Young UW QBs look to spring forward
For Jeff Lindquist and Troy Williams, the opportunity to make a first impression in front of thousands of fans at Husky Stadium — and in front of a live TV audience on the Pac-12 Networks — will be an important step toward potentially winning the starting job for UW’s season opener
Seattle Times staff reporter
Five Huskies to watch
In addition to UW’s two young quarterbacks, Jeff Lindquist and Troy Williams, five others with intriguing potential have emerged this spring.
Shaq Thompson: Turns out, the junior linebacker might also be the Huskies’ best running back. Thompson was limited at Thursday’s practice with a minor injury, so it’s unclear how many (if any) touches he’ll get on offense Saturday, but he’ll be a tantalizing two-way option for the new staff next fall.
John Ross: The sophomore receiver could one-up Thompson as a three-way threat this fall. UW’s fastest player has worked out as an outside receiver, cornerback and kick returner this spring. “If they ask me to be a kicker, a long snapper, anything — whatever they need me to do, I’m here for my team,” Ross said.
Darrell Daniels: The sophomore tight end (6 feet 4, 241 pounds), a converted receiver, is still adjusting to new demands as a blocker, but he’s a potential matchup nightmare for linebackers. He figures to be a factor at a deep tight end position as the Huskies try to replace three-year starter Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
Joe Mathis: As a true freshman, Mathis appeared in 12 games last season, and he’s emerged as the likely backup to Hau’oli Kikaha at one defensive end spot.
Jermaine Kelly: Reinforcements are on the way for UW’s thin secondary, with seven freshman defensive backs scheduled to arrive this summer, but the redshirt freshman Kelly has put himself ahead of the class at one cornerback with a productive spring.
There won’t be any real winners Saturday during Washington’s first spring game of the Chris Petersen era. That’s not the point.
For the Huskies’ young quarterbacks, though, the opportunity to make a first impression in front of thousands of fans at Husky Stadium — and in front of a live TV audience on Pac-12 Networks — will be an important step toward potentially winning the starting job for UW’s season opener at Hawaii on Aug. 30. They will try to be on-point in their biggest test yet.
“I’m excited,” said sophomore Jeff Lindquist, the former star quarterback at Mercer Island High. “As a local kid, it’s something I’ve been looking forward to my whole life.”
The spring game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. at Husky Stadium. A fan festival begins at 10 a.m. at the east practice field.
Lindquist, listed at 6 feet 3, 240 pounds, appeared in three games for UW last year as the mop-up, third-string quarterback. He didn’t attempt a pass.
Troy Williams, the only other quarterback to participate in UW’s first 14 spring practices, redshirted last season. Like Lindquist, Williams, a 6-2, 199-pound Los Angeles native, is a former four-star recruit with real, but raw, potential as a dual-threat quarterback. And, like Lindquist, Williams has had his share of highs and lows — and not just with his throws — this spring while trying to adjust to a new coaching staff and a new playbook.
“I think their decision-making is actually pretty darn good,” Petersen said this week. “It can maybe be a little bit quicker at times. I think where we need to take the next big step is with accuracy. And it will.”
Sophomore Cyler Miles, UW’s most experienced quarterback and projected starter for 2014, remains suspended. Petersen has said he’s in no rush to decide on Miles’ potential return, nor that of suspended receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow.
“We’ll answer all those questions down the road,” Petersen said.
Because of suspensions and injuries, the Huskies will have no more than 50 scholarship position players available Saturday. Given those limited numbers, the spring game will be more of a practice, with “a couple fun things” sprinkled in, Petersen said.
That jibes with the general feel of spring, where the emphasis has been less on overall competition and more on the small details.
“I just want them to get lined up, be physical, play fast and have fun,” defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski said. “It’s the spring game. We always want to keep guys healthy. We’re at the end here, so certain guys will get their reps and they’ll be done. But everybody’s going to have a piece of the pie.”
New era, new look
UW and Nike on Friday released images of the Huskies’ four new uniform combinations for 2014.
One combination is an updated look of the traditional purple and gold, with a matte gold helmet featuring a purple and white stripe from front to back. The new gold pants have a sharper hue, and the fabric is said to be a lighter quality.
The all-black “stealth” combination features a matte black helmet, and the new white helmet has a “frost texture.” The new “Northwest numerals” feature a gold-tipped corner, “representing the Huskies’ ownership of the Northwest territory.”
The biggest change is that the stripes on the pants have been removed. On the black pants, “Dawgs” is printed on both pant legs.
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