Washington coach Chris Petersen was already planning on a quarterback battle this spring, but the outlook for the Huskies’ starting job was slightly altered with the announcement Cyler Miles would not participate in spring practice. According to a release from the school, Miles is taking a voluntary leave of absence. And a report from the Seattle Times indicated Miles does not plan on suiting up for the Huskies in 2015.
With Miles not expected to play for Washington next season, the starting quarterback position for Petersen’s second team in Seattle is down to three candidates: Jeff Lindquist, K.J. Carta-Samuels and Jake Browning.
Lindquist started the 2014 opener and finished the season with 162 passing yards and one score. While the edge in experience has to go to Lindquist, Carta-Samuels and Browning have to be considered the early favorites to take the first snap of 2015.
Carta-Samuels and Browning were touted prospects coming out of high school, as Carta-Samuels ranked as the No. 223 overall recruit in the 2014 247Sports Composite, while Browning – the No. 71 prospect in the 2015 rankings – enrolled in time to compete for spring ball.
While the quarterback battle is going to receive plenty of attention this offseason, this uncertainty at this position only underscores why Washington could be in for a rebuilding year in Petersen’s second season.
The defense returns only four starters, and there’s heavy losses to replace in the front seven with the departure of linebacker Shaq Thompson, tackle Danny Shelton and rush end Hau’oli Kikaha. On offense, Washington returns just two starters on the line and needs more playmakers to develop at receiver.
The schedule also features few breaks, as Washington catches USC, Arizona and Arizona State in crossover play from the South Division. The Huskies also have road dates at Stanford and Boise State.
Petersen’s first year wasn’t necessarily the big debut most expected. And as he heads into 2015, the Huskies are dealing with significant roster question marks on both sides of the ball.
There’s no doubt the spotlight is clearly on Browning and Carta-Samuels this spring. Both quarterbacks are talented, but it’s hard to see Washington taking a step forward in the win column in 2015 if some of the other holes aren’t addressed or replacements are found this offseason.
With a solid recruiting class inked for the 2015 haul, talented young quarterbacks and a good coach in Petersen, better days should be ahead for this program. However, with a freshman likely to start under center, combined with losses in the line of scrimmage, the Huskies appear to be a team in transition - with an eye to the future.