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Offseason Lists: Counting Down UW's Top Coaches

Yup, I'm going there.

Is Tim Socha a candidate for our Offseason List today?
Is Tim Socha a candidate for our Offseason List today?
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Look, Dawgpound-er, I get it.  The offseason is a long and arduous road to travel.  We all soldier on bravely but, let's face it, there is nothing easy about waiting for Saturdays to mean something more than mowing the lawn, entertaining your wife's request for "family game night" and drinking Coors Light while lounging around in a lawn chair in hopes that you can get one friggin' moment of peace and quiet.

I get it, brother.  The offseason sucks and you are reaching the end of your patience.  I know for a fact that before you clicked on this link you screwed your face up tighter than an Oregon cheerleader's neon yellow skirt, stuck a finger in your eyeball and proclaimed loud enough to compel the neighbors to consider calling CPS "I can't take another one of Landon's G__D___ed Offseason Lists."

But the offseason is a temperamental beast.  It toys with your emotions and leaves you precious few choices.  You are here now.  Reading the words that were as painful to write as they are for you to read.

Congratulations, my friend, you are nearing the end of the journey and the end of the Offseason Lists series.  We've come this far and we've made it together.  Just a ... few... more ... weeks.

Unfortunately, we don't yet have the exact dates for the opening of fall camp, but we expect the second week of August to be about the time that the latest incarnation of your Washington Huskies take to the practice field.  The coaching staff is just now coming off their own R&R and starting to make their own preparations for the opening of camp.

This particular time of year is all about the coaches.  The summer recruiting / camp circuit has come to a close.  The incoming frosh are enrolled.  The veterans are moving back to campus.  It's time for our coaching staff to give up their duties as "Logistics Officers" and return to their roles as "Football Coaches".

We haven't paid these coaches much attention as we've progressed in our Offseason Lists series this year.  Given all that they sacrifice for UW and all that they give to their players, it seems that the sum total of the attention that we do give to them in this forum amounts to debates on the warmth of Jonathan Smith's chair and wisdom of Chris Petersen's recruiting techniques.

That's not nearly enough.  Today we rectify a problem that has gone unattended to for far too long.  Today we count down the Top 5 coaches on the UW staff as determined by me with absolutely no objective criteria to utilize in the evaluation.  Enjoy.

5.  Jeff Choate, Defensive Line and Special Teams Coach

Pros:  He's so good, he's got two jobs

Cons:  Technically, he's a Coug

Choate cracks into the top 5 in our totally arbitrary rankings of UW coaches barely edging out RB coach Keith Bonopha and DC Pete Kwiatkowski.  For those of you expecting to see Brent Pease, Jonathan Smith, or Steve Sarkisian in this slot, just keep on reading.  I'm sure you'll see plenty of references to them in the comments section.


Seriously, I jest.

Choate has quickly made his mark at UW both on the field and in the media room.  His 2014 D-Line was one of the more nasty ones that UW has seen in the modern era.  Not only did they finish second in the nation in sacks, but they put three guys into the NFL including the first defensive tackle drafted in Danny Shelton.  In the media room, he quickly became "must see TV" because of how open and demonstrative he was in his beat reporter interviews.  In short, any man that lets his star DT do a barrel roll in a game against his former team absolutely makes our top 5 list.  Now, if he can just teach his special teams how to NOT block in the back.

4.  Tim Socha, Strength and Conditioning Coach

Pros:  He can bench press Travis Feeney, John Ross and Jaydon Mickens ... at the same time

Cons:  He wasn't smart enough to sell all of Ivan's workout machines on Craig's List and pocket the profits

Have you seen Tim Socha?  He's a bear of a man whose definition of "physical fitness" is less Fabio and more Paul Bunyan.  He's such a bad-ass that Chuck Norris tells Tim Socha jokes.  On that point alone, he'd make our top 5 lists.  Layer in the fact that his refurbishment of the weight training facilities involved junking all of the machines and replacing them with free weights and racks, and you just get gravy.  Then you look at the eye-popping numbers that his athletes put up at the Husky Combine and the physiques of being sculpted by a group of players who now ... FINALLY ... are starting to pass the "eyeball test" and it is easy to justify Socha's place in our top 5.

3.  Jordan Paopao, Tight Ends Coach

Pros:  His last name is also a Bruce Lee sound effect;  He stayed

Cons:  Still waiting for his TEs to break out

Who doesn't love Jordan Paopao?  Serious?  Anybody?  He will forever be known as the coach that stayed.  If that gesture of program loyalty were the only thing on his resume, he'd still be in my top 5.  But that's not all there is to Jordan Paopao.

By all accounts, JP is quickly becoming one of the hot young recruiters out on the West Coast.  Players love his passion, his youthful vibe and his honest approach. He's a hard working guy who has is taking a leadership role in recruiting the Poly pipelines.  He wakes up every morning thankful to be a football coach and it shows.  I can't help but to root for this guy and I love that he's getting a chance to learn the game from Chris Petersen.  He's my #3.

2.  Chris Petersen, Head Coach

Pros:  He once beat Oregon ... and then did it again; He doesn't ever tip his hand

Cons:  He doesn't ever tip his hand; He once coached at Oregon

I figured that I would have to make room for Coach Pete somewhere on this list.  Why not #2?

Let's face it, being a 2-time Bear Bryant award winner makes you a lock to show up on any kind of ranked list of coaches.  His 100 career wins and his ridiculous .847 win percentage are all the statistical proof that you need to prove that Chris Petersen is an elite level performer in his profession.

But the numbers don't impress Chris Petersen and, as such, they shouldn't impress you.  Instead, focus on who Chris Petersen is and how he leads.  Everything about it is true, unique and authentic.

In the copycat world of college football coaching, how rare is it to have a coach that everyone can agree is an authentic leader?

In his short time in Seattle, Petersen has changed everything about program.  Playing style, recruiting processes, relationship management, the emphasis on grades, the valuation of character, the restoration of predictability to Signing Day ... Everything is new and everything is authentic.

So what if he doesn't open practices?  So what if he says "Awesome" and "I really do" to often?  So what if he doesn't know how to use Twitter?  So what if he still wears pleats in his khakis?  Chris Petersen is the man and he's #2 on our top 5 list.

1.  Jimmy Lake, Defensive Backs Coach

Pros:  Knows how to drive a speed boat and a Big Bertha;  Looks like a younger version of Lou Gossett Jr.

Cons:  Doesn't care how he hurts the offense by "borrowing" their players; Isn't related to Lou Gossett Jr.

Jimmy Lake tops our first annual list of top 5 Husky coaches because he's just so ... damn ... cool.  If you see him on the street, your first thought is "hey, that guy might be a UFC fighter".  Then you talk to him and think "hey, that guy might be a Rhodes scholar".  Then you see go out on the boat with him and you think "hey, that guy is a hell of a wake boarder".  And then he takes you to his house for a little backyard grillin' and you think "hey, that guy is the next Emeril".   Then you see what magic he worked in the UW secondary with a bunch of true freshman, a converted WR and a walk-on and you think "hey, that guy can coach".

Jimmy Lake gives new meaning to the famous Stewart Scott catch-phrase "as cool as the other side of the pillow".   My wife specifically asked if they've made a "Jimmy Lake Calendar" yet. He's a great coach, a great mentor, a great interview and a great role model.  Apparently, chicks dig him.  I also hear that he might be a pretty decent duffer.  That's good enough to top our 2015 list of top UW coaches.