Jan. 7, 2005
Mike Denbrock joins Washington as the offensive line coach after holding the same position under Tyrone Willingham at both Notre Dame and Stanford. Denbrock concentrated on the Irish tackles and tight ends from 2002-04 and was offensive line coach at Stanford in 2001, the last season Willingham was on The Farm. From 1999 to 2000 Denbrock worked as an assistant head coach for the Buffalo Destroyers in the Arena Football League. From 1992 to 1998 he worked at his alma mater, Grand Valley State (Mich.). His first four seasons he was the offensive coordinator. He was also the Lakes' defensive coordinator and mentored the linebackers. Gohuskies.com had a chance to catch up with Denbrock before he hit the road recruiting.
Gohuskies.com: What role will you be playing in recruiting?
Coach Mike Denbrock: We are going to hit the road and spread ourselves out among the Western states and try to talk some of these fine young champions into becoming part of the Husky nation here.
Gohuskies.com: How much do you know much about the Northwest recruits?
MD: I am going to be down in California, but I think some of the guys that were currently on staff here who had a lot of contact with the local kids are going to handle that end of things.
Gohuskies.com: What characteristics do you look for in a possible recruit?
MD: I think that the number one thing we look at is can you turn the film on and see that he loves to play the game. Because you can tell how much it means to him, how important the game is to him, and just how they go about their business. Obviously we are looking for guys who can run, jump, hit, and do those types of things as well. I think a very strong component is their toughness. We want tough football players in our program and guys who like to play the style of football where toughness is a major component of it. Those are some key things.
Gohuskies.com: Tell us about Coach Willingham.
MD: I think he is a complete professional at what he does and how he does it. I think that he is a tremendous motivator. I think that he has the ability to get a football team focused on the task at hand. I think that he leads by example, number one, and he shows guys, I think, the right way to go about living their lives not only the right way to go about winning football games. I think that is a very important thing.
Gohuskies.com: Besides Coach Willingham, what drew you to Washington?
MD: I think the great tradition that exists here. I spent just a year on the staff at Stanford so I haven't been directly involved necessarily in the Pac-10 as much as some of our other coaches. I did grow-up in Michigan, in the Midwest, and I can remember a lot of New Year's Day games where the University of Washington put it to the University of Michigan pretty well. I always enjoyed that because I have never been much of a Michigan fan to begin with, but I think that the great tradition that exists here and being a part of that, and helping to restore it back to where we all want it to be.
Gohuskies.com: Can you tell us about working for the Arena Football League?
MD: That was a great experience, a great learning experience more that anything else, to be involved in a professional football league. The arena league is a little bit like what I think the Washington basketball fans are experiencing right now. Wide open scoring, excitement, non-stop action, and we want to take some elements of that and put it into the stadium on Saturday afternoons. That is a big goal of ours, and something that we are working very hard for. I think it helped in my development in a lot of different ways. I actually coached on both sides of the ball when I was in the Arena League. I coached both the offensive and defensive lines, so you get kind of a unique perspective about not only how to get things done the right way but to kind of fight some of the different fights from a defensive standpoint instead of just the offensive. It was a unique experience for sure.
Gohuskies.com: Have you had much of an opportunity to interact with the players or review any footage yet?
MD: I have watched some of them on tape. Actually when we were preparing for the Insight.com Bowl I got a chance to watch Washington vs. Oregon State so I kind of took a sneak peak at some of the kids while we were getting ready. I think that there are a lot of good young football players on this team. I think there are a lot of quality players here already. Right now we are going to go about trying to recruit some more to go with them, but I think that there is some talent here that we can work with and have the success that everyone wants.
Gohuskies.com: Having an entire freshman class of offensive linemen that was able to redshirt has to make you smile.
MD: : Oh, absolutely. That's huge. Getting that maturity and getting a year in the weight room is going to pay big dividends down the road.
Gohuskies.com: What kind of coach can the players expect you to be?
MD: I am aggressive. I really like to attack coaching from a very positive place though. I am not a very negative person to begin with so I like to be as positive as I can with the players, but also make them understand that there is a right way to do things and we need to be doing things that way.