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‘I’m not going to go all reckless cowboy out there’: Dylan Morris sticks to a simple plan as UW’s QB

Aug. 25, 2021 Updated Wed., Aug. 25, 2021 at 8:38 p.m.

Washington Huskies quarterback Dylan Morris looks to pass during NCAA college football practice in Seattle, on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021.  (Associated Press)
Washington Huskies quarterback Dylan Morris looks to pass during NCAA college football practice in Seattle, on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. (Associated Press)
By Matt Calkins Seattle Times

Some quarterbacks are Lamborghinis. They turn everyone’s head when they walk in a room. They wow the crowd with their velocity and daring. They’re just not always practical, though.

Brett Favre was a Lamborghini. Yes, he won a Super Bowl and three regular-season MVPs, but he led the NFL in interceptions three times.

Then you have your Subaru QBs. They aren’t particularly flashy. They don’t create a swell of excitement every time they take the field. But they’re reliable, and, dang it, they get the job done.

Washington quarterback Dylan Morris is a Subaru, and that’s the furthest thing from an insult. Pragmatism seems to be what matters most to him. He wants to protect the football and move the chains.

His risk-taking is measured and calculated. Doesn’t mean he won’t try to slip a spiral into a two-foot window if the game is on the line. But he’s more about the fundamentals than he is the flair.

“Game manager, protecting the football, that’s all I can do. I’m not going to go all reckless cowboy out there,” said Morris, who started all four of the Huskies’ games last year as a redshirt freshman. “Just want to protect the football, put us in good situations in the run game and the pass game and end with points on the board.”

In 2019, the Huskies’ starting QB was former five-star recruit Jacob Eason, whose immaculate arm and 6-foot-6 frame had fans salivating during fall camp. But costly turnovers against schools such as Stanford and Utah contributed to a disappointing season for the Huskies, who lost five conference games.

It’s hard to say they bounced back in 2020 given that they played only four times, but at 3-1 they were slated to play in the Pac-12 title game before a COVID-19 outbreak shut them down.

How influential was Morris in their success? Well, he showed the protection in the opening-game victory against Oregon State, when he ran for a touchdown and committed no turnovers. He showed the productivity in win No. 2 against Arizona, when he completed 15 of 25 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns. And he showed the poise against Utah, when, yeah, he made some early mistakes but marched the Huskies back from a 21-point halftime deficit to win 24-21.

“I’ve always been that way,” Morris said when asked about his ability to forget mistakes quickly. “That’s how you gotta be as a quarterback. You gotta be that guy that everybody looks to when stuff goes bad, and when stuff goes right you gotta be just even.”

Morris said Drew Brees is the quarterback he most admires. He feels the Super Bowl winner was a model of efficiency and football protection, noting a game in which Brees checked down all day and still notched more than 200 yards. Plus, Brees – like the 6-foot-tall Morris – wasn’t a physical specimen. He earned his accolades with his decision-making, an area where Dylan feels he has improved.

Huskies offensive lineman Luke Wattenberg was asked this week about Morris’ growth.

“That’s tough, because he was already so far ahead as a redshirt freshman last year. He keeps getting better and better, so it’s good to see him come along as well,” Wattenberg said.

What about his demeanor? Does that stay the same all the time?

“Yeah, he’s a pretty calm, cool and collected guy,” Wattenberg said. “But I don’t know if you saw the end of the Utah game, he got pretty fired up.”

Perhaps it was that Utah game that convinced Huskies coach Jimmy Lake to name Morris the starter almost a month before the 2021 season opener. Remember, it wasn’t until the day of the first game that Morris was named last season’s starting QB.

But Morris has proven himself capable of leading the Huskies to victory. Now we see if he can do it consistently.

It can’t be easy for Pac-12 pundits to make guesses on how the season will turn out based on last year. The sample size was just too small. One media poll listed Oregon as the favorite out of the North, but it’s just too hard to tell.

On Monday, though, Morris said the expectation is to win the conference title and play in a big-time bowl game. If that happens, Dylan likely will have played a major role.

Will he be flashy? Likely not. But in this game, getting from Point A to Point B is all that matters.

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