A surprising development came to a head on Saturday afternoon as the Denver Post reported that Washington offensive line coach Chris Strausser had accepted an assistant’s role with the NFL’s Denver Broncos.
Strausser will serve as the assistant to Broncos offensive line coach as Jeff Davidson and under offensive coordinator Mike McCoy in new head coach Vance Joseph’s multiple system.
That Strausser left his current post for something less than a full positions coach position, even at the NFL level, is sure to raise some eyebrows among Husky fans. The offensive line has been a position of some consternation among fans who have been frustrated that the position group hasn’t yet become a strength for the team.
The Huskies offensive line did, however, grow under Strausser’s watch despite the fact that young players such as Trey Adams, Kaleb McGary and Nick Harris have seen extensive action. Strausser can surely claim credit for the development of these young players. In fact, UW had two team All-PAC 12 offensive lineman in 2016 with Adams and Jake Eldrenkamp each claiming those honors. It was the first time since 2000 that UW had even had just one All PAC 12 first-teamer.
Nevertheless, the Huskies offensive line was a bit of a weak link last season. The Huskies 26 sacks allowed were a somewhat average statistic for a conference-winning team and the pressure that QB Jake Browning was under for much of the season, including during the loss at the Peach Bowl, was noteworthy. In addition, Strausser had been roundly criticized for his inability to land high-profile offensive line recruits including Graham-Kapowsin’s Foster Sarrell, the top offensive line recruit in the nation last season.
The loss of Strausser means that Chris Petersen will be looking to fill his fourth assistant vacancy since he put in place his original staff in 2014 and his second this offseason.
There are no indications yet on who Petersen might be targeting to backfill Strausser. We here at the UWDP like to speculate wildly. One name that was bandied about by the crew was that of Jim Michalczik. Michalczik is a PAC 12 veteran who was briefly a member of Steve Sarkisian’s original staff. He has a connection to Petersen’s current staff via Matt Lubick. Michalczik is currently the offensive line coach at Arizona.
Of course, his replacement is just as likely to be Jim Carry as it is to be Jim Michalczik given the lack of anything resembling inside information that this blogger has. What do you think, UWDP readers? Who do you see as the field to fill UW’s open offensive line coach position?