A year older, still wise and well-versed, the "Dawgfather" showed up at practice Thursday.
Don James was on campus for a fund-raising effort put on by the Huskies' marching band to help cover travel costs for the upcoming season.
Beforehand, he and his wife, Carol (whom have been married 58 years now), walked the track at Husky Stadium in the early stages of workouts, talked with a few of the older alumni and boosters and caught some of the individual drills.
"Sark doesn't know I'm here," James said.
In was a little bit different than last summer when, on Sarkisian's request, James attended practice and addressed the team afterward.
James, who splits time between residences in Kirkland and Palm Springs, Calif., said he watched the team on plenty of occasions in 2009 – Sarkisian's first year.
"I was impressed with them," James said.
James will attend next week's "Raise the Woof" banquet at the stadium. He'll leave for California in November, and plans on going to the game at Southern California.
Are defensive coordinators braced for the next step of its direct-snap, eat-you-up-in-space evolution?
The thought of it didn't exactly make UW's Nick Holt soak his shirt in sweat, but it did have him biting his lip in thought.
"I think it's thrown college football for the last two years in a whole different fashion," Holt said.
"As far as defensive coordinators and the play-calling and stuff like that, I don't know what the next evolution is. I think you're seeing a lot more option (run) off it – the triple-option or wishbone philosophy – where now you've got to cover your ass on everything.
"You can't just be in man-to-man coverage, or blitz. You have to have all your bases covered. That poses a big trouble."
By in large, the Huskies – when they saw it during Pacific-10 Conference play last season – defended the "Wildcat" well.
"I think we'll see some of it. I'm not sure how much," Holt said. "Every team probably has a little package of it."
"We’ve got enough linemen now that we can afford to not have to force a guy to keep going on something that could linger for weeks and weeks and weeks," Sarkisian said. "I want to get that ankle healthy. So if it takes us a few days, it will take a few days.”
Then he aggravated the injury – and was back to Square No. 1. He did slow jogging up the stadium stairs with a noticeable limp.
"He’s trying to fight to get back," Sarkisian said. "Realistically, those ankles take awhile. He’s trying his best, and to his credit, he’s working to get back. Ankles take awhile; that’s the nature of it – whether it’s basketball or football, whatever. Ankles take awhile. It’s going to take him a few days.”
Defensive end Everrette Thompson got into a grapple with center Drew Schaefer well past the play, and had to be separated by teammates.
Guard Ryan Tolar and defensive tackle Cameron Elisara had a little shoving, too.
Returning those punts were Aguilar and receiver Cody Bruns.