DeBoer shares UW Huskies’ unsung heroes during undefeated run

Nov 9, 2023, 1:23 PM

UW Huskies...

Edefuan Ulofoshio of the Washington Huskies intercepts a pass for a touchdown on Sept. 23, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The UW Huskies are getting plenty of attention as they’re 9-0, ranked No. 5 in the country and have the second-longest active winning streak in the nation at 16 games.

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A big part of that is the quarterback, Michael Penix Jr., who leads the country in passing yards and who’s seen as a favorite for the Heisman this year.

Naturally, Penix came up when UW Huskies head coach Kalen DeBoer joined Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on Thursday ahead of Washington’s matchup with Utah, which is No. 13 in the latest AP poll and No. 18 in the College Football Playoff rankings.

“There’s obviously guys that are extremely talented and playing in the NFL, but I can’t say I’ve been around anyone that’s like him as far as coaching and going through the ranks,” DeBoer said of Penix. “He’s a special talent, and I think it’s a composite of (a lot of things). There’s accuracy and there’s touch. I think he just throws a really catchable ball, too. The deep ball, the accuracy, throwing it on a line, but it’s just catchable, and he knows when he needs to put touch on it. And then the decision-making, the instincts – I mean, it’s just kind of everything all together.

“He’s fun to coach and every game we play, it’s one less and so we’re enjoying these moments, having him as our QB right now.”

Penix is a headliner for UW, as are his top receivers Rome Odunze and Ja’Lynn Polk. Defensively, edge rushers Bralen Trice and Zion Tupuola-Fetui get a lot of attention for the Huskies.

But who have been some of UW’s unsung heroes key to their unbeaten start to the season?

“I think of guys like Ede Ulofoshio,” DeBoer said of UW’s senior linebacker and one of the team’s captain. “I mean, it’s just constant what he’s trying to do to keep our team tight and the effort he puts in.”

Odunze and Polk have been two of the more productive receivers in the nation and Jalen McMillan, who has missed a lot of time with injury, was a 1,000-yard receiver last year. But DeBoer gave a different receiver a lot of love.

“I think about a Germie Bernard,” DeBoer said, shining a light on a transfer from Michigan State. “You’re mentioning all these top receivers that have been here now a few years, but Germie comes in and the sacrifice and some of the things he’s done even just in the last couple of weeks for us to help us find ways to win. You’ve got good people and they care, and they’re team-first guys.”

A large part of UW’s success on offense has been keeping Penix clean. The offensive line has been great these last two years, and the interior of the line has really caught DeBoer’s eye this season.

“I love the growth of a guy like Nate Kalepo at left guard. I mean, Troy Fautanu and Roger Rosengarten are getting a lot of pub being the tackles, but Parker Brailsford was conference Player of the Week at center,” DeBoer said. “Some of these guys that really have grown a lot. It’s fun to see. But it’s kind of become a thing where everyone just understands their role at this point of the year and maximizes that and understands how important it is to the success of our team.”

Listen to the full Brock and Salk conversation with UW Huskies football coach Kalen DeBoer at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

More on the UW Huskies

Why Herbstreit’s eye is on potential UW Huskies rematch vs Oregon
• Zion Tupuola-Fetui made big play for UW Huskies with a heavy heart
• Caple’s UW Huskies Takeaways: What stands out from win over USC
• UW Huskies’ 2024 Big Ten schedule set — room for Apple Cup left?

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DeBoer shares UW Huskies’ unsung heroes during undefeated run