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Husky Football: Prepare For A Tough Start To Long Season

UWPetersen2015.jpg
Ted S. Warren
/
AP Photo
UW head coach Chris Petersen talks with wide receiver Dante Pettis during practice drills this spring in Seattle. Petersen faces old team Boise State for 1st time as UW coach Sept. 4 in Boise.

It's not the ideal circumstance for University of Washington football players or head coach Chris Petersen. They open the 2015 season next Friday night, Sept. 4, against Petersen's very successful old team, Boise State, in Boise, on national television (ESPN).

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel said it's a challenging start to a tough season.

'Heavy Losses To Personnel'

"I’m afraid that Chris Petersen, in his second year as Husky head coach, is going into his old school with a cardboard shield and a cardboard spear," Thiel joked.

"They just don’t have the personnel this year - heavy losses to graduation. He had four of his best defensive players go in the NFL draft. He’s also operating without a solid returning quarterback, which is always the biggest deal in any college football program."

Quarterback Question

"Cyler Miles is not returning to the program," Thiel continued. "He was the incumbent; he won’t be back this year. He’s staying out for personal reasons. I think he was feeling unwelcome because he had a mediocre year last year.

"There are three candidates to start at quarterback for the Huskies this year but none has been chosen so far. Junior Jeff Lindquist from Mercer Island is a returning veteran but he's not exactly the prototype quarterback.
 
They do like K.J. Carta-Samuels, a red-shirt freshman who didn't play last year, Thiel said. 
 

"The guy who is the quarterback for the future is a pure freshman by the name of Jake Browning, one of the most highly-recruited players in the nation last year," Thiel continued. "He's probably going to be the best guy in the long term but is he going to be the best guy Friday night? We're about to see when Petersen makes his choice.

"It's a lot of pressure on the Huskies to try to pull together so many young people both on defense and offense for a game against a ranked opponent right out of the chute in the regular season."

'Firsts' In Boise

"Washington has never played at Boise State on their famed blue turf," Thiel pointed out. "And Chris Petersen is going back for the first time since he's been named Huskies coach.

"He left after 13 years in the program. He really helped build a powerhouse where there was nothing before.

"This is not the team he wanted to take back. They're a 10-point underdog. I think this is going to be a difficult evening for him," he said.

Rebuilding Year

"I don't think this is going to be a great year for Petersen. If he gets to 6-6 it's probably going to be the best he can do with his talent.

"This is going to be a long season out at Montlake."

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

Kirsten Kendrick has been hosting Morning Edition on KNKX/KPLU since 2006. She has worked in news radio for more than 30 years. Kirsten is also a sports lover. She handles most sports coverage at the station, including helping produce a two-part series on the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the ongoing series "Going Deep."
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 historylink.org and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.
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