Where They Stand: A look at UW's QB Position

Year one of the Chris Petersen era came to a close with a 30-22 loss to Oklahoma State in the Cactus Bowl. Now that the 2014 season is behind us, we start a position-by-position look at what happened this season, the returning players and give a peek at what things look like in 2015. Today, we start off with the quarterback spot which is wide open heading into spring ball in a couple of months...

2014 Review – Washington got spotty quarterback play early in the season and the lack of confidence by the coaches showed in some very conservative play calling. However, as the season moved along, the coaches really seemed to gain more confidence in Cyler Miles who in turn had some of his best performances late in the season. Worth noting is that there are several reports that Troy Williams is no longer enrolled at Washington and will seek to transfer to a junior college and play there this fall.

Returning Players

Cyler Miles (6-4, 225) (RS Jr.)
Jeff Lindquist (6-3, 235) (RS Jr.)
K.J. Carta-Samuels (6-3, 220) (RS Fr.)

Incoming Freshman

Jake Browning (6-2, 205)

Position Overview

Cyler Miles – Miles began 2014 with an off-field incident that led to a suspension where he missed all of spring practice. That put him behind the eight-ball to be the starting quarterback heading into the season. After sitting out the first game, Miles started every game after that except for the Huskies’ home game vs. Arizona State where he missed most of the week while going through the concussion protocol. Miles is a big, athletic player who seemed to get much more comfortable in the offensive system as the season moved along. He had very good performances against California, Oregon State and Washington State and he did a great job of taking care of the ball, finishing with just four interceptions on the season. However, any progress that he appeared make seemed to be nullified by sub-par, uninspired bowl performance. The key for Miles will be how much he improves during spring ball. He is the incumbent starter, but he will have several players nipping at his heels.

Jeff Lindquist – The fourth-year player from Mercer Island just never has seemed to have the game slow down for him. He’s got all of the physical talent you could want – mobility, arm-strength and size – but he’s such a perfectionist, his decision-making just hasn't proved quick enough and that has been a big cause for his struggles. Jonathan Smith and Chris Petersen installed some packages for Lindquist to see the field as a runner and in the Apple Cup, he appeared to really break open the game when he found John Ross behind the Cougars’ secondary only to have Ross drop the pass. Lindquist will have packages put into the gameplan for him on a weekly basis, but I just don't see him pressing for the starting spot.

K.J. Carta-Samuels – Carta-Samuels was named the Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year, meaning the players voted him as the best player they faced in practice on a week in and week out basis, as the freshman was able to give them good looks depending on which opponent they faced that coming week. Carta-Samuels has a very good arm, he’s got a sturdy frame and many think he could really push Miles for the starting spot. That wouldn’t surprise me at all, but at this point you have to think that Miles still has a sizable lead on him. The key for the Nor Cal native will be his ability to make quick decisions and put the ball where it needs to go on a throw by throw basis. If he can take care of the ball against what has proved to be a ball-hawking defense during practice, he could make it impossible for Smith and Petersen to keep him off the field. He’s not a run-first type, but make no mistake, Carta-Samuels can get out and run and hurt you if you don’t pay attention to him.

Jake Browning – Browning had a record-setting prep career at Folsom (Ca.) High School and he comes in as the most prolific quarterback recruit, at least from a statistical standpoint, in Washington’s storied history. Browning impresses most with his quick decisions and release. He knows where the ball needs to go and he gets it out of his hand quickly. He won’t wow you physically, but in Petersen’s system, you don’t need to be a 6’4”, 225-pounder. What you are asked to do is make good decisions and take care of the ball, two things that Browning has proven he can do really well. It’s not out of the question to think Browning can win the starting job, but we’ll see how realistic his chances are to unseat Miles and pass both Lindquist and Carta-Samuels after he takes part in spring ball in a couple of months.

2015 Preview – If you are looking for one of the most intriguing position battles heading into spring camp, look no further than at quarterback where Browning brings with him an impressive resume to challenge the older players. Miles is the established starter, but make no mistake, this competition will be open to whomever can take the reins and prove to the coaches that they are ready to make good decisions and lead the team. Obviously the coaches would prefer to name a starter sooner rather than later, but they also aren’t going to rush into things until they are confident they have the right man leading the offense.

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