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Originally published April 6, 2013 at 6:54 PM | Page modified April 6, 2013 at 8:55 PM

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UW backup quarterbacks battle it out at spring practice

In the running to be Keith Price's backup are sophomore Derek Brown, redshirt freshmen Cyler Miles and Jeff Lindquist and touted true freshman Troy Williams. Miles and Lindquist split most of the snaps behind Price during Saturday's practice.

Seattle Times staff reporter

UW spring game

April 20, 4 p.m., at Seattle Center's Memorial Stadium. Will be televised on Pac-12 Networks. Admission is free.

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Keith Price is known for smiling, but when he is asked about Washington's quarterback competition, his smile turns into something different. It turns into a smirk, a minor difference maybe, but one that shows just how solid Price's grasp on the starting job is.

"I'm not really worried about it," Price said, his smirk appearing before the question is even finished. "I'm not worried about it. I can only control what I can control, and I know how good I am. I'm not sure the young guys are worried about it, either."

But there is a quarterback competition playing out right now, albeit for the title of Price's backup. In the running are sophomore Derrick Brown, redshirt freshmen Cyler Miles and Jeff Lindquist and touted true freshman Troy Williams. Miles and Lindquist split most of the snaps behind Price during practice Saturday.

Lindquist, a 6-foot-3, 234-pounder who starred locally at Mercer Island, has the stronger arm of the two. On occasion, he delivered perfectly placed deep balls, but he also struggled with his accuracy on more routine throws.

With a year of college practices behind him, Lindquist said he is far more comfortable with the intricacies and speed of the game.

"It's just become more of an instinct and less of a thought," he said. "For example, you don't have to think about making a read. Now it just kind of happens."

Miles (6-4, 223) is the better athlete, and he showed that by escaping the pocket when pressure reached him Saturday. Yet he, too, struggled with consistency and putting the ball on target.

He echoed Lindquist by saying that the game has slowed down. He said he is quicker with his progressions, has a better understanding of the offense and is therefore better at reading defenses.

"It's all just little, minor things that make me make decisions better and faster," Miles said.

That progression has happened even within spring practices this season. Washington's young quarterbacks spent the first portion of spring practice adjusting to the Huskies' more up-tempo, no-huddle offense (Williams, a four-star recruit from Los Angeles, has previously worked with the second unit).

"The younger guys would do some good things and then maybe have some moments that they regretted and wished they had back," UW coach Steve Sarkisian said. "Well, now the game is settling down, and the moments of regret are minimizing."

The younger quarterbacks understand where Price, a fifth-year senior, stands. After all, Price has started 25 games, turned in arguably the best season in school history two years ago and looks solid as ever so far this spring. But there also is a feeling the Huskies are better prepared to push Price and handle life without him, should it ever come to that this season.

"Right now, Keith is freakin' slinging it," Lindquist said. "But God forbid, if something were to happen, other people would be able to step in and fill the role for Keith. Collectively, we've just become much better as a group."

Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or jjenks@seattletimes.com


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