Kalen DeBoer breaks down Washington QB competition ahead of fall camp
Some coaches will tell you the quarterback is part of a team, no more important to overall success than his offensive line or the secondary on defense. Other coaches will steer head-on into the “most important spot on a football field” line of thinking. Kalen DeBoer has said time and again this offseason, the quarterback is of paramount importance to what this offense does.
The new Husky head coach has three guys vying for the QB1 job as fall camp gets set to open in Seattle—Indiana import Michael Penix Jr., 2021 starter Dylan Morris, and former 5-star recruit Sam Huard.
At Pac-12 Media Day over the weekend, DeBoer touched on what he’s seen from the three.
“Systematically, (Penix) understands what we do,” DeBoer said of the former Indiana man. The two worked together at IU in 2019 before DeBoer took over at Fresno State. “That was an easy transition for him during spring ball. You see him being able to coach guys up and being a little more confident in that.”
Penix is the favorite to ultimately earn the starting job, but he has dealt with injury issues in the past and UW has two capable incumbents who will challenge him.
“It’s cool hearing the guys that are on the team and hearing them talk about how much they see Dylan’s improvement from last year already to where we’re at now,” DeBoer said of Morris. “That’s only going to continue to happen and develop.
“Then you got the up-and-comer. You got Sam Huard. Took a few snaps last year. His ceiling, he’s probably the furthest away from his ceiling because he’s younger, hasn’t taken as many snaps that the other two have. Every day his growth is the one that probably will continue to be the most extreme each and every day.”
DeBoer said it has been fun to watch all three compete against each other but also work together. He called them high-character guys and said they’re “doing a great job of doing it in a united way.”
UW kicks off fall camp Thursday morning. DeBoer and his staff will look to find their starting quarterback. Those decisions take time, but you also need to be able to make one relatively quickly so you can start divvying up practice reps to prepare your No. 1 for the season.
DeBoer touched on what he’s looking for:
“Play-making ability can come in a lot of different forms,” he said. “To me distributing the ball is the first form. Anything they can do extending plays and things like that. Doesn’t mean they’re running for yards, but maybe they’re keeping the play alive, eyes downfield. I think in the past couple of years, some of our biggest plays have been when the initial play broke down. That play-making ability is critical.
“But the arm talent that comes along with being a great passer is key. Then someone who is going to lead the charge, right? You need that toughness as a football team. I think the toughness your quarterback brings is where it all starts. Your offensive line, your defensive line, your defense as a whole. The quarterback gets a lot of attention, we all know that. His resolve and his resiliency, his toughness is critical to our success for sure.”