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Looking Good: Huskies Start 2014 Season With New Coach

Ted S. Warren
AP Photo
UW’s offensive linemen huddle near the end zone of Husky Stadium during the first session of NCAA college football practice before the upcoming fall season, Aug. 4, 2014, in Seattle. ";

The University of Washington football team opens its 2014 season on Aug. 30 in Hawaii. The Huskies are coming off a successful, 9-4 season last year, and they have a promising new coach. But they also have a bit of a quarterback controversy, says sports commentator Art Thiel.

Petersen Has 'Credentials, Experience, Temperament And Demeanor'

Credit AP Photo
AP Photo
Washington head coach Chris Petersen takes questions at the 2014 Pac-12 NCAA college football media days at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles Thursday, July 24, 2014.

“It’s a remarkable thing,” said Art. “I think Chris Petersen is just about the perfect coach to succeed Steve Sarkesian, and he’s as close as the Huskies have come to replicating the Don James era.”

“The Huskies went out and got a guy who was sought by many other colleges for their vacancies over the last several years, because Chris Petersen, at Boise State, was 92 and 12.”

Yes, Petersen’s team was playing in a weak league, “but he was also beating the big boys in non-conference games and bowls,” Art said. “He has the credentials, the experience, the temperament and the demeanor to make this a very successful transition.”

New Starting Quarterback For First Game

The Huskies on Friday named Jeff Lindquist from Mercer Island as the team's new starting quarterback for the team's season opener. 

Cyler Miles, the incumbent who started one game last year, will have to sit out the first game as a result of his involvement in a brawl at a Super Bowl party.

Other Players To Watch

Art says there are two notable Huskies to watch for this season. First there’s senior defensive lineman Danny Shelton, whom he describes as “the football equivalent of a concrete freeway abutment.”

Credit Ted S. Warren / AP Photo
AP Photo
Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton smiles at fans as he leaves the field Saturday, April 19, 2014, after Washington's Spring NCAA college football preview in Seattle.

“He is 340 pounds, very powerful, agile. If he has a great senior year, he’s going to go on to a long career in the pros,” said Art.

Also worth watching is John Ross, a sophomore wide receiver, says Art.

“Ross is the fastest guy on this team, maybe the fastest ever,” Art said. “And he’s the equivalent with the Huskies to the Percy Harvin of the Seahawks. Very fast, very dangerous, [he’s] a guy that can break a game open with a return or a catch, anything like that that gets him the ball in the open field.”

An Easy Start With Ducks Looming In The Distance

The Huskies are heavily favored in their first four games of the season, and Art expects them to be 4-0 before the first conference game with Stanford.

“And then, down the road, they have Oregon. They have not beat the Ducks in 10 years,” said Art. “If Petersen is able to pull that off this year, he will be carried off in a sedan chair, and there will be a parade like the Seahawks.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the team's naming of Jeff Lindquist as the starting quarterback for the season opener.


You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest and


Kirsten Kendrick hosts Morning Edition on KNKX and the sports interview series "Going Deep," talking with folks tied to sports in our region about what drives them — as professionals and people.
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.