How will Bush Hamdan Re-Adjust to the College Game?

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 30: Quarterback Jake Browning (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 30: Quarterback Jake Browning (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /

Head coach Chris Petersen and offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan reunite for the 2018-19 Washington football season. Here’s what to expect

You can find a lot of intriguing storylines going into the 2018-19 football season for the Washington Huskies.  As a matter of fact, the return of newly rehired offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan is one of the more intriguing stories making headlines. After all, Hamdan is returning from the NFL, where he served as the Atlanta Falcons’ quarterbacks coach. And he is filling a new expanded role as the recently vacated offensive coordinator position.  That role was vacated by former offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith, who resigned to take over the head coaching job at Oregon State. While Hamdan does have experience calling plays, he has never done so at a major D1 school.

Hamden has a solid history with Coach Petersen. This year, that history will be vital. Despite an offense loaded with weapons, the team struggled with the passing game.   Part of the problem was the number of injuries to receivers, and the inability to ramp up new starters quickly enough to compensate. Hamdan will see to that this year.

Will the Transition be Rocky?

I believe the transition will be seamless for both Hamdan and the players. Most of these receivers had already committed to Hamdan before he left for the NFL. That group includes all of the 2017 receivers, and Austin Osborne in the 2018 class. Hamdan still played a heavy role in recruiting Marquis Spiker.  And if you recall, Spiker committed about a month after Hamdan was hired by the Falcons.

Coach Hamden spent a year away gaining experience in the NFL with a solid offense of the Atlanta Falcons. Now, he brings all that experience back to UW. He was able to work with one of the best receivers in the NFL in Julio Jones, even as the quarterbacks coach. I have a feeling that guys like Spiker and Ty Jones are going to want to hear a bit more about that.

How will he handle that passing game?

Now, will Hamdan be able to return the passing game to its elite level that we saw in 2016? He definitely has the potential with a lot of open spots to fill in the passing game. Some might forget that he was the passing game coordinator in 2016, when Jake Browning had a record setting year. Helping the cause is the return of two key weapons: tight end Hunter Bryant and wide receiver Chico McClatcher. Both should be back from season ending injuries.  So too should left tackle Trey Adams. All of these guys will have a huge impact on the way Hamdan calls plays.

The Huskies could rely on the air attack a lot more this season if everyone stays healthy. Wide receiver Ty Jones might contend for a starting spot this year.  And don’t be surprised if Marquis Spiker is on the field a lot as a true freshman too. That pairing of wide receivers might not be the duo that Dante Pettis and John Ross were, but they can be just as dynamic. With Jones standing at 6’4, Spiker at 6’3 and Hunter Bryant at 6’5, that’s a nightmare for opposing defenses.

More than hot air

I would also expect to see a lot of now sophomore running back Salvon Ahmed on passing downs. With the departure of teammate rusher Lavon Coleman, Ahmed should be secure as the number two running back. I also believe incoming freshman Trey Lowe could work into a similar role that Ahmed played in 2017.

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Hamdan has a lot of options to exploit in 2018, and it will be interesting to see how they work out. There might be a lot of different looks that we see in non conference as Hamdan tries to figure out what works. At the end of the day, I would still expect a lot of success from Hamdan, who hasn’t been away for too long. After all, the Washington Football team appears to have all the right pieces to have an outstanding season offensively. Perhaps Hamdan’s new perspective is all that is needed to transform the offense into realizing their full potential.