University of Washington

Petersen offers little information on UW’s starting quarterback battle

Chris Petersen speaks after fall camp

Washington head coach Chris Petersen speaks to the media after a fall practice.
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Washington head coach Chris Petersen speaks to the media after a fall practice.

Chris Petersen offered an update (or lack thereof) on Sunday about Washington’s starting quarterback battle between Jacob Eason and Jake Haener.

“I don’t know who the quarterback is,” Petersen said after practice. “They’re making progress. They really have. I think the thing that’s been really pleasing is, all four of those guys have done a nice job.

“And I said that earlier: It’s just nice to see those guys, everybody there, playing at a higher level. It doesn’t make our jobs any easier trying to figure this thing out. But it’s probably a good problem to have.”

For most positions, Petersen said reps will start to be cut and redistributed to starters later this week. But when it comes to the quarterbacks, he wasn’t as sure.

“Quarterback-wise, I don’t know,” Petersen said. “we’re going to play the same through this week and kind of see where we are and figure it out from there.”

Later, Petersen was asked whether he would ever considering entering a season with two quarterbacks. He offered his answer with a grin.

“If that was our best chance to win, absolutely,” he said.

The follow-up question, of course, was whether that was something he was considering for this season. The answer came with another smile.

“If that gives us our best chance to win, absolutely,” he said. “I would consider four quarterbacks if that gives us our best chance to win. Write that down.”

While Petersen joked that his quote would make a nice headline, it’s a safe bet the Huskies won’t open the season with four quarterbacks. And the competition between Eason and Haener will in all likelihood be settled before the season opener, too.

But if fans were hoping for a definitive answer this week, they’re probably going to have to wait a little longer.

Freshmen standouts

Freshman safety Cameron Williams has continually been mentioned by Petersen and defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake as a standout among the Huskies’ incoming freshmen.

Asked for other first-year players that have made an impression, Petersen listed outside linebacker Laiatu Latu, cornerback Trent McDuffie and wide receiver Puka Nacua. While all of UW’s true freshmen redshirted in 2018, Petersen said he doesn’t expect that to be the case this season.

“There’s a lot of guys that are making some progress here,” he said. “We’re going to play some freshmen this year for sure. We’re going to play a lot in four games but I think we’re planning on not thinking four games for a handful of these guys.”

Kicking competition

The Huskies held a scrimmage on Saturday that was open to season-ticket holders, and Petersen said it was probably the best day so far for the punters and kickers. UW mixed live situations into the scrimmage and also went through some field goal work at the end of the day.

“If we had 10 (attempts),” Petersen said, “we might have missed one all day.”

In the five practices open to the media, returning kicker Peyton Henry was out-performing freshman Tim Horn. But Petersen said Horn has improved as he’s settled in and gotten more comfortable with the Huskies.

“I think it’s been really good,” Petersen said. “I think competition is a good thing. Tim is doing a nice job since he’s been here from where he started. He’s getting more settled in and getting more confident. I think those guys push each other and kind of elevate each other’s game.”

Injury update

Petersen announced that both redshirt senior defensive lineman John Clark and freshman linebacker Josh Calvert will miss the upcoming season with knee injuries.

Calvert was mostly playing behind first-team inside linebackers Brandon Wellington and Kyler Manu and backups Jackson Sirmon and M.J. Tafisi throughout fall camp.

Clark, a former walk-on who was given a scholarship last spring, missed the 2017 season after he tore is ACL, MCL and meniscus that April. Since he missed two full seasons, he would likely be granted a sixth season of eligibility if he pursued it.

Lauren Kirschman is the UW Huskies beat writer for The News Tribune. She previously covered the Pittsburgh Steelers for PennLive.com. A Pennsylvania native and a University of Pittsburgh graduate, she also covered college athletics for the Beaver County Times from 2012-2016.
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