At 6 feet, 3 inches and 245 pounds, Washington Huskies quarterback Jeff Lindquist is taller and heavier than most defensive backs and many linebackers.
So while some might consider it risky to allow defensive players to hit quarterbacks during practice — which is exactly what coach Chris Petersen did Thursday during an end-of-practice, full-contact goal-line period — it’s a little different with Lindquist under center.
Redshirt freshman safety JoJo McIntosh knows that now, if he didn’t already. During said goal-line period, Lindquist, working with the second-team offense against the second-team defense, kept the ball and ran straight up the middle from the 3-yard line.
McIntosh and another defensive teammate met him in front of the goal line. The impact of the collision sent Lindquist’s helmet flying, but the fourth-year junior quarterback surged forward anyway, bulling his way across the goal line for a touchdown despite the effort of the defensive players he carried with him.
The lesson there, Petersen said: “We’ve got to get his helmet to fit better. Usually you don’t find that out until you play in a game, so that’s some good work there.”
Though Thursday was UW’s second day practicing in full pads — and its sixth day of training camp — that brief, nine-play goal-line drill offered the first glimpse of full contact.
Which is important. It’s just not something Petersen, or any football coach wants to do all the time.
“The game is only played at a live speed, and all this stuff, we’re just getting our body position right, repping fundamentals and alignment, assignment,” Petersen said. “You can’t really get better until you play live. We also know just the nature of the game, you can’t play live, even every other day. So it’s important we get those live pops, that they count.”
Especially for the quarterbacks. Each of the three players competing for UW’s starting quarterback job — Lindquist, Jake Browning and K.J. Carta-Samuels — took three snaps during the drill without wearing their gold, no-contact jerseys.
That doesn’t happen often — some coaches would never even consider it — though Petersen also included quarterbacks in a full-contact scrimmage during last season’s training camp, too.
“The quarterbacks are not live very much, so when they get their opportunities, whether we’re scrimmaging or whatever, those are valuable, valuable reps,” Petersen said. “Because we take a lot of reps out here through fall camp and they are slightly different when you know you’re not getting hit.”
Lindquist also threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to redshirt freshman tight end Drew Sample during his brief full-contact series. Browning threw a touchdown pass to Dante Pettis, and tailbacks Lavon Coleman and Jomon Dotson each rushed for touchdowns.
The collision didn’t seem to bother Lindquist, who appeared a few times last season in a special “wildcat” package and finished the season with 16 carries, 63 yards and two touchdowns.
“I’ve kind of been this way since high school — a little bit of contact kind of settles me down,” Lindquist said. “Not that I’m trying to bash the whole game, but a little bit of contact just kind of gets the juices flowing and kind of helps me settle down a little bit.
“…But our linemen and everyone else kind of flick their hand at us when they find out we’re excited to go live for four downs and they have to do it all camp. So, I enjoy it, but I’m not going to pretend like it’s something I want to do every day.”
Petersen said the Huskies will scrimmage some — they haven’t yet — during their closed Saturday practice. They will also hold a closed, off-campus practice Friday at an undisclosed site.
NO QB UPDATE
Petersen said after practice that Lindquist, Browning and Carta-Samuels remain deadlocked in the competition to become the Huskies’ starting quarterback.
The decision, Petersen said, won’t come “until late. We know that, just by how this thing’s going. Unless things change dramatically in the next week, then we’ll probably take it (into) the following week, as well.”