A position-by-position analysis of the 2014 Washington Huskies roster before national signing day on Feb. 5. Today: Quarterbacks. Tuesday: Running backs.
2013 review: Senior Keith Price, in his third season as the starter, rebounded from a forgettable finish to the 2012 season and cemented his place among Washington’s all-time great quarterbacks. He broke the school’s career record for touchdown passes in the opener against Boise State and finished No. 9 on the Pac-12’s all-time list with 75 touchdown passes (against 30 interceptions). He also holds UW career records for completion percentage and passing efficiency. Further, his 22-to-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 2013 was the best in school history. Replacing him isn’t an envious position, but Cyler Miles isn’t completely unprepared. Price’s shoulder injury in the first half against UCLA on Nov. 15 thrust Miles, then a redshirt freshman, into his first significant Pac-12 action for the second half of that game and led to his first start a week later at Oregon State, with the Huskies rolling to a 69-27 victory over the Beavers.
2014 spring depth chart:
Cyler Miles, so., 6-4, 213
Jeff Lindquist, so., 6-3, 236
Troy Williams, rs-fr., 6-2, 200
2014 outlook: Former UW coach Steve Sarkisian liked to say that the Huskies were fortunate to have recruited quality quarterbacks the past couple years. And he’s right. New coach Chris Petersen and new offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith would probably prefer to add a fourth quarterback to the mix in this recruiting class — no quarterback recruits are currently committed — but the new staff should feel good about the position, even while trying to break in a new starter. “Obviously, I’ve seen Cyler play a bit on film. I’ve watched a little practice with Troy and Jeff and I think there’s some good talent there,” Smith said last week. “Just getting the chance to meet them here for a couple of days, I think they’re good kids. I really do. And so I’m excited to be able to work with them, to develop them. I think they have a great background. Marques (Tuiasosopo) has done a phenomenal job, Sark was obviously a quarterback guy, so it’s not like I’m starting from ground zero.”
Miles was 15 of 22 for 149 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in the second half against UCLA, and he was 15 of 24 for 162 yards with one TD and no interceptions against Oregon State. For the season, he was 37 of 61 (.606) for 418 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. Miles is not the polished passer that Price was, but Miles’ running ability — he has said he runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash — might ultimately make him just as productive.
And while Miles is the presumptive favorite to take over as the starter in 2014, Lindquist and Williams figure to get every chance to prove themselves. Lindquist made three appearances in mop-up duty in 2013 while Williams redshirted and ran the scout team. Lindquist has the strongest arm of the group, but some believe Williams has the biggest upside of any of the three quarterbacks. The quarterback competition will remain a top storyline for UW … perhaps right up until the final week of training camp in late August.
Position grade: B