Washington is scheduled to kick off against California at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
And — wouldn’t you know it? — that’s also when Husky head coach Jimmy Lake is planning to unveil his starting quarterback.
“Yeah, great question. Great question,” Lake said with a grin during his weekly news conference Monday, when asked to divulge the name of his new starter. “We will find out at about 7:34 PT, right around there, on Saturday night.”
Of course, Lake has repeatedly refused to eliminate any of his four scholarship signal-callers — graduate student Kevin Thomson, redshirt sophomore Jacob Sirmon, redshirt freshman Dylan Morris and true freshman Ethan Garbers — from the running. But, according to a source, either Thomson or Morris are most likely to earn the starting nod.
Lake also has reiterated that, should the competition be too close to call, he’d be open to the possibility of playing multiple quarterbacks Saturday.
When asked if the quarterbacks and/or team at large have been informed of a final verdict, Lake again opted to stiff-arm the subject.
“Like I mentioned before, it really doesn’t help us to announce anything like that going into a game,” he said. “I know from a defensive perspective, if we know who the starting quarterback is then we can plan for that guy. So I really want to talk to our fans here, because I know our fans are excited, and believe me, we’re all excited and we can’t wait to run out there on Saturday night and play really hard for you guys. But what we’re never going to do here is release information that hurts us.
“By us releasing that type of information, it only hurts us. It doesn’t help us. We’ll all know here soon enough and we can’t wait to play really hard for you guys on Saturday night.”
Washington’s football program previously announced that its entire team had registered to vote. And Monday — on the eve of election day — Lake added that more than 90% of his team already has voted.
“So we are so excited about that,” he said. “And just like I told the team, ‘Do your research. It doesn’t matter which circle you’re picking, locally or nationally. Just do your research and vote. It’s your American right to vote and make sure you exercise it.’
“I’m proud of our guys. Over 90% of our guys have voted, so I’m extremely proud.”
Taj Davis opts out
Last month, Lake announced that tight end Jacob Kizer and defensive back Isaiah Gilchrist had opted out of the 2020 season due to coronavirus concerns.
And Monday, he added another name to the list.
Taj Davis — a 6-foot-1, 195-pound redshirt freshman wide receiver from Chino in California — will sit out this season as well.
“Taj Davis has opted out, and we respect his decision,” Lake said. “We’re going to support him. He’s always going to be a Dawg. We hope we can get him back here shortly. And just like with those other two guys who have opted out over coronavirus concerns, we support those guys and we are here for them. Taj, we love you and we can’t wait to get you back.”
A former three-star recruit out of Upland High School, Davis did not appear in any games during his true freshman season in 2019. Behind the likes of juniors Ty Jones and Terrell Bynum, senior Jordan Chin, sophomore Puka Nacua, redshirt sophomores Marquis Spiker and Austin Osborne and true freshmen Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan, it’s unlikely he would have made a significant contribution this season as well.
Davis — who signed with Washington in 2019 — will have four more seasons of eligibility, should he choose to return to the team in 2021. He originally chose UW over offers from Arizona, Boise State, Cal, Duke, Missouri, Northwestern, Stanford, UCLA, Utah, Washington State and more.
Hearing from Petersen
As his first game as the Huskies’ head coach finally approaches, Lake said he has repeatedly heard from his predecessor — Chris Petersen.
“We’ve definitely stayed in contact,” Lake said. “He’s left me voice mails — very encouraging voice mails during this tumultuous 2020 year that we’ve all had. We’ve traded text messages back and forth. He’s been a great support for me. I know he will always continue to be. And I know he’s going to be glued in, I’m sure, on Saturday and watching the Dawgs go out there and try to get a victory.
“But coach Pete has been a close friend of mine and he’s been a mentor of mine and he will continue to be. We definitely have stayed in contact and will continue to stay in contact.”
Of course, that shouldn’t be too difficult, considering the circumstances. Petersen — who originally hired Lake to be his defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator at Boise State in 2012 — currently is serving as the Fritzky Chair in Leadership at UW’s Foster School of Business. He stepped down as UW’s head coach in December after seven seasons, two Pac-12 titles and 55 total victories.
Families at games?
While UW’s athletics department is pushing to allow the parents of players to attend home games at Husky Stadium, Lake said there currently is no update from local health authorities.
There also will be no families in attendance when UW kicks off at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley on Saturday.
“As you guys know, we are pushing for that,” Lake said. “We think the parents and families of our players should be able to watch their sons play here in Husky Stadium. We have a huge stadium, 72,000. It would be great just to get them all spaced out. We’ve seen other teams that have been able to do that across the country and even in the NFL.
“We definitely are trying to work toward that. Our administration has worked tirelessly to try to get that done. But at this point there is no update, and as soon as we get one we’ll let you guys know.”
- When asked about the value of leadership in such an unprecedented season, Lake — not for the first time — presented four familiar names: senior defensive backs Elijah Molden and Keith Taylor, redshirt junior left tackle Jaxson Kirkland and junior tight end Cade Otton. “Those guys never flinched. They never flinched,” Lake repeated. “They’re here to support their brothers. We definitely wouldn’t be where we’re at right now if it wasn’t for those four guys.”
- On the subject of whether any Huskies sustained long-term or season-ending injuries in fall camp, Lake answered with a single word: “No.” We’ll see if that’s true at the same time we learn of UW’s starting quarterback — at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.