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Michael Penix Jr. undecided on NFL draft but will play in UW Huskies’ bowl game

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Michael Penix Jr. has not played his last game at Washington.

Though UW’s redshirt junior quarterback — who leads the nation with 4,354 passing yards — has yet to choose if he’ll enter the 2023 NFL draft, he confirmed in a virtual news conference Monday that he plans to play within the Huskies’ to-be-determined bowl game.

“I actually haven’t had the chance to take into consideration what I’m doing at the following level yet, whether I’m staying or going,” Penix said. “But so far as the bowl game, so far as immediately, I’m definitely looking forward to twiddling with my team and being there for those guys. I definitely wish to be there for those guys.”

When asked to make clear if the above answer represents a definite bowl commitment, Penix added: “Yessir, I’m looking forward to playing in it.”

Penix — a fifth-year junior and Indiana transfer — has yet to take part in a bowl game, with each of his previous 4 seasons ending early due to injuries. He accomplished 66% of his passes in 12 games this fall, contributing 33 total touchdowns (29 passing, 4 rushing) with seven interceptions.

No. 9 Washington (10-2) leads the nation not only in passing but first downs (27.4), third-down conversions (57.06%) and completions of 10 yards or more (182). The Huskies sit second in total offense (522.2 yards per game), behind only Tennessee (538.1).

Penix’s aerial theatrics will last at the very least one game longer.

“No, it never got here up,” said UW offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, when asked in the event that they addressed Penix playing in a bowl game. “I’m not surprised in any respect. Mike’s a competitor, and he’s the last word teammate. I didn’t even feel like that was a discussion we wanted to have, truthfully.”

UW overcomes illness

Last week, Washington weathered far more than WSU.

UW coach Kalen DeBoer said Monday that “in regards to the only thing I used to be possibly just a little bit nervous on, on either side of the ball, was just the week of practice with the sickness going around. I do know Darren Nystrom, our head athletic trainer … this morning I said, ‘Give me a number,’ and he said there have been over 50 guys who had some kind of sickness and symptoms over the course of the week. There have been multiple days where we had 10 guys, at the very least, missing practice.”

Indeed, UW sophomore Faatui Tuitele tweeted Sunday that he and fellow defensive lineman Tuli Letuligasenoa “battled the flu through the game [among many others on the team] and fought through it.” Junior defensive lineman Ulumoo Ale missed the sport as a result of illness, DeBoer confirmed.

“[Winning despite that adversity] is something I’m pretty pleased with, because that just shows the resiliency this team has and the way far we’ve come from the center of the 12 months — when possibly we couldn’t have gotten through something like that,” DeBoer said.

I do know he doesn’t have a Twitter but this my brother for all times man. We each battled the flu through the game (amongst many others on the team) and fought through it. It just means more. DLO!! pic.twitter.com/Ikkww1F2Iv

— FAATUI TUITELE (@tuitele87) November 27, 2022

Grubb’s next step

Grubb deserves credit for improving an offense that almost doubled its scoring offense this season, from 21.5 points per game in 2021 to 40.8 (fifth within the nation) in 2022.

But on Monday, finalists for the Broyles Award — which honors college football’s premier assistant coach — were announced, and Grubb was not included.

The finalists were Tennessee offensive coordinator Alex Golesh, Michigan defensive coordinator Jesse Minter, Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken, TCU offensive coordinator Garrett Riley and Illinois defensive coordinator Ryan Walters.

“I just saw that right before I walked up here,” DeBoer said. “I mean no disrespect to the opposite finalists, because those finalists obviously are very deserving. But man, what he’s done for our program and what the offense looked like this 12 months … for probably the most part with the identical guys. Your trigger man’s different, but Ryan just instilled lots of confidence in our offense from day one — the organization, the plan that’s in place, ensuring the staff’s on the identical page each and every single day to where the message may be very clear, whether it’s X and O oriented or simply culture-oriented inside the offense.

“Man, he’s built great relationships with these players, not only on offense but across the board. The impact he’s made actually doesn’t go unnoticed.”

It could soon be noticed by athletic directors looking for a head coach. Grubb admitted Monday that he aspires to change into a head coach but added: “I feel you’ve got to take the identical advice you’re giving your quarterback, right? You’ve got to place that stuff aside and do your job and concentrate on what’s in front of you. I feel that’s served Mike obviously very well. He’s done such a very good job with that, of leaving that stuff by the wayside. I’m super pleased at Washington. I told my guys that, and I couldn’t be more fired up to maintain leading this team.”

Besides, Grubb might also have unfinished business in his current role.

“I’ve told [athletic director Jen Cohen] this, and I’ve told Kalen this: I even have a deep passion for calling plays,” he said. “For me, I do have a desire to be one of the best O-coordinator within the country. That’s a deep-seated belief in who I’m and what I would like to be. So there’s definitely a path I’m on with that immediately.”

Extra points

  • Three UW players earned weekly honors Monday — as Penix was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week, right guard Henry Bainivalu was named Pac-12 Offensive Lineman of the Week and edge Jeremiah Martin was named Pac-12 Defensive Lineman of the Week.
  • Sophomore linebacker Daniel Heimuli has been indefinitely suspended as a result of a violation of UW’s Intercollegiate Athletics code of conduct, DeBoer said Monday. The 6-foot, 225-pound linebacker from East Palo Alto, California, tallied five tackles and a tackle for loss in seven games as a reserve this fall.
  • Junior tight end Jack Westover left the Apple Cup due to a concussion, DeBoer confirmed. The injury got here on a two-yard reception within the third quarter that ended with successful near the top area from WSU defensive back Sam Lockett III. DeBoer said UW has sent the play to the Pac-12 office for review of potential targeting. The Huskies expect Westover to return for his or her bowl game.

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