Hitting the Links: Petersen's Challenge at U-Dub

Otto Greule Jr

A look at Chris Petersen's inaugural season at Washington, plus other news links.

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Chris Petersen is beginning his first spring practice at his new job in Seattle and Kevin Gemmell from ESPN ran a story Thursday on the new Washington coach implementing his system. Petersen enters a major conference with a ton of momentum from his time at Boise State but the challenges in 2014 for Washington piled up with some personnel losses.

So the biggest challenge facing the new Washington skipper isn't transition, but replacing departed personnel. When Sarkisian left, he didn't exactly leave a barren cupboard. But a talented trio will be noticeably absent in 2014: three-year starting quarterback Keith Price, 2013 Mackey Award-winning tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Doak Walker-finalist running back Bishop Sankey. All are expected to either be drafted or land on an NFL roster.

"That makes things really tough," Petersen said. "When you lose a quarterback who has been a three-year starter and was as productive as Keith was, that's hard. Everything on offense, no matter what style you run, is run through that guy. If he's successful, your team is going to be successful.

Most expect Petersen to improve upon Steve Sarkisian's 5-year reign in Seattle (5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 7-6, 8-4) but will he be able to make progress during his first season? The Huskies do get the 13-game schedule thanks to a trip to Hawaii which could make a 9-win regular season a distinct possibility.

  • @ Hawaii
  • vs. Eastern Washington
  • vs. Illinois
  • vs. Georgia State
  • vs. Stanford
  • @ California
  • @ Oregon
  • vs. Arizona State
  • @ Colorado
  • vs. UCLA
  • @ Arizona
  • vs. Oregon State
  • at Washington State

The tough games should be Stanford, Oregon, and UCLA. Most are expecting losses there which means both Arizona schools and maybe one of the final two games (or even both) look like swing games for Washington this fall. Splitting those 4 games would mean a 8-5 regular season which I think feels about right.

You have to like Petersen's long-term prospects in Seattle but this fall might be a bit of a struggle. Although, like so many teams they're gifted a 4-0 start to the season which can sometimes gain confidence for a program, especially one under a new head coach.

NATIONAL LINKS

Florida receiver Andre Dubose was granted a 6th-year of eligibility by the NCAA.

Brent Musburger and Jesse Palmer will call games for the SEC Network this fall. That means ESPN has moved Chris Fowler to the lead call for Saturday Night games on ABC.

Texas A&M and UCLA have signed a 2-game agreement for 2016 and 2017.

Washington and Rutgers have signed a home and home as well for 2016-17.

In a decision that surprises no one, former Fiesta Bowl Exec John Junker is getting 8 months in federal prison for an illegal campaign contribution scheme.

In other awesome news from my viewpoint, 3 other bowl games are facing audits by the IRS.

A&M is currently renovating its stadium to make it the largest in the state of Texas which has brought about discussions by the University of Texas to increase the capacity at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

Hey, look it's Gunner Kiel as the No. 1 quarterback transfer who didn't play in 2013.

Break out the bikinis and swim trunks 'cause Northwestern is getting a new football facility!

Northwestern isn't the only school getting new digs. The defending national champions are going to renovate their football facility as well.

IRISH LINKS

BGI: Video interview with Nic Weishar

HLS: Call it and haul it packages

HLS: ND football back on track

ESPN: McDaniel, running backs eager for next step

ESPN: 4/14/14 mailbag

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