Washington Huskies

Washington’s Chris Petersen remains coy about QB position

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Washington head coach Chris Petersen remains adamant that he doesn’t know who his starting quarterback will be this fall.

“The best quarterback’s going to win, there’s no question about it,” Petersen said in an interview with Steve Sandmeyer, Jason Churchill and Bill Swartz  on 1090 AM in Seattle, via The News Tribune. “I’m really excited to see this competition. I think we’ve got some talent there. Some of it’s very young talent. I’m really anxious to see how that’s going to go. Everybody wants to talk about the quarterback and it’s an extremely important position, but I would say we’ve got that going across the board. There are no jobs that are secure and safe. There’s just not. That would be ridiculous to even make that statement. I don’t care if you have a guy that’s played for four years. We’re always trying – and we tell our team that – we’re trying to recruit young guys to beat you out, but it’s going to be hard to do if you’re doing everything that we’ve asked you to do, and you’ve been doing that for a long time. But if we don’t have good competition, then we’re not going to have the growth and improvement that we need.”

When Peterson was asked a similar question during an interview with KJR’s Dave Mahler last month, he wouldn’t even give an edge to incumbent starter Cyler Miles.

Miles finished last season with 2,397 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and four interceptions. Yet the Huskies offense finished 10th overall in total offense among the rest of the Pac-12 Conference and 11th in pass offense.

There is an obvious need for improvement on that side of the ball for Petersen’s squad.

It could come from true freshman Jake Browning, who is already on campus and will participate in spring practice.

Whatever direction Petersen finally decides to take, the Huskies must be better on offense for them to compete in the Pac-12. Otherwise, Washington will have trouble dethroning the Oregon Ducks as the top team in the North division.

Chris Petersen non-committal on next season’s starting quarterback

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Cyler Miles primarily served as the Washington Huskies starting quarterback in 2014. Huskies head coach Chris Petersen isn’t willing to commit to the soon-to-be junior as the team’s starter for the 2015 campaign.

“I have no idea. No idea. You know, no idea,” Petersen said, when asked during an interview with KJR’s Dave Mahler, via The Seattle Times‘ Adam Jude. “But I don’t want to start this quarterback controversy like, ‘He’s out.’ Cyler can do some really good things. But, like anybody — ask me who the starting guards are going to be or the starting receivers. Everybody needs to get better. It really is — it’s wide open.”

Miles experienced ups and downs during his first year as a starter, and Petersen acknowledged the quarterback needs to play better to retain his spot atop the depth chart.

“The long and the short of it is, he did improve,” Petersen explained. “He did get better. Did we play at a level that we need to play at to win like we want to? No, and I think he would admit that. When I look at the tapes, he did some really good things. And I think maybe a thing that’s encouraging is I saw things on there that to me are not complicated that we didn’t get done — that he can make some of these plays that are not complicated I saw him make a lot of hard plays. Now if we can take the things that we know you’ve got to be able to do and just become more consistent, his game will go to the next level — and it will go to the next level.”

Despite an the upcoming open competition, Miles played well in stretches. The first-year starter finished the season with 2,397 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and only four interceptions. However, the vertical aspect lacked in the offense.

A true freshman is expected to be Miles’ primary competition.

Jake Browning (Folsom, Calif./Folsom) is a four-star recruit,  according to Rivals.com, who enrolled early with the program and will compete with Miles during spring practice.

“Jake’s going to have the benefit of being here in the springtime, so it’s not like he’s just getting here in the fall and we’re just throwing it at him,” Petersen said. “So we’ll just see. We will rule out no options at this time for sure, and Jake’s going to get a great opportunity to come in and compete with these other guys.”

Miles should still be considered the favorite to start behind center, but he will need to earn that spot over the next eight months.

Washington’s John Ross undergoes knee surgery, should be ready for spring

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The Washington Huskies’ John Ross III was already one of the most dynamic all-around athletes in college football. He will be even more dangerous in 2015.

Ross required surgery on a nagging knee injury that bothered him throughout the season. The talented sophomore underwent the procedure Thursday and tweeted that all is well afterwards.

