Huard: Did Kalen DeBoer realize what he was getting himself into at Alabama?

Jan 18, 2024, 10:32 AM | Updated: 10:52 am

Kalen DeBoer Alabama UW Huskies...

Kalen DeBoer at his introductory press conference as Alabama head football coach. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

(AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

Former UW Huskies head coach Kalen DeBoer is having a notable acclimation period with his new school.

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Just four days after leading UW against Michigan in the national championship, DeBoer left Washington for Alabama last week, taking over for Nick Saban just days after the legendary Crimson Tide coach retired.

Now DeBoer is in the midst of major turnover at Alabama, with notable players such as freshman All-American safety Caleb Downs entering the transfer portal and a number of high-profile high school commits opting to reopen their recruitment.

Does DeBoer realize what he’s in for now that he’s in the SEC, a conference that he has never coached in before?

“Oof. No, I don’t,” answered former UW and NFL quarterback Brock Huard, a college football analyst for FOX Sports, on Thursday’s Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports. “And it’s why I always in the back of my mind thought Michigan was the bigger threat (to take DeBoer away from UW) than Alabama. At Michigan he would have known the Big Ten and the Rust Belt and the recruiting.”

Now he’s in a different conference and a different world of college football. That’s been especially clear as Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin has been using social media to troll DeBoer and the Alabama program, posting pictures of him in Tuscaloosa and even on campus.

“It’s either the highway out (of town to show people are leaving) or ‘I’m coming in,'” Huard said. “Either way, ‘I’m an absolute total instigator, and I am taking your players.’ And there’s something like 17 guys in their portal, and something like four or five or six of their four- and five-star commits (have decommitted).”

Huard said DeBoer entering the program has led to many players leaving rather than staying. Part of that is how SEC schools operate, he said.

“It’s dirty recruiting, man. It’s dirty business at the highest level,” Huard said. “They’ve been doing a lot of this stuff and a lot of the payment for a lot of years. And I’ve talked to a lot of coaches that consistently pointed their finger down there and wouldn’t say it publicly, but were irate privately about the way they do business. There’s nothing collegial about the SEC. Nothing. And now it is en fuego with new coaches and new blood and new money. And oh my gosh, good luck, Kalen. Good luck.”

Will Huard root for DeBoer?

Huard spoke glowingly of DeBoer during his two seasons at Washington during which he led the Huskies to a combined 25-3 record.

Co-host Mike Salk wanted to know if Huard will be rooting for DeBoer going forward.

“I will be rooting much, much harder for (new UW Huskies head coach) Jedd Fisch than I will be for Kalen DeBoer to fail. I know that,” he said.

But Huard wouldn’t mind seeing DeBoer’s honeymoon phase get off to a sour note at Alabama.

“I wouldn’t mind if there’s a little humble pie,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind if there’s a little ‘be careful what you wish for.’ … I think if there’s 100 coaches in Kalen DeBoer’s shoes, 99 of them are going to go and take this job at Alabama, especially with this path that he’s been on and the journey that he’s had.”

Huard did feel DeBoer was “different” and was someone who’d stay at Washington long-term, but obviously he wasn’t.

“It’s gonna be hard (for DeBoer), man,” he said. “It is going to be a harder transition at Bama than it would have been for him in Michigan, but ultimately he must have known that Michigan is gonna go a different direction whenever Jim Harbaugh does leave.”

Listen to the full discussion in the Blue 88 segment from Thursday’s Brock and Salk in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

More on Kalen DeBoer leaving UW Huskies

AD Dannen had ‘inkling around Thanksgiving’ DeBoer may leave UW
Caple: Where UW Huskies roster stands as Jedd Fisch takes over
Three takeaways from Jedd Fisch’s first UW Huskies press conference
Brennan Carroll, son of Pete, named UW Huskies OC under Jedd Fisch
Video: Brock Huard on Kalen DeBoer to Bama, Jedd Fisch to UW Huskies

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