Coach's Corner

The second annual "Raise the Woof" was certainly well received by the 2,500 or so fans in attendance Friday night at Husky Stadium. Designed to welcome back the fans, it gave Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian a chance to introduce his team and to officially begin game week preparations for BYU.

This was the second year of moving the old "kickoff luncheon" to the east practice field or "The Zone". For years we held it downtown in a big hotel, but moving it outside and right next to Husky Stadium brings it all home where it belongs. The food was excellent and the beverages were plenty. It was the perfect party atmosphere.

Coach Sarkisian thanked everyone involved in the football operations personally and introduced his position coaches who in turn introduced their wives and families and then every single player in their position group. I watched closely as each kid climbed the stairs to the podium, seeing how they carried themselves, their demeanor, and their smile. They were all excited, just as they should be. I could see their excitement as their coach called them up, and each group had a little signature ditty all designed for fun and entertainment.

That's really what it is all about: These guys are putting the fun back into Husky Football. It was fun to be there, fun to see all the fans so excited, fun to actually have expectations of winning again. You could feel it in the air, although I expect the same thing is happening all over this country as we all brace for the kickoff to college football season.

It might be a lot about local and civic pride, but one thing is for sure; in America, the fall belongs to football - and events like "Raise the Woof" are just part of the cultural landscape.

The energy, the excitement, the anticipation, and now with "expectations" of winning again, Husky football hasn't felt like this in years, and the fans who were there at the event will tell you there was a buzz. Of course right now we're all undefeated, and the difficult task of winning on the road against a quality football program like BYU looms in exactly a week, but being there and soaking it all in still felt gooood.

In attendance was the Dawgfather and his wife Carol. To see and feel the continued warmth this community has for them choked me up. You could almost sense that coach Sarkisian wants to bring back winning to honor coach James and restore the program back to where Don had left it many years ago. You can also tell coach Sark really appreciates the presence of the old coaches, like coach James and coach Lambright, who both sincerely support the program. He honors the past, but he is definitely building for the future.

Although coach couldn't comment on the Kasen Williams commitment that happened right around the same time as "Raise the Woof", it was obvious that he and everyone in the program knew how huge that was. He merely repeated his desire to build a wall around the state of Washington and keep the best players at home. Obviously, the word of Williams' commitment spread like wildfire through the crowd which only heightened the excitement of the evening.

If the program performs as well in their season opener as they did generating the excitement and buzz around "Raise the Woof", they just might be returning to Seattle with big smiles on their faces. Don't be surprised if that happens, because this is a lot better Washington team than they have been in a really long time. Besides that, they expect to win. They think about winning now rather than worrying about losing.

It's been an obvious change in their thinking that just might carry them to a winning season. Top Stories