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Lake Defends His QB, Seems to Indicate There Won't Be Change

Most Monday briefing questions centered around redshirt freshman Dylan Morris.

During his regular Monday morning media briefing, Jimmy Lake fielded question after question about his 2-4 University of Washington football team. 

And every third inquiry involved his quarterback Dylan Morris.

Coming off Saturday night's 24-17 loss to UCLA at Husky Stadium, Lake was pressed over and over about his struggling offensive leader, who threw interceptions on his first and last drives of the game. 

What did you see on film of his performance?

Is there a common thread in his interceptions?

Are you going to replace him as the starter?

This was asked twice. 

Lake stood tall in the interview pocket and withstood the rush coming from all directions. He got off an answer about Morris each time.

Foremost was this response: "There's not going to be any panic button pushed here where we're all of a sudden just rotating guys in and out at certain positions, especially an important position like quarterback."

While one might presume that Lake would never tip his hand publicly, should he actually be considering a QB swap for Friday's game at winless Arizona, the coach seemed determined to support his redshirt freshman more than ever.

Morris has opened all 10 UW games over two seasons so far in the Lake head-coaching regime. The coach is deeply invested in him and naturally protective.

"There was a lot of positives, a lot of strikes, he was really good on third down, the awesome pass to Rome in the back of the end zone to get us to 17-10," the UW coach said, rattling off game-day plaudits.

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Six games in, Morris has completed 126 of 210 passes (60 percent) for 1,446 and 8 touchdowns, fairly efficient numbers. Yet he's been intercepted a conference-high 8 times. 

He won the job a year ago for being hailed as a mistake-free quarterback. Yet in 2021, he's made a lot of errors delivering the football. 

Yet the Husky coach defended Morris, explaining that interceptions are not solely the fault of the person who throws them. He mentioned protections and deflections. 

"We know we have to protect the football better — Dylan knows that," Lake said. "We don't want to go out there and throw interceptions. There's some that are squarely on his shoulders, where he threw it and it was not a well-thrown ball. But there's others where it doesn't fall on his shoulders."

Bottom line is Morris is now 5-5 as the QB starter, below .500 this season, which really are the only numbers that matter. 

Oklahoma didn't hesitate to recently swap out Spencer Rattler, its Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback for freshman Caleb Williams when there was a notable production falloff. Stanford has traded out two quarterbacks this season. Arizona was using two QBs until losing one to injury.

Behind Morris on the depth chart are true freshman Sam Huard, the most highly regarded quarterback recruit to come to Washington, and sixth-year senior Patrick O'Brien, the transfer from Colorado State by way of Nebraska. Both made single-series appearances in the Arkansas State game. 

Again, Lake seemed to make it fairly clear he's going to stick with season-long starter for Friday's game in the desert.

"I don't think we're nowhere near that point right now," Lake said of replacing Morris. "If you go back the last two games, we're one, two plays away from being 3-0 in the conference."

Of course, with so much at stake for a Husky program in a downward spiral with an unhappy fan base, don't be the least bit surprised at kickoff if the Arizona Stadium public-address announcer offers the following message, "At quarterback for Washington, Sam Huard."

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