The Washington Huskies arrive at the 2013 football season on top of a wall.
The Huskies have worked hard to climb out of the trenches under head coach Steve Sarkisian. Taking another step forward will allow them to slide comfortably down the right side of the wall into the pool of successful programs.
But falter during the 2013 campaign and the UW is in dangerous of slipping back down the wall from the uneasy ground it has risen from.
A favorable schedule could give the Huskies the eight-win season that would break the monotony of three straight seven-win campaigns. A win against a good Boise State team in the opener on Aug. 31 would give the UW a huge swing of momentum.
The Huskies, of course, still need to put their best product on the field to accomplish success. Here are some of the storylines to follow as training camp opens on Montlake on Aug. 5.
- Will Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Kasen Williams be suspended?
The Huskies' top two receiving threats were involved in separate incidents with the law during the offseason. Seferian-Jenkins, one of the top tight ends in the country, pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and has been suspended from team activities since.
The extent of Seferian-Jenkins' punishment with the team is unknown at this point. He could avoid missing any game time.
Same goes for Williams, a star receiver. Williams was arrested and cited for underage consumption of alcohol in May near Lake Chelan.
Williams and Seferian-Jenkins change the complexion of the UW offense. With the first importance of the first game greater because it marks the return to renovated Husky Stadium, it will be interesting to see the extent of the punishment for the two playmakers.
- Will Keith Price return to form?
Quarterback Keith Price had a far from terrible year in 2012, but it also did not come close to matching his groundbreaking sophomore season. A lot of that had to do with a brutal offensive line. There also wasn't a lot of proven depth beyond Seferian-Jenkins and Williams.
The offensive line should be more solid this season. More depth and less injuries heading into training camp will hopefully give the line more time to gel up front. That should help the athletic Price stay healthy.
If youngsters DiAndre Campbell and Jaydon Mickens can show improvement, Price will have more options than last season.
- Can the defense continue growing?
The Huskies will be entering the second year of Justin Wilcox's tenure as defensive coordinator. The 2012 showed promise for the UW on the defensive side, but also some growing pains.
It will be interesting to see if the Huskies can show improvement and understanding of Wilcox's system.
The UW did lose cornerback Desmond Trufant to the NFL, but the addition of Travell Dixon could fill the void. Shaq Thompson and Danny Shelton are a pair of young players to keep an eye on as the season progresses.