Huard: What’s the early buzz surrounding UW Huskies football?

Apr 14, 2022, 11:54 AM | Updated: Jul 18, 2022, 3:48 pm
UW Huskies Kalen DeBoer...
New UW Huskies coach Kalen DeBoer speaks during a press conference Tuesday in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

To say the 2021 season was a disappointing one for UW Huskies football would be quite the understatement.

Previously: What’s going on with DeBoer’s first UW Huskies recruiting class?

Though the Huskies entered as the No. 22-ranked team in the country, UW’s stay in the top 25 would not last long. The Dawgs opened on a stunningly low note by falling to Montana, an FCS team, and while the Huskies still had a chance at a bowl invite entering a rivalry game against No. 6 Oregon with a 4-4 record, that was both a loss to the Ducks and the last game for head coach Jimmy Lake, who was first suspended and subsequently fired after he was seen putting his hands on a player on the sidelines.

The Huskies lost their final two games of the year, including their first Apple Cup defeat against Washington State since 2012, and their 4-8 overall record was the program’s worst end of season record since the 0-12 season in 2008.

Lake and nearly his entire coaching staff are out, while Kalen DeBoer and his staff are in for 2022. DeBoer has an offensive background, running multiple Division-1 offenses before earning his first NCAA head coaching gig at Fresno State, where he led the Bulldogs to a 12-6 combined record in 2020 and 2021. DeBoer was also a head coach at NAIA Sioux Falls, his alma mater, where he went 67-3 in five seasons with three national titles.

Someone who is tuned in to the UW Huskies football program is Husky legend Brock Huard, a host for Seattle Sports 710 AM as well as a college football analyst for FOX Sports. In addition to being a legendary UW Huskies quarterback in his own right, Huard’s brother Damon also starred at the program, and Damon’s son Sam is entering his redshirt freshman season at Montlake.

The Huskies’ April 30 spring game is coming up soon, so what’s the latest buzz surrounding the program? Huard shared some quick thoughts and impressions with guest host Bob Stelton on the latest Brock and Salk Podcast for Seattle Sports, and as you might imagine, the buzz is centered on DeBoer and his coaching staff taking the reins at Washington.

“The early buzz is man, what a bummer that this was not the staff that followed Chris Petersen. That’s the early buzz,” Huard said.

Petersen led the program from 2014-19, going 55-26 in that span with two Pac-12 championships, a College Football Playoff berth and three New Year’s Six bowl game appearances. Petersen stepped down after 2019 with Lake, his defensive coordinator, was named his successor.

“Unfortunately, I would have bet on Jimmy Lake having success,” Huard said. “He was, to me, more than qualified. I was wrong on that one. I thought he was ready for that position. He was not, he handled it poorly, handled people even worse.”

As a result, DeBoer and Co. inherit a program that is worse off than the one Lake inherited from Petersen.

“The reality is true, the departures are true, recruiting is true. They’re thin,” Huard said. “They’re not where they need to be to compete with an Oregon – or in some ways even USC at the top-end talent pool, Utah that’s super stable in this conference – because of some of the recruiting losses, because of some of the transfers.”

That being said, Huard and others are very impressed with DeBoer and his staff since they’ve taken over the program.

“Kalen DeBoer and his staff and offense and defense – I’ll go back to the word I use with (Seahawks quarterback) Drew Lock: genuine,” Huard said. “The pendulum has swung. And the pendulum has swung to just a very genuine South Dakota-rooted, salt of the earth kind of guy that is going to be a good fit.”

While Huard thinks that DeBoer is a good fit to run the UW Huskies, he also preaches patience, especially with the new Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) rules for college athletes.

“It’s going to take a little bit of time,” he said. “And to me, the coaching won’t be the question. It will just simply be in time the ability to bring the talent when you’re competing NIL with USC and NIL with Oregon and the stability of some of the other programs in the conference.”

Listen to the latest Brock and Salk Podcast at this link or in the player below.

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Huard: What’s the early buzz surrounding UW Huskies football?