The Washington Huskies are entering a pretty exciting 2014 with high hopes for what their program can accomplish. They hired Chris Petersen away from the Boise State Broncos and are coming off their most successful season since 2000 at 9-4. They’ll welcome back a roster loaded with talent and experience despite losing some key pieces, particularly on the offensive side of the ball with the graduation of long-time quarterback Keith Price. Will young Cyler Miles step in under center and take UW to the next level in 2014?
In limited action as a freshman in 2013, Miles flashed some excellent ability under center. He finished the year completing 37-of-61 passes (60.7 percent) for 418 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. In the two games he saw significant action after a shoulder injury to Price (at UCLA Bruins and at Oregon State Beavers), Miles with 30-of-46 (65.2 percent) for 311 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. He displayed some nice athleticism as well, running for 200 yards yards this season on 23 carries.
He will miss the contributions of tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the passing game (36 catches, 450 yards, 8 TD in 2013) and Bishop Sankey in the running game (327 carries, 1,870 yards, 20 TD) in 2014 but Washington has some very good talent coming back in other spots, particularly at receiver. Jaydon Mickens led UW in receptions as a sophomore in 2013 as he snagged 65 passes for 688 yards and five touchdowns. The team also has some young playmakers in Damore’ea Stringfellow and John Ross who made major impacts during their freshmen seasons. In addition, Miles will get Kasen Williams back who caught 29 passes for 421 yards and a touchdown in eight games this season before injuring his leg.
The key for Washington will be how well the new coaching staff utilizes and develops the talent available next fall. Petersen brought most of his staff with him from Boise State, including offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith. They will have more talent than they have ever had next season with UW, including Miles under center. Can the pieces come together for a special fun in 2014?