Sark is totally an alpha dog. Did you ever watch him play? I went to school with him and sat down at the sidelines. The guy is VERY vocal and he knows what he's talking about. He knew it when he was 20, and he certainly knows it now.
Part of what you're seeing is that Washington has really struck out on some coaches. Slick Rick was a showman and proven phony. Willingham was ordered to clean up the program, and that's precisely what he did, and got fired for it. I get it... but you can't have it both ways. So he did his job, but he was low-key to a fault and entirely focused on the academics side and getting kids to graduate and clean things.
Sarkisian is trying to strike the balance of being able to get a crowd behind him, run a clean program, win (most of all this one), and build long-term sustained success.
You have to look at who his major influences were and how they operated. 1- Lavell Edwards. One of the all time greats. He brought the short passing game to the college ranks and used TE's and FB's as primary receivers and dominated some very big schools with very inferior talent. But he was the most mellow and stoic guy ever. I've seen him rip into players before, but he always did it out of sight, because they had an agreement. We all maintain dignity. Players loved Lavell for that, and they showed it with their play. Steve is doing the same thing. 2- Norm Chow. A madman. Literally. Norm is the one who brought Sark into coaching after his CFL career dried up and he went into the telecom industry. Chow convinced him to go into coaching, so Sark dropped everything and went and coached at UNLV, USC, and then UW. He wasn't going to be a coach, and he got into the game late. Chow is really weird in how he deals with players. He is a brilliant guy and has a doctorate in psychology I believe, and likes to play mental games. It works at times. It worked well in 1996 when BYU went 14-1 (one loss was to UW) and finished the season in the top 5 (and should have played in the NC game!!!!).
Sark was the QB on that team.
He saw great success with low key coaches at the helm on the teams he played on. Now... could he go out and coach like Pete? Sure. But, he's not going to be in the position to until he establishes something I think. I think he'll get more and more like that as he builds. This is kind of the win or it's not going to happen year. I think he knows that. But he knows that to build a program you have to do a ton of work to take it from scratch and do so. That's essentially what he's done. That's precisely was Edwards did at BYU. That's what Pete did at USC (but he had a lot of good talent and a good rep having come from the NFL and USC has enormous history).
I think Sark is walking the line between the two types of coaches that he's worked with the most and finding his way. He is a good coach. He has no problem getting in anybody's face. But he also seems to know that he can't be Steve Spurrier as a coach, even though he was kind of like that as a player. Kids are too sensitive and leave if you do that kind of stuff now. The Bobby Knight school of coaching is closed.