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College Football Fix: Kalen DeBoer, Washington Huskies Head Coach

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
The Truth Network Radio
June 29, 2023 8:09 pm

College Football Fix: Kalen DeBoer, Washington Huskies Head Coach

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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June 29, 2023 8:09 pm

Kalen DeBoer joined Zach to discuss about Washington's impressive Year 1 and if he thinks Michael Penix Jr. is the best QB in the country. 


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Visit We miss college football. Bennett takes the snap and the shotgun, throws for the corner.

Brock Bowers one on one. Caught! Touchdown!

He ate him alive! Falls down into the end zone. Six more for Georgia. We can't wait for the 2023 season. Caleb Williams throws the fade in the corner.

Touchdown Trojans! And we're counting down the days to kick off. Are we there yet? No. Are we there yet? I said no. Are we there yet?

What's wrong with your ears? Here is your college football fix. Only on the Zach Gelb Show. 65 days away until the University of Washington kicks off its season against Boise State. Last year in the debut season for Kalen DeBoer, the Huskies did have an 11-2 record.

They did win the Alamo Bowl up against Texas. Now joining us is the second year coach of the Washington Huskies, and that of course is Kalen DeBoer. Coach, always great to catch up with you. Appreciate the time. How you been?

Yeah, I'm good. Thanks for having me on today. So when you look back at year one, I never know what to expect when a coach goes to a new school. Why, when you look back on it, was the university a good fit for you and you were a good fit for them with the impressive season you had?

Yeah, that's probably a question that can give you a lot of answers to, but from my end, I'm just knowing what this program is all about. There's just so much tradition and history. There's a lot of support. Here in Seattle, you have a few pro teams, but from a college standpoint, this is the show in town. You can see it on every Saturday with the way the fans pack the stadium.

They love the dogs and there's just, again, good strong foundation to build on. Even though it was a season the year before, before we got here, that wasn't maybe one of the greatest seeing who was here and who was returning. We had a pretty good feeling it would be a pretty good season.

We'd have a chance here at the end. Were you at all surprised how successful it was year one when you look back at it? Yeah, I think you don't know exactly what you got, but I saw the mindset of the guys in fall camp, probably before that this summer, where every day the mindset was headed in the right direction. You could see the development of the guys and the buy-in physically. They were getting bigger as well and faster. Once we got in the season and you saw them executing, you knew that, hey, we can win every game on our schedule.

I think there was a piece, too. We weren't far enough along where you couldn't say that we couldn't possibly lose every game a year ago. You just had to come out and play really good football. As the buy-in became greater and greater, our guys' preparation each and every week was at an extremely high level. They produced and had a lot of fun. We just wanted that season to continue on. Having everyone playing the bowl game shows how much these guys were excited about playing football each and every Saturday.

Kaitlyn DeBoer here with us. Everywhere you've gone as a coach, Sioux Falls, Fresno State, and Washington so far, you've had success. What did you learn, though, in this journey last year about yourself that maybe was a little bit different than the other two stops?

That's a good question. I learned at a couple different places along the way you don't have to sit back and wait. Not that you're going to do a complete overhaul, but within the program have confidence that in one year you can make some major improvements. I always go back to my Fresno State opportunity there both times. One coming as a coordinator and they were 1-11 before we got there. We went 10-4. Then the second time coming back, it was a 4-8 season before we got there. We went 12-2 that year. We were 9-3 that year. A lot of great things that happened in the very next year coming off of seasons where maybe the expectations weren't as high coming in.

Your teams, Kaitlyn DeBoer, have always got better. I just wonder when you had so much success as you did in year one, what has been the vibe around your team? Because sometimes when you have a team that has success, complacency sets in or that success just breeds those guys to be more motivated than ever. Yeah, I think we use the word starving. There's a starving mindset still that exists. I just keep reminding them we didn't win the conference championship last year.

We didn't make it to a New Year's six bowl game. There's a lot yet that they have as goals that they haven't accomplished. Just reminding them of that.

