|AP Photo/Elaine Thompson|
|Washington's Cyler Miles is competing to become the Huskies' starting quarterback.|
One of the biggest coaching changes in the offseason was the move of Chris Petersen from Boise State to Washington. The nation's winningest active coach in college football, he was put to the test at a major program early on after sophomore quarterback Cyler Miles was linked to two on-campus assaults in post-Super Bowl incidents.
Petersen responded by suspending Miles from the team during spring practice once his legal matters had been sorted out -- Miles was not ultimately charged with a crime in either incident -- and will sit him for the opener at Hawaii later this month. The Huskies' new coach made it clear at Pac-12 Media Days last month that Miles would still have a chance to be a long-term starter under center, but it's going to be an uphill climb for the talented dual-threat quarterback after missing so many reps in the new offensive system.
At Washington's practice on Wednesday morning, Miles had his first big opportunity to show the new staff what he can do. According to the Tacoma News Tribune, Miles took the first snaps with the starters during 11-on-11 periods and flashed good arm strength on several throws. He did throw an interception during 7-on-7 drills when his receiver fell down, but the bottom line seems to be that there's not a huge amount of separation among any of the quarterbacks (including Jeff Lindquist, Troy Williams and true freshman K.J. Carta-Samuels) early in fall camp.
"I have no problem with the Seahawks," Miles told reporters. "I respect Russell (Wilson) and what he's done at that program. But things happen and I take full responsibility for my actions. I messed up big time and I'm willing to face the consequences and do everything in my power to gain the respect back of Husky fans and my teammates and Coach Pete."
Washington heads into the 2014 season with a talented squad that is looking to challenge fellow Pac-12 North powers Oregon and Stanford. With two-way stars like Shaq Thompson and likely NFL draft picks in Kasen Williams and Danny Shelton, the Huskies certainly have the talent to do so, but finding a solution at quarterback is a glaring weakness -- one that might just take a while to sort out this month.
Here's what else you need to know from Wednesday's training camps:
2. We've said before that the Miami quarterback situation is a mess and will continue to be a mess. At practice, transfer Jake Heaps and true freshman Brad Kaaya took various first- and second-team snaps, but the real news seemed to be that former front-runner Ryan Williams, out since April with an ACL tear, was back jogging and throwing at practice. He might not be driving off his right leg, but it's still a good sign that he's making progress in his rehab, and good news for the Hurricanes that he could be closer to returning than previously thought.
3. The media contingent covering the football program at Alabama rivals that of some NFL teams, and according to reports from many Tide media members, starting defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson missed practice on Wednesday. No reason was given by Crimson Tide officials and Nick Saban did not speak to reporters, so Robinson's absence is a mystery for now.
4. Georgia coach Mark Richt, whose program is typically more forthcoming than most when it comes to injuries, said Wednesday he is shutting off the flow of injury 411. College football coaches are moving away more and more from the disclosure of injury details, and Richt appears ready to join that migration. He did, however, say that injured star linebacker Ramik Wilson should be ready for the Bulldogs' first game. That's great news for the potential early-round draft pick and a Bulldogs defense that needs plenty of help in the opener vs. Clemson.
5. Michigan State needs a cornerback to replace first-round pick Darqueze Dennard, and coordinator Pat Narduzzi says sophomore Darian Hicks (5-foot-10, 180 pounds) is the top contender. "Darian Hicks is very smooth," Narduzzi told the Lansing State Journal. "He is under control. ... As (secondary) coach (Harlon) Barnett says, he goes to cool school."
6. Navy senior LB Maika Polamalu -- a cousin of Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu -- had to give up football because of a medical issue, the Capital Gazette of Annapolis, Md., reported. Polamalu (6-2, 223) had made one tackle in his career; he likely would've been a backup inside linebacker this season. Polamalu, who grew up near Philadelphia, is expected to become a student assistant for the Midshipmen.
7. UCLA coach Jim Mora plays music during his team's practices and says the playlist is organized based on the different practice periods. "During individual, we get AC/DC," he told coachingsearch.com. "I don't think we have any Journey, but we have Black Sabbath. It's more up-tempo but grinding kind of music. And then we always go country during 1-on-1. I'm not sure why we go country during 1-on-1. It might be for (backup QB) Jerry Neuheisel. Then towards the end of practice, when we want to get the rhythm going again, we go back to some hip-hop. We always kind of end with hip-hop. There is a method to it." Mora says strength coach Sal Alosi is in charge of putting together the playlist. Maybe we can all start to follow along on Spotify during the season.
8. North Carolina is expected to have one of the better wide receiver groups in the ACC, but, at least for now, the Heels are without an important piece at the position. Returning starter T.J. Thorpe (6-0, 200), a junior, has a foot injury, per reports; he missed the entire 2012 season with a fractured foot, then suffered another fracture in February 2013. That injury healed in time for him to play last fall.
9. Virginia Tech associate head coach and running backs coach Shane Beamer told reporters that Hokies tight ends coach Bryan Stinespring has talked to former New York Giants RB David Wilson, a Virginia Tech alum who retired from the Giants after doctors advised him to give up football because of a neck injury. Stinespring recruited Wilson to Virginia Tech. "Bryan told me that he got off the phone with David and David spent more time cheering Bryan up than Bryan did trying to pump David up," Beamer said. Knowing the long-tenured ACC coach (Stinespring has served on the Hokies staff since the early 90s), it wouldn't be all that surprising if Wilson has a place in the program if he decides a college coaching career is a goal of his in the near future.
10. Looking for a possible standout defensive lineman this season? Don't overlook Notre Dame tackle Sheldon Day. He's slimmed down a little to boost his play and has become much more explosive during the Irish's practices. Considering the team needs a big defensive tackle to get into the backfield in new coordinator Brian VanGorder's defense, that's good news for coach Brian Kelly and company.
CFB 24/7 writers Chase Goodbread and Mike Huguenin contributed to this report.
You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.