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No hurry to name UW QB

Tim Booth Associated Press

SEATTLE – Washington coach Tyrone Willingham is definitely leaning one direction, but not enough to name a starting quarterback.

Saying he wanted to see how his two candidates handle a week of game preparation, Willingham balked Monday at naming a starter for Saturday’s game against Air Force.

He said a decision would probably come toward midweek, after he sees how junior Isaiah Stanback and sophomore Johnny Durocher prepare for the Falcons.

“There are some things that I have to see in the next day or so to finalize what I’ve seen the last six, eight months,” Willingham said. “Then, I’ll be comfortable with my decision.”

There may be a bit of gamesmanship in holding off on naming a starter, forcing Air Force to prepare for two quarterbacks who would run Washington’s offense with varying styles.

“I think it’s to our advantage, that the least amount they know about our football team in terms of who lines up on Saturday, the better off we are,” Willingham said.

For the two players, it’s yet another development in a saga that began during spring practice. Gauging who has the edge in the competition has been difficult because Willingham has limited media access to practices.

And the players say they’re out of the loop as well.

“What you all know, is what we know,” Stanback said. “Whenever coach makes his decision, we’ve got to be ready, regardless.”

Stanback started one game for Washington last year, but appeared in five.

He threw for 389 yards and three touchdowns, but also threw three interceptions and completed just 33 percent of his passes.

Durocher has yet to take a collegiate snap. He started at Oregon after being named Washington’s 2002 state player of the year for his showing at Bethel High School in Puyallup. He was redshirted his first year at Oregon, then transferred to Washington.

Both players said they’d made progress during fall camp, and would accept Willingham’s decision.

“It’s kind of carried over into the fall more than we both would have liked,” Durocher said. “But you’d rather have it this way, where two guys are playing really well.”

Willingham released his first depth chart of fall practice on Monday, with both players listed in the slot for quarterback starter.

Also of note was the absence of running back Kenny James and wide receiver Craig Chambers from the two-deeps.

James started 10 games last year, but has been bothered by a shoulder injury. Sophomore Louis Rankin was listed as the starter for Saturday, but Willingham said a number of players would be rotated through at running back.

Chambers finished last season strong, catching 19 passes for 409 yards in just the last four games. Sophomores Corey Williams and Anthony Russo are expected to start Saturday.

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