We have a lot of really good down-to-earth guys that realize that the success comes through hard work. They're just putting their head down and grinding each and every day. I don't feel like the complacency thing is a part of who we are. It wasn't last year as the season was going. They know that August, we've got to be better than we are today. As we go through the season each and every day, each and every week, we've got to get better. That's the formula for our success and what got us to this point right now. The belief and trust we have in having a great season this fall, that's what's going to carry us on throughout this fall as well. Kaitlyn DeBoer, when you look back and you celebrated last season at the team banquet, I know your quarterback had a nice little surprise for you guys.

Relive that moment for me. Yeah, it was the end of the banquet and we've given out all our awards. Kind of giving our little highlight film at the end and people sitting back. Mike said something a little bit.

I got something to show you, or someone presented actually. Tony Casacona, our play-by-play said there's one more video we want to show. Mike had put something together with our head of creative and it was awesome. You can kind of tell right away, just by the tone of it, that it was probably good news that we were going to be hearing. It was pretty exciting seeing Mike put that together. You can tell it meant a lot to him and the players as well. Just really rallying around him and loving that he's here first of all and that he's coming back. Just kept the excitement going through December into the bowl game.

Of course, carried over this year. He had a great season Michael Penix Jr. and that's probably an understatement with 31 touchdowns and cleared over 4,600 yards. Were you surprised when he said he was coming back or did you kind of expect that? I think there was enough conversations there in those weeks prior to where there was a possibility he was coming back.

He was having too much fun. I think he also understood that another year of growth and development would help his opportunities with the NFL and the draft. He and we all vetted out the situation. Really helped him become educated on the possibilities either way, staying or leaving. He's a really mature kid. He's been through a lot. Just trusting that the decision that was best for him was going to be what was best for us.

That's the way he chose to go. Of course, we're super excited. That's the belief he has and what can happen this fall. It was so awesome to see the way that not only did he play at a really high level, but he was dominant and one of the better quarterbacks in the country. It's just impossible not to feel good for someone like that, especially like you said with all the adversity and the injuries that he suffered when he was at Indiana.

The cool thing is he's using his platform now to help others. He's been in different passing academies, in camps and Elite 11 as a counselor. Just different things that he's done where he's sharing his experiences and everything he's been through.

Because of these guys in high school, it's been pretty easy going. He's been through the fire many times in many different ways. He's a better person because of it. All those experiences lead to him being really good in those big moments on the football field for us right now. What did you guys challenge him to do this offseason? I know last year it's tough to top what he did individually, but how do you try to make him get even better here in year two? I think the difference is that a year ago we really didn't announce him as a starting quarterback until midway through fall camp.

This year he's got a whole season to really build the team around him and lead. It wasn't that he wasn't doing that once he was a starter in last fall, but he's had a whole offseason now. He speaks up regularly. In fact, often if anything he's not quite in line or in check. Maybe even that complacency piece that you're talking about, if for one second he senses anything, we're not up to a good start for a player two in spring ball or running a workout here in the summer if there's something or even beforehand.

He just sees something and he'll address it. Our guys respond to him and he's just taking his leadership to another level. Do you feel like you have the best quarterback in the country right now? I'm sure that's arguable. For everyone that has a guy of high caliber like we have with Mike, I'm glad he's ours.

I guess that's probably the best way to put it. Just because of the special relationship we have with him, I honestly wouldn't want anyone else. So that's no knock on other quarterbacks around the country. It's just his talent mixed with his experiences and just the journey that we've been on together.

I can't wait for what's left here in the months ahead. Just forget about the rest of the country. You just look at your conference coach. It's impressive, the quarterbacks. We all know what Caleb Williams did a year ago. Bo Nix had a really good redemption season. Cam Rising is just such a warrior. We'll see how he'll be coming off that ACL. D.J. Ungola-Laye goes to Oregon State. You have Sanders Kidd at Colorado. This is just a ridiculous conference when it comes to quarterback play. You had to remind me.

