Here’s my story from today’s paper on Cyler Miles, who acknowledged having “a hard time” in his first season as the Huskies’ starting quarterback.
“I don’t want to give you the sob story,” he said late Saturday night, after the Huskies’ 31-13 Apple Cup victory, “but I thank God and I thank my teammates. I’m so happy for my teammates that we could get the win.”
Miles had an uneven season and was often criticized for the offense’s overall struggles. Miles’ numbers in 11 regular-season games: 194 of 291 passing (66.7 percent) for 2,129 yards with 16 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. His passing efficiency rating of 144.20 is seventh in the Pac-12 (just behind Cal’s Jared Goff, 147.6; Arizona State’s Taylor Kelly, 145.3; and WSU’s Connor Halliday, 145.1).
Keith Price, by comparison, had an efficiency rating of 161.9 in his first season as UW’s starter in 2011 (when he had 33 touchdowns, 11 interceptions). In 2007, Jake Locker had an efficiency rating of 105.0 (when he also rushed for 986 yards and 13 touchdowns) in his first season as UW’s starter.
Throughout the season, UW coaches talked often about trying to get Miles to be more patient in the pocket. He’s a capable runner, of course — finishing with 280 yards and four touchdowns on the ground — but was often too quick to flee the pocket when he felt a hint of pressure. As the season progressed, he seemed to have a better feel for that. In fact, he had just four carries, a season low, in each of UW’s last two games – big victories over Oregon State and Washington State.
He had his best game against the Beavers, throwing for 253 yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers and a rating of 199.4.
“I think midway through the season I just had to step back, look in the mirror, and I had to lean on my teammates,” Miles said. “I’ve got a lot of great guys around me and I felt like I had to do it for them. That was my mindset — I wanted to do it for them.”
A strong finish from Miles and sophomore running back Dwayne Washington — plus a healthier offensive line — has given the Huskies some stability. (Finally.) Miles hasn’t been perfect, but he’s looked better of late. Right now, he looks like UW’s best bet at quarterback going into 2015, too.