Sam Huard remembers everything.

How his fourth interception in his first Apple Cup clattered off the hands of tight end Devin Culp, before being returned by safety Armani Marsh for a 28-yard touchdown.

How delirious, crimson clad Coug fans barreled over Husky Stadium’s barricades and onto the field, throwing an impromptu party at their rivals’ expense.

How Jayden de Laura completed 27 of 32 passes (84.4%) against the nation’s top statistical pass defense, then planted an oversized flag amidst the mosh pit.

How UW capped an inconceivable 4-8 season with a four-game losing streak, a lame duck coaching staff and its largest Apple Cup loss (40-13) in 114 meetings.

How a local kid and a Husky legacy — a Huard — dreamed of that day, then lived a nightmare.   

Sam Huard’s first career start was a catastrophe.

In the four months since, he’s deliberately digested every disastrous detail.


“I think it’s impossible to push it all away,” UW’s redshirt freshman quarterback said last week. “I remember what happened. I remember them storming the field. That’s something I won’t forget. But at the same time, I’m glad that the coaches decided to play me that game and give me that experience.

“Because as difficult of a challenge as it was, I learned so much from that game and I’m going to take so much away from it. And as much as it sucked losing that game and having them storm the field — something I never expected to happen going into the game — it’s definitely motivating not just for myself but for this team. We remember that, and we’ll be ready to go.”

Understandably, Huard’s college career has taken some time to get going. Despite recording the most prep passing yards (13,214) in state history and earning consensus five-star status, the former Kennedy Catholic standout lost a quarterback competition to Dylan Morris last fall and appeared in just four games as a true freshman — completing 52% of his passes and throwing for 241 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions.

Now, in his second spring on campus, with a new system and coaching staff, he’s embracing another quarterback competition — with Morris and Indiana transfer Michael Penix Jr. New UW offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Grubb said last week that Huard, Morris and Penix will receive identical starting reps through the first four spring practices.

After which, the signal-callers may begin to separate.

“Competition is only going to bring the best out of me,” Huard said Friday, while Penix and Morris answered questions in separate scrums. “We’re going to push each other to get the best out of each other. That’s the way it goes. At quarterback, there’s only one guy in the room that can play. It’s always competitive, and we know what’s at stake.

“But at the same time, it’s a great group, both Mike and Dylan, great friends and great people. I’ve been able to learn a lot from both of them. So I’m excited for us to keep pushing each other this spring into the summer and see where it goes from there.”


The hope, for Huard, is that a more pass-friendly system unlocks the lefty’s significant potential — much as it did in four sterling seasons at Kennedy Catholic.

“I just feel like this is a system that I was used to a lot in high school — being able to find green grass, find area reads, area progressions, being able to work through it and find open spots on the field and let these receivers really work,” he said. “Based on what the defense is doing, they can adjust. It’s just giving these receivers and us a lot of freedom to be on the same page and connect with each other. I’m super excited for this offense and where it’s headed.”

The aforementioned wide receivers should present some intriguing options — with Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan, Ja’Lynn Polk, Giles Jackson, Taj Davis and Lonyatta Alexander Jr. leading the way. Head coach Kalen DeBoer said last week that “I’d like to think at the skill spots, especially at receiver, we’ll excel.”

Only with a capable quarterback.

History would suggest that Huard can fill that role.

But Sam would prefer his play to speak for itself.

“My dad (former UW quarterback Damon Huard), uncle Brock (former UW quarterback Brock Huard), they’re just completely supportive,” Sam Huard said. “Since day one they’ve just been nothing but great support and encouragement. I’ve just been super thankful for that and them constantly having my back and giving me advice when needed, but also letting me go through this process and not be in the way 24/7. I’m just super blessed and thankful for them and all their support.”

He’s thankful, too, for the opportunity to win another quarterback competition.

Then avenge the Apple Cup.

“I love it — the attack mentality. It’s aggressive,” Huard said of DeBoer and Grubb’s offensive approach. “We want to go score 50 points a game. That’s my mentality and my mindset and what I’m used to, and I’m just really excited for not just their mentality but how great of coaches they are.

“They’re pushing us, not just as quarterbacks but as leaders and people. It’s the emphasis on all these little details that I really feel is going to take my game to the next level.”

Extra points

  • There were a few new starters during early scrimmage drills in UW’s third practice of the spring on Monday morning. At the cornerback spots, Jordan Perryman and Jacobe Covington worked with the first team, ahead of the previous starting pair of Mishael Powell and Elijah Jackson. “Husky” (hybrid nickel/linebacker) Dominique Hampton also started ahead of Kamren Fabiculanan.
  • Former UW cornerback Trent McDuffie was present on Monday, continuing a trend of former Huskies stopping by practice. Cornerback Kyler Gordon, tight end Cade Otton and offensive lineman Luke Wattenberg also attended practices last week.
  • Redshirt freshman running back Caleb Berry attended Monday’s practice but didn’t participate, after missing both of UW’s practices last week. The Lufkin, Texas, product tweeted last Wednesday that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • UW junior quarterback Michael Penix Jr. — working with the second team — delivered a pair of accurate passes to wide receiver Giles Jackson during an early scrimmage drill, setting up the 177-pound speedster to run for significant gains.