By Brent Stecker
Entering Washington’s spring football practices, the excitement around the arrival of new coach Chris Petersen has been matched only by the uncertainty surrounding indefinitely-suspended quarterback Cyler Miles and wide receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow.
Quarterbacks Jeff Lindquist (pictured) and Troy Williams will get plenty of work during spring practice with Cyler Miles suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules. (AP)
That uncertainty doesn’t extend to the Huskies themselves, though, as Petersen explained at a press conference Monday, a day before his team hits the field for the first time this spring.
“There’s been no talk about those guys,” Petersen said of Miles and Stringfellow, who were suspended Feb. 6, four days after two Huskies players allegedly assaulted a man near campus after the Seahawks’ Super Bowl win. “They haven’t been here, we’ve moved on, and we’re going. And it’s not about those guys, it’s about the guys in the room. That’s the message.”
And it’s loud and clear.
Miles was expected to be the front-runner to start at quarterback in 2014, but since he won’t be participating this spring, there will be plenty of reps for Washington’s two other signal-callers – sophomore Jeff Lindquist and redshirt freshman Troy Williams.
“They’re gonna get more work than they ever probably dreamed,” Petersen said. “We don’t have any starters at that position for sure, and so we’ll just get them a lot of work. And guys need to not worry about their rank in the depth chart; they just need to get better each day.”
It’s much more likely for a team to have three or four quarterbacks in the spring than two, so Petersen has some different expectations for Washington’s.
“(I just want) a guy to come back for the second day and not have his arm thrown off ’cause we only have two quarterbacks,” Petersen joked. “Two guys is great for them – they’re gonna get all kinds of reps, but you probably would like a little more depth as a coaching staff.”
Petersen was known to take advantage of any player with ability to play on both sides of the ball during his time at Boise State, and it sounds like he’s going to keep that going with the Huskies.
“We might have some guys doing some double-duty. We’ll just kinda see how that goes down the road,” he said. “We have to maximize our talent. … We’ve just had decent success over the years of using some guys in certain packages.”
Petersen made mention of a few players that could play both ways.
“John Ross has played a little bit of defense,” he said of the wide receiver/kick returner. “I know Shaq (Thompson) was a heck of a running back in high school, but he’s a pretty good linebacker too. … (Defensive back) Jermaine Kelly’s already been lobbying for receiver, and I’ve seen him play in high school and he’s not bad, so we’ll see.”
• WR Kasen Williams – who suffered a broken leg and displaced ligaments in his foot Oct. 26 against Cal – will not see any action on the field this spring, Petersen said. OL Dexter Charles and WR Taelon Parson will also be out. Five Huskies will be limited: OL Micah Hatchie, DB Kevin King, LB Scott Lawyer, LB Cory Littleton and TB Ryan McDaniel.
• Petersen said K Cameron Van Winkle – who was sidelined for most of 2013 with a back injury – is good to go this spring: “He’s pretty good. He’s been kicking a little bit, so he’s completely on track and really ready to do some kicking.”