It might be time to worry.
On Wednesday, a week and a half before Washington opens its seven-game season on the road against Cal, head coach Jimmy Lake made four primary points regarding his quarterback competition:
- It remains a four-man race between graduate student Kevin Thomson, redshirt sophomore Jacob Sirmon, redshirt freshman Dylan Morris and true freshman Ethan Garbers.
- All four QBs will receive equal reps in the program’s final fall scrimmage — which will kick off at 9 a.m. Thursday.
- If one quarterback does not clearly separate himself, Lake and Co. are prepared to play multiple signal callers against Cal.
- Lake is not planning to publicly announce the starting quarterback prior to the season opener.
OK, so how’s your heart rate?
UW football fans were certainly feeling skeptical following the team’s third closed scrimmage last weekend, when Lake reported the final score to be — drumroll — 9-6. That would appear to imply that neither offense actually found the end zone, but Lake suggested Wednesday they may have used a different scoring system than a traditional game.
When asked to clarify whether a touchdown was scored, Lake replied only: “There could have been.”
Regardless, he’s certainly hoping for more offensive fireworks in Thursday’s fall camp finale.
“Tomorrow’s going to be a final dress rehearsal,” Lake said. “(The quarterbacks will) still get even reps in our final game tomorrow and I think hopefully by the end of that game we’ll be able to make that progression toward however many guys we feel need to get some reps to get ready for Cal.
“So tomorrow is a big day for not only our quarterbacks but a lot of position groups, and the guys know it. We’re putting that pressure on them to know they have to execute under a game-like scenario. So there’s going to be some butterflies tonight and especially when we wake up tomorrow morning ready to go play our final game.”
That scrimmage, it seems, will be a significant indicator when it comes to judging the Husky quarterbacks. And for the third time in fall camp, Lake toyed with the possibility of playing multiple QBs in the season opener on Nov. 7.
“Tomorrow’s (scrimmage is) going to be a big one, and we’ll see who separates themselves,” he said. “If it’s clear as day, then internally we’ll make a decision. If it’s not, then we’ll be prepared to play with multiple quarterbacks.
“We’ll just see how it goes. The film is going to say what the film says and we’ll find that out here in the next 24 hours.”
Of course, when he says “we,” he’s referring to the coaching staff.
When it comes to QB clarity, UW football fans will likely have to wait a bit longer.
“I know everybody wants to know (who the starter is going to be),” Lake said. “Obviously it’s an interesting scenario. I think with so much uncertainty in terms of who the quarterback is going to be and all of that, that is an advantage for us going into a game versus an opponent who doesn’t know what our play calls are going to look like because we have a new offensive coordinator and they don’t know who the quarterback’s going to be.
“So it really doesn’t do us any advantage to announce that publicly. The only thing that would be (good for) is to have you guys write articles and Husky fans would be interested in who it is. But that’s not going to help us win the game.”
When it comes to who might actually help the Huskies on Nov. 7, Thomson may be a slight favorite in the quarterback competition. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound graduate student and former Sacramento State standout is the reigning Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Year — who brings plus mobility, playmaking ability and plenty of experience.
“He’s done a fabulous job of coming in here and fitting in, for one,” Lake said of Thomson. “Here’s a guy that’s played on two other teams, doesn’t know these guys from anybody, and now he’s meeting guys on Zoom screens and finally eventually in person. He’s done a fabulous job of fitting in. He’s a great guy. He’s a Dawg. What you’ve seen on his tapes from prior years, the guy can run and he can throw it and he’s smart and he’s played football. So he’s definitely made some veteran moves out there, because he’s been there and he’s seen it. He’s played college football. I’m excited about him just as I’m excited about those other three guys.”
And those other three — particularly Morris and Sirmon — cannot be discounted. But maintaining a four-man race 10 days prior to the Pac-12 opener can certainly qualify as a legitimate concern.
“We have talented guys,” said Lake, who has steadfastly refused to tip his hand. “Now we just have to see who’s going to be the starting quarterback for the University of Washington here next week.”