Saturday, the first official depth chart of the season was released along with the game notes for Friday's match-up in Boise. We dive deeper into it below, digging through the competitions and any surprises, starting, of course, with the quarterback competition which has moved from unresolved to resolved-but-we-won't-tell-just-wait-until-Friday. Any progress is good, right?
Competitions still in progress will be designated by an "OR" between the two or three players and all other separations will be designated by a "//"
QB: Jeff Lindquist (Jr.) OR K.J. Carta-Samuels (RS-Fr.) OR Jake Browning (Fr.)
In this week's Sunday press conference, Coach Petersen said that they know internally who the starter will be and won't make an announcement until Friday's opener for what could be assumed as strategic reasons. Lindquist was named one of six captains, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything when it comes towards this quarterback competition, as there are plenty of examples around college football in the past of captains not being starters. I'm sure the starter will leak out before Friday since it's 2015 and everything leaks out in today's world, but until then, we're still playing the waiting game as fans. If you've been enjoying the suspense, I'm sure you were ecstatic at the "news" of the day and that Boise State hasn't been given the opportunity to prepare for one quarterback. If you're impatient and just want there to be a starter named, you're probably more annoyed that this is still a thing even though they know that there is a starter and we just don't know yet.
In related news, according to Adam Jude on twitter, Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said he assumes UW will start a young QB, otherwise it wouldn't be a secret.
Technically, he's not wrong. I mean, Jeff Lindquist is in his early 20's, and he's the oldest quarterback that is still in consideration, so relative to the average population, it's guaranteed that the starter on Friday will be young. But past the semantics of age, what's really shocking here is the reverse head games being played to counter the head games. I mean, head games are all this is on Coach Petersen's end, as he doesn't want to give Boise State an idea of who the starter will be for a competitive edge. Yet Coach Harsin is trying to turn it around and make the UW brass thing that he knows because if it was Lindquist, they would have said it. The only thing I know for certain is I'm not sure how much of an advantage either side has gained from any of this, if anyone is even any better off for any of it. I can't imagine Boise is watching Carta-Samuels or Browning high school games or the Lindquist vs. Hawai'i game and expecting that is a stellar indication of what's across from them on Friday. The only thing they'd really know is what jersey number the starting quarterback will be wearing.
TB: Dwayne Washington (Jr.) OR Lavon Coleman (Jr.)
QB: Ask again in a week.
TB: Myles Gaskin (Fr.) // Deontae Cooper (Jr.)
Last year, there was a total of 6 carries difference between Washington's 132 and Coleman's 138, so this being listed as an "OR" shouldn't really be a shock to anyone. Both should be assumed to be a steady part of the offense, especially with an inexperienced quarterback taking the reigns of the offense. The real story here is Gaskin being listed as third on the depth chart. According to Coach Petersen, Gaskin had a "great camp" and that's why he's third on the depth chart. Come Friday, it'll become clear what that really means in terms of touches, but it's only a good sign right now. We're definitely in for a committee approach, but how deep the committee extends will depend on Gaskin and Cooper.
LT: Coleman Shelton (So.)
LG: Jake Eldrenkamp (Jr.)
C: Siosifa Tufunga (Sr.)
RG: Shane Brostek (Jr.)
RT: Matt James (RS-Fr.) OR Kaleb McGary (RS-Fr.)
LT: Trey Adams (Fr.)
LG: Andrew Kirkland (So.) OR Dane Crane (So.)
C: Michael Kneip (Jr.)
RG: Jesse Sosebee (RS-Fr.)
RT: None listed (Whoever doesn't win the James vs. McGary battle assumes this role)
Coleman Shelton comes in with the most career starts of any of the lineman with 7, followed by Tufunga's 5 and Brostek's 3 (in 2012), but Shelton and Tufunga were starters at different positions last season and Brostek hasn't seen a snap in the Petersen era, so even the experienced linemen really aren't that experienced. This shouldn't really be a shock to anyone, and this may be a concern that's a bit overblown, since the number of returning starts an offensive line has doesn't always equate to that offensive line actually being good.
There's still a stalemate in the James vs. McGary showdown for the right tackle spot, which could mean so many different things that the only thing we can really do is take notice on who goes out with the first team on Friday, and if they do well, it can be assumed the other lineman is also good. Of the reserves listed, all but Adams have used their redshirts, which is a possibility for Adams unless he's forced into action by injury.
TE: Joshua Perkins (Sr.) OR Darrell Daniels (Jr.) OR Drew Sample (RS-Fr.)
WR: Brayden Lenius (So.)
WR: Jaydon Mickens (Sr.)
WR: Dante Pettis (So.)
TE: David Ajamu (So.) // Connor Griffin (So.)
WR: Marvin Hall (Sr.) // Quinten Pounds (Fr.)
WR: Marvin Hall (Sr.) (Listed as back-up for both WR spots) // Chico McClatcher (Fr.)
WR: Isaiah Renfro (Fr.) // Nik Little (Jr.)
The tight end battle being three deep is only a good sign for Redshirt Freshman Drew Sample, as the two incumbent tight ends started 12 combined games last season and are both upperclassmen. This is a group where we could see some separation as the season goes on, but the smart money is on all three being used early and often in this offense. I don't think this is a situation where they're just using this as a tool to play mind games either, as there isn't much of a tactical advantage to be gained here, if there even is any.
