By Gregg Bell
UW Director of Writing
SEATTLE – Chris Petersen has understandably tempered expectations for the most important position on the field during his first spring practice as the Huskies’ coach.
He joked all he wants is “a guy that can come back for the second day and not have his arm thrown off.”
Then Petersen flashed a knowing grin.
“We only have two quarterbacks,” he said Monday, the day before the first spring practice of Husky football’s new era.
With Keith Price graduated and gone and Cyler Miles suspended indefinitely, Jeff Lindquist and Troy Williams are the ones left to practice, before 2014 recruit K.J. Carta-Samuels arrives from the Bay Area this summer. Neither Lindquist or Williams has thrown a pass in a college game.
They may be passing a bucket of ice after spring practices as much as a football during them.
Of all the “works in progress” Petersen mentioned he expected over 15 practices during the next six weeks, the quarterback position most exemplifies how inconclusive this spring will be for Washington.
Having only two quarterbacks isn’t ideal. Then again, Petersen isn’t going to be determining a starter immediately after the final spring practice on April 19.
After all, the first game of 2014 – at Hawaii – isn’t for another 182 days from Monday.
“They’re going to get more work, like I said, than they ever dreamed,” Petersen said of Lindquist and Williams. “We’ll maybe have two groups, the ones and the twos, and those guys are interchangeable and those groups are interchangeable.
“So we certainly don’t have any starters at that position, for sure. We’ll get them a lot of work, and guys don’t need to worry about their rank in the depth chart. They just need to get better each day.”
Petersen and his staff – entirely new in with him from Boise State, with the exception of lone returning assistant Jordan Paopao to coach tight ends – are deep into evaluation and fundamentals modes this spring. And they will likely remain so deep into fall practices that begin in early August.
In fact, Petersen said of not just the QBs but the entire team: “We don’t really want a depth chart. We have a seating chart.”
Miles, a redshirt sophomore-to-be, played eight games last season and started at Oregon State when Price was injured. Miles remains away from the team. Petersen suspended him and rising sophomore wide receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow in early February for a violation of team rules.
“No. I have nothing new to report on that,” Petersen said. “We’ll just let that play out and see where it goes.”
The new coach was asked if there had been any talk about the Miles and Stringfellow around the team, or if he was sending any message to it by suspending the players in one of his first public acts as UW’s coach.
“There’s been no talk of those guys. They haven’t been here and we’ve moved on, and we’re going,” Petersen said. “It’s not about those guys. It’s about the guys that are in the room.
“That’s the message.”
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Lindquist was the 2011 KingCo Conference 3A/2A offensive player of the year at Mercer Island High School across Lake Washington from Seattle. He had 6,061 passing yards and 2,520 rushing yards in his high-school career, then played for the Huskies last season as a redshirt freshman at the end of lopsided wins over Idaho State, Colorado and Oregon State.
Williams, 6-2, 199, was the 2012 California Interscholastic Federation Los Angeles City Section Division I Player of the Year and an honorable mention Parade All-America. He completed 72 percent of his throws for 39 touchdowns and six interceptions as a senior at Narbonne High School, then redshirted at UW last fall.
When Petersen was asked what he expects and wants from his Huskies quarterbacks, the former record-setting passer at UC Davis was succinct.
“You have to be a great decision-maker and an accurate thrower,” he said. “It’s that simple.
“You know, just a guy who can execute, who can run the system, who can throw accurately, who’s the decision-maker. It’ll be good.
“Two guys is great for them,” he said of Lindquist and Williams. “They’re going to get all kinds of reps.
”But you’d like a little more depth as a coaching staff.”
INSIDE THE DAWGS: Petersen said WR Kasen Williams, OL Dexter Charles and WR Taelon Parson will miss spring practice as they recover from injuries. Williams broke his leg and displaced ligaments in his foot on Oct. 26 against California, and initial estimates said he might have been running by now. Petersen said “We hope to have him back by summer full-speed, rockin’ and rollin’.” The senior-to-be has 142 receptions, 1,726 yards and 13 touchdowns through three seasons. There is little to gain in having UW’s most experienced and accomplished returning receiver rushing back for spring practices that may or may not include much contact. ... Those who will be limited during spring drills, if they practice at all: OL Micah Hatchie, S Kevin King, DE Cory Littleton, LB Scott Lawyer, TB Ryan McDaniel. ... Petersen teasingly responded to a question on who may get looks on both offense and defense, saying he’d done that with numerous players in his eight seasons leading Boise State. He mentioned John Ross’ capability to play defensive back as well as wide receiver, as Ross did for Steve Sarkisian late last season. Petersen also mentioned “Shaq (Thompson) was a heck of a running back in high school.” Petersen quickly smiled and added, “but he's also a pretty good linebacker.” ... Asked which positions he expected to see the most competition this spring, the coach said: “I hope it’s all of them. I don’t really know. Again, I can’t wait to get out there and see us. We haven’t done any football. It’s all weight lifting and running liners. Hopefully we can get lined up (Tuesday). But that’s why we’re excited to get out there and really do some football.”