With the season now safely in the rearview mirror, it’s time to assess each of the position groups. For many of you diehard fans, there may not necessarily be a lot new here, though I’ll try to come up with something new in each of these. The intent is to look at who played at each spot this year, give a little sense of how the position performed in 2012, and look ahead a little to 2013.
Heights and weights are either from the official UW roster, or for newcomers, from one of the established sites that covers recruiting.
We’ll start with the quarterback position.
First, here’s a look at the players on the roster (years are 2013):
Keith Price, 6-1, 202, Sr.
Derrick Brown, 6-2, 245, So.
Cyler Miles, 6-4, 223, RFr.
Jeff Lindquist, 6-3, 234, RFr.
Troy Williams, 6-2, 192, Fr.
This was obviously the most-scrutinized position on the team this season, and it’s hard to find much else new to say. Price’s numbers (the positive ones, anyway) all dropped from his record-setting sophomore season in 2011. While there were lots of reasons other than Price for what happened, by the end of the season there was no question that Price was not playing anywhere near the level he had as a sophomore.
Price took every meaningful snap for the Huskies in 2012, a rare time in recent years when that was the case — Jake Locker in 2009 also took every meaningful snap, otherwise you probably have to go back to 2002 and Cody Pickett.
In trying to find something new to write about Price, I decided to look at his rushing numbers from 2011 and 2012. It seems like there’s a perception he ran less this year than he had in 2011. The stats show the opposite. Price ran for 214 positive yards in 2012 compared to 162 in 2012.
Price was also sacked 37 times for a loss of 248 yards, finishing with a net of minus-34 for the season.
In 2011 he was sacked 26 times for a loss of 141 yards, finishing with a net of plus 10.
No question, the running from the QB spot wasn’t as big of a weapon for UW this season as it was for lots of other teams around college football — and it will likely become a bigger part of UW’s offense going forward. But the numbers show that simply having fewer runs and yards by the QB this year wasn’t really an issue in the downturn of the offense, standing as one of the few stats that was essentially the same.
As for the others on the roster in 2012, Brown saw mopup duty in three games, completing 2-5 passes for 23 yards. Miles and Lindquist spent the season as redshirts, though Miles was listed as a co-backup with Brown and usually spent his time in practice running UW’s offense while Lindquist worked with the scout team.
A LOOK AHEAD
As scrutinized as was Price’s 2012 season, the position will only be more in the spotlight in 2013.
One of the most-asked questions about the Huskies right now is if there will be open competition at the spot in 2013. UW coach Steve Sarkisian would likely argue that there’s always open competition at every position. The reality, though, is that there really weren’t any viable alternatives in 2012 with Brown still a freshman and the others on the redshirt track (Miles also was recovering from off-season hip surgery when camp started).
Legitimate competition is more realistic to expect this year with each of the backups now having a season or two in the offense. Still, it’s unlikely Sarkisian will publicly declare an open competition, and the most likely scenario remains that Price is the starter when the 2013 season open against Boise State. What UW will have is more legitimate options in 2013 should the offense, and Price, again falter.
Spring will also be critical in beginning to determine a pecking order for an heir apparent to Price. As noted above, Brown and Miles were officially listed as co-backups throughout the 2012 season. Since Miles as a true freshman, he didn’t play to preserve a year of eligibility. But Sarkisian won’t need to worry about that in 2013.
Also potentially a factor in 2013 is true freshman Troy Williams of Narbonne High in Los Angeles, a member of the Class of 2013 who has already enrolled and will be available for spring practice.
Williams’ availability means UW will have five scholarship quarterbacks this spring. I’ve been asked if UW has ever had that many. I can’t readily find the answer, but I don’t remember it in any time since I began covering the team in 1997.
Williams, Lindquist and Miles are all highly-touted four-star commits, and their presence on the roster means UW is as well-stocked at the quarterback spot as any time in recent memory, giving the Huskies a future at the position that is also as bright as at any time in recent memory.
The questions about this position will be of a more immediate variety — specifically, can Price regain his 2011 form? A deeper receiving corps and a better and more experienced offensive line would go a long way toward aiding Price in that effort. And it shouldn’t be forgotten what Price has accomplished in basically two years at UW — his 54 touchdown passes are one shy of the school record and his 52-24 touchdown-to-interception ratio is unsurpassed in Husky history.