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Day 24: What does the season look like for protecting Penix?

Can an ultra-experienced quarterback protect himself after the offensive line completes a total talent overhaul?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 26 Washington at Washington State
Michael Penix Jr casually finds his receiver
Photo by Oliver McKenna/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There were numerous factors that contributed to the remarkable success of last year’s season. Shall we begin by discussing the transformation to an impressive 11-2 record, including victories over Michigan State, Oregon, and Texas, following the disappointing 4-8 performance in the previous season? Or perhaps you’ve already heard that narrative countless times?

Washington v Oregon
Harry the Husky makes his point in one of Washington’s biggest victories of the decade
Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images

Consider the team’s ability to consistently score touchdowns on opening drives and dismantle elite secondaries, treating them like mere high school JV players. Another noteworthy achievement was the team’s prowess in converting 3rd downs, boasting one of the finest, if not the finest, offensive conversion rates.

A hidden gem within the team’s statistics, often overlooked, is the remarkable feat of protecting Michael Penix Jr. from sacks. Last season, he was brought down a mere five times in total, showcasing his resilience. However, current circumstances have sparked some concerns.

In 2022, an experienced Michael Penix Jr., a graduate student entering his fifth season, exhibited adeptness in evading sacks. Moreover, the added pressure of completing an entire season after grappling with leg injuries in previous years forced him to be hyper-aware of incoming blitzes. The team was fortified by an elite offensive line, spearheaded by powerful talents like Jaxson Kirkland. Whoever deserves credit for this collaboration between QB and OL will undoubtedly be acknowledged this season.

Valero Alamo Bowl - Washington v Texas
Texas lands a hit on Penix Jr in the 2022 Alamo Bowl
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Can the Huskies replicate this triumph? Michael Penix Jr. returns alongside two 1,000-yard receivers and seasoned rushers on his side of the field. However, the offensive line underwent a significant, albeit necessary, overhaul. Setting the bar at five—the total sacks on Penix Jr. from last year—we must contemplate whether we will surrender more, maintain the same count, or even improve, as our quarterback embarks on his sixth and final year.

The Pac-12 is not devoid of terrifyingly aggressive opponents, with USC, for instance, boasting a conspicuously potent defensive line. Could our October showdown mark the first time we concede a sack? Alternatively, it might transpire early in the season—perhaps after facing MSU or as conference play kicks off. With teams like USC, Utah, Oregon, and Oregon State on our conference lineup, it’s reasonable to anticipate that our threshold will be tested.

What do you think?


How many times will Michael Penix Jr. be sacked this season?

This poll is closed

  • 93%
    More than 5
    (390 votes)
  • 6%
    5 or fewer
    (28 votes)
418 votes total Vote Now