When asked Monday, new Washington coach Chris Petersen declined to address how his staff was coming together or would come together. He said he hoped to have the pieces finalized sometime next week.
It’s turning out to be quite the puzzle.
Peter Sirmon, Keith Heyward and Johnny Nansen have followed Steve Sarkisian to USC. That we know.
The rest of UW’s assistant coaches seem to be in limbo.
The transition of coaches is, as Petersen said this week, an “unsettling” time — for recruits and assistant coaches more so than anyone.
Justin Wilcox, Eric Kiesau, Marques Tuiasosopo, Tosh Lupoi, Dan Cozzetto and Jordan Paopao are all believed to be part of UW’s staff for the Fight Hunger Bowl. We’ll have a better sense of that on Friday, when the Huskies return to practice. Tuiasosopo is the interim coach for the bowl game.
The bowl game will be last day at UW for some of the assistants, and perhaps all of them.
The hunch here is that most of them will end up at USC, too.
I don’t know that the $1 million buyout in Wilcox’s UW deal (if he leaves for another Pac-12 school) is a massive hurdle for USC. Perhaps USC is just waiting out UW to see if Petersen decides not to keep Wilcox, hoping to avoid the buyout all together. (USC, remember, is already on the hook for the $1.5 million in Sarkisian’s UW buyout.)
That doesn’t mean Petersen doesn’t want Wilcox on staff or that Wilcox doesn’t want to stay. I haven’t heard definitively either way. I have been told they had a great relationship when Wilcox was Petersen’s defensive coordinator for four seasons at Boise State, and it would make sense for Petersen to want someone with recent Pac-12 experience.
Petersen is bringing at least four of his assistants from Boise State with him to Seattle. The Idaho Statesman reported today that defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski, running backs coach/recruiting coordinator Keith Bhonapha, offensive line coach Chris Strausser and secondary coach Jimmy Lake (a UW assistant in 2004) will join the UW staff.
It’s possible that Kwiatkowski, who a built his reputation for his work with defensive linemen, would accept a role as a position coach. I’m told Wilcox and “Coach K” have a “great” relationship, too.
Jonathan Smith, the former Oregon State quarterback, was said to be a popular addition to the Boise State staff before the 2012 season. If Petersen wants him as his UW quarterbacks coach, it would bump out Tuiasosopo, UW’s popular quarterbacks coach. Indeed, according to CoachingSearch.com, Tui is “more likely” to wind up at USC.
Tuiasosopo is scheduled to speak after practice Friday.
Meanwhile, Cozzetto, UW’s offensive line coach, told KJR’s Dave “Softy” Mahler today that he is out at UW after the bowl game.
Just spoke 2 UW OLine Coach Dan Cozetto…says he's out at Washington. Will coach the bowl game and then move on.
— Dave Softy Mahler (@Softykjr) December 11, 2013
Spoke with @CoachLupUW Lupoi Can't talk about specific recruits but said reports that he's recruiting kids to USC is ridiculous and not true
— Kim Grinolds (@KimGrinolds) December 11, 2013