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Husky Fans, Prepare for DeBoer Poaching Attempts to Begin

Pac-12 disarray complicates everything even with UW football on the upswing.
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University of Washington football fans, no matter what happens this coming season, can't totally win. They're likely going to get agitated and frustrated.

If the Huskies don't make a longer run than last year's Alamo Bowl team with its overabundance of holdover talent and escalating hype, Montlake followers surely will be disappointed.

However, a worse scenario for them is this: Should second-year Husky coach Kalen DeBoer produce another stellar 11-victory ledger or better, expect any well-funded and overeager SEC or Big Ten football program in need of an immediate coaching fix to begin an all-assault for his services, dangling the following incentives:

Money.

Conference stability.

Money.

A better TV deal.

More money.

They do that for proven winners. DeBoer got everyone's rapt attention across college football with his debut 11-2 season in Seattle, which was remarkable because it was just a few cornerbacks shy of running the table and unlike anything ever seen by the purple and gold faithful in 133 seasons.

In first-year showings by reputable Husky sideline leaders, Jim Owens finished 3-6-1, Steve Sarkisian 5-7, Darrell Royal 5-5, Steve Sarkisian 5-7, Don James 6-5, Rick Neuheisel 7-5, Chris Petersen 8-6 and Gil Dobie 6-0-1 (who beat two high school teams). There's more than a couple of coaching legends on that list.

DeBoer's Huskies took down Michigan State, Oregon and Texas, all ranked at some point, all programs that carry a lot of weight, regardless if there was a temporary falloff such as in East Lansing last season. The UW finished with a final No. 8 Associated Press ranking. He lost a pair of one-score games on the road. He put an unstoppable offense on the field at all times.

College football, if you haven't noticed, is an overly selfish sporting entity with no allegiance to anyone these days, willing to cannibalize itself if the mood feels right, and especially if rabid fans require it.

DeBoer was 67-3 at Sioux Falls. It doesn't matter if that was flag football, View Ridge Little League or a fantasy football league. At any level, 67-3 deserves endless discussion, an instant promotion, if not total wonderment.

This Husky coach just might be one of those guys who wins wherever he goes, with whatever personnel he has on the roster, no matter what level of football. He could be that someone with the "It" factor.

Clearly, he was everything his predecessor Jimmy Lake wasn't as the man in charge, which was detail-oriented with a harmonious coaching staff, not 4-8 with a well-stocked roster.

Probably the biggest difference between these UW football coaches was their varied responses to their season low points: While Lake tried hard to act cool under fire and shrug off a shocking home loss to FCS Montana, which was amazing to watch — both the upset and Lake's response to it — DeBoer, in full control, clearly showed his alarm over getting upset by Arizona State and vowed in ever so subtle terms (see above video) that he and his staff would do what was necessary to fix things.

"In our program, it's not going to be OK," the coach said in his Tempe postgame news conference.

After watching his demanding, highly organized practices, DeBoer could be a guy who can beat you with mostly 3-star talent and adequate facilities by coaching them up better than the opposition. If he takes two in a row over rival Oregon, expect that fan base to be both shocked and in need of a therapist all at once.

In particular, expect one of the Big Ten programs with considerable sway to come after DeBoer hard if he continues to win big at Washington, promising a better league with long-term stability, a significant salary boost and the chance for the coach to return to his native Midwest roots.

For Husky football fans, schools that attempt to lure away this successful coach will be the price to pay for winning big and the UW hiring such a capable leader while conference neglect sinks in and gets used against the Pac-12 in every way.

Now DeBoer won't necessarily be in a big hurry to leave the Huskies any time soon, but he should have the option should he continue to win at such an accelerated rate. He might find one of those offers simply too good to pass up — say replacing Jim Harbaugh at Michigan, should the Wolverines coach be unable to stay out of trouble — especially if the Pac-12 finds it tough to stay relevant.

After all, DeBoer left Fresno State for Washington after two seasons in charge. It was a chance to move up. Better league. Bigger stage. Better paycheck.


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