For a number of years, Chris Petersen has been the coach every program (with the exception of a select few), wanted to have. Young, energetic, enthusiastic, and an innovator of offense. Boise State became a feared program and a powerhouse with the 49-year old on the sidelines and his unbalanced offense that captivated college football.
Now, Petersen has moved on and with his offensive prowess has come new challenges. He moves from a blue carpet and potato haven to Washington and Huskies team that should be more competitive in the pass-happy Pac 12. The challenge of competing with the likes of Stanford, USC, UCLA and Oregon will either make or break the “uber” coach.
And on top of everything Petersen has now been named the second best coach in college football.
According to seattlepi.com, the only coach ranked above the Dawgs’ new head man? That would be four-time national champion Nick Saban of Alabama.
Petersen helped turn Boise State into the original BCS busters, compiling a 92-12 record and leading the Broncos to five conference championships (four in the WAC, one in the MWC), four top-10 finishes and two BCS bowl-game victories (the 2007 and 2010 Fiesta Bowls) in eight seasons.
At UW, he inherits a program with arguably more talent than he ever had at Boise, but with the challenge of playing in a tough Pac-12 North that features powerhouse programs in Oregon and Stanford — whose coach David Shaw ranks two spots below Petersen at No. 4 overall.
Petersen’s growth in the coaching ranks is well documented. Boise State University, Petersen guided the Broncos to two BCS bowl wins, in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl and the 2010 Fiesta Bowl. He is the first and only two-time winner of the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award, which he won in 2006 and 2009. Petersen also won the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award in 2010.
According to Athlon Sports and its spring football preview, the 24th ranked Huskies will have to decide on a quarterback before the offense can move forward. This is where Petersen’s expertise will be most welcome.
Mobile sophomore Cyler Miles, last season’s backup, was the logical choice until the Denver-area product was arrested in connection with a couple of Super Bowl-related altercations involving Seahawks fans. Miles was cleared of any criminal charges but still missed spring practice. He was reinstated to the team in mid-May. Sophomore Jeff Lindquist and redshirt freshman Troy Williams shared spring duties and were inconsistent. The job is far from settled, but Miles is the leading candidate going into fall practice.
The running game will be in good shape as well. Sophomore Dwayne Washington, a 6'2", 221-pounder with breakaway speed, has been groomed to replace Bishop Sankey at running back and has plenty of potential. He snapped off scoring runs of 71 and 32 yards against Oregon State and 52 against Colorado. A wild card is junior linebacker Shaq Thompson, who was given several carries during the spring and was impressive.
If Petersen’s offense can work its magic in the Pac 12, with potentially five quarterbacks who could be chosen in the first two rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft, then the No. 2 spot is warranted. And pretty soon, the media and fans in Washington will wonder how soon it will be before the new ball coach will be knocking down the No. 1 spot in the best coach’s poll.