When Chris Peterson left Boise State to take the Washington job, it seemed like a foregone conclusion to many that he would have a very good young quarterback as his starter in former 4 star dual-threat Cyler Miles. The starting quarterback job wasn't going to be given to Miles, but it sure sounded like it would be his to lose.
Then Miles went out and lost it when he was involved in an assault back in February. As far as first impressions go, it doesn't get a whole lot worse than that. He ended up being suspended for the entire spring and missed out on any chance of competing and learning Peterson's offense.
Miles could have lost a whole lot more than just the chance at a starting job, but fortunately was reinstated back into the program and was able to rejoin the team this season. In addition to him missing all of the spring though, Peterson tacked on a one game suspension which meant someone else was going to be given the opportunity to lead the Huskies at quarterback versus Hawaii.
Miles' absence in the spring and for the opener left the door wide open for redshirt sophomore Jeff Lindquist, who who was selected as the starter tomorrow night. While the door is open now, it could be shut just as easily if Lindquist doesn't perform well against Hawaii. The position is going to be evaluated again after the opener, which means Miles could jump right back into the mix.
This sounds like bad news for Lindquist and I'm sure most people assume that Miles is going to take over the role immediately after this game. I have to admit, I pretty much assumed that as well.
But then I watched some film on the former 4 star prospect Lindquist from his senior year and from the spring and realized that I shouldn't be counting out Lindquist to hold onto the position. He has the chance to run with this audition to maintain a permanent role as the quarterback for the Huskies.
Here's what I saw from Lindquist on film both then and now:
As a senior at Mercer Island High school, Lindquist shocked me with his mobility. For a player that was 6'3" 225, he showed great agility and good speed. His build said pocket passer, but his game was more of a dual-threat. He made an impact on designed runs and was able to escape pressure from the pocket and do damage with his feet.
When his mechanics were good, he flashed the ability to rifle the ball into tight windows. Even when his mechanics were bad, he still could sling the football. He made a ton of plays and showed great arm strength when scrambling out of the pocket. There were issues he needed to clean up in terms of his footwork and being more balanced, but he showed a lot of ability.
Here's a look at some highlights from him as a senior:
I admit that is impossible to do a true evaluation of Lindquist's progress without watching him in practice every day during the spring and the fall, but what I saw from him during the Huskies' spring game was very impressive.
He looked a lot more calm and balanced in the pocket. His footwork was cleaner as well. I liked the little things I saw from him. He did a better job going through his progressions and selling play-action fakes. And wow, that arm strength.
The now 6'3" 246 Lindquist threaded the needle on a couple of throws and threw a much tighter football. He has the arm to make every kind of throw imaginable.
He also reinforced that he isn't just a statue in the pocket. He can escape rushers and run as well.
They mention it on the telecast and it's something I noticed from him as a senior as well: Lindquist keeps his eyes down the field and is using his feet to buy him time to make a play with his arm. That makes him a potentially dangerous player to defend.
Considering his size as well, he has the kind of body type where he may be able to shake off tackles like a Ben Roethlisberger which would allow him even more time to create possible big plays.
Now, it wasn't all perfect for Lindquist. He did not have the greatest ball placement on a few throws and he missed an easy touchdown on a deep throw where he waited too long to deliver the football. That's to be expected though. It's been a couple of years since he got to play some meaningful football so he is going to make some mistakes as he gains more experience and becomes more comfortable.
What I saw from Lindquist then and now makes me believe that he has enough talent to be more than just a fill-in starter for one game. He has the ability to take the position and not give Miles a chance to take it back.
Tomorrow night's game may be an audition, but don't count out Jeff Lindquist from having a starring role this season for the Huskies.