The Huskies’ season-opening 17-16 victory at Hawaii ended Saturday around 11 p.m. Pacific time. The team’s chartered flight landed back in Seattle a little after 7 a.m. on Sunday. By 8 a.m., the team buses had arrived back on campus. The first thing receiver Jaydon Mickens did after that was get in his car and drive to pick up quarterback Cyler Miles.
The quarterback and the receiver then went back to the Husky Stadium offices to review game film until about 3 p.m. Sunday.
Around that same time, UW coaches decided that it was time to turn over the offense to Miles, who did not make the trip to Hawaii while serving a one-game suspension for his role in two post-Super Bowl assaults.
“Cyler, first of all, after his incident and the kind of punishment that we laid down and the kind of hurdles he’d have to get over to rejoin this team has done all that and has been really good,” UW coach Chris Petersen said. “His attitude’s been great, and he’s done everything we’ve asked. So I sure hope he learned.”
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It hasn’t taken long for the Huskies to rally around their new quarterback. The quarterback didn’t waste any time getting ready for his shot at redemption, either.
“You should see what’s going on out in practice,” Mickens said.
In three days on that practice field this week, Mickens believes a transformation is under way with the Washington offense now that Miles is entrenched as the starting quarterback.
“It’s a different swagger when he’s out there,” Mickens said Wednesday. “He’s another Keith Price. … He’s making everybody else play better.”
Surely, the Huskies hope Miles can be the offensive spark they’ll need against FCS power Eastern Washington on Saturday at Husky Stadium. Miles, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound sophomore, made one start in relief of the injured Price last season, leading the Huskies to a blowout victory at Oregon State in late November.
With Price injured for much of November, Miles took many of the first-team snaps in practice last season, allowing him time to establish a rapport — and trust — with his receivers.
“He gives the receivers opportunities. He gives the receivers chances,” senior receiver Kasen Williams said.
The UW offense was shut out in the second half against Hawaii, punting on eight consecutive drives. The Huskies, after a strong first half under the direction of first-time starting quarterback Jeff Lindquist, couldn’t get any momentum established with the pass or the run in the second half.
UW’s other three quarterbacks have stronger arms, but Miles’ anticipation on throws and his potentially elite running ability are what separate him.
“Compared to Jeff, Jeff’s ball’s a lot harder and a lot tighter than Cyler’s is,” Williams said. “But Cyler’s ball is in the air for a little bit longer, so he throws it with anticipation. And with that being said, it’s easier for us to see the ball all the way in and it comes in softer, so it’s easier to catch. To me, as long as he throws it to me, it’s all good.”
Coleman carries the load
The Huskies’ best drive in the second half against Hawaii was their last, when redshirt freshman Lavon Coleman took six consecutive handoffs for 37 yards, chewing up the final 2 minutes 40 seconds off the clock and sealing the win.
“I thank my linemen. Those dudes work their butt off the entire game and just to get that last surge …,” Coleman said in the first interview availability with the local media. “They put their heart in it and moved everything that last drive. It felt pretty good.”
Coleman had 17 carries for 78 yards, both team highs, in his UW debut.
Adam Jude: 206-464-2364 or email@example.com