Dawgman Staff Looks Ahead

Now that we've reviewed the 2013 season, we thought we would take a look at where things are headed and peer into the crystal ball to see what is in store for the Husky football program in 2014 and beyond...

Thoughts On Chris Petersen Hire

(Andy Poehlman - aka "YaleDawg") Probably the best hire in college football since Ohio State nabbed Urban Meyer. This is an absolute A+ hire and if Petersen can convince Sankey and ASJ to return in 2014, Washington could sniff roses for the first time in over a decade.

(Dave Samek) How can you NOT love this hire? Petersen wins, develops talent, is dedicated to his process and system, and his teams rarely defeat themselves. I'm expecting a huge uptick because of this hire.

(Chris Fetters) Washington AD Scott Woodward hit this hire out of the park. There's never a guarantee of success when you go through a coaching transition, but I think if you can substitute a career winning percentage of 52 percent for 89 percent - and make money doing it - I suspect most UW fans would take that even if the new head coach had been coaching in high school the year before. Petersen was on the wrong end of UW's 38-6 win over Boise State back at the end of August, and he saw first-hand exactly what he could do with talent and resources on hand. He brings not only a history of winning a lot, but he's also admired by NFL GM's for his ability to develop talent ready for the pros. Petersen still has plenty to prove in 2014 but I'm not sure the Huskies could have done much better on paper.

(Marshall Cherrington) I think the Huskies finally found the right guy to lead their program to the next level. Chris Petersen just isn't like other coaches. 92-12? Unheard of. Turning a mid-level program into a consistent winner at Boise State? One of the hardest things to do. Coaching on a blue field without throwing up? Probably the biggest and best thing he has accomplished thus far in his coaching career. I see Petersen retiring as a Husky with at least one National Championship ring on his hand and at least one Rose Bowl ring as well.

(Kim Grinolds) Best hire they could've made, really. He will be here for a long time.

(Scott Eklund) From the standpoint of how quickly Scott Woodward had to make this hire, I feel the process ouldn't have gone better. Petersen is a very good coach and he's well-respected nationally. The fact that UW was able to pull him away from Boise State opened some eyes. Looking at the reaction from several Pac 12 fanbases, Petersen's presence is definitely a concern for them. That being said, my one concern is on the recruiting front (something that has already been argued about ad nauseum on the boards). If he gets it done on the recruiting trail, and you have to expect that he knows he needs to increase the talent level he went after while at Boise State, then I have every faith he will take the Huskies to the promised land -- Pac 12 Championships, Rose Bowls and National Title Conention. Hopefully he is around Montlake for a very long time. If he is, that means he's done what the fanbase wants him to do -- win!

2014 Recruiting Class Prediction (Where will it rank nationally?)

(AP) Top 40. One of the oddest years in recruiting in recent memory with secret verbals to UW under Sark falling apart when he bolted for USC and an almost entirely new board to look at under Petersen. In the end, Washington should end up decently and get solid players who will contribute, but don't expect fireworks. Those will come next year.

(DS) I don't think this class will be very good, but it is a transition class so I think Petersen deserves a pass on this class. If they get four or five kids that develop into solid starters, that will be enough for me. The roster is deep enough to absorb that kind of class this year.

(CF) Top 50. Currently Washington has the 72nd best class rated by Scout.com. They are the only school in any BCS conference to have less than 10 verbal commits listed. Here's some history to chew on; UW's 2005 class - the transition year for Tyrone Willingham - was dead-last in the Pac-10 and 55th nationally. Steve Sarkisian's first class in 2009 was dead-last in the Pac-10 and 66th overall. So if you just follow the facts, Chris Petersen's transition year is going to be a bumpy one. But he has one thing going for him the last two coaches didn't - he's coming in from a position of strength. The last two coaches were in complete rebuild mode. He's not. The Huskies will be 8-5 at worse in 2013 and the cupboard is stocked. That means a better class than his predecessors, but not by much.

