Chris Petersen is adding secrecy to his anticipated return to Boise State.
The Washington coach has no intention of making a public announcement of his starting quarterback before the Huskies take the field Friday night to face the 23rd-ranked Broncos.
Petersen acknowledged Sunday the team knows who is going to start at quarterback, but he is keeping it internal for now.
“We have a really good plan. We’re excited about it. Because we figured it out the last day or two we just really don’t think it’s an advantage to us to tell you our strategy right now on that position. We’ll pretty much announce that starting quarterback game time,” Petersen said. “If we thought it helped us or it was three weeks ago or a month ago, but because it’s been so late we really don’t think that helps us a whole lot so we’ll show up to the game and go with our plan.”
Petersen and the Huskies are in such a position because of the inexperience at the position. Junior Jeff Lindquist, redshirt freshman K.J. Carta-Samuels and true freshman Jake Browning competed for the job during fall camp, and Lindquist is the only one of the three with experience, staring last year’s season opener against Hawaii.
Petersen said he knows the week leading up to the opener will be filled with speculation about who will get the starting nod. He said two or all three quarterbacks could be used and joked about wanting as many rumors spread as possible.
“As much as you can do for that will help us. Our guys know what is going on and that is the important thing,” Petersen said. “Five days before the game that doesn’t really help a whole lot.”
Lindquist appeared in 12 games last season and started Petersen’s first win with the Huskies. Lindquist passed sparingly and was just 10 of 30 for 162 yards and one touchdown for the season. He was used more as a running threat in short-yardage situations.
Lindquist appeared to be the favorite for the job leaving spring practice in April, but the majority of the attention during fall camp has gone toward Browning.
Browning arrived at Washington as one of the most prolific prep quarterbacks ever. He set a list of national high school records at Folsom High just outside of Sacramento, California, and enrolled at Washington in January. Because he arrived early and got the experience of going through spring practice, Petersen said he doesn’t view Browning as a typical true freshman.
Browning matched a national record with 91 touchdown passes during his senior season in 2014. In three years as a starter, he set a national record with 229 career touchdown passes.
Petersen has never started a true freshman at quarterback; Kellen Moore was a redshirt freshman when he won the job at Boise State and became the winningest quarterback in NCAA history. Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said Sunday he believes the Huskies will start a young quarterback otherwise he doesn’t believe Petersen would keep it a secret.
Washington had 11 true freshmen listed on its depth chart on Sunday, so if Browning is the choice, it fits with the trend for this season.
“We told you that was probably going to happen weeks ago,” Petersen said. “We think some of these guys are pretty talented and just by the nature of the youth of your team anyways we feel good about getting these guys in the mix.”
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com