The Young Guns
For the first time since 2003, there is an absurd amount of talent and depth at the quarterback position. If you recall, the 2003 Huskies had a senior QB in Cody Pickett, who had a record setting season in 2002 under center, but behind him stood two nationally renowned recruits in Isaiah Stanback and Casey Paus.
When Pickett began to struggle that year, the Husky faithful began to clamor for Paus and with good reason. Casey Paus was a consensus five star recruit from Michigan who was all set to continue the lineage of great UW quarterbacks over the past twelve years (Brunell, Hobert, Huard, Huard, Tuiasosopo and Pickett). Unfortunately, we all know how the Casey Paus saga actually turned out (ahem, 1-10 in 2004), but I digress.
The point is that there was an embarrassment of riches at the QB position in 2003, but that dried up very quickly. From Pickett, it went to Paus, then to the triumvirate of Stanback, Carl Bonnell and Johnny DuRocher, and then to Jake Locker. There was talent there, but not depth. Locker’s backup for three years two years was Ronnie Fouch. Yikes.
Fast forward to 2013. The incumbent Keith Price (who I will get to later this week) is a two-year starter who is now entering his fifth year in the program. He had a record setting 2011 campaign and took steps backward in 2012. While he struggled in 2012, the only legitimate backup for him was Derrick Brown, so there was not much an option to make a change. That won’t be the case in 2013.
Now there are three highly rated quarterbacks behind Price. Jeff Lindquist, Cyler Miles and Troy Williams represent a stable of young gun slingers that will most certainly put pressure on Price to regain his 2011 form. Lindquist and Miles both redshirted last year, while Williams enrolled in school for winter quarter so that he’d be eligible for spring football.
All three have different skill sets and all three could emerge as Price’s backup when the season starts. Lindquist is the local kid with a rocket arm. He was a Semper Fi All-American and turned down Stanford to stay at home.
Miles actually travelled with the team in 2013 – he was an Army All American and won a state title. He is the quintessential Sarkisian QB – smart decisions, quick release and athletic enough to move around the pocket and extend plays.
Williams adds another level of intrigue here – ideally, it would make sense to redshirt a true freshman when you have such depth at a position, but what if that kid is so good that you simply have to get him on the field? Williams is a dual threat who has won at every level and turned down offers from Auburn, Florida, Wisconsin and a host of others to come to Montlake.
I realize that the chances are good that at least one of these guys will go the way of Casey Paus and fizzle, but Sarkisian has a history of grooming great QBs. There is so much raw ability in those three young men and, to this point, the casual Husky fan has not been able to see them up close.
Is Lindquist as fast as they say, even though he’s 6’3” and 230 pounds? Is Cyler Miles that much of a calming presence in the huddle? Is Troy Williams really good enough to compete right now for a job? We’ll get a look at all three of them for the first time this Saturday.