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Comparing Current UW Football Coaches to the Guys They Replaced

We graded these guys on service, success and staff cohesion.
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A long-time University of Washington football observer, after watching Kalen DeBoer's coaching staff conduct another spring practice, remarked how refreshing it was for him to see a highly disciplined system guiding the Huskies once more.

Outside of Chris Petersen, he said, most UW football coaches over the previous two decades tended to come in and sort of wing it with their preparation, always trying things to see what worked rather than relying on a proven fall-back system.

Steve Sarkisian. Tyrone Willingham. Rick Neuheisel. Jimmy Lake. 

While it's unclear exactly how much the Husky talent level has increased during the recent change in UW leaders, at least until some games are played, the early impressions are the coaching staff is vastly more experienced and cohesive that the one it replaced.

Lake felt compelled to give out promotions to untested coaches and taking chances on people he'd never met before, something that shouldn't happen at the UW or any Power 5 school with great frequency. 

DeBoer brought in veteran coaches without exception, holding up a previous connection or personal relationship with each of his guys, sometimes dating back decades.

We compare each new coach on the Montlake payroll to the one that was replaced. We grade them either by full-time experience or simply how some of them ended up after leaving Seattle.


OC: Ryan Grubb vs. John Donovan

Grubb brings 16 seasons of college coaching experience to Seattle, including a combined seven years as an offensive coordinator at Fresno State and Sioux Falls. His Fresno team last season averaged 464.8 yards and 33.4 points per game. Donovan came to the UW with 15 years of experience, including a combined five as an offensive coordinator for Vanderbilt and Penn State. He was fired after two seasons by the Nittany Lions. He was terminated after just 13 games with the Huskies, with last year's team averaging just 323.4 yards and 21.5 points an outing. Donovan is now a senior analyst for the Green Bay Packers ... on defense. Edge: Grubb

JaMarcus Shephard gives instructions to a Husky.

JaMarcus Shephard offers a tip.

WR: JaMarcus Shephard vs. Junior Adams

Adams arrived at the UW with 14 years of college coaching behind him while Shephard had eight. Ironically, both receivers coaches spent time at Western Kentucky. Both have been offensive coordinators; Adams at Western Kentucky, Shephard as the co-OC at Purdue. Adams coached most recent Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp at Eastern Washington, Shephard a 114-catch receiver in Rondale Moore at Purdue. After initially agreeing to join DeBoer's staff, Adams moved to Oregon to guide the Ducks receivers. Edge: Adams

OL: Scott Huff vs. Scott Huff

As the lone carryover coach, Huff hopes to reclaim earlier UW success levels. In his 17th year of college coaching, 11 coming at Boise State, he's looking to rebuild the Husky offensive line after it struggled on his watch the past two seasons. In his time in Seattle, he's sent linemen Kaleb McGary, Coleman Shelton, Nick Harris and Luke Wattenberg to the NFL. Unlike his previous UW peers, Huff gets a coaching reprieve this coming season. Edge: Huff

RB: Lee Marks vs. Keith Bhonapha

The Huskies hired a pair of guys here who each came off five seasons of coaching the Boise State running backs, with a one-year gap between their stints in Idaho. Marks arrived in Seattle with eight years of overall college coaching experience, counting stops at Fresno State and South Dakota State. Bonapha came to the UW and joined the Petersen staff in 2014 with only his Boise stint behind him, yet he's a 13-year coach now, having returned to Boise State. Edge: Bhonapha

TE: Nick Sheridan vs. Derham Cato

Sheridan came to the UW with seven seasons of full-time college coaching behind him. He spent the previous five years at Indiana, two as offensive coordinator, and was dismissed in the latter role. He also coached single seasons as a QB coach at South Florida and Western Kentucky. Cato? He was promoted from quality coach by Lake and is now seeking a career in sales. Edge: Sheridan

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DC/LB: William Inge vs. Bob Gregory

Inge comes to the UW with 21 years of college and NFL coaching experience, including seven as a defensive coordinator. He spent seven seasons alone on the staff at Indiana and had stops at Fresno State, Cincinnati, Colorado, San Diegp State, Buffalo and the Buffalo Bills. Gregory arrived at the UW with 25 years of coaching, 11 combined as a defensive coordinator for California, Boise State and Willamette. However, even with 33 years of full-time coaching duty on his resume, Gregory settled for a quality coaching assignment at Oregon, possibly considered past his prime. Edge: Inge

Inoke Breckterfield leaves the field while giving pointers to defensive tackle Kuao Peihopa.

Defensive-line coach Inoke Breckterfield advises Kuao Peihopa as they leave the field. 

DL: Inoke Breckterfield vs. Rip Rowan

A highly decorated Oregon State defensive lineman in his time, Breckterfield brings 13 seasons of D-line coaching experience at six schools with him to the UW, joining DeBoer's staff from an SEC post at Vanderbilt. At Pittsburgh, he helped make Aaron Donald into the dominant player he is today in the NFL, which is enough to make widely respected in his profession. Rowan? He was promoted from quality coach to become a regular member of the Lake staff last season and has resurfaced at Georgia Southern as the D-line coach. Usually coaches like him start out at the smaller school and go to the UW, not the other way around. Edge: Breckterfield

ER: Eric Schmidt vs. Ikaika Malloe

Schmidt came to the UW as the edge-rusher coach with 16 seasons spent at Fresno State, Southern Illinois and North Dakota. He served as a defensive coordinator for the latter school. Malloe, popular for being a former UW safety and linebacker, arrived at his alma mater with 15 years of college coaching behind him and stayed six seasons directing the D-line and edge rushers. He was a Huskies' co-defensive coordinator for two seasons. He's now the edge-rusher coach at UCLA. Edge: Malloe

Co-defensive coordinator Chuck Morrell barks out instructions.

Chuck Morrell barks out practice instructions. 

DB: Chuck Morrell vs. Will Harris

A former Montana Tech head coach for nine seasons before joining DeBoer at Fresno State, Morrell arrived in Seattle with 24 years of coaching experience to supervise the Husky safeties and serve as co-defensive coordinator. Harris, a nine-year coach, was the only member of Lake's staff to get a promotion after leaving, becoming the Georgia Southern defensive coordinator, though he dropped down a level from Power 5 to get it. Edge: Morrell 

DB: Julius Brown vs. Terrance Brown

The man called Juice was hired by DeBoer to guide the cornerbacks following 10 seasons of coaching at Fresno State, Texas Tech, Utah State, Boise State, Arkansas State and Troy. The other Brown spent two seasons at the UW following two more at Vanderbilt after serving as a quality coach for the Huskies. He's now at Stanford. Edge: Juice Brown


Kalen DeBoer vs. Jimmy Lake

DeBoer arrived at the UW as an offensive specialist with 22 years of coaching experience, seven as a head coach at Fresno State and Sioux Falls. He won three national championships and compiled a 67-3 record at the NAIA school. Last November, Lake was fired from the UW in the middle of his 22nd year in college and NFL coaching career as a defensive-minded leader. He received just 13 Husky games to show what he could do as the man in charge. He had never been a head coach before until he replaced Petersen in Montlake in 2019. Lake, of course, remains unemployed. Edge: DeBoer

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