(MC) Top 75. I think the Huskies will close well but Petersen just hasn't had the time to form relationships with recruits that were interested in UW.

(KG) Top 50. It was blown up when Sark left and Petersen had to start from scratch.

(SE) Top 40. I think Petersen will pull in some solid kids who Petersen was after at Boise State and he will pluck a few from schools in the Pac 12. They have an outside shot at being a top 30 class, but that would entail them grabbing a few four star guys and I just don't see that happening. Ultimately, this class will be judged, not on how many stars the kids have, but how they develop and contribute in three years. I doubt we will see any game-breakers in this class, but if it doesn't fall off the cliff like the last two transitional classes (2005 and 2009), then it won't hurt the program as much as some might think.

2015 Recruiting Class Preview

(AP) The best in-state class since 2012 will provide Coach Peteresen with a 'soft-open' to his tenure recruiting at UW. It helps that he is renowned by coaches in the state of Washington and that Washington's schedule sets up such that he will likely have a 10-win team to brag about. Three top-tier linemen in state (Trey Adams, Henry Roberts and Calvin Throckmorton) and three top tailbacks (Myles Gaskin, Austin Joyner and Chico McClatcher) will be the foundation for a top-15 class in the first full go 'round for Petersen.

(DS) The in-state talent is undeniable. It's timed perfectly for a new coach to develop strong in-state networks. There are three incredible skill players and three offensive tackle types that should all be very early Petersen targets. 2015 is the perfect year to own the State of Washington.

(CF) This will be a great class for UW, and I'm saying that if they simply stick to keeping the in-state studs at home. They already have a commitment from Trey Adams, and I suspect Austin Joyner will re-commit once he builds relationships with the new staff. Besides those two, Washington has already offered five other in-state studs - Benning Potoae, Calvin Throckmorton, Henry Roberts, Chico McClatcher, and Myles Gaskin - and I wouldn't put it past Petersen to land all seven. On top of that, there's other players, like Brett Rypien, that Boise State offered prior to Petersen coming to UW. If the Huskies can go back to their traditional formula of recruiting inside-out, there's certainly enough talent in the next few classes to keep things rolling at a nice clip.

(MC) I'm excited to see how many of the top in-state running backs stay in state or end up leaving the state. 2015 is a solid year for talent in Washington and Petersen will need to put up that fence around the state.

(KG) Ask me in six months.

(SE) It's the perfect year for Petersen to come in. Unlike Sarkisian, who seemed to feel like the in-state kids were overrated, Petersen will definitely prioritize the guys in his back yard much more. I expect guys like Henry Roberts, Austin Joyner, Myles Gaskin, Chico McClatcher, Calvin Throckmorton will all wind up Dawgs if the new staff pushes hard on them, and there's no reason to believe that won't happen, and I believe Trey Adams will remain strongly committed to the Dawgs as long as they still want him. Benning Potoae is another top guy that has a UW offer and I think, ultimately, he will be a big fan of Petersen and his staff. That being said, they need to find at least one QB in the 2015 class and some speed/playmakers on both sides of the ball and those will likely come from California. This will be the first true test for Petersen on the recruiting trail and will be a barometer for those that still have some questions about his prowess vs. the outstanding recruiters in the conference.

The 2014 Starting QB Will Be...

(AP) Cyler Miles.

(DS) Troy Williams. He has it all, and Petersen will quickly see that.

(CF) Cyler Miles. Cyler already comes in with experience, a win, and the confidence to take the reins. I don't think it's a slam-dunk by any means, as Jeff Lindquist and Troy Williams will make life tough for Cyler during spring ball and fall camp, but he's got to have the inside track now and I don't see that changing unless injury forces a change (knock on wood).

(MC) Cyler Miles.

(KG) Jeff Lindquist.

