Huskies head coach Chris Petersen has chosen a starting quarterback. But he won't announce his decision before Friday's season opener at Boise State.
The Huskies have settled on a starting quarterback for Friday’s season opener at No. 23 Boise State. They won’t, however, let the Broncos — or the public — know who that quarterback is.
Five days before his return to Boise, Washington coach Chris Petersen said Sunday he wanted to keep his starting QB a secret until game day.
“We just really don’t think it’s an advantage to us to tell you our strategy right now at that position,” Petersen said.
Junior Jeff Lindquist, redshirt freshman K.J. Carta-Samuels “or” freshman Jake Browning all remain an option as the starter. The three had been competing for the job since the spring, and Petersen said it was a close race all the way to the end. The team was informed of the decision a few days ago.
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“We just think at this point it’s kind of the best for our program to move forward for these handful of days with less distractions — we think it will create a little less distractions,” Petersen said. “And then after that game, hey, we talk about it. I’m sure we’ll be talking about it all season long.”
Lindquist, voted by teammates as one of UW’s six captains for the season, has been considered by some as the “safe” choice, given he’s the only quarterback on the UW roster with any game experience. He started the Huskies’ opener at Hawaii last year but played sparingly after that, mostly as a Wildcat-style running option.
Speculation, meanwhile, has centered on Browning being named the starter, and Petersen joked that he liked all the rumors because they might offer some confusion for Boise State.
Petersen has never had a true freshman play quarterback for him — “and we might not have a true freshman quarterback,” he said quickly — but he said he doesn’t consider Browning a true freshman. “And I don’t think it really matters if it’s a true freshman or not,” he added. “Maybe we haven’t had a guy that was ready to go (in the past). There’s a lot of true freshmen that play.”
Boise State coach Bryan Harsin, in a conference call with Seattle reporters after Petersen’s press conference Sunday, said not knowing who will start for UW at quarterback won’t affect the Broncos’ preparations.
“They’ve got a guy (Lindquist) that’s played before, he started last year, he’s got experience,” Harsin said. “I think you’ve got to assume that it might be one of those young guys if they want it to be a secret because you’ve got a guy (Lindquist) that’s not a secret.”
After an extended competition with his quarterbacks, Harsin last week announced sophomore Ryan Finley as the starter against the Huskies.
“When it was time to make that decision, I think it’s important for your football team to know who the quarterback is to avoid all that distraction,” Harsin said.
Petersen again didn’t rule out using two quarterbacks against Boise State.
“We’ve been looking at this obviously since spring, and every day since then and analyzed every rep, so we think we’ve got a good plan going into this,” Petersen said. “I think we all feel good about it.”
— In addition to Lindquist, UW’s game captains, as voted by teammates, are Siosifa Tufunga, Travis Feeney, Jaydon Mickens, Tani Tupou and Deontae Cooper.
— UW’s first offensive and defensive depth chart includes 41 underclasmen (11 true freshmen, 12 redshirt freshmen, 18 sophomores) and 22 upperclassmen (9 seniors and 13 juniors). True freshman Trey Adams is listed as the backup to Coleman Shelton at left tackle, and true freshman Tevis Bartlett is the backup to Cory Littleton at strongside linebacker. True freshman Myles Gaskin, the former O’Dea High star, is listed as the third-string running back, ahead of sixth-year junior Deontae Cooper.
— In addition to quarterback, four other positions have an “or” starter on the depth chart: running back (Dwayne Washington or Lavon Coleman), right tackle (Matt James or Kaleb McGary), cornerback (Kevin King or Darren Gardenhire) and place-kicker (Cameron Van Winkle or Tristan Vizcaino).
— Senior receiver Jaydon Mickens, who has worn jersey No. 4 throughout his UW career, has switched to No. 1 as a way to honor fellow receiver John Ross III, who is out for the season with a knee injury. Petersen said Ross has been “spectacular” during his recovery. “I can’t tell you how positive that guy has been in this whole thing. He’s making an unbelievable recovery. … And I think a lot of it has to do with his mentality and how positive he has been,” Petersen said.