Huskies new O-line coach Scott Huff on D-line coach Ikaika Malloe: "I didn’t know Coach Malloe at all before I came here ... and I can’t say enough about the guy."
They were rivals in the Mountain West Conference, trading figurative punches from opposite sidelines.
In 2014, Scott Huff and his offensive linemen at Boise State landed a decisive blow — in the form of a 50-19 victory — against Ikaika Malloe and Utah State’s defensive line. A year later, Malloe and the Aggies returned the favor, knocking down the Broncos with a 52-26 rout.
Huff and Malloe had never formally met until Huff’s arrival as Washington’s offensive line coach earlier this year. Family, faith and football occupy the majority of Malloe’s time and bandwidth, and he soon found a kindred spirit in Huff.
It helps, too, that both are perfectionists when it comes to the fundamentals of line play.
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“There’s so many similarities between us,” said Malloe, in his second season as the UW defensive line coach. “We’re both God-fearing family men, and we like technique. So the two of us just talking football, that’s been pretty enjoyable, talking about the different aspects of it. Knowing how dominant they were (at Boise State), it’s kind cool to learn from what he’s been teaching his guys. It’s been awesome.”
Huff spent the past 12 years as a coach at Boise State, his alma mater. An all-league center for the Broncos in 2002, Huff got his first full-time head coaching job from Chris Petersen in 2006 and has previously worked with just about everyone else on the UW coaching staff.
“I didn’t know Coach Malloe at all before I came here,” Huff said. “He’s a guy I was going to work with a bunch, being the O-line coach you work a lot with the D-line coach, and I can’t say enough about the guy. I really like him and we’ve become pretty good friends. I really enjoy his company.”
Huff and his wife, Shannon, have two young sons, Scotty and Sullivan (Sully), and a new daughter, Savannah (Savvy), born July 7. Malloe and his wife, Tara, have three teenage children — a daughter, Taylor, and two sons, Jordan and Isaiah.
Their true shared bond revolves around technical work in the trenches — a lineman’s hand placement here, his footwork there, the angle at which he throws his hips just so. These coaches could dissect such details all day.
“It’s what Coach Petersen does here. We’re all about fundamentals,” Malloe said. “And now that I’m trying to perfect my own fundamentals, we’re actually matching up to work to what (Huff) is teaching, and vice versa. It’s shocking how much little details like that can make such a big difference in the game. So we talk about when we were going against each other from Utah State and Boise, the different things we were doing then and how it carries over to now.”
Malloe, a UW linebacker/safety in the mid-1990s, prided himself on his ability to teach defensive linemen such nuances, but he said joining Pete Kwiatkowski’s defensive staff last year was an eye-opener.
“Coming to a staff like this, where ‘detail’ had a whole new meaning to me, it was encouraging for me to know I can pick up my game and know other people can help me master my craft,” he said. “And I’m still learning. It’s unbelievable how much you don’t know being on a staff like this.”