The Huskies head into Saturday's matchup with Boise State without their starting quarterback, Casey Cochran, who has retired from football after suffering multiple concussions during his career. But first-year coach Bob Diaco knew his rookie campaign wouldn't be easy and he sounds as if he's prepared for whatever may come.
And that starts with the remaining quarterbacks on the roster: redshirt senior Chandler Whitmer, who will assuming the starting duties, and sophomore Tim Boyle, who now can't redshirt this season because he's the only remaining quarterback on scholarship.
"Tim Boyle is going to play," Diaco said Thursday. "Tim needs to play. He needs to get his opportunities, whether they happen during the course of the game or not, we need to make them happen. Tim has all top-notch traits. He's fast, he's big, he's got great vision over the linemen, he's got a very strong arm. He can throw all the passes, he's got good touch on the shallow passes, nice touch on the deep passes. He can zip from the hash to the field flat, he's got that kind of strength in his arm. He's got enough escape ability to be a problem. So those are things I like about him. He's got top-flight tangible traits."
Diaco also weighed in on Boise State.
"They are a really exciting team. I think that has kind of been captivating for the country as it relates to Boise," he said. "They have a very unique offensive system, very explosive. Not only explosive in the style that they run their offense, but the players are explosive. So it creates a major problem, it creates a lot of points and pizazz and that is kind of fun for the whole community and fan experience.
"Defensively, they play hard, they fly around, they are a very aggressive bunch over the last ten years, and this year is no different. Same drill: explosive players, explosive offense. Last week they had 63 plays on offense at halftime. That's the kind of football they like to play. They're all set and ready before the official is even ready to walk away from the ball."
The good news is that the Huskies got their first win out of the way last week. The bad news is that it was a struggle against middling FCS opponent Stony Brook. But again, this is a process, one that one magically fix itself overnight.
As for positives, Diaco offered this: "I would say effort. I thought that defensively, the defenders played with a high level of effort. Communication increased on defense, more demonstrative communication with more people on the same page. I was pleased with the tackling, I felt that improved from week one to week two. Although we had two pre-snap penalties, we dropped penalties from eight to three, so that was positive."