The Washington quarterback carousel continued to churn Monday, with coach Chris Petersen confirming that redshirt sophomore Cyler Miles will start Saturday against Colorado (10 a.m. PT, Pac-12 Networks). Miles was healthy enough to play in the past weekend’s loss to Arizona State but didn’t get the start because a concussion in the Oct. 18 Oregon game sidelined him until the middle of last week.
“We had him available,” the coach said. “But just really didn’t have enough reps and wanted to be safe with him.”
So they went with redshirt freshman Troy Williams, and it didn’t go that well. Making his first career start, Williams went 18 of 26 for 139 yards with two interceptions and a fumble on a cold night when driving wind and rain disrupted both offenses.
Trailing 17-10 with about a minute left in the game, Williams threw a desperation pass intended for WR Kasen Williams. It sailed high and ASU’s Armand Perry intercepted and ran it back 61 yards for a touchdown.
Petersen said after the game he regretted having Williams’ first start come in tough conditions against a formidable ASU defense.
But he’ll turn the reigns back over to Miles.
“The guy’s not going to lose his job because of injury,” Petersen said.
Among Pac-12 schools, the Huskies rank 10th in points per game (29.1), last in passing yards (176.1) and in total yards (355). More troublesome: One could argue those numbers are inflated by a preseason schedule that included a trio of FBS patsies (Illinois, Hawaii and Georgia State) and an FCS powerhouse (Eastern Washington) that’s had problems stopping Big Sky teams.
So yes, having three starting quarterbacks — toss in Jeff Lindquist for the season opener against Hawaii — through the first eight games of the season has kept Washington’s passing offense from reaching its potential.
“It’s definitely been interesting as far as getting that wide receiver-quarterback connection for all the receivers,” said senior WR DiAndre Campbell. “It’s changed three times, so it’s been kind of frustrating.”
Petersen said he’s never been forced to start three different quarterbacks in one season.
“We just haven’t been as settled as we’d like to be. And I think that makes it hard on everybody,” he said. “But I think they’re analyzing everything they possibly can . . . it’s going to take some time. There’s no question about it.”
“We’re not going to come out one week and all of a sudden, ‘Hey, how’d that happen?’ I think I said it a couple weeks ago – whether it’s player, coach, offense, defense — it’s kind of a couple steps forward, (a) step back.”
Shaq Thompson: Linebacker or running back?
With running backs Lavon Coleman and Dwayne Washington injured, LB Shaq Thompson, arguably the Huskies’ best defensive player, played running back against ASU, finishing with 21 carries for 98 yards. Freshman Keishawn Bierria started at linebacker in his place.
When asked for an injury update on Washington and Coleman, Petersen said he “anticipates those guys being a little bit better” this week. He added that Coleman was available to play against ASU.
Could Thompson, named a midseason All-America linebacker by ESPN, NFL.com, CBS Sports and Phil Steele, permanently move to running back?
“We could. That’s the million-dollar question right there. You never feel like you have enough firepower anywhere,” Petersen said. “So we’re always trying to figure out, where does it give our team the best shot in the arm? I think if we thought that, we could possibly do it. It’s a week by week evaluation of where we are.”
OG Dexter Charles is “week-to-week” with a foot injury, according to Petersen. The junior left guard played in Washington’s first seven games before sitting out against ASU . . . S Trevor Walker was scheduled to meet with a doctor Monday afternoon, Petersen said, after the sophomore was forced to leave Saturday’s game with an apparent leg injury.