Pac-12 Network’s Roth: UW Huskies, with QB Penix, ‘really undervalued’

Aug 30, 2022, 10:21 AM | Updated: Sep 1, 2022, 3:01 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)

The UW Huskies enter the 2022 campaign in a much different spot than a year ago.

UW Huskies preview: Dawgs seek quick turnaround under DeBoer

Last year, then-head coach Jimmy Lake and the Huskies entered a Week 1 clash with Montana as a preseason top 25 team. But Washington was upset at home, kicking off a disappointing season that resulted in the team finishing 4-8, losing the Apple Cup to WSU for the first time since 2012 and Lake being fired midseason after he got physical with a player on the sideline against Oregon.

Now, the UW Huskies have a new man running the show in Kalen DeBoer, who was the head coach at Fresno State the last two seasons. He also brings with him a new quarterback in Michael Penix Jr., who was with DeBoer when the coach was offensive coordinator at Indiana in 2019. Penix, who transferred from Indiana to Washington earlier this offseason, was announced as the starter last week, and he was also named as one of the Huskies’ six captains as voted by the players.

UW Huskies name Michael Penix Jr. starting QB for opener

Yogi Roth of the Pac-12 Network joined Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Bump and Stacy on Monday to discuss what the UW Huskies look like with a new head coach calling the shots and a new quarterback under center.

When it comes to Penix, who had his best year at Indiana in 2019 under DeBoer when he completed 68.8% of his passes with 10 touchdowns to four interceptions in six games, Roth had nothing but good things to say about the quarterback both on and off the field.

“I had a chance to meet him the other day – I flew up to Seattle for a couple hours – and man, he’s impressive,” Roth said. “You watch him on film, you watch what he’s done at his previous school, and he’s not just a dual-threat guy. He’s a passer first and he can move with his legs… The dude can deal. Like, he put some balls on ropes and I said, ‘Whoa.’ It made me kind of stand up while I was watching him. I’m excited to watch him.”

“And he’s got a dynamic leadership trait to him when you talk to the staff about who he is and what he’s been through,” Roth added.

Penix appeared in 20 games over four seasons at Indiana but injuries were often, such as in 2019 when the young QB underwent season-ending shoulder surgery after leading the Hoosiers to a 5-1 start and a four-game win streak.

What’s more important than impressing the coaching staff is impressing teammates, which Roth said the new UW Huskies quarterback has done.

“For only being there for a handful of months, it seems as though he’s really won over his teammates. I say that because the quarterback room is really healthy amid a competition,” he said. “I think when guys come in from the outside it can impact that room in one of two ways, and I think he came in with open arms (saying), ‘Hey, look, we’re all in the same position and we’ve got to help each other go win games and see if we can flip this thing from where it was a year ago.'”

Roth said he’s excited for DeBoer to lead this team, and he thinks people may be sleeping on the UW Huskies.

“I think this program is really undervalued because it’s got talent, and it’s got talent that hasn’t been tapped into like the receiver position with Jalen McMillan and Rome Odunze and Co.,” he said. “Even the running back, Wayne Taulapapa was so impressive meeting him. So you think of that, and then you imagine Kalen DeBoer and his offense, and you’re just like, ‘OK, this team is going to be fun to watch.’ And we’ve got to get through Week 1 and Week 2, but I cannot wait for Week 3 and Michigan State to come to town.”

Listen to the full Bump and Stacy conversation with Roth at this link or in the player below.

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