Can UW Push Past Miles Suspension?

Thursday Chris Petersen released the news many had already expected to hear since the spring; quarterback Cyler Miles would be suspended for Washington’s opening game at Hawaii August 30th. It was the final piece in Miles’ return to the Huskies since being involved with a Super Bowl Sunday altercation near campus.

Miles was the one quarterback with returning starting experience, so when the news came down questions came quick and fast; would Miles still be practicing with the team? Would he be available for the next game, at home versus Eastern Washington? Has he learned his lesson? How does this change the offensive game-planning? Who has the edge in the competition for the starting job August 30th?

What does this all this mean?

What changes now for the offense preparing for Hawaii? - In the short term, nothing changes all that much for Petersen and the offensive coaches because they didn’t have Miles during spring. He was suspended from the team and really didn’t do anything at all until offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith started meeting with him to get him up to speed on the offensive concepts and his responsibilities moving forward.

That means the job most likely will be won between the two quarterbacks that took part in all of spring football - Jeff Lindquist and Troy Williams. There’s a chance K.J. Carta-Samuels could be thrown into the mix, but that wouldn’t be totally fair to the true frosh, especially knowing that Miles would be available immediately after the Hawaii game.

In many ways, the Huskies will continue to work and build off of everything they did in the spring and push forward. The only difference will be that Miles will be a part of fall camp in every way, shape, and form minus his availability August 30th.

How does Miles’ exclusion change UW’s game-planning? - This might be the most intriguing question outside of who starts in place of Miles, yet in some ways it may not have changed no matter who won the starting quarterback job simply because this is a new staff that has brought in a different way of doing things.

There’s little doubt that, given the number of returning, experienced running backs Washington has, the Huskies would focus a lot of the offensive attention toward the run game. Add to it the fact that Hawaii was abysmal stopping the run last year - 104th in FBS - it’s easy to assume Washington would put their tailbacks to work behind a massive, veteran offensive line.

With Miles now ruled out of the Hawaii game, it’s another smart assumption that Washington will rely even more on the run game to start the season than maybe they would have if Miles had started. That would have definitely been the case if Steve Sarkisian had stayed at UW. The key when blooding in a quarterback with limited experience is to allow them to find their footing, yet call plays that reinforce confidence, play to their strengths, and give the offense the best chance to be successful. That success should build on itself over time.

What does this news mean to Lindquist and Williams? - Again, in one sense it doesn’t change anything for the two that battled it out during spring; the battle is once again joined August 4th with a starting spot on the line. Both will be emboldened to take charge, with the idea to Wally Pipp Miles by keeping the job after Hawaii and not giving it away. An unintended consequence of the suspension is that all three quarterbacks will remain engaged throughout the season to show the staff they are the quarterback to take the program forward. Many times the pecking order becomes so set in stone the players seemingly on the outside looking in will tune out and/or transfer out. While it’s likely there will be a transfer after the season given the numbers, their UW fate is still very much in their hands. They can determine how much they play by how the practice and how they lead, and they may only be a play away from getting in the game and staying there the rest of the year. That should be motivation enough.

Has Miles Learned His Lesson? - Miles was a winner at Mullen High in Denver, winning multiple state championships. He knows how to lead and he knows how to win football games. Obviously his judgement off the field has come into serious question, but his ability and decision-making on the field has not - at least up until now. With a new head coach and a new offensive coordinator that values accuracy and decision-making out of the quarterbacks above all else, hopefully Miles’ decision-making on the field will show up early and often, leading to more trust and confidence between the two entities.

According to Petersen, he’s very pleased with everything Cyler has done off the field to win the trust of the new staff and regain his status within the locker room. Obviously we’ll see soon enough whether that translates into Miles finding the field sooner, rather than later. My guess is that all things being equal, Miles has the requisite experience and the players know he can get the job done when the whistle blows - so that should keep him in good stead while he tries to impress in fall with his play, his demeanor, and his actions on and off the field.

Who has the inside track for the starting QB job against Hawaii? - Of course I’m going to cop out here, but it’s also the true answer; it’s 50/50 between Lindquist and Williams with everything to play for. It would have been nice to find some clues during spring to see who has jumped ahead. There’s no question Lindquist had a monster Spring Event, yet Williams had his moments during spring as well. As long as the running game can catalyze the rest of the Washington offense, both quarterbacks are perfectly capable of just steering the ship, making good decisions, and let the skill players make the plays they need to score the points.

Either way, no matter who wins the job it just means that much more experience for the quarterback group. It also means that Washington will have at least two quarterbacks with starting experience before the Huskies start conference play at the end of September, and that’s really the most important thing. All of the quarterbacks will have to maximize the game reps they do get, and in an ideal world it would be nice to give the starters at least a couple quarters to create a big lead and then let the others mop up. Even mop up duty helps because it gives the quarterbacks reps at game speed, something very hard to replicate during practice. It helps because they can become more comfortable with the mechanics of getting a play to the huddle, calling it out, making checks at the line, and executing the play. Top Stories