It’s been a whirlwind week for Pacific Northwest football fans. First, the Washington Huskies lost the national championship to Michigan, ending a season that could not be categorized as anything but a resounding success. After the loss, every important offensive weapon from that team declared for the NFL draft. Then, Kalen DeBoer jumped at the chance to follow in Nick Saban’s footsteps at Alabama. Even Pete Carroll lost his job with the Seahawks, another blow for true Seattle football fans.
When the dust finally settled, Washington, with a decimated roster and coaching staff, settled on former Arizona head coach Jedd Fisch, who revived a football program that had no pulse, as the next head coach of the Huskies.
Now, as is often the case in college football, fans are left with their heads spinning and hearts broken, trying to make sense of it all and find some hope in the chaos.
Fisch, who spent the last three seasons at Arizona, is a bit of a football nomad, with the resume of a mercenary.
For a coach who never spends much time in one place, he certainly was able to stockpile talent in Tuscon. However, his departure may have burnt some bridges, which could complicate the quarterback situation in Seattle.
This season, when his starting quarterback Jayden de Laura went down with an injury, Fisch struck gold with true freshman Noah Fifita, and his connection with longtime teammate Tetairoa McMillan. The duo led Arizona to a 10-3 record with a win over Oklahoma in the Alamo Bowl.
When coaches move on to the next big job, they often bring their best talent with them through the transfer portal. Some Washington fans are trepidatious about Fisch’s ability to execute that crucial piece of the transition after his tumultuous exit.
However, if he can, then the excitement level will ratchet up a notch in Seattle. Fifita threw for 2,869 yards and 25 touchdowns to six interceptions while completing 72.4% of his passes and McMillan racked up 1,402 yards and 10 scores on 90 receptions in the dynamic Fisch offense.
Still, it’s not pure bliss for Husky fans after the hire. There is a lot of empathy for Arizona fans, now in the same situation that Washington was, a feeder system to a bigger program with better resources.
However, as it always goes, with time, empathy erodes and optimism arises. The Washington program is in a better place than Arizona’s, but I’m not so sure I’d go as far as this fan did.