Price Preps Miles For Cal – Just In Case
By Gregg BellUW Director of Writing SEATTLE – Keith Price has worn many hats in his five years at Washington.
An understudy, to Jake Locker. A record breaker, in 2011. A battered, humbled passer, in 2012. A resurgent thrower and undisputed team leader this season. And now, a banged-up tutor.
Price’s sore thumb limited him from throwing fully again Wednesday morning during the Huskies’ practice at foggy Husky Stadium. Coach Steve Sarkisian said his decision on who starts at quarterback for UW (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) on Saturday night at 8 p.m. against California (1-6, 0-4) will come after he sees how well Price is able to throw during an extensive test in practice Thursday.
"We are really going to push him (Thursday)," Sarkisian said, "then we will get to a point of coming out of (Thursday’s) practice of (knowing) exactly where we’re at.”
Price said he has “been living in the training room,” undergoing ice, heat and stimulation treatment on the thumb he banged on his passing hand three games ago midway through his heroic night in a 31-28 loss at Stanford.
He left last weekend’s loss at Arizona State with 12 minutes remaining to get X-rays on the hand. Those were negative, though Price wore a black brace over the thumb on the trip home. Cyler Miles finished that game.
Price has been intently teaching the redshirt freshman on the finer points of reads during practices this week and on film study of Cal in between drills — just in case Miles starts Saturday.
Asked how these last three days of not throwing has helped heal his hand, Price smiled and said, “It’s been amazing. I’ve been rehabbing relentlessly.
"I’m preparing (to play). I’m not sure. It depends on Coach Sark and how he feels. I’m preparing myself as if I’m starting."
Sarkisian said Price “feels a lot better today, I will say that. He’s improved. And I think (Thursday) will be a good test to see where he’s at … just to make all the throws.”
Quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo praised Price for how closely he’s been working with Miles this week.
"Keith is a great, GREAT teammate," Tuiasosopo said. "He’s been great at practice out here staying focused, talking to Cyler and the other guys in our huddles on what they are seeing.
"He’s going to leave a legacy here. It doesn’t matter who gets the call, he’s going to help them to get them ready."
Price is giving Miles a tutorial on what Cal’s defense might try to challenge him with on Saturday, if it comes to that.
"Cyler’s an athletic guy, can spin the ball good. I’ve just been doing my best to help him with certain looks," Price said. "He’s still a young guy, so a lot of things are confusing to him.
"He knows if he has any questions he can always ask me. He spent a lot of time with me (Tuesday) watching film and going over the cut-ups (of films on Cal’s defense)."
Miles was a two-time all-state quarterback at Mullen High School in Denver. He has played in three games mopping up for Price this season, most extensively in the second half of UW’s 56-0 win over Idaho State last month. He says he prepares each week as if he may play — each Friday night bed check Tuiasosopo asks Miles “Are you ready, just in case?” — so this week isn’t all that different for him.
Not yet, anyway.
"It’s not in my hands," Miles said with a shrug on the quarterback decision for Saturday.
Sarkisian reiterated the team is fortunate to have recruited the position well the last couple years.
"Cyler’s practiced really well," Sarkisian said. "I’ll be really comfortable if Cyler plays. We won’t be limited at all."
INSIDE THE DAWGS: Dexter Charles, a starter for the first five games before he hurt his shoulder against Oregon two weeks ago, remains very limited. So Erik Kohler is likely to get his second consecutive start at left guard. He had been sidelined since June with a foot injury. "I wish we had him at full strength," Sarkisian said of Charles, whom Price lauds for being a vocal leader and commanding presence on the line. … The coach said freshman defensive back Kevin King also has a shoulder injury, from last week at ASU. "(We) don’t know what his availability is, either," Sarkisian said.