There was a time — between February and May, to be specific — when it would have been hard to believe that Cyler Miles would walk to midfield at Husky Stadium with three other teammates, stand with them during the coin toss and serve as a game captain.
But much has changed since that well-publicized, post-Super Bowl incident in the University District. Miles is the Washington Huskies’ starting quarterback, and during UW’s game last week against Illinois, he was also a captain.
Huskies coach Chris Petersen doesn’t designate season captains, instead opting to choose different players each week. So his decision to name Miles a captain suggests the third-year sophomore is still “doing everything right,” as Petersen said in July when he announced Miles’ one-game suspension for UW’s season opener.
“I think he’s just been doing a great job since we’ve had him back in the mix,” Petersen said. “He’s been very into it. He’s been a very good teammate. He’s been producing. All those things. We like to mix (captains) up as much as we can.
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“We think it’s an honor. We don’t want to just hand somebody the captain torch, but if guys are doing things to help this team – shoot, it could be in the locker room – but usually it’s a combination of playing decently and helping our team going in the right direction.”
Miles, who was investigated in connection with assault allegations stemming from a pair of incidents during a celebratory bonfire in the University District on Feb. 2, was suspended from each of UW’s spring practices. He wasn’t charged with a crime due to lack of evidence, though teammate Damore’ea Stringfellow was, and the wide receiver eventually transferred after pleading guilty to three misdemeanors.
Miles was reinstated in May by Petersen, who also decided to suspend the quarterback for the Huskies’ season opener at Hawaii. He was named the starting quarterback two days after the Hawaii game, and says sharpening his leadership skills has been a priority since the offseason.
“I strive to just be a positive leader that does the right thing on and off the field,” Miles said. “I’m not perfect. Nobody is. But that’s just something I’ve tried to pride myself on more than I have in the past.”
Being named a captain was, in some ways, a result of that dedication.
“It meant a lot,” Miles said. “Just kind of the progress I’ve made and kind of where I was at half-a-year (ago) and where I’m at now. It meant a lot to me that Coach Pete named me one of the captains. I’m trying to continue to improve on my leadership in that aspect.”
“Over the offseason you saw a lot of him taking ownership for his actions and becoming a more responsible, mature young man,” said Hau’oli Kikaha, a fifth-year senior outside linebacker. “So that says a lot about him as the next quarterback up for the university, and Husky football. That’s what you want out of a leader. He’s getting there.”
PETERS ‘BACK WITH US’
The Huskies will regain one of their best defensive players for Saturday’s game against Georgia State (3 p.m., Pac-12 Network) as junior cornerback Marcus Peters has been reinstated after serving a one-game suspension stemming from a sideline tantrum Sept. 6 against Eastern Washington.
“We got him back,” Petersen said. “He’s back with us, and we’ll take one day at a time.”
Asked what he expects from Peters moving forward, Petersen said: “I think most of that stuff is kind of between us and the team. But I think it’s just about doing things like a good teammate should.”
Redshirt freshman cornerback Jermaine Kelly, who fractured his ankle during practice last week, had surgery Monday and is expected to miss most of the season, if not all of it.
SHAQ HONORED BY PAC-12
Junior linebacker Shaq Thompson, who scored two defensive touchdowns on Saturday in UW’s 44-19 victory over Illinois, was named Pac-12 defensive player of the week.
On Sunday, Athlon and the Walter Camp Football Foundation acknowledged Thompson as their national defensive player of the week.
ANOTHER DAY GAME
Washington’s Sept. 27 Pac-12 opener against Stanford will kickoff at 1:15 p.m. and air on Ch. 13. It will be the fourth day game in as many weeks at Husky Stadium.