By Christian Caple The News Tribune
SEATTLE — There has been heat and there has been ice.
University of Washington quarterback Keith Price said Wednesday he’s been “rehabbing relentlessly” in an attempt to get his injured thumb healthy enough to play this weekend against California.
“I’m preparing. I’m not sure,” Price said. “Kind of depends on Coach Sark and how he feels, but I’m preparing myself as if I’m starting.”
Clarity continues to elude UW’s quarterback situation. So far, anyway. UW coach Steve Sarkisian said after Wednesday’s practice that Price was a limited participant, and that he won’t know until after today’s practice whether his quarterback Saturday will be Price, or backup Cyler Miles.
“We’re really going to push him tomorrow,” Sarkisian said. “Then we’ll get to a point of coming out of tomorrow’s practice of exactly where we’re at. I think he feels a lot better today, I will say that. I think he’s improved every day, and I think tomorrow will be a good test to see exactly where he’s at.”
They’ll find out where Miles is at, too, if Price can’t play. The redshirt freshman backup has appeared briefly in three games this season, but has attempted just eight passes, completing five of them.
Sarkisian said the playbook won’t be any different if Miles plays, and that “we won’t be limited at all.”
That confidence seems to extend beyond Sarkisian. First-year quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo has observed Miles since spring practice, and said he’s witnessed noticeable improvement in that time. He conceded that Miles is faster than Price, but otherwise feels the two are comparable as passers.
“They’re both mobile. They’re both accurate. They’re both smart,” Tuiasosopo said. “I think he’ll (Miles) go in and operate just like Keith has when he’s operated at a high level and we’re moving the ball.”
Tuiasosopo, who debuted at quarterback as a true freshman for the Huskies in 1997, said he always reminds Miles that he has to be ready to go if something happens to Price.
This could be the week, though Miles doesn’t seem to be sweating it, one way or the other. The touted recruit from Centennial, Colo., played it straight when asked Wednesday about his preparation.
“I try to prepare the same every week no matter what the outlook is,” said Miles, who is listed at 6-foot-4 and 213 pounds. “I just do what I have to do every day and whatever happens, happens on Saturday.”
And though Price vowed to do everything possible to play on Saturday, he’s also doing his part to help Miles out this week. The two have been watching film cut-ups together, with Price teaching the freshman how to process that kind of information most efficiently.
“He’s still a young guy. A lot of things are confusing to him, so if he (has) any questions, he can always ask me,” Price said. “He spent a lot of time with me yesterday watching film and going over some of the cut-ups and stuff, so he’s doing an awesome job of preparing.”
“Keith’s a great teammate. That room is awesome. It’s not toxic,” Tuiasosopo said. “They help each other. He’s been great at practice here. He’s stayed focused, he’s talking to them on the sidelines when we have a break, talking about the looks he sees out there when we go through our script.”
Whether that script will be for him is not yet known.
“He’s obviously preparing really well mentally,” Sarkisian said of Price. “He’s locked into the gameplan and all those things. It’s more about just physically making the throws, so we’ll assess all that tomorrow.”