Coach's Corner

Washington will run the football this year, and Chris Polk will carry the load. Polk will emerge as a star the same way Corey Dillon did when Brock Huard was getting all the attention nearly 15 years ago. That's just the nature of the game, and good or bad the quarterback position always seems to get most of the glory or most the blame for that matter.

With the opening game less than a week away, even the BYU players are hyping up Jake Locker and rightfully so because Jake is going to be a marked man in every single game. There is every indication that the Husky offense will live and die with the gun slinger from Ferndale. Not so fast, because when it's all over Chris Polk will be will be a star, and as long as the team wins that will be fine with Locker.

The Husky offense will probably lean just as much on Polk as it will on Locker. Expect Polk to get 20-25 carries per game and if he does then bolsters Washington's chances at becoming a winning team. A great contact runner, Polk gained up to 700 of his 1113 yards last year after first being hit. That's Dillon-ish.

Not only does Polk run hard but he is sure handed, catching 25 passes in addition to his 226 carries last season. He actually started out as a receiver at Washington but I expect him to run for over 1,500 this year and score 12-15 TD's and catch 30+ passes in addition to returning kickoffs. The term is "work horse" and that's what Chris Polk will be this coming season. Championship teams run the football. Washington has a stable of four running backs on scholarship but they also have a "work horse". Give him the rock and he will produce.

Polk has also worked hard on his blocking and looks to be about 15 pounds bigger than he was at this time last year. He averaged 92.8 yards per game last year and I would expect him to improve that by about 20 yards per game. Although the running backs at Oregon State, Oregon, California and Arizona are getting most of the press, I happen to think that Polk will emerge as the premier ball carrier in this conference. The fact that he wasn't included on the 2010 Doak Walker watch list is borderline criminal.

Chris could have gone to either USC or UCLA and had actually committed to the Trojans before changing his mind and choosing to become "the Man" at Washington rather than be a part of a committee at USC. In high school he once gained 214 yards on only five carries and had 2,561 yards and 29 touchdowns his senior season.

He was probably asked to start too early in his career and got injured in only his second game as a true freshman (against BYU). He sat out that whole year but it ended up being a blessing because he was able to get his year of eligibility back. He also got a set of new coaches and really connected with Joel Thomas, the Huskies' running back coach, who was quite a runner himself when he played at Idaho.

Chris Polk is a warrior and a tough guy. He is a relentless runner who is healthy now and ready to rock. Just give him the ball and get out of his way. The offensive line is better conditioned and his receivers are blocking the best they have in years. This should really help him to bust more long runs and improve on his five touchdown total.

Want to know how to beat BYU? Run the ball, play good defense, be solid in the kicking game and don't turn the ball over: Same formula as always, and Polk will help in three of those four areas and he will also play hurt if he has to. It is his toughness that reminds me so much of Corey Dillon. He will turn a loss into a two-yard gain, he will go low and under tacklers to get that extra yard, and he will use the spin, the stiff arm, and his shoulders to run over, through, and around would-be tacklers.

BYU only returns one starter in their defensive front seven. That means they are just as questionable up front as Washington is. If the Huskies can get a lead and then turn the ball over to Polk in the second half, they will leave Provo a winner.

Jake Locker will still be the star of the team and rightfully so because he is a senior, but Chris Polk will have an all-star season this year and he too will be star once everything is said and done. Top Stories