By Brady Henderson
Washington’s freshly minted 2013 recruiting class was the main topic of discussion when coach Steve Sarkisian joined “Bob and Groz” on Wednesday.
The conversation eventually shifted from the Huskies’ incoming players to one of their seniors, embattled quarterback Keith Price, whose status atop the depth chart is at least somewhat tenuous after a shaky junior season.
Quarterback Keith Price will face competition after a turnover-filled 2012 season. (AP)
Sarkisian borrowed a line from his former boss, Pete Carroll, when asked whether Price will have to compete with the likes of Derrick Brown, Cyler Miles and Jeff Lindquist to remain the Huskies’ starter, a title he’s held the past two seasons.
“Well, there always will be [competition] for us, and that’s a good thing,” Sarkisian said. “That’s what drives us all, it’s what drove Keith to get to where he was when he was battling Nick Montana for that starting spot.”
Price beat out Montana two seasons ago before breaking the school’s single-season records for touchdown passes (33) and completion percentage (66.9) as a sophomore.
His 2012 season was marred by inconsistency and turnovers. He threw 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, six of those picks coming during a three-game losing streak that had fans briefly questioning whether he was the team’s best option. Fumbles were a season-long problem as well.
Injuries decimated Washington’s offense, and Sarkisian attributed some of Price’s struggles to him not trusting the inexperienced players who were thrust into bigger roles. Sarkisian never wavered on Price as the starter, however.
Now he seems willing to open the job to a competition to a group of inexperienced yet highly regarded quarterbacks. Price, Brown, Myles, Lindquist and 2013 signee Troy Williams make up what Sarkisian considers the deepest group of quarterbacks he’s had at Washington.
Brown’s only playing time has come in mop-up duty, while Myles and Lindquist redshirted as true freshmen last season. That disparity in experience – along with how well Price has played in the past – would seemingly make him the favorite.
A few of Sarkisian’s comments left the impression that the job is still Price’s to lose.
“The goal is to get Keith back on track, playing the way he’s capable of playing because I think when he’s going, we’re great,” Sarkisian said. “And the other guys are going to push him to get to that point.”
And when asked about Husky legend Marques Tuiasosopo returning to Washington as quarterbacks coach, Sarkisian mentioned how it will benefit Price specifically.
“It’s great to have Marques Tuiasosopo back working directly with the quarterbacks and with Keith because I think he’s lived it, he understands it, he understands our system, he’s excelled at the highest level of college football as well as in the National Football League,” Sarkisian said.
“So having him back with our guys is going to be great because we know what Keith Price is capable of, we’ve just got to get him back to playing that way.”