The Washington Huskies offense has a huge reason to be excited as they are about to embark on their season long journey.
One of the biggest cogs in the wheel that was missing at the end of last season is now back and ready for a breakout season.
Coming down the home stretch last season, wide receiver Chico McClatcher stepped away from the Huskies due to personal reasons.
As a fan favorite of Husky Nation, McClatcher’s exit was sorely missed and proved to be devastating to the efforts of the offense.
With constantly battling back from injuries and rehabbing, McClatcher found himself at a crossroads during his junior season.
It was apparent that one thing was missing from Chico’s arsenal as he chugged along and went through the motions. That main thing was joy!
By not being healthy and able to play the game he loved in the way he wanted to, it was not the fun game he grew up playing anymore.
Last season, McClatcher played in only eight games while notching only 9 receptions total.
Entering fall camp this season, a resurgent McClatcher made those dark days of last season a mere afterthought.
He was clearly the most valuable player during the first five days of practice and the coaches felt that way towards the end of camp too.
“Yah..fired up! He practiced so well day in and day out. I think that’s what you guys see in him. I think those guys that take that game approach in practice, they’re going to improve, so that’s the thing that jumps out to me about him! He plays at one speed, and he has since 2015 since he got here and we just got to keep him healthy.” Offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan told DubLife after a fall camp practice.
One huge factor in Chico’s return to the team and playing at a high level once again, was the hiring of first year wide receivers coach Junior Adams.
Adams is a former wide receiver himself during his playing days at Oregon State and Montana State in the early 2000’s. He understands the pressures and the grind of always trying to be a productive playmaker.
“To be able to walk in again and see a guy like Chico and I’ve always wanted to coach him. Chico has made my job a lot more easier…I can lean on him for some things…it’s been fun”. Adams said.
Having the respect of your position coach is always a huge bonus when trying find your way and assimilate back into the team.
A strong bond formed between Adams and McClatcher, which all points back to them finding common ground in conquering adversity during their playing days.
“Again, it’s bigger than football you know…I look at it as it’s a relationship. For us to have a prior relationship, we’re really close. I just told him man..things happen..It’s a new slate..I’m here to help you!” Coach Adams said.
Obviously the fact that Adams has Chico’s back has meant a lot to him, and the confidence that Adams operates with has served as a beacon of hope.
“He brings a lot of swag and a lot of confidence man! One time he said that you have to believe that you are the best wide receiver in the Pac-12 every time you step out on the field. That’s what we believe..that’s going to make us play better and give us some more confidence as a player.” McClatcher told DubLife during fall camp.
What had apparently started as a prior relationship has blossomed into something much stronger and McClatcher seems to be leaning on that strength.
Something is different in Chico this year! His joy has returned!
McClatcher can’t wait to play in front of the Husky faithful this week for the season opener against Eastern Washington.
“I’m very excited! It’s been a while man. I went through ups and downs. My teammates are excited and were just ready to get this thing rolling.” McClatcher told DubLife.
The bus has officially taken off for the 2019 season, and Chico has hopped on it, steering it towards greatness.
It’s a profound story! Sometimes a different voice and leader is all you need to restart your love of the game and your career!
If this version of “Chico And The Man” is any indication of the belief they have in one another then the sky is the limit this season for McClatcher!
Ever since his hire, coach Adams has helped the Huskies immensely in more ways than one!
Maybe none more important than helping reshape Chico – the person.
“He’s been a great addition! The guys really like him. He fits into our staff in an awesome way.”
“It’s been really good and I just love the fit he has for us.” Washington head coach Chris Petersen said about Adams.
Chico is ready to tear up opposing defenses this season and his performance during fall camp should put everyone on notice.
McClatcher is back and here to stay!
Petersen said in regards to him earning a starting spot and his welcome return to the team…..
“I mean to me..’it’s just all about Chico getting back to Chico!”