Yes, the Huskies are going to miss Damore’ea Stringfellow.
More specifically, they’re going to miss his potential — potential he will try to realize somewhere else. And, yes, his potential is great.
As a 6-foot-3, 229-pound true freshman, Stringfellow already had the physical presence of an NFL wide receiver last season. He quickly established a reputation as a guy not to be messed with in the UW locker room. He was popular — and tough. And a tough matchup, too, as he showed in his breakthrough, eight-catch, 147-yard, one-touchdown performance at UCLA in his first career start.
In the future, the hunch here is he’ll be a tough matchup for defensive backs in some other conference.
But the Huskies can move on without Stringfellow without much of a hiccup.
Strictly from a football perspective, losing Cyler Miles would’ve been a greater hurdle for the Huskies. He’s a quarterback — likely the quarterback next season. He’s the patty you grill slowly, carefully in the barbecue. A receiver is like the cheese. The cheese is great to have — a necessary piece, some would say — but there’s really nothing to eat without the meat, right?
I was asked again the other day how many wins I thought the Huskies will finish with in Chris Petersen’s first season. The range of possibilities is so wide because of the uncertainty at quarterback.
But if Miles returns rejuvenated and motivated, it’s not unreasonable to think UW could find a way to hit the double-digit win total (in a projected 14-game season).
Having missed spring practices, Miles figures to be a bit behind Jeff Lindquist and/or Troy Williams with regard to the new coaching staff’s playbook, and their on-field expectations and nuances. Certainly, Miles will face more scrutiny than anyone when fall camp begins in early August. If he’s still noticeably behind those other two young quarterbacks, UW’s outlook change dramatically for 2014.
There’s just no position more important that quarterback. And having an experienced quarterback — even one with only one start on his resume — is much preferred for any team, certainly.
The chance to get all those extra reps in spring ball benefited Lindquist and Williams. They improved each week, and they have potential, too. Maybe they’ll show up in August even further advanced, more polished, with a better grasp of the new playbook, ready to make the race for the starting quarterback job real.
But neither has attempted a pass in a college game. That’s a little scary for any coach, and particularly for a new coach who’s facing great expectations already.
There are biggest questions to ponder — How will teammates respond to Miles now as a leader? Should he face further discipline? — and those are fair to ask.
Considering the short-term, and the position need, the Huskies will be fine without Stringfellow in 2014. As things stand now, they have to have Miles.