It was a very underwhelming season for the Washington Huskies last year. A team that had so much promise before the season, ended up with an 8-5 record. They did however, end the season with a blowout victory, beating an 18th ranked Boise State team, 38-7 in the Las Vegas Bowl. However, with the loss of star quarterback and Indianapolis Colts draft pick Jacob Eason, what can we really expect from the Washington Huskies in the 2020 season?
What To Expect From The 2020 Washington Huskies
The biggest change for the 2020-2021 season is not the loss of Eason. It is the resignation of former head coach, Chris Petersen, who announced his resignation last December. Most is college football were caught off guard by the departure. Petersen was seemingly still in his prime. He led Washington to win two Pac 12 Championships and one college football playoff appearance in his tenure. But in sports, time is of the essence, and Washington wasted no time in promoting Jimmy Lake from defensive coordinator to head coach of the Huskies. Only time will tell if Lake can be as successful as Petersen.
The Quarterback Battle
With Eason gone, the quarterback battle in Washington is wide open. Jacob Sirmon is the front-runner being the backup to Eason last year and being the longest tenured quarterback on Washington’s roster. Sirmon screams NFL potential, at a daunting 6’ 5”. This pro style quarterback has a strong arm and possesses good accuracy in the pocket. However, Sirmon will not win the job without a fight, as redshirt freshman Dylan Morris, and highly touted true freshman Ethan Garbers will be battling for the job.
The most exciting part about Washington’s team next year will be its defense. The three main players who will lead Washington’s defense next year are Joe Tryon, Elijah Molden, and Levi Onwuzurike.
Joe Tryon: Standing at 6’ 5” and 262 pounds, Tryon will be a dominant force for the Huskies next season. He led the team with eight sacks last year and also picked up 41 tackles from the edge. Tryon is already rated as the #4 edge-rushing prospect in the 2021 NFL draft. He is hoping to build on that resume by having a big year for the Huskies next season.
Elijah Molden: Standing 5’10” and 190 pounds, Molden is small in stature, but big in the impact he makes for the Huskies defense. He led Washington in both tackles and interceptions this past year. He had 79 tackles and 4 interceptions. Molden’s described as a highly intelligent player who possesses elite instincts. He executes all of his tackles in the open field. Molden is widely considered to be one of the top cornerbacks in the 2021 NFL draft.
Levi Onwuzurike: Another big defensive Huskies lineman, Onwuzurike stands at 6 foot 3 inches and 293 pounds. Onwuzurike is looking for a big season next year as he just came off a 45 tackle and 2-sack season in 2019. The redshirt junior was an all Pac-12 first team selection in 2019. Described as an agile defender that can beat defenders with his hand usage, Onwuzurike is another prospect projected to be drafted in the 2021 NFL draft.
The Pac-12 is one of the tougher conferences in the nation because of its top to bottom balance. As such, Washington’s schedule is demanding. With any team being able to win on any given day, Washington has an opportunity with six standout games in the 2020 season.
Week 1 vs Michigan: This will be a perfect introduction for new head coach Jimmy Lake, a home game against the University of Michigan, to debut his head coaching career. The Wolverines are fresh off a 9-4 record that ended their past season as ranked 18th in the nation. This will definitely be one of the games of the week to start of the College football season.
Week 5 @ Oregon: Both teams will be playing this season with a new starting quarterback, as Justin Herbert is also now in the NFL. However, Oregon is always a powerhouse that recruits elite talent from the west coast each year. Penei Sewell, a top prospect for the 2021 NFL draft, and one of the best-left tackles in college football, is returning. Running back CJ Verdell is also a dynamic player that Washington will have to stop to become victorious. If Washington wants to claim the Pac-12 North, they are going to have to defeat Oregon in this week 5 battle.
Week 9 @ California: Ever since Head coach Justin Wilcox was hired at California, the Bears have been improving each year. Starting with a 5-7 record in 2017 and now attaining an 8-5 record from last season, Cal looks to compete for a Pac 12 North title. With many starters coming back, the Washington Huskies will have to bring their A-game to beat the Bears.
Week 11 @ USC: The Trojans are predicted to be one of the favorites in the Pac-12 South next season. This is a result of their absolutely dynamic receiving core and their star studded quarterback, Kedon Slovis. He is not your ordinary QB, he is a star. He is 6 -2, 200 pounds. As a true freshman last year, he threw for over 3,500 yards while also throwing for 30 TD’s. He is one of the most exciting quarterbacks to return to college football this upcoming season, and can potentially make a run for the Heisman. Washington’s defense will have to match USC’s high-powered offense to defeat the Trojans.
Week 13 @ Washington State: The Apple Cup. One of the most intense rivalries in college football, Washington vs Washington State. Although Washington State is not as dynamic on paper as Washington, the Apple Cup throws skill out the window. The hardest working team usually prevails. Being that the game is hosted by Washington State, it will make for one fantastic game. Washington will have to come out hard or else Washington State will be quick to snatch the games out of their hands.
Overall, the Washington Huskies should be a good team in the 2020 season. With their top defensive players all coming back, they should have one of the better defenses in College football. However, with Jimmy Lake stepping in, how will the Huskies adjust to his style of play? Will their new starting quarterback produce offensively for them? Will the Huskies defense embrace their potential stardom by being one of the best defenses in the Pac-12? These questions need to be answered to determine whether the Washington Huskies can break the barrier of being a “good” team, and become a “great” team in the 2020 season.