Here we are, less than two weeks (!) away from kicking off the 2014 season at Hawaii and the Washington Huskies don’t have a starting quarterback yet. Luckily for Coach Petersen, we here at The Husky Haul can help make that decision. Here’s a breakdown of the main three – Cyler Miles, Jeff Lindquist and Troy Williams.
The case for: He’s the only quarterback on the current roster who has started a game, won a game, won a game on the road, and thrown a pass at the collegiate level. He’s had flashes of absolute brilliance and shown the unmistakeable athleticism that had colleges across the country drooling over him as a recruit. He’s got a big arm and long Kaepernickesque strides – you don’t realize how fast he is until he’s running away from multiple defensive backs at a time. The skills and athleticism that are currently en vogue in the NFL reside in young Mr. Miles.
The case against: Naturally the Super Bowl incident is a big strike one. The poor decision making is something you can’t have for the leader of the offense. I realize he’s a 21 year old kid who made a bad mistake and as long as it doesn’t become a recurring theme, he’s paid his dues and is entitled to a second chance. Even so, his off field antics resulted in him missing all of spring football with a new coach and new offensive system in addition to being suspended for the season opener against Hawaii. That immediately put Miles behind in terms of learning the new offense and building chemistry with his receivers, and it’s shown in practice. For anybody who attended the two open practices, it’s clear Miles isn’t playing as fast or as sharp as he’s done in the past.
The case for: Did anybody realize how BIG this kid is? He’s listed at 6’3″, 246 lbs. For perspective, Cam Newton is listed at 6’5″ 245 lbs. So…there’s that. What’s understated about Lindquist is his athletic ability. Coaches have raved about how well he moves and runs at his size. Pair that with his arm, which is arguably the strongest of the three quarterbacks, then that’s a pretty potent weapon to have lining up under center. Besides the raw tools, the reviews from coaches have been stellar in terms of how he’s learned a new offense. While Miles was unable to practice, Lindquist has apparently absorbed the new system quite well. His knowledge of the offense was on display at last Saturday’s scrimmage where he moved his unit with far more efficiency than any of the other quarterbacks.
The case against: He’s never thrown a pass in college. He got mop up duty last year after Cyler Miles got mop up duty. He hasn’t thrown a pass in a competitive game since the fall of 2012 when he was a senior in high school. Game speed isn’t practice speed no matter how hard you try to emulate the experience. In an ideal situation, Coach Petersen would, I’m sure, like for his new starter to have had some sort of real game action before handing him the keys to the offense.
The case for: While all three of these guys are good athletes, Williams is probably the most dynamic. He’s got a strong arm and is wicked fast. He enrolled early so that he could participate in spring football in 2013 to give himself an advantage.
The case against: It’s not an ideal situation for Troy Williams. He came in to a program that had remarkable talent ahead of him at the quarterback position. Not to say he isn’t immensely talented, but he’s younger and not as polished as Lindquist or Miles and it’s shown during fall camp. He has struggled to move the offense and been more turnover prone than the other two.
The verdict: Jeff Lindquist is your starter in 2014. If Miles hadn’t been suspended for Hawaii, this may have been a tougher call. With Miles unavailable and Williams unable to get out of his own way, it’s an easy decision. When things get dicey is week two against Illinois when Miles is reinstated. Do you give Miles the opportunity to unseat Lindquist if Lindquist lights up Hawaii to the tune of 250 yards through the air and another 70 on the ground with three total TD’s? I’d bet that if Lindquist shines against Hawaii, it will be his job to lose as the year goes on.
Bow down and go Dawgs.