Washington quarterback Jeff Lindquist has three class finals next week. In Drama 251, he’ll have to give a final performance of “The Guys,” a play based on a true story of a New York fire captain who has to write eulogies for his men who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Lindquist, the thespian, plays the fire captain, one of the play’s two leads. “It’s really fun,” he said.
On another stage, the drama continues to unfold for Lindquist, the quarterback.
The 6-foot-3, 237-pound sophomore from Mercer Island is sharing the spotlight with redshirt freshman Troy Williams (6-2, 199) as the Huskies’ only two quarterbacks on the field this spring. A final performance for the role of lead quarterback remains a long way off.
Through five practices, neither has done much to distinguish himself. And that’s mostly by design as the two young quarterbacks go through drills more focused on teaching the nuances of the position — and getting comfortable with the demands of the new coaching staff — and less so on competing this early in the spring.
“I think it’s coming along,” Lindquist said after Thursday morning’s workout inside Husky Stadium. “I’m not where I need to be yet. I think there’s things I’ve gotten better at, but there’s still a lot of things that I can work on.”
Offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith estimated that “maybe half” of the playbook has been installed, and he expects mistakes to be made as the Huskies learn the new system.
The quarterbacks, to be sure, have made their share of errors — a defensive back dropped an easy interception on Lindquist’s first pass Thursday, and Williams lost a fumble soon after that. But there have been flashes of brilliance, too, with Lindquist running to his left and throwing an off-balance touchdown pass during a red-zone drill late in practice; and with Williams scrambling away from a potential sack and scampering 10 yards into the end zone.
“I think they both have done some good things,” Smith said. “It’s going to be a long process. … One thing I will say is they’re both working really hard. We’re putting some new things on ‘em and we’re stretching ‘em mentally, so they’re grasping on that. But they need way more turns to start separating themselves.”
That separation is unlikely to happen until late in the summer, when the Huskies begin training camp.
Another intriguing option is incoming freshman K.J. Carta-Samuels (6-2, 225), the four-star quarterback from Saratoga, Calif., who signed with UW last month. He was a visitor at practice Thursday, watching the quarterback drills closely, and he’s scheduled to enroll at UW with the rest of the incoming class in the summer.
Sophomore Cyler Miles is the only UW quarterback to throw a pass in a college game and is the presumptive favorite to take over the starting quarterback job. But he remains away from the team while on indefinite suspension. His status going forward remains unclear. Prosecutors have yet to announce a decision on whether to charge Miles and/or receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow for alleged assaults after the Super Bowl.
UW, Rutgers announce series
Washington will open the 2016 season at home in a nonconference game against Rutgers on Sept. 3, it was announced Thursday. It will be the first meeting between the two programs.
The Huskies will make a return trip to New Jersey to open the 2017 season on Sept. 2.
In 2014, UW is scheduled to open the season at Hawaii on Aug. 30, with three more nonconference games against Eastern Washington (Sept. 6), Illinois (Sept. 13) and Georgia State (Sept. 20), all at Husky Stadium. Rutgers is scheduled to open the 2014 season against Washington State at CenturyLink Field on Aug. 28.
The Huskies will have their final practice of the first half of spring ball on Saturday. Of the 15 spring practices, it’s the only workout closed to the media.
UW coach Chris Petersen estimated that 200 high school coaches will be on hand Saturday for a clinic. After Saturday, the Huskies take two weeks off for finals and spring break before returning to the field April 1.