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August 22, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Sophomore Jeff Lindquist named UW’s starting quarterback against Hawaii

UW quarterback Jeff Lindquist will make his first career start in the Huskies' season opener at Hawaii next week. (Photo by Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

UW quarterback Jeff Lindquist will make his first career start in the Huskies’ season opener at Hawaii next week. (Photo by Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

Sophomore Jeff Lindquist has been named Washington’s starting quarterback for the Huskies’ season opener at Hawaii on Aug. 30, UW coach Chris Petersen announced Friday.

Lindquist, listed at 6 feet 3, 246 pounds, will be making his first career start. He beat out redshirt freshman Troy Williams (6-2, 194) in a competition that began last spring.

“Jeff Lindquist will start. We’ll go with him and see how he does,” Petersen said after practice. “He’s done a great job from spring through now. I will say this: Troy Williams has done a really nice job, too. And I think we were splitting hairs trying to figure this out. Both have different skillsets they bring to the table, but at this point we feel like we need to give Jeff the nod and let him roll, let him get some things done and let him go from there.”

Lindquist, the former Mercer Island High School star, grew up rooting for the Huskies, and this opportunity to start, he said earlier this week, is “obviously something I’ve dreamt about. I just want to do whatever I can do to get the team ready and help us start off on the right foot.”

Sophomore quarterback Cyler Miles, suspended for the season opener, “definitely factors into” the quarterback competition after the Hawaii game, Petersen said.

Williams, too, will continue to compete for the job, Petersen added.

“Jeff’s going to go and he’s going to get a good opportunity to go. We don’t want anybody looking over their shoulder, but a guy’s got to go produce,” Petersen said. “After this first game, we’ll kind of reevaluate and see where we are.”

Lindquist made his most impressive push for the starting job during last Saturday’s final public scrimmage, when he led the No. 1 offense on its two best drives of the day, both resulting in rushing touchdowns by a running back. Unofficially, Lindquist was 7 of 15 passes for 84 yard, but most important to Petersen and UW offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith was that Lindquist didn’t commit any turnovers — which has been an issue for Williams throughout fall camp.

“There might’ve been a few less critical errors out of (Lindquist),” Petersen said. “I think they’re all such young guys that haven’t played a lot that you’re going to have those (turnovers). That’s probably one thing right then and there. I think he made some plays when we scrimmage, but so did Troy — I want to make that clear. This will be a constant battle, a constant competition, and they’ve got to keep improving and progressing and we’re excited to watch it.”

Williams was 7 of 14 for 36 yards and threw the only interception of Saturday’s scrimmage. That’s consistent with the strong-armed redshirt freshman’s play for much of fall camp; for every well-thrown long ball Williams had, he seemed to counter it with a forced pass that too often ended up in the hands of the defense.

Miles, who made one start for the Huskies last season in place of the injured Keith Price, was 10 of 16 for 145 yards in the scrimmage. He didn’t have any turnovers, either.

As a redshirt freshman, Lindquist appeared in three games in mop-up duty. He didn’t attempt a pass but finished the season with two carries for 10 yards. At 240-plus pounds, he’s a durable running threat, but certainly a pass-first quarterback.

Smith, the first-year offensive coordinator, said earlier this week that Lindquist’s understanding of the new offensive schemes “has been pretty impressive. He’s really worked hard at it, diving into the playbook. I think his demeanor and his approach on the field is really good. He’s positive — a positive outlook every time he walks out there. Great energy at practice, and over time you come to appreciate that.”

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