At WR, senior Jaydon Mickens will be flanked by Sophomores Brayden Lenius and Dante Pettis, who have separated themselves from the rest of the group. Senior Marvin Hall is listed as a back-up at two different positions and is probably the best guess as to who the fourth receiver would be if the Huskies go to a 4-WR set, but true freshmen Quinten Pounds, Chico McClatcher, and Isaiah Renfro might be too good to not see the field, creating some different personnel grouping possibilities. McClatcher is also listed as a back-up at returner, so he'll find his way on the field one way or another very early, and hopefully very often.
DE: Joe Mathis (Jr.)
NT: Elijah Qualls (So.)
DT: Taniela Tupou (Sr.)
DE: Jaylen Johnson (RS-Fr.) OR Will Dissly (So.) // Jarrett Finau (Sr.)
NT: Greg Gaines (RS-Fr.) OR Vita Vea (RS-Fr.)
DT: Will Dissly (So.) OR Damion Turpin (Jr.) // Shane Bowman (RS-Fr.)
After the first week, we'll know how the defensive line rotation will be in terms of distribution of snaps, but looking at this first depth chart, it would appear that the rotation will be nine deep across all three positions. All three nose tackles are listed at over 310 lbs, with Vita Vea listed at 6'5" 340. There's not a ton of production historically by the three starters, as they combined for 41 tackles last season, but that's as much a factor of the players who were ahead of them as anything else. This position will make so much more sense a week from now, but the idea of them being nine deep on the defensive front is exciting, especially in this conference where teams want to run 80 plays a game.
BUCK: Travis Feeney (Sr.)
LB: Azeem Victor (So.)
LB: Keishawn Bierria (So.)
LB: Cory Littleton (Sr.)
BUCK: Psalm Wooching (Jr.) // Connor O'Brien (So.)
LB: Scott Lawyer (Sr.) // Jake Wambaugh (RS-Fr.)
LB: Sean Constantine (So.) // Ben Burr-Kirven (Fr.)
LB: Tevis Barlett (Fr.) // D.J. Beavers (Fr.)
A pretty straight forward position without any sorts of real intrigue along the two deep, though there is something to be said about Bartlett, Beavers, and Burr-Kirven being listed on the depth chart. It's not likely that they're listed because there is a master plan to get them a ton of snaps at linebacker out of the gate, but all three could be key players on the core four special teams, which is sometimes an understated part of the game and a way for a freshman to make an impact immediately as they're still learning how to play the linebacker position.
S: Brian Clay (Sr.)
S: Budda Baker (So.)
CB: Sidney Jones (So.)
CB: Kevin King (Jr.) OR Darren Gardenhire (So.)
S: Jojo McIntosh (RS-Fr.) // Ezekiel Turner (So.)
S: Brandon Beaver (Jr.)
CB: Brandon Lewis (RS-Fr.) // Jordan Miller (Jr.)
CB: (Whoever doesn't win King vs. Gardenhire) // Austin Joyner (Fr.)
Defensive back is another position grouping where things are virtually set in stone, aside from King vs. Gardenhire. King was a starter last season at safety, but his 6'3" frame makes him an intriguing corner prospect, and reports out of camp were that he was doing great and was the frontrunner to be named the starter, so I guess we'll see there who trots out with the first team. In nickle and dime packages, whoever doesn't win that competition is very likely going to have a solid role, so it's not a situation where only one will ever see the field, like the quarterback and right tackle competitions. Freshman Austin Joyner is unlikely to redshirt seeing as he's listed here and as a reserve returner, so he could also be a factor to get some snaps, though it's likely the plan is to use this season to groom him for a larger role next season.
PK: Cameron Van Winkle (Jr.) OR Tristan Vizcaino (So.)
P: Korey Durkee (Sr.) // Tristan Vizcaino (So.)
KOR: Budda Baker (So.) // Austin Joyner (Fr.) // Chico McClatcher (Fr.)
PR: Dante Pettis (So.) // Chico McClatcher (Fr.)
LS: Ryan Masel (Sr.) // Luke Hutchison (So.)
Holder: Jeff Lindquist (Jr.)
"Jeff Lindquist was named the #1 ... holder" would be a very good title if we were looking to deceive you, which we aren't. At least I'm not. The kicker battle is interesting because there isn't much of a strategic benefit to it, so it really just must be more of a dilemma choosing between the two. I don't know how they plan on doing that, as that seems like one of the tougher positions to try and pick between two almost equal, if not equal, candidates, and I do not envy them on this decision. Luckily, the only way it becomes a decision that goes under the microscope is if one of the kickers goes all Northern Colorado and stabs the other in the leg, or the kicker who wins doesn't do well and they end up getting pulled. I hope neither happens. At the return spots, it's not inconceivable to see Joyner and McClatcher taking over by season's end, but for the first weekend, experience is necessary. Plus, Baker and Pettis are both really good with the ball in their hands.
Offense Starters: 1-3 Freshmen, 3 Sophomores, 3-5 Juniors, 2-3 Seniors
Defensive Starters: 0 Freshmen, 5-6 Sophomores, 1-2 Juniors, 4 Seniors
Offensive Reserves: 7-9 Freshmen, 4 Sophomores, 3-5 Juniors, 1-2 Seniors
Defensive Reserves: 12 Freshmen, 4-5 Sophomores, 3-4 Juniors, 2 Seniors