Given the lack of concrete information surrounding the offensive coordinator search at Washington there was a feeling that the ultimate hire might be a name no one saw coming. That came to fruition this morning as Washington announced the hire of John Donovan as offensive coordinator and QB coach.
Washington welcomes John Donovan as the new offensive coordinator for the Dawgs.— Washington Football (@UW_Football) January 10, 2020
Read: https://t.co/ENknS7qTQY#PurpleReign pic.twitter.com/iAFRkg0zNr
After the Huskies were unable to lure Kellen Moore away from Dallas they seemingly turned to Donovan who has experience at both the college and NFL levels. Donovan has served as the offensive coordinator for both Vanderbilt and Penn State in the past decade but most recently was an offensive assistant for the Jacksonville Jaguars working with the running backs including Leonard Fournette.
Looking at Donovan’s resume there’s a reason his name has never been brought up in connection with the position. He was let go after two years as the Penn State offensive coordinator after following head coach James Franklin from Vanderbilt to PSU and taking heavy fire from the fanbase for what they viewed as lackluster play calling. Donovan was succeeded by Joe Moorhead who helped turn around the offense and who ironically is interviewing today for the Oregon offensive coordinator position.
Lake had the following to say about Donovan in the release:
“Coach Donovan has a great deal of experience at both the college and NFL levels, learning from a lot of great offensive minds about coaching the kind of aggressive, pro-style offense we want to play here at Washington,” Lake said. “From my own experience, I know how much a coach can learn and grow by spending significant time in the NFL. I’m excited for him to get to Seattle and get started.”
There is of course a chance that the Husky offense is able to thrive under Donovan but this hire did not check any of the boxes that most fans wanted. He isn’t a former head coach who Lake can hand the offense over to with complete confidence in his ability to single handedly take care of that side of the ball. He also isn’t a younger wunderkind with revolutionary ideas. He’s also someone with 0 west coast ties and no history of being an ace recruiter. TE Mike Gesicki was the biggest name to come to Penn State where Donovan was listed as the primary recruiter.
We’ll have more on this hire as it becomes available.