(SE) Troy Williams. I just think the freshman has "it", whatever "it" is. I think he fits into Petersen's offense perfectly and will ultimately win the job, but it won't be announced until late in fall camp.

Will There Be Anymore Transfers Before Spring Ball?

(AP) Yes. I expect possibly one or two, but nothing out of the ordinary and certainly no mass exodus. Once the players get a chance to see Coach Petersen and his staff in action, they will be convinced (though some might not be able to hack it).

(DS) I don't believe so. The team is well aware of the uptick in talent and the improved schedule. This is no time to transfer out.

(CF) There always is with coaching transitions and considering it doesn't look like Petersen will have any holdovers from Sarkisian's staff, I suspect there might be one or two we didn't think about simply because their position coach is gone.

(MC) I think there might be some after spring ball, but not before.

(KG) Nope.

(SE) I could see one or two before spring ball and another two or three after spring ball (when the players get a good idea of where they stand with the new staff). Ultimately, I could see upwards of five or six guys leaving due to the staff changes, but only one or two before the start of spring football.

Things To Be Wary Of...

(AP) Early entrees to the NFL draft. With Sankey and ASJ leaving, there are massive and unanswered questions at almost all the major position groups for Washington in '14. What's more, if Danny Shelton or Marcus Peters decide they want to give the pros a go, it really could get ugly.

(DS) In-state recruiting must improve under Petersen. Sarkisian didn't do that well and he lost far too many impact kids from Washington. Petersen needs to turn that around, and I have faith that he will.

(CF) I think the one obvious thing - and it harkens back to the last question - is how the players react to having a completely different coaching structure from the ones that recruited them. You always wonder if they'll immediately buy into what Petersen and his coaches are selling or how long that transition will last before everyone is on the same page? That would be the biggest thing I would worry about.

(MC) Expectations. Sure fans want the wins but don't be surprised if Petersen needs a little time to get adjusted to the Pac-12.

(KG) Recruiting. Petersen has never recruited to a Pac-12 level yet.

(SE) Two things...Recruiting and the expectations being heaped on Petersen. As I've noted above, I believe Petersen can and will be in on much more top-level recruits than he was or needed to be at Boise State. However, can he close them? We will just have to wait and see. I think he can...but until he does it, I am left with questions. As far as the expectations are concerned, some think he will come in and win right away and I am included in that group. Sarkisian, for all of his faults, left UW in much better shape from a talent standpoint than when he came to UW in 2009 (yes, I realize he inherited plenty of guys who have either played or continue to play in the NFL). That talent needs to buy into what Petersen and his staff are selling and go out and get the job done. We'll see if that happens as fast as the fans expect it will.

2014 Record Will Be...

(AP) 11-2. This prediction is, of course, based on the idea that Sankey comes back. Sankey in an offense full of experienced O-Linemen, talented wide receivers and coached by Chris Petersen? It will be almost unfair. The defense has to answer questions about the secondary, but if it can, it should also be very strong. The linebacking crew will be one of the best in college football.

(DS) I see 9 to 10 wins, because of an easy out of conference slate. If they run those to 4-0, as they should, they only need to go 5-4 in the Pac-12 to get to 9 wins. That should be achievable even if it is year one of the Coach Petersen era.

(CF) Boy, everything lines up for a great 2014, but obviously the coaching transition throws some haziness into it. I still think, given how nice the non-conference schedule lines up, it would be a major shock if they didn't finish that part of the schedule undefeated. 6-3 sounds about right for Pac-12 play - although I don't think it'll be that easy - so I'll go 10-3 for a very, very early prediction.

(MC) 6-3 in the Pac-12 and 4-0 in non-conference play with a final record 10-3. It'll be a solid first season of the Petersen era.

(KG) 10-3.

(SE) I think 10-3 is very realistic with an outside shot at 11-2 if things fall into place. Could 9-4 happen? Absolutely, but I just see Petersen getting to six wins in the conference and they should easily go 4-0 vs. the non-conference slate.

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