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What latest UW Huskies football departure says about state of program

Jan 6, 2022, 4:59 PM
UW Huskies Rome Odunze...
UW Huskies wide receiver Rome Odunze warms up before the Apple Cup at Husky Stadium on Nov. 26. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The UW Huskies ended 2021 with the excitement of hiring a new head football coach, but that excitement has given way to concern more than anything in recent weeks.

UW Huskies land “real deal” in new coach Kalen DeBoer

That’s not a criticism of new coach Kalen DeBoer, who comes to Montlake from Fresno State, but rather the reality of the situation he finds himself with Washington coming off a distressing final season under previous coach Jimmy Lake.

The Huskies have lost a host of transfer players since their 4-8 campaign ended with a 40-13 loss to Washington State, which snapped a seven-game Apple Cup winning streak and was Washington’s biggest loss ever to its arch rival. And while there has been good news, including the transfer of former Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. to UW and hiring of several coaching staff members, it’s been overshadowed by the particularly painful blow this week of wide receivers coach Junior Adams leaving to become Oregon’s co-offensive coordinator.

Not only was Adams a rare case of an assistant coach retained from Lake’s staff by DeBoer, but he was regarded as one of the best recruiters for the program. Now he takes those skills to Eugene, where he could direct possible UW recruits to the Ducks.

So what does this all say about the state of the Huskies program? Both Jake Heaps and Brock Huard, former college football quarterbacks, shared their thoughts on 710 ESPN Seattle’s programming this week. Here’s a look at their insights.

Jake Heaps

Taken from Wednesday’s Four-Down Territory segment of Jake and Stacy

In the short-term, it doesn’t look good. Having a current assistant that leaves your program within not only the Pac-12 conference but within your own division, the Pac-12 North, and to your rival is not a great look at all when it comes to the recruiting front. Also, knowing that Junior Adams was one of your more dynamic recruiters, that’s a big loss to your group.

Now, I do think that that in the long run this does not concern me or worry me. Junior Adams also got a an opportunity to become the co-offensive coordinator for Oregon versus being a position coach at the University of Washington. So pay raise, opportunity to call plays, I don’t necessarily blame Junior Adams for wanting to move on and I don’t necessarily look at it as an indictment of Kalen DeBoer.

I will tell you this, and I have pointed to this before, but Kalen DeBoer and this staff, they’ve got to show their recruiting chops, they’ve got to show their willingness to hit the grindstone and get after it on the recruiting trail. To really hone in and dominate the state of Washington in particular, because right now they have not done that. That is something that I want to see changed.

And for all those who are out there saying ‘Give this guy time’ – there is no such thing, not when it comes to recruiting. Lincoln Riley, day two after he was announced as the USC head coach, was in homes of top recruits within their own state, really making sure that he was making the new message for USC heard. And that is what Kalen DeBoer and this staff has to do here at the University of Washington.

Brock Huard

Taken from the Blue 88 segment of this week’s Brock and Salk Podcast

Oregon is a very attractive job right now. From a pay standpoint, a young staff standpoint, where their brand is, where their program is, where their talent level is right now, it is a more attractive job.

Junior Adams is a significant, significant loss for the University of Washington, for Kalen DeBoer, who wanted him, who kept him on. He was one of the few coaches that that was kept to stay on Kalen’s new staff, but ultimately Oregon was more attractive, was more financially lucrative. The brand and the program’s in a better place.

UW is in rebuild mode. UW is in rebuild-the-brand mode, UW is rebuilding from a brutal season, UW is rebuilding the roster that right now has lots and lots of holes in it.

More UW Huskies football coverage

Huard: Penix “elevates the room” for UW Huskies but isn’t assured to start
Heaps: What the arrival of Penix means for UW Huskies
Heaps reacts to new OC hires for UW Huskies, WSU Cougars

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Brock and Salk podcast

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What latest UW Huskies football departure says about state of program