Pac-12 previews: Washington hoping for a turnaround under new coach Kalen DeBoer
New Huskies coach spent the past two seasons at Fresno State and before that was the OC at Indiana
Editor’s note: Fifth in a series of articles examining each of the Pac-12 football teams heading into the 2022 season.
The Jimmy Lake era at Washington didn’t last long.
Lake took over the program after Chris Petersen stepped down at the end of the 2019 season. But last year, Lake shoved one of his players and was suspended. Not long after that, Washington, which went 4-8, fired Lake.
So the Huskies have opened another new era, this time under head coach Kalen DeBoer, who coached the two past seasons at Fresno State.
What are his expectations for Year One?
“I don’t know anything other than to play for a championship,” DeBoer said. “I really don’t.”
DeBoer’s previous head coaching experience was from 2005-09, when he posted a 67-3 record at Sioux Falls, an NAIA program. He’s established a reputation for offensive production.
During the spring, DeBoer focused on developing trust and talent.
“We’re continuing to work on our roster, just trying to make it stronger with relationships and do the best we can to show the roles that guys can have in this program, even if it’s not at the level they want it to be at this point in their careers,” he told the Pac-12 Network. “Not getting so caught up in immediate gratification and immediate results, but thinking, ‘OK, I’m going to be a different player two months from now, four months from now, six months from now, a year from now.’ Having that patience, and trying to get stories in front of these guys where they hear the guys that just hung in there and stayed the course.”
The process of restoring glory to Washington football has been underway for months.
“It was building a staff and, more importantly, building relationships with these guys. In today’s culture of football, and how things move so quickly,” DeBoer said. “From the first meeting we had on Jan. 3, to each week after that, you could just see the growth of our team. … We’re doing this thing together.”
Washington should benefit from a new quarterback — Indiana transfer Michael Penix Jr., who played under DeBoer when he was the offensive coordinator with the Hoosiers in 2019.
In three seasons at Indiana, Penix threw for 2,978 yards, with 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
The Huskies were No. 9 in the Pac-12 in offense last year. Washington needs to be more consistent on the offensive line.
The Huskies were one of the best defensive teams in the Pac-12 but they lost key players on defense, including cornerbacks Kyler Gordon and Trent McDuffie.
2021 record: 4-8 (3-6 Pac-12)
Edge Jordan Lolohea (East HS)
DL Voi Tunuufi (East HS)
Sept. 3 Kent State
Sept. 10 Portland State
Sept. 17 Michigan State
Sept. 24 Stanford
Sept. 30 @ UCLA
Oct. 8 @ Arizona State
Oct. 15 Arizona
Oct. 22 @ California
Nov. 4 Oregon State
Nov. 12 @ Oregon
Nov. 19 Colorado
Nov. 26 @ Washington State
Next up: Washington State