Steve Sarkisian and Lane Kiffin have a lot in common when it comes to their coaching roots.
Both were proteges of Norm Chow at USC before becoming offensive coordinators in their own right for the Trojans. Both had stints in the NFL, where they absorbed pro-style philosophies and nomenclature.
As head coaches in the Pac-12, they've largely maintained their commitment to NFL offensive concepts despite the near-universal shift to spread principles at the college level.
But while USC's offense under Kiffin still favors classic pocket passers like Matt Barkley and class of 2013 commit Max Browne, Sarkisian's offensive preference has taken a decided turn in the direction of the mobile quarterback.
We already know about Jake Locker and Keith Price, but freshmen Cyler Miles and Jeff Lindquist will join the team in the fall. After that comes 2013 commit Troy Williams.
All of them have been, or will be, among the most mobile and athletic quarterbacks in the country. You might say that Washington has all of a sudden become Mobile QB U.
And it's mostly been by accident. Or perhaps necessity.
"We inherited Locker," said Sarkisian, who is in his fourth year as head coach of the Huskies. "We all know what kind of athlete he is. But the offensive line was one of our weaknesses when we got here. We hoped to make up for that lack of talent and depth so we tried to tailor the offense to fit the things Jake did well.
"So we found a little niche. We took pro-style principles and combined it with a little bit of spread. We developed an offense that taxes defenses and is fun for the staff, players and fans."
Once Locker left, it made sense to keep that style in place. Price was the beneficiary in 2011 as he threw for 3,063 yards and 33 touchdowns. His rushing total was dampened by ligament sprains in both knees, but the Alamo Bowl loss to Baylor and Robert Griffin III showed the capability of the Washington offense under a more healthy Price. At times, it seemed like Price was just as effective as the future second pick in the NFL draft.
"I wanted to prove to people that I could compete with the best in the nation," said Price, who accounted for seven touchdowns running and passing against the Bears. "I think I did that. This offense really allows me to create in the red zone."
While Price is a bonafide Heisman candidate as a junior, the Huskies won't be hurting too much in the mobility department when he finally leaves. In fact, they'll probably get even more athletic thanks to the incoming recuits. Sarkisian was visibly excited about the potential of Miles and Lindquist.
"Cyler didn't really get a chance to showcase how good he was in high school," Sarkisian said of the Colorado product. "But he was athletic enough to run track and make the finals of the state 100 meters as a sophomore. And Jeff was a decathlete in addition to being a great quarterback. Both are very athletic and very bright, which is important because we aren't just throwing curl routes in our offense."
Meanwhile, 2012 Elite 11 selection Williams will be joining the roster in 2013, which should make for a crowded group of athletes at the quarterback spot.
"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it," said Sarkisian of the future logjam.
Not a bad problem to have.