Washington gives new coach Husky season to live up to
Let’s say you are Chris Petersen, the incoming head coach at Washington. Rather than coaching your new team in its bowl game – or even your old one, Boise State; how weird would that have been? – you have decided to concentrate on recruiting.
If you were in some blue-chipper’s living room on Friday night, watching the Huskies beat Brigham Young 31-16 in the Fight Hunger Bowl, what could you tell the young man about coming to Washington?
Well, for one thing, you could point to Danny Shelton, the 6-foot-1, 327-pound defensive tackle, and say UW surely isn’t fighting hunger on its squad.
You could also point to players who were in action and tell Mr. Blue Chip that he’d have the chance to play with them. For example, there was redshirt freshman quarterback Cyler Miles, one of the most highly recruited players in the country a couple of years ago. Miles got into the game when starter Keith Price suffered injured ribs in the second half against BYU. The Huskies already had the lead, so Miles threw only five passes, but he did take off on a 32-yard scramble that flashed his athleticism — and reminded one media observer of one of college football’s best QBs of the 2000s.
Cyler Miles covers serious ground with those long strong strides. Just a hint of Vince Young in those wheels.
— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) December 28, 2013
Miles wasn’t the only Husky to show some flash. Freshman wide receiver John Ross brought back a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, revving up the Washington sideline as he took off.
But the best moves came from a guy who might not be around campus next season. Running back Bishop Sankey, MVP of the game with 95 yards and two scores that tied the school record for career TDs (38), ranks among the nation’s best at his position, and the junior could be headed for the NFL draft. Lots of teams would love to have a runner who makes jump cuts like this.
"Bishop has done a great job of carrying us all season," Price said. "We know we need to feed the horse. He’s been a work horse for us all year."
But let’s get back to young Mr. Blue Chip sitting in his living room. Maybe he had a question for Petersen: Will Marques Tuiasosopo, the quarterbacks coach under Steve Sarkisian who became interim head coach for this game, be returning to continue tutoring Miles? The way Tuiasosopo held the team together for a win over BYU had to impress Petersen. Enough to add him to his new staff? Or maybe it impressed his former boss, Sarkisian, so much that the new USC coach will be inviting the former Huskies QB to join him at his new gig.
"We all know what he’s done here as a player," Sankey said. "It makes it that much easier when a coach leaves when you have a guy like Coach Tui."
One guy who won’t be back is receiver Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who announced after the game that he’ll enter the draft. But the way Washington finished off a 9-4 season gives Petersen something to live up to in his first year.
*Speaking of questions, here’s one for the officials who worked the Fight Hunger Bowl: Whatever happened to that targeting rule? In the third quarter, BYU’s Bronson Kaufusi finished off a pass rush on Washington’s Price with a blatant head butt. Kaufusi didn’t even have his arms extended toward the quarterback. Under NCAA rules, Kaufusi should have been tossed from the game, but there was no flag.
*The bowl performance brought out the old school spirit from former Husky and retired NFL defensive back Lawyer Milloy.
— Lawyer Milloy (@LawyerMilloy) December 28, 2013
*And finally there was this concession sales report from AT&T Park:
Beer sales stats at the #FightHungerBowl UW fans 99% BYU fans 1%
— Matt Razore (@MRazore) December 28, 2013
The Associated Press contributed to this report.