If you heard a screech from your home Friday morning, that was the sound of the record skipping. During a Zoom call with the media, Washington coach Jimmy Lake gave an answer about the Huskies’ quarterback situation that raised eyebrows and maybe some concerns.
Asked whether there was a timetable for him naming a starting quarterback, Lake said there was not. In fact, he suggested that when UW opens its season against Cal on Nov. 7, as many as three QBs could see the field.
“If we’re not ready to make the decision, we’re not going to make the decision. If we go into the game and we still like three of them, then maybe all three are going to play,” Lake said. “If we like two guys, then two guys are going to play. If there’s a clear leader, then that guy will be the starter.”
This very well could be Lake trying to keep the quarterback competition as intense as possible. It could also be him refusing to give the media the slightest morsel of information.
But upon first glance, the idea of three, or even two, quarterbacks for the opener seems more ominous than it does promising. Might that mean that they really have no quarterback?
Some may argue that isn’t the case at all. They’d point to the 2007 LSU team, which won a national championship in a season in which Matt Flynn and Ryan Perriloux each threw at least 75 passes. Or they might highlight the 1999 Michigan team (10-2) where Tom Brady and Drew Henson traded drives in the early part of the year before Brady won the job.
But there was also the 2016 Notre Dame team, where DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire each took snaps at the beginning of the season before the Irish finished 4-8.
You gotta think there’s a rhythmic element to it, right? Success on the football field largely comes down to repetition. And when you have the same signal caller commanding his troops every series — familiarizing himself with the offensive line, running backs and receivers, one would figure the offense would be more precise. That’s how most teams do it, even if they have two uber-talented quarterbacks — such as Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama.
Then again, if you look at the 10-3 Northwestern team in 2012, where Trevor Siemian threw 218 passes and Kain Colter threw 149, you might think the multiple-QB system works. Yes, Colter told ESPN the offense didn’t have an identity after a midseason loss to Nebraska, but the Wildcats won four of their next five games before finishing No. 17 in the country.
Perhaps researching the successes and struggles of former multiple-QB systems is irrelevant in the case of the Huskies. It’s possible Lake has no real intention of playing two or three quarterbacks, and is just keeping the media at bay.
After all, this decision will likely be a defining moment in his coaching career.
Will he go with Jacob Sirmon, the redshirt sophomore who’s been in the system longer than any of his competitors? Might it be Kevin Thomson, the dual-threat transfer from Sacramento State who was an FCS All-American last year? Could redshirt freshman Dylan Morris sneak past the more experienced signal callers? Or could true freshman Ethan Garbers surprise just about everyone by getting the nod?
It was just a few years ago that former Huskies coach Chris Petersen tabbed true freshman Jake Browning as his starting quarterback. What followed were two Pac-12 titles and trips to the Rose Bowl and College Football Playoff.
There may be no more important decision Lake makes than choosing his go-to QB. And that may be why he’ll delay that decision all the way into the start of the season.
With limited access to practice, it’s been hard for any members of the media to get a real gauge as to how this QB competition is playing out. And the coaches aren’t offering much as to who may be separating himself from the pack.
As of now, though, the prospect of multiple quarterbacks does seem like a possibility. And though that might not give Huskies fans much confidence, it has worked before.