'What could he possibly have done better?': Kalen DeBoer gets A+ for Year 1 at Washington
Josh Pate joked that some of Washington’s stats from 2022 should have the red squiggly lines you get under misspelled words in Microsoft Word. They look like they should be errors when compared to the Huskies’ 2021 output.
Pate, an analyst for 247Sports and one of the most trusted sources of football commentary out there, had two stats to highlight the turnaround.
In 2021, Washington averaged 21.5 points per game. In Kalen DeBoer’s first season in charge, the Huskies averaged 39.7.
In 2021, Washington averaged 323 yards of offense per game. In DeBoer’s first season, the Huskies averaged 516.
“Kalen DeBoer? A+,” Pate said. “What could he possibly have done better? He comes to Washington, they’re 4-8! They’re a non-factor. And it’s not like he came in there and he inherited a bunch of 5-star talent that someone had been underachieving with. He inherited a sneaky good roster, but no one looked at Washington and said, ‘There they are, the Georgia Bulldogs of the Northwest.’
“Kalen DeBoer goes and just wins 11 games in Year 1. Beats Oregon in Year 1. And does so with Michael Penix at quarterback.”
The reunion of DeBoer and Penix — who served as Indiana’s offensive coordinator and quarterback in 2019 — worked wonders in Seattle. Penix led the country in passing and looked like a legitimate Heisman contender after spending his first four years in Bloomington trying just to get through a single season healthy.
“It’s very easy for someone to look at Michael Penix after the season and say, oh, well of course Kalen DeBoer won more games, he had Michael Penix! Oh, no, no, no. You don’t get to do that unless you celebrated the acquisition when they got him out of the portal. But no one did, or very few of you did. I didn’t,” Pate continued. “I didn’t. You know why? Because Michael Penix has been injury prone his entire career and he’s been a turnover machine his entire career, and when Washington got him, quite frankly I thought they were bringing him in to add depth and I thought ultimately one of the other guys up there was going to win the job.”
Instead, Penix started all 13 games for the Huskies. UW kept him upright and led the country in sack rate allowed. DeBoer had a hand in tweaking the offensive line, kicking an All-Pac-12 tackle, Jaxson Kirkland, inside to guard.
“They added about 18 points per game on average to their final score from last year to this year,” Pate said. “Just insane numbers. … That’s really what Kalen DeBoer did with Michael Penix at quarterback in Year 1. Phenomenal job. Could not possibly think any more highly of what he did up there.”
And Penix, along with a slew of weapons, returns for 2023 to help DeBoer continue to build.
"They added about 18 points per game on average to their final score from last year to this year."@LateKickJosh explains why he's giving Washington Head Coach Kalen Deboer an A+ on the job approval rating 🏈
WATCH 📺: https://t.co/8QHcWNzz7q pic.twitter.com/vRkjIYbr2t
— 247Sports (@247Sports) January 26, 2023