By Brady Henderson
Season-ending losses to Washington State and Boise State left a bad taste in Washington coach Steve Sarkisian's mouth and created questions about the program's momentum after a third consecutive 7-6 record.
"I think we've got an excellent football team. There was a reason five years ago I took this job and it was to come here to win championships. There's a reason why a Justin Wilcox and a Peter Sirmon leave a Tennessee to come here," Sarkisian said before noting other Washington assistant coaches who left high-profile programs for the same reason.
"And there's a reason why Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Shaq Thompson and Keith Price and Cyler Miles and all these different guys chose to come to the University of Washington," he continued, "that's to win championships, and that's the focus, that's the attention that we placed on this season."
Those loses in the Apple Cup and the Las Vegas Bowl cost the Huskies a nine-win season, which would have been an accomplishment for a team that sustained as many injuries as Washington did. Those injuries played a leading role in the Huskies' offensive struggles in general and those of quarterback Keith Price in particular.
Price will have to fend off a group of highly-regarded young quarterbacks if he's to remain the Huskies' starter. Sarkisian would like to see Price strengthen his lower body to increase his explosiveness. He added that improved pass protection should help Price's confidence and calling plays "that he's comfortable with" should help him as well.
"We know when he's really good, we're really good as an offensive football team," Sarkisian said.
The prospect of Price returning to his 2011 form no doubt factors into Sarkisian's outlook on the 2013 season. While his comments by no means qualify as a guarantee or a prediction of a championship, Sarkisian made it clear that Washington has its sights set much higher than the mediocrity of another 7-6 season.
"The goal is to win a championship. Will that happen? Time's going to tell and we definitely need to improve and need to improve at specific areas," he said. "But we're not going into this thing just to ho-hum and see what can happen. This season is about going to win a championship."
Is that a realistic goal? Brock and Damon Huard, a radio analyst on Washington football broadcasts, discuss that question in the video below.
You can listen to Tuesday's show here.