University of Washington

On Huskies’ backup quarterback competition, Tony Rodriguez says ‘I definitely want to get that spot’

The wedding, Tony Rodriguez said, was “beautiful.”

Yes, it was a little warm back home in Stockton, California, where Rodriguez and his girlfriend, Mersedes, were married on Saturday. But they had an evening ceremony at The Reserve at Spanos Park golf course, so the breeze made for a nice atmosphere.

As for the honeymoon?

“Football is my honeymoon right now,” said Rodriguez, a fourth-year junior quarterback for the Washington Huskies. “On spring break, we’re going to maybe go to Cabo or something.”

Rodriguez had to catch an early morning flight back to Seattle on Sunday in time to report for his second fall camp with the Huskies after transferring from City College of San Francisco last summer.

It’s been an eventful year for the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Stockton native. He spent last season redshirting behind quarterbacks Jake Browning, K.J. Carta-Samuels and Jeff Lindquist, learning coach Chris Petersen’s offense while also balancing the responsibilities of being a new father. Mersedes gave birth to their son, Anthony, on Sept. 29.

Redshirting, Rodriguez said, “kind of sucked, just standing outside looking in. But it was good for me. I got to go home, see my baby get born. Got to learn the offense. Got to get comfortable with the guys.”

Now, he’s locked in a camp battle with Carta-Samuels for the Huskies’ backup quarterback position behind Browning. And he appears to have a shot at winning it. Though his throwing motion is a bit unorthodox — he has a quick, short release that he says he’s trying to improve by widening his base and “bringing the ball up a little bit” — Rodriguez did a decent job guiding UW’s second- and third-string offenses during the spring, and he has been given plenty of repetitions with the Huskies’ No. 2 offense through four practices of fall camp.

“I definitely want to get that spot,” Rodriguez said. “Me and K.J., we’ll go at it, but we’ll still hang out every day, eat dinner together, hang out outside. But we know it’s a competition when we get on the field.”

Petersen says the competition for the No. 2 quarterback spot is “wide open.”

As for Rodriguez, Petersen said, “He did some good things (in spring). He did. K.J.’s got some experience, he’s played in a game against a really good defense. He’s taken a lot of practice reps. Tony’s taken a decent amount of practice reps. So I’m anxious and excited to see where that thing goes.”

A collarbone injury forced Rodriguez to miss most of his senior season at Brookside Christian in Stockton, which is part of the reason he wound up at CCSF. After throwing for 2,400 yards with 18 touchdowns and three interceptions as a sophomore, the Huskies reached out to gauge his interest.

UW first contacted him on Easter Sunday last year, Rodriguez said. He signed with the Huskies two months later over offers from smaller FBS schools.

“Power Five conference, Coach Pete, Built for Life,” Rodriguez said, asked what attracted him to UW. “I talked to some of the guys on Twitter and stuff and felt really comfortable with them.”

He said he feels like he fits in well with the team — junior receiver John Ross was in his wedding — and that he’s getting used to balancing his football and academic responsibilities with being a father.

“Here,” he said, “I’ve just got to be on it, on it, on it, playbook, school. And when I get home, it’s my family time, my son and my wife. Make sure they’re happy, make sure they’re having a good time, too.”

Christian Caple: 253-597-8437, @ChristianCaple

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