By Gregg Bell
UW Director of Writing
SEATTLE – Jeff Lindquist has been a tad occupied this month.
He and Troy Williams have been the Huskies’ two – and only two – quarterbacks through two weeks of spring practice. That’s meant 2 hours and 15 or so minutes on the field three mornings each week, throwing every pass that’s gone through the air at Husky Stadium or the Dempsey Indoor facility.
They’ve also been the two, lone pupils as new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith broke down their practice films in the QBs room of the football operations center, as new coach Chris Petersen and his staff begin the long process of finding a successor to graduated record setter Keith Price.
So Lindquist might appreciate two things more than any others during the Huskies’ break from practice that began on Monday.
Ice. And a couch.
"Actually, spring break is probably coming at a good time,” Lindquist said of the two weeks Washington has off from the field following its sixth practice on Saturday. “It’s a chance to focus on school and step off the gas a little bit in football.”
Yet Lindquist is too driven, and scheduled, to just lounge around waiting for practice to resume on April 1. The graduate of Mercer Island, Wash., High School, who will be a redshirt sophomore this fall, is a standout student.
He has three final exams this week to end UW’s winter quarter: accounting and management tests midweek, and then …
"I have a drama performance on Friday," the quarterback said.
Wait, a what?
"I’m a firefighter," Lindquist said. "A mustache and lots of flannel.
"That why I’m trying to grow this a little.”
He then smiled and rubbed his stubbly face.
Lindquist is cast in a post-9/11 story for the class, one that is expanding his talents beyond the field, the football film room and the conventional college classroom.
"Drama 251,” the actor- and quarterback-in-training said. “It’s just an elective. But it’s really fun!"
Yes, Lindquist is learning a ton this spring. He and Williams, a redshirt freshman from Los Angeles, are splitting all of the plays on offense because Cyler Miles remains suspended indefinitely for violating Petersen’s team rules. Miles filled in for Price at UCLA last season and then started for him the following week at Oregon State when Price injured his shoulder against the Bruins last November.
Smith said he has installed roughly half the Huskies’ new offensive plays and formations into the heads and Lindquist and Williams.
“And maybe not that much,” said the former quarterback at Oregon State, who for the last two years had been the QBs coach at Boise State for Petersen. “I think we’ve got a ways to go, there’s no doubt about that.”
Smith said there have been many mistakes in practices this month. That’s something Petersen had predicted at the outset; the head man said spring ball would often be “ugly.”
Then again, it’s only March.
"I really like their effort," Smith said.
Thursday’s practice at Husky Stadium emphasized red-zone scrimmage plays. Ball security was paramount inside the 20-yard line, as it will be all season -- and all of Petersen’s UW tenure.
"Coach Pete was telling us if we made a turnover in the red zone it was worth two," Lindquist said.
The coach keeps a count that decides which unit wins the turnover battle that day — and that winning unit doesn’t have to run sideline-to-sideline sprints at the end of that practice.
“It’s coming along,” Lindquist said of transition to a new role with a new offense and the new staff. “It’s not where I need it to be. I need to be more fluid with the playbook, to just process things more quickly and play without thinking so much.
“But we’re only (six) practices in. We’re doing fine.”
He calls Williams a friend and not a fellow competitor for the quarterback job. At least not yet.
“Right now, I would say it’s more learning based as opposed to competition based,” Lindquist said. “But that can change on the back nine (the nine spring practices remaining from April 1-19).
“We’re buddies,” he said of Williams. “It’s not like we aren’t helping each other out.”
Now, the two quarterbacks and the rest of the Huskies get a break from football – though, as Lindquist’s schedule this week shows, it’s not necessarily a huge rest.
INSIDE THE DAWGS: The Huskies will return to practice on the morning of April 1, and also practice on the 3rd, 5th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 15th, 17th and 19th. That final workout on Saturday April 19th begins at 1 p.m. at Husky Stadium and is free and open to the public. The final practice will be shown live on Pac-12 Networks television.