You're right. It's really impressive. The quarterbacks that we'll be facing this fall, nothing but respect for all of those you just mentioned and then some more as well. It's going to be a year where the game's never in hand because the opposing quarterback can rip it and make some big plays.

It's going to take one moment at a time. There's going to be a lot of momentum swings in Pac-12 football this year with all those quarterbacks, ours being one of them, that are pulling the trigger on these throws and these offenses. Do you at all sense a chip on your guys' shoulder? Because heading into this year, everyone's talking about what USC is going to do and not the other teams in the Pac-12 conference, which does have Utah, by the way, that's won the last two conference titles.

No, I don't think so. I think different teams deserve different levels of respect based on where they've been at and what they've done. Again, I think we always just point to us. We weren't there yet. We felt at the end of the season last year we were playing as good a football as anyone in the conference, but we didn't do what we were supposed to do earlier in the year and fell short.

So, I think it always comes back to us. We've got to do it and make sure we're not vulnerable by losing games that we're not supposed to lose. Just taking care of business in the offseason and in our preparation each and every week.

Coach Kaelyn DeBoer, before we let you run, the head coach of the University of Washington Huskies. We know last year had a very successful season in year one. We'll see what happens in year two.

We were just talking and having some fun with the quarterbacks. It makes me wonder, where is your defense at heading into the season? Yeah, I really feel good about what we did this spring. We brought in a couple key additions to build on what we had returning. Really a lot of guys coming back and we've got some more depth. So, just from a health standpoint, we feel a little better across the board.

I've used the word vulnerable a couple times even this interview. I felt like last year that's what we were. Injuries hit us and hit us hard at a couple key spots and put us in a tough spot. I think year two in a system and a lot more reps that are banked for all our guys and another level of trust and belief.

Us being able to spin some things around our players and moving them around a little bit to fit their skills. I'm excited about the mindset and where they're at and what they did this spring and the direction they continue to go with a good fall camp ahead. I feel like we're going to be right there in the fall. It seems like for everything you're saying, Coach Kalen DeBoer, that you guys have everything you need. You tell me if I'm right or wrong in saying this, to go win the Pac-12 this year and be playing in the college football playoff.

Again, that's left to be fed on the football field. I feel like we've got a team that has the makeup and the mindset. Again, I think every team that wins a championship, there's a couple breaks you've got to catch along the way. Whether it's staying healthy or we're in a close game here and there. I've been a part of that over many years of winning championships. Teams, the way they come together, I think all those things are happening for us.

But now we've got to go do it. Last thing I'll ask you, Kalen DeBoer, I know it's such an ambiguous kind of question that I'm going to ask you. But you look at the future of the Pac-12 and the future of college football with all the changes in the conference. Are recruits even asking you about that when you're recruiting them about the future of the Pac-12 and the vision of Washington in regard to the conference? Yeah, I think it's been something that's been brought up more, especially in the last couple months. I know a lot of it revolves around the media deals and things like that and just waiting to see what happens.

Of course, people are discussing things everywhere, so guys are asking. I think I just always put the trust in UW, not just our football program, but our athletics department, our university. We have so much going for us and so many of those areas that are important. The Pac-12 is our home and we're going to give everything to the place that's our home. I know that if whatever happens down the road happens, we're going to be in a good spot. We have a lot to offer and just trust in UW and all the support and all the things that have happened over the years leading to great things in the future as well.

Well, 65 days away, Washington Huskies, they do kick off their season up against Boise State at 3.30 p.m. Eastern on ABC. Coach, good luck, Kalen DeBoer. Thanks so much.

Alright, thanks for having me on. Appreciate it. Do you hear that? That is the sound of BMW performance without a single piston or cylinder. A generation of all-electric vehicles designed and built like no other. The BMW iX, i7 and i4 revolutionize every drive into a thrilling opportunity to feel the pure rush of BMW 100% electric. But isn't that what you'd expect from the ultimate electric driving machine? Take advantage of exceptional lease and finance offers today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-29 22:34:01 / 2023-06-29 22:41:26 / 7

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