Cyler Miles will start at quarterback for the Huskies in their home opener Saturday against Eastern Washington.
That shouldn’t be much of a surprise for those who watched Washington’s offense shut down in the second half of their 17-16 season-opening victory at Hawaii.
Chris Petersen, in his first year as UW’s coach, announced the quarterback change Monday, two days after Jeff Lindquist’s first collegiate start ended in hold-your-breath fashion.
Miles, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound dual-threat sophomore, didn’t make the trip to Hawaii while serving a one-game suspension for his role in two post-Super Bowl assaults in February. King County prosecutors did not file charges against Miles because of a lack of evidence.
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In his only interview since then, Miles apologized for the incidents.
“I messed up big time,” he said Aug. 6, “and I’m willing to face the consequences.”
Miles also missed all of UW’s spring practices while suspended, and he entered fall camp with little knowledge of the new playbook, Petersen said. Miles has made up a lot of ground since, but Petersen acknowledged Monday that “there are certain things that we’re still getting him up to speed with.”
“He can put things together pretty quickly, football-wise,” Petersen added. “… For him to get no reps in spring and just get fall with us, he’s very much in tune, as much as other quarterbacks are, and now we get him more reps and see what can happen.”
What can Miles offer that’s different from Lindquist?
“We’ll find out. That’s why we got to put him in there. I don’t really know,” Petersen said. “I think he commands the field pretty well. I think he has a really good feel for what’s going on. It always comes down, to me, to decision-making and accuracy. I hope that he takes a good step forward in that department for us.”
Miles made one start as a redshirt freshman last season, replacing the injured Keith Price and leading the Huskies to a 69-27 victory at Oregon State.
“He filled in for Keith last year and he did a great job starting,” sophomore receiver John Ross said. “So guys are used to playing with him more. … just the fact that Cyler is a veteran and he had time last year and he knows what’s going on and the speed of the game.”
Lindquist, the third-year sophomore from Mercer Island, will be UW’s backup, with redshirt freshman Troy Williams the No. 3. Lindquist was poised and efficient in the first half against Hawaii, helping UW score 17 consecutive points, but things unraveled in the second half, when UW managed just eight first downs in nine drives.
“He’s been awesome,” Petersen said of Lindquist. “He’s a great kid. I love being around him and he does everything he can do for this team.”
• Redshirt freshman Coleman Shelton, who started at right tackle in his UW debut against Hawaii, should start again against Eastern Washington, Petersen said. Senior Ben Riva, UW’s regular right tackle, is progressing from a knee injury, and could be available this week if needed.
• In the only other notable change to UW’s depth chart this week, junior Travis Feeney was listed as the starter at strongside linebacker. Redshirt freshman Keishawn Bierria made his UW debut as the starting SAM linebacker against Hawaii and finished with one tackle.