Arizona State defensive coordinator says Washington's Michael Penix Jr. can 'make every throw'
After the start to the season Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. has enjoyed, he has everyone’s full attention.
The Huskies take on Arizona State this Saturday in Tempe, and ASU defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson was incredibly complimentary of Penix when he met with reporters to begin the week.
“That quarterback can stand in the pocket and make every throw,” Henderson said, per Devils Digest. “He can throw from inside hash to outside hash.”
Defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson on Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr.:"That quarterback can stand in the pocket and make every throw… He can throw from inside hash to outside hash."
— DevilsDigest.com (@DevilsDigest) October 3, 2022
We’ve seen Penix’s arm talent on full display time and time again this season. He entered Week 5 action as the nation’s leading passer. Despite an off day throwing the football in a 40-32 loss to UCLA — by Penix’s standards, at least — the Husky quarterback still leads all passers in yards thrown and sits fifth in touchdowns.
Penix is top-10 among FBS quarterbacks this season in expected points added on pass attempts. He’s throwing players open, anticipating where to go with the football, seemingly always making the right decisions. But the ridiculous arm talent he possesses has gotten him into trouble spots throughout his career as he tries to thread the needle.
It hadn’t shown up yet this season until Penix was picked off twice by the Bruins, both in the second quarter.
There’s a balance the staff tries to strike there, between wanting Penix to be protective of the football but also knowing that he simply can make throws others might not even attempt.
“We sit here and we put our stamp of approval on how he throws guys open, how he anticipates, and how guys are barely out of their breaks and the ball’s out. On the one, the defender’s literally spinning in the ground as the release is happening. Mike’s anticipation, that’s what he’s trying to do. That’s what’s made him so successful. He learns from it,” said coach Kalen DeBoer on Monday. “It’s not been a common thing for him as we’ve seen through five games to turn the ball over. So, learn from it. He was into his progression a little bit. He just needed to continue on and not force it that time. Especially knowing kind of where we’re at in the game and the momentum. I think especially when he had thrown the second one — being a little more careful with that throw in particular.”
Penix and the Huskies will look to regroup after their first loss of the season and get back on track against the 1-4 Sun Devils. For what it’s worth: the last QB to face this ASU squad went for 348 yards and four total touchdowns.