Kalen DeBoer earns glowing midseason grade from ESPN after Washington's 5-2 start
Kalen DeBoer’s hiring at Washington was overshadowed a bit this offseason by two other Pac-12 programs that made “splashier” hires. But the Huskies’ leading man wasted little time proving he and UW were just as worthy of the attention as the league’s other top teams.
Washington roared out of the gates to a 4-0 start. It stumbled on the road in back-to-back weeks, but returned to the raucous confines of Husky Stadium this past Saturday and gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about. Washington beat Arizona 49-39 to move to 5-2 on the year. In the win, UW surpassed the point total generated by last season’s offense in just seven games.
At the midway point of the season, ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg handed out midseason grades for each of the first-year head coaches in college football. Unsurprisingly, DeBoer earned an A-.
Here’s what Rittenberg wrote on DeBoer’s start:
DeBoer’s hiring didn’t generate nearly as much attention in the Pac-12 or nationally as that of Riley or Lanning, but he was a sneaky good choice for a Washington program needing a reset after the bizarre Jimmy Lake era. A proven playcaller at Fresno State, Indiana and Eastern Michigan, DeBoer has given Washington’s dormant offense some real zest again. The Huskies averaged 44 points in four wins to open the season, as quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who played under DeBoer at Indiana, racked up big plays in the passing game. Penix slowed down a bit in Washington’s first loss to UCLA, but he still has reached the 300-yard passing mark in every game, putting up a team-record 516 yards on Saturday against Arizona. Penix leads the nation with 2,560 pass yards. Washington incredibly ranks eighth nationally in scoring, a huge plus for DeBoer. The Huskies’ defense looked shaky in road losses to UCLA and Arizona State, where the team still hasn’t won since 2001. DeBoer’s Year 1 success ultimately will hinge on Washington’s ability to play away from home, as the team still must visit Cal, Oregon and Washington State.
It’s no shock to see DeBoer finding success right away with UW. He’s won everywhere he’s been.
Counting his stops at the NAIA level, DeBoer has a career 84-11 record as a head coach. He won three NAIA national championships in 2006, 2008, and 2009 with Sioux Falls. In 2005, his first year with the program, he won 11 games and went to the NAIA semifinals. Over the next four years, the only loss Sioux Falls suffered in 57 games was in the 2007 NAIA national championship.
Early indications are that DeBoer will continue to add to the résumé on Montlake.
UW faces Cal in Berkeley on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT.