Steve Sarkisian's New Assistants Could Propel Washington to Pac 12 Elite


Sark upgraded from the ineffectual Nick Holt to Tennessee’s Justin Wilcox, one of the country’s hottest defensive coordinator. Wilcox built Boise State into a top 12 FEI defense in 2008 and 2009. His Tennessee team was trending properly, improving from 57th in 2010 to 32nd in 2011. He should bring a swarming 3-4 with tenacious pressure from the front, hopefully rekindling what was known as “Washington football” in more abundant decades.

Wilcox may not be an ace recruiter, himself, but he has brought in a couple closers. His college teammate Peter Sirmon comes over as linebackers coach from the same role at Tennessee. His one year was enough to earn his reputation as an insatiable recruiter. Wilcox also scored a coup by bringing in Tosh Lupoi as defensive line coach. Lupoi may be the preeminent recruiter on the West Coast (or at least in the discussion with Orgeron). He locked down 11 four-star or better recruits for Cal in 2010 and 2011. He was the principle reason Cal had a Top 10 recruiting class for 2012. Place the emphasis on “had” with his departure. Washington has struggled finding and developing athletes on the D-line.  That is where Lupoi excels.

The bigger question mark is on offense, after coordinator Doug Nussemier left for the same job at Alabama. Cal’s passing game coordinator Eric Kiseau is the man replacing him. Kiseau has done an excellent job developing skill players during two stints at Cal. His results as offensive coordinator from 2005 to 2010 under Dan Hawkins were underwhelming, though his personnel was vastly underwhelming. Kiseau comes from a similar offense. The presence of Sarkisian and bonafide star quarterback Keith Price should soften any adjustments.

Washington looks set to have a real good time the next few years, if Sarkisian can keep this new staff together. Anyone not excited for the 2012 Apple Cup?

[Photo via Getty]