Jerrard Randall and Anu Solomon have been splitting time at quarterback for the Wildcats, and Randall could take over as the starter against UW on Saturday night.
The status of Washington freshman quarterback Jake Browning remains uncertain entering Saturday’s game against Arizona at Husky Stadium.
Browning sat out of the loss at Stanford last week with a shoulder injury, but after the game UW coach Chris Petersen expressed optimism that Browning would be able to return this week. Thursday, Petersen was noncommittal about Browning’s status.
Arizona, meanwhile, has quarterback questions of its own.
Jerrard Randall is expected to take over as the Wildcats’ starting QB against the Huskies after replacing Anu Solomon and nearly leading Arizona back from a 17-point third-quarter deficit against Washington State last week. In the 45-42 loss, Randall was 11 of 16 for 137 yards with two touchdowns and he rushed for 105 yards on 10 carries.
Most Read Sports Stories
- Mariners hit four homers in 11-7 win to sweep Angels in Anaheim
- Mariners go wild again in 9th, stun Angels
- Ten UW Huskies who have improved their stock most in preseason camp
- Here's where Mariners sit in national media's latest MLB power rankings
- Even Cal Raleigh did not believe it would happen, but he leads MLB catchers in home runs
Solomon, despite a 13-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio, has been benched in the second half in each of the past two weeks, and even he suggested this week that Randall should start.
“Just let him have a shot,” Solomon told the Arizona Daily Star.
Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez has also been noncommittal about his starting quarterback this week, though the forecast calling for a 100-percent chance of rain Saturday, which suggests the Wildcats will stick with their running quarterback.
Randall, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound senior who began his career at LSU, has improved as a passer but he still relies heavily on his feet. He has 639 yards and five touchdowns on the ground this season, and he leads the FBS with 11.0 yards per carry.
“He’s a special athlete,” UW defensive line coach Jeff Choate said. “He’s obviously given them some juice.”
When Randall is in the game, the Huskies will almost certainly have to commit an extra defender inside the box to account for his breakaway running ability. Of course, that can expose more holes in the secondary, so the load-the-box strategy is not without risk.
“It’s a lot like the Seattle Seahawks when they end up pulling Russell Wilson; you need that extra defender there to tackle the quarterback,” UW secondary coach Jimmy Lake said. “All of a sudden you start donating more guys to stop the running back and the quarterback and all of a sudden it’s a pass. If they catch it, it ends up being a long play.”
And Arizona leads the Pac-12 with 49 explosion plays of 20 yards or more this season.
This is the fifth consecutive week in a row the Huskies will play an offense that ranks either first or second in the Pac-12 in scoring.
The Huskies, who continued to lead the conference in scoring defense (18.9 points), held California, USC, Oregon and Stanford below their scoring average. Arizona leads the Pac-12 with an average of 41.8 points per game.
A long wait Saturday
Rodriguez ranted last week when the Pac-12 announced the 8 p.m. kickoff at Husky Stadium, and Petersen agreed that the late kicks aren’t much fun for anyone involved — coaches, players, fans.
The hardest part, Petersen added, is the long day of waiting around the team hotel.
“That might be the most painful thing in the whole thing, just waiting all day Saturday. It really is,” It’s just so much dead time. And so we get them up and you have a walkthrough and you come back and eat, you have another little walkthrough and you’re just buying time, trying to not go stay in the hotel.”
The 8 p.m. kickoff matches the latest kickoff in Husky Stadium history.