The Jimmy Lake Era at Washington will begin with a new offensive coordinator and tight ends coach.

Lake has decided not to retain second-year UW offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Bush Hamdan, as well as tight ends coach Jordan Paopao, the program announced on Sunday.

“I’ve really enjoyed working alongside Bush and Jordan and appreciate their contributions to Husky football,” Lake said in a statement. “These decisions are extremely difficult, but I believe it’s in the best interest of our program to make these changes to align with the vision we have for our team moving forward. I wish them both nothing but the best.”

A day earlier, UW (8-5) defeated Boise State 38-7 in the Las Vegas Bowl — putting up 341 yards of total offense along the way. After the game, when asked about impending staff changes, Lake said that “we’re going to go celebrate here, celebrate with coach (Chris) Petersen in the locker room, get these guys back to Seattle and their places and then we’ll revisit that in the future.”

Turns out, the future arrived roughly 16 hours later.

Under Hamdan’s watch, an offense that featured a former five-star quarterback and potential first-round NFL draft pick (Jacob Eason), five returning starters on the offensive line, three capable running backs (Salvon Ahmed, Richard Newton and Sean McGrew) and two talented tight ends (Hunter Bryant and Cade Otton) failed to produce consistent results.

In the 2019 regular season, Washington ranked ninth in the Pac-12 in passing offense (245.1 yards per game), eighth in total offense (395.4 yards per game), seventh in plays of 30 yards or more (24), seventh in turnovers lost (14), seventh in red-zone touchdown percentage (58.33%), seventh in pass-efficiency rating (143.82), sixth in yards per pass attempt (7.8), sixth in yards per carry (4.23), fifth in scoring offense (31.5 points per game) and fifth in rushing offense (150.3 yards per game).


Perhaps most damning, the Huskies converted just 34.39% of their third downs in the regular season, ranking 110th out of 130 teams nationally and dead last in the Pac-12. They scored less than 20 points in four conference games — against Cal, Stanford, Oregon State and Colorado.

“I would love for you guys to sit in a meeting … but you’re not going to,” Petersen said in the week after Washington’s inexplicable 23-13 loss at Stanford on Oct. 5. “Because if you see the detail that (Hamdan brings) to it and the football knowledge, I mean, we’ve just got to execute. That’s on us as coaches, to get that message across and then go out and replicate it.

“But unbelievable energy, worker, knows the game, all those type of things. I think you guys think you have all the answers here, and that’s your job — to sit there and second-guess. We score 13 points, and that’s what you’re going to do. I get that. But we’ll keep grinding and keep improving.”

Unfortunately, Eason seemed to regress. The redshirt junior QB from Lake Stevens completed 59.1% of his passes while throwing for an average of 208.3 yards with two touchdown passes and three interceptions in his last three games of the regular season. He completed 77.5% of his passes and threw for an average of 300.3 yards per game with 10 touchdowns and one interception against nonconference opponents. But those numbers plummeted to 59.5% completions, 224.6 yards per game, 12 touchdowns and seven picks in Pac-12 play.

Add it all up, and Hamdan won’t be included in Lake’s inaugural coaching staff at Washington. It’s an abrupt end for UW’s second-year offensive coordinator, who played quarterback under Petersen at Boise State from 2005 to 2008. He also served as a quality control coach at UW in 2015, before being promoted to wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator the following season. Hamdan left Seattle to coach quarterbacks with the Atlanta Falcons in 2017, before returning as the program’s offensive coordinator a year later.

Paopao arrived at UW as a graduate assistant in 2011 and 2012 before being promoted to tight ends coach in 2013, a position he has filled since. His prized pupil, junior tight end Hunter Bryant, caught 52 passes for 825 yards and three touchdowns this season, before declaring for the 2020 NFL draft. Sophomore Cade Otton added 32 receptions for 344 yards and two scores in 13 games.


UW owes Hamdan $800,000 in 2020, a figure that would potentially be reduced by his salary at his next stop. Paopao was coaching on a one-year contract.

Four-star 2020 quarterback Ethan Garbers signed with Washington last week, despite the uncertainty surrounding the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach position. Tight ends Mark Redman and Mason West also inked with the Huskies.

As for the offensive coordinator they’ll play for, that’s not so easy to predict. At the news conference announcing his promotion on Dec. 3, Lake said that “I am passionate about football strategy. It’s what has driven me really in the beginning of my career, going all the way up to the National Football League and then really taking a next step there.

“And so that’s really what I want to do, is bleed that passion over into all three phases — offense, defense and special teams. And I think that’s where it will be a little bit different — a little more attacking, a little bit more aggressive. And that’s what I’m excited about.”

The question, at this point, is whether Eason is also excited. Washington’s strong-armed starting quarterback faces an impending NFL draft decision. But on Saturday, he expressed confidence in the future of UW’s offense — whoever the next coordinator may be.

“I think they can be tremendous,” Eason said. “I know coach Lake is going to do an outstanding job and we’ve got a lot of guys coming back. We’re losing a few guys, but I know these young guys have started to make their mark this season and they’re going to continue to do that next season. There’s a lot to look forward to at the University of Washington, and it could be fun.”

Added Petersen, after his final game as Washington’s coach: “I think we’ve got some weapons. I think there’s no doubt. I think we all feel like we’ve had more to us (offensively). They’ll take the next step. (Lake) will figure out what he needs to do and tweak the offense.

“There’s a lot of firepower sitting there, and it’ll get better.”