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Originally published January 3, 2011 at 10:03 PM | Page modified January 3, 2011 at 10:04 PM

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Mother's comments seem to point to Chris Polk returning to Washington

As speculation continues about whether sophomore running back Chris Polk would leave early for the NFL, his mother said, "I think he needs to stay in school for one more year."

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Celebrations don't last long in college football.

Four days after the school's first bowl game win in a decade, Washington football coaches were back in the office Monday, preparing for the following season. Many will hit the road Tuesday to begin recruiting.

Besides restocking the roster, however, there are a few other issues hovering over the UW football program.

From the futures of running back Chris Polk and coach Steve Sarkisian to the renovation of Husky Stadium, Washington football faces plenty of offseason questions.

The future of Polk

The sophomore's fast finish to the season left him with 1,415 yards, the No. 2 rushing season in school history, behind only Corey Dillon, and fueled speculation about whether he might declare for the NFL draft.

But while there was no definitive statement Monday, indications point to Polk returning.

The school reported that Polk was enrolled and taking classes. And while his mother, Edrena, said, "We don't know, we are still looking into it," she added, "Right now, our focus is on school. I think he needs to stay in school for one more year."

Polk is a third-year sophomore, which makes him eligible to declare for the draft and that staying another year would likely allow him to earn his degree. The deadline to declare is Jan. 15.

Washington coach Steve Sarkisian will address the media in a season-ending teleconference Wednesday.

An extension for Sarkisian

Washington athletic director Scott Woodward said Monday that he expects an extension, or a new contract, for Sarkisian will come sometime in the offseason, though there is no set target date.

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"I'll happen," said Woodward, who said he and Sarkisian have talked in general terms about a new deal. "I'm confident it will happen."

Sarkisian finished the second year of a five-year contract he signed after being hired in December 2008. It has an escalating salary that tops off at $2.3 million in 2013.

It is also expected that Sarkisian's coaching staff will return intact, barring someone leaving for another job.

Sarkisian has talked often this season of the value of staff continuity,.

Defensive coordinator Nick Holt and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier signed extensions before this season that bind them to Washington through next season — Holt through 2012 and Nussmeier 2011. The other seven assistant coaches will see their contacts run out this year, having signed two-year deals upon being hired.

Raising money for Husky Stadium

The Huskies continue to secure funds for the renovation of the stadium, which is set to begin next November. The momentum of the 2010 season will help, Woodward said. Still, he didn't want to overstate its potential impact, saying it's usually hard to discern a direct correlation between wins and increased fundraising. He also noted that UW donors have ponied up more than $100 million for various efforts during the past decade despite years of losing.

"But sure, it helps," he said of the Huskies' late-season success. "It helps the overall psyche of the fan base."

The school has raised a little over $15 million of the $50 million it has pledged to secure in private donations for the $250 million project (the rest coming from sources such as future ticket revenue and premium seating).

Woodward says the project is on track to begin construction after Washington plays its final game in the current configuration against Oregon on Nov. 5.

NOTES

John Timu, a safety/linebacker who signed last year but delayed enrollment to recover from a knee injury, and junior-college linebacker Thomas Tutogi, who signed last month, each enrolled Monday and will be available for spring practice.

Dave Mahler of KJR-AM reported that Jake Locker has signed with agent David Dunn, who is also the agent for Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez, among others.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com.

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