Backups and Replacing Starters


When highly touted recruits enter a program, the natural inclination often is to overlook the current players on the roster. When the Huskies signed Nick Montana, most assumed he was the heir apparent to Jake Locker. When Locker was briefly injured against USC, Keith Price came in for a play and threw a touchdown pass. All according to plan. Wouldn’t want to burn Montana’s redshirt season for one play, right?

Then the competition for the job the following offseason came and went, and the depth chart stayed as it was: Keith Price ahead of Nick Montana. Montana watched from the sidelines as Price broke UW passing records, and when Montana got his chances he did not look good. And here the program is, returning one of the top QB’s in the country, while his former backup is no longer with the team.

This season, the backup quarterback position is undergoing a similar battle. Derrick Brown has a year in the program, and two hotshot young QB’s have come in behind him — Jeff Lindquist and Cyler Miles — and the assumption is that it’s just a matter of time until the incoming freshmen overtake him. Likewise, at RB there is a battle to replace Chris Polk between Jesse Callier and Bishop Sankey, and though Callier has been around longer and we’ve seen more from him, many expect that the job will ultimately be Sankey’s.

It’s no certainty that the older players will beat out the younger players any more than the younger players will win the jobs, but it’s folly to assume one or the other. Whoever wins these jobs will do so based on talent and skill, not how many stars the recruiting services gave them, and definitely not based on age. Yes, it’s definitely more intriguing to have a young player atop the depth chart, knowing that he’s coming back for another season or two and the position is secure for the foreseeable future, but it’s more intriguing to have the best players playing or ready to play.

The beauty of this is that there are these kinds of legitimate battles happening all over the field. That’s something that hasn’t been the case in quite a while, and is a testament to Steve Sarkisian and the job his staff has done in recruiting. Just remember that guys like Derrick Brown were given a scholarship because the coaches thought he could play. He’s not going to roll over and let the younger players overtake him without a fight. Either way though, it sure seems like the program is in good hands.

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