By Christian Caple The News Tribune
SEATTLE — The suspension of Cyler Miles and Damore’ea Stringfellow leaves new coach Chris Petersen with a spring-practice quandary.
Miles is a quarterback, and Washington has only three of those on its current roster — and only two without him.
So with Miles (and receiver Stringfellow) both still serving indefinite suspensions amid an assault investigation as the Huskies begin spring football practices today, Petersen joked that what he’d like to see out of his two remaining quarterbacks — redshirt sophomore Jeff Lindquist and redshirt freshman Troy Williams — is simple.
“A guy that can come back for the second day and not have his arm thrown off because we only have two quarterbacks,” Petersen said, smiling.
Petersen, who is entering his first spring at Washington, said all the usual things Monday about being excited to get back on the football field again after spending his first few months at the school recruiting and establishing the groundwork for his program.
Coaches — aside from the strength coach, Tim Socha, a Boise State import — have limited contact with players during the winter.
For that reason — and because Petersen and his first-year staff have limited knowledge of their players’ strengths and weaknesses — he says there is not yet a depth chart.
“We have a seating chart,” Petersen said, adding that he hopes to see competition at every position. Especially quarterback.
“We’ll maybe have two groups, the ones and the twos, and those guys are interchangeable and those groups are interchangeable,” Petersen said. “So we certainly don’t have any starters at that position, for sure.”
The roster features a fair amount of returning talent, but there are also a few positions that require replacement, such as running back (Bishop Sankey entered the NFL draft), tight end (Austin Seferian-Jenkins entered the NFL draft) and, of course, quarterback (Keith Price graduated).
Petersen confirmed that Miles and Stringfellow remain suspended, saying that “we’ll just let that play out and see how it goes.”
Lindquist and Williams will each see plenty of repetitions during the spring. There should also be plenty of opportunities at receiver, with Stringfellow suspended and senior Kasen Williams still recovering from a broken bone in his leg.
Petersen said he expects Williams to return to full speed by the summer. UW will also be without two returning starters on the offensive line: Dexter Charles (Stanwood High School), who is recovering from a shoulder injury, will miss the entire spring, and Micah Hatchie will be a limited participant. So will linebacker Scott Lawyer, safety Kevin King, running back Ryan McDaniel and defensive end Cory Littleton, all of whom are recovering from injury.
Depth issues are always compounded in spring by the fact that incoming freshmen haven’t yet arrived, and because of how far away the season is, Petersen said “we’re not trying to win spring ball. We’re trying to get these guys ready for the fall.”
Practices will last somewhere in the two-hour range, and will begin at 8 a.m. on weekdays and 10:30 a.m. on Saturdays. UW will practice six times before finals week and spring break, then take a two-week break and return for nine more sessions beginning April 1.
The focus will be on fundamentals more than scheme.
“We haven’t done any football. It’s all weightlifting and running liners,” Petersen said. “Hopefully we can get lined up (today). But that’s why we’re excited to get out there and really do some football. We’ve watched tape, but we haven’t coached these guys at all in terms of that stuff.”
Hudson, Campbell return
Prior to the Apple Cup last season, former UW coach Steve Sarkisian announced that four players with one year of eligibility remaining would graduate and leave the program at season’s end.
Two of those players, receiver DiAndre Campbell and defensive lineman Andrew Hudson, are back on the roster and will participate in spring practices.
Petersen said he expects both will be with the team for the 2014 season. Both are fifth-year seniors.
“When I first got here, I didn’t know, and we were talking about that and I said ‘hey, maybe we’ll do spring ball and see how this thing looks and see what you guys think, and we’ll go from there,’” Petersen said. “I think they’re both really good kids and I’m excited about those guys. They’ve been really good in the weight room, really good in the locker room. Those are the type of guys we’re all about, so I’m anxious to see how they perform on the football end.”
Defensive lineman Lawrence Lagafuaina, who battled injuries last season, is no longer on UW’s roster. … Psalm Wooching, formerly a fullback, is now listed as a defensive end. … Offensive lineman James Atoe is listed at 375 pounds.