The surgery was required to repair two meniscus tears in his right knee, according to The Seattle Times. Jude, citing sources, reported that Ross should be ready to go by the start of spring practice.

Ross is absolutely vital to the Huskies’ success next season. He finished second on the team with 371 receiving yards before making the switch to cornerback during the final four games of the season. Ross also served as Washington’s primary kick returner.

The upcoming junior expects to play both ways this fall and continue to contribute on special teams.

“I’m going to need to have a big offseason,” Ross told The Seattle Times‘ Adam Jude. “I just have to work hard. You never know: I might wake up one morning and say, ‘I want to be a DB. Or I want to be a receiver.’ So you never know. I’m going to work very hard to get bigger, faster, stronger and watch more film.”

Oklahoma State helps Big 12’s cause with 24-0 lead in Cactus Bowl

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It hasn’t been a good bowl season for the Big 12 Conference.

Outside of the TCU Horned Frogs’ impressive Peach Bowl performance, the league came up short in five other bowl games. However, the Oklahoma State Cowboys are doing their best to restore the Big 12’s jilted pride.

The Cowboys built an impressive 24-0 halftime lead over the Washington Huskies in the TicketCity Cactus Bowl.

It’s a surprising effort after the Cowboys required a 38-35 overtime victory over the Oklahoma Sooners on the final day of the regular season to secure a bowl bid. The team lost its previous five games.

However, a switch at quarterback has made all the difference.

In his third career start, the freshman quarterback threw for 198 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He had a little help, though.

Freshman wide receiver James Washington ensnared a tremendous 28-yard touchdown toss to provide an early 14-0 lead.

As the half neared, the Cowboys weren’t content with a 17-0 lead.

Rudolph dropped a beautiful 47-yard pass to Brandon Shepherd, who juked a pair of defenders and crossed the goal line with only 48 seconds before the intermission.

While the Cowboys amassed 293 total yards through two quarters, the Huskies struggled to move the ball. Chris Petersen‘s offense managed only 113 yards.

Due to Washington’s inability to generate anything on offense, the Huskies defense will be required to step up in the second half by creating pressure on Rudolph. Since it was incapable of doing so through 30 minutes of play, it’s probably too much to ask them take over the game in the second half.

Despite a 6-6 overall record, the Cowboys’ bowl effort should build momentum for the program as they get ready for the offseason.

No. 9 Ducks fly high after 45-20 trouncing of the Washington Huskies

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Don’t look now. The Oregon Ducks are getting better at the right time of the season.

As teams in the Top 10 fall by the wayside each week, Mark Helfrich‘s squad could be one of the last teams standing when it’s all said and done.

Oregon mounted another impressive victory Saturday with a strong 45-20 effort against the Washington Huskies. The win comes a week after the Ducks defeated the formerly Top 20 UCLA Bruins 42-30.

What’s most encouraging for the Ducks is their offense is finally on track.

Over the past two weeks, Oregon posted 468 yards against the Bruins and 554 yards against Washington. This is significant, because the Ducks weren’t able to consistently move the ball during previous games due to an injury-plagued offensive line and a lackluster rushing attack.

Both the offensive line and the running backs played well Saturday for Oregon.

Washington owns one of the most talented defensive lines in college football. Yet, they struggled to apply pressure on quarterback Marcus Mariota. Part of the reason behind the Ducks’ success was establishing the run early. The Ducks gained 218 yards on the ground. Freshman Royce Freeman exploded for 169 yards and four touchdowns.

Oregon should also be proud of its defensive effort. The Ducks surrendered a couple late scores, but they generally frustrated Washington’s offense throughout the evening. Washington gained 317 yards, which was the Ducks’ best defensive effort of the season.

With Saturday’s win, the Ducks currently reside atop the Pac-12 North standings with a 4-1 conference record. The program’s biggest game of the season will come in two weeks against the Stanford Cardinal. But Oregon has to get through an explosive Cal Golden Bears offense next week.

The collegiate season has reached a point where the Ducks can once again aspire to make the College Football Playoff. The team’s victory against the Huskies could be the first step in achieving that goal.