The Washington football program has announced that head coach Chris Petersen is stepping down. According to the release, Petersen will coach the bowl game. Following that, defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake will take over the program.
Chris Petersen Stepping Down
This is stunning news. Petersen was wildly successful at Boise State, going 92-12 in eight seasons. There was always speculation about him moving on to a power five job, and following the 2013 season, he made that move, taking over at Washington following the departure of Steve Sarkisian to USC.
Petersen only won eight and seven games respectively in his first two seasons. However, after that, it looked like Washington was primed to take off.
In the 2016 season, they made it to the College Football Playoff before losing to Alabama in the semifinals. The following two seasons the Huskies won 10 games each season and a Pac-12 title in the 2018 season.
However, things did take a downturn this season. The Huskies lost several close games, including to Utah and Oregon at home. The season ended in a mediocre 7-5 record.
Overall, he has coached 80 games as the Washington coach before the bowl game, going 54-26. He also won two Pac-12 titles and had the College Football Playoff appearance. He is however 1-4 in bowl games heading into their bowl game this season. One of those losses came in the College Football Playoff and the others came in the Fiesta Bowl against Penn State and the Rose Bowl against Ohio State.
Jimmy Lake Taking Over
The move of Petersen stepping down is stunning. But the announcement that defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake is taking over is not surprising.
He came with Petersen to Washington from Boise State as the defensive backs coach, before being promoted to co-DC in 2016. In 2018 he took over as the only full defensive coordinator.
Since taking over as the defensive coordinator, the Washington defense has been among the tops in the Pac-12.
There’s little doubt Washington will continue to have top-notch defenses with Lake as the head coach. However, the questions will come with him being the leader of a program. Most people have good things to say about him, but you never really know how someone will be as the leader of a program until they do it. Especially a major program.
The first step for Lake will be deciding which assistant coaches he wants to keep. Offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan has drawn plenty of criticism. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Lake replace him.
He will also need to make sure to keep the recruiting class intact. That shouldn’t be overly difficult though because he was already a prominent member of the staff.
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