Who will be under center for the Huskies this fall?
Ever since Keith Price choked away the MAACO Bowl and Apple Cup in back-to-back blunder-fests, sealing both losses with ill-timed late interceptions to cap a mediocre season, many Washington Huskies fans have been calling for one of the team’s younger quarterbacks to be appointed starter. And with good reason. Price’s decision-making, accuracy and pocket presence were all abysmal.
But he’ll start for Washington on Aug. 31 in the Huskies’ first game, and here’s why.
Price Sucked Last Year
We all watched Price throw an interception in overtime in the Apple Cup – the one that the Washington State Cougars would take advantage of, leading to the game-winning field goal. And we all felt our hopes die in our hearts as Price threw a game-clinching interception in the late fourth quarter of the MAACO Bowl. And all season we watched Price make poor decisions, be incapable of taking hits and take off from the pocket at ill-advised moments.
Starting a new quarterback with no experience halfway through the year might have been even worse, but as soon as Boise State mobbed the field in Vegas, Washington fans turned towards Sark with expectant glares.
Who Else Have We Got?
Cyler Miles, Troy Williams, and Jeff Lindquist all saw time in the spring game. Lindquist played poorly, Williams played alright and Miles played quite well. He demonstrated the most accuracy, poise, and comfort in the system of these three.
So Why Isn’t Cyler Miles Starting?
Miles outplayed Williams and Lindquist, but Price outplayed all three of them by a clear margin in the spring game. The ]Price that was an outside contender for the Heisman in 2011 hasn’t completely vanished. He was completing passes, making smart plays and looking at home in Washington’s new offense.
Let’s touch on that, by the way. UW has installed a new no-huddle, up-tempo offense. What does that mean? The Huskies are a fast, athletic team, and they will be maximizing that next year in the new offense. With Price’s speed and ability to make plays with his legs, he’s a natural fit, as long as remembers how to hold onto the ball.
A revamped and more experienced offensive line should make avoiding his frequent turnovers and fumbles much easier. And last season, Price was handicapped by Washington’s limited down-field receiving options, which were (top three) Kasen Williams, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and my friend Evan sitting in section 26.
Increased depth, particularly at the receiver spot, should allow Price to spread the ball around. More options will mean less of Price holding onto the ball for way too long, which happened a lot last season, and usually ended in Price fleeing the pocket and being sacked violently. Bad times.
So there you have it. Price is the ideal fit for Washington’s new system and should have a significantly better season aided by deeper offensive lines and receiving corps.
It may seem unthinkable after how badly he played last year, but Price will likely be starting for the Huskies come August. Husky Nation will have to trust in Sark.