will duke it out at free safety, and don't forget Sean Parker and Taz Stevenson, a pair of true freshmen.
Free safety Justin Glenn (leg, ankle) won't be fully healthy, and will be eased into action in the coming weeks.Special teams:
Brendan Lopez is the long-snapper, and the Bruns/Mahan survivor will be the holder on kicks. … Polk and Cooper will operate as the starting kickoff returners at the outset of camp. … Aguilar is the No. 1 punt returner.