Sports Out West

Washington football: Quarterback competition still wide open following spring practices

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The Washington football team wrapped up their first stretch of practices under Chris Petersen with its annual Spring Preview on April 19.

Much like several other schools across the nation, the Huskies’ spring game currently resembles a practice much more than an actual game, and this year’s version left the UW with more questions than answers. Practice won’t resume again until August, but there are plenty of stories to keep an eye on between now and then.

First and foremost, the Huskies do not have a starting quarterback set for their Aug. 30 opener at Hawaii yet. As of this moment, the job could easily go to any one of Cyler Miles, Jeff Lindquist or Troy Williams.

Miles appeared to be the favorite following the 2013 season after he played capably in eight games in relief of Keith Price, including a start in the UW’s blowout victory over Oregon State. However, Miles was suspended along with starting wide receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow due to an incident on the night of the Super Bowl. Stringfellow was charged with three misdemeanors, while Miles was not charged.

Both have been suspended indefinitely since then and did not appear in spring practices. It is worth noting that Miles has been attending private sessions with offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith.

Petersen faces a tough, no-win situation with the suspensions, and many were wondering how he would handle player discipline in an environment that might receiver more attention than in Boise. So far, Petersen has been quiet about the situation and has offered few hints about what he might do regarding Miles and Stringfellow. His handling of the situation so far has been similar to how predecessor Steve Sarkisian handled a similar situation with tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins in 2013.

Due to the suspensions, Lindquist and Williams split the reps at quarterback over the spring. Lindquist had the far superior spring and would likely get the nod between the two if the competition were decided today. Of course, there’s still a lot of time remaining until August 30 for Williams to jump Lindquist.

Lindquist threw four touchdowns in the Spring Preview, most of which came against a depleted second-string defense that was battling a number of nagging injuries. The sophomore appeared in three games last season without recording a pass, but had two carries for ten yards. Lindquist has great size at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, with a quick release and enough running ability to keep defenses honest.

Williams, a highly-regarded redshirt freshman, might have the most raw talent of any of the trio, but needs some time to develop. He struggled in the Spring Preview, albeit against a mostly in-tact first-string defense. According to reports from Montlake during the spring, Williams’ most glaring weakness is his tendency to leave the pocket too early.

The quarterback decision remains the biggest story between now and August camp. The Huskies have a talented defense and some intriguing skill pieces, but have a lot of work to do to replace the star trio of Price, Seferian-Jenkins and Bishop Sankey.    

Photo Credit: Dean Ruiz / The Seattle Times

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Nathaniel Reeves

Nathaniel Reeves is a journalism student at the University of Washington, currently covering sports for The UW Daily in addition to Sports Out West. He has been closely following Seattle sports his entire life.