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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 17, 2006 at 1:31 PM

Locker as advertised

Since the team hadn’t practice since the last time Tyrone Willingham met the media here at lunch time today, there wasn’t a whole lot of new news. No new injury updates and no new news on the academic front, although something has to happen there in the next few days as summer session ends tomorrow (Friday).
So we instead peppered Willingham with questions on a lot of other topics, including the progression of Jake Locker.
Asked if Locker looked as good two weeks into his first camp as other QBs Willingham has coached such as Brady Quinn at Notre Dame and Trent Edwards at Stanford Willingham said: “He’s right in that class. He is athletically talented, he has poise and he has the respect of his teammates, even at this early stage.”
To me, that last comment immediately brought to mind another UW quarterback — Marques Tuiasosopo, generally regarded as one of the best leaders in the history of the program.
Tui was also the last UW quarterback to start a game as a true freshman. But that was only due to an injury to Brock Huard and in a year when the Huskies didn’t have the type of depth at QB they appear to have now, with Isaiah Stanback a clear number one and Carl Bonnell — who continues to earn raves for his play — a clear No. 2.
The presence of those two players means there may be no need to play Locker this year, no matter how spectacular he looks in practice.
But Willingham said it is likely that no final decision on whether to redshirt Locker will be made until well into the season, barring an injury.
“That decision will probably come as late as you can possibly make it,” Willingham said.
That means Locker could travel to early games but not play unless needed, much as J.R. Hasty did a year ago. Remember, UW didn’t make a final decision to redshirt Hasty until mid-October as they debated whether they would need him.
Willingham said Locker’s status could be in doubt later than that.
Say, for instance, that Locker hasn’t played until game 6 or 7 but then injuries hit the position. Then the redshirt could be taken off Locker. That would definitely happen, Willingham said, “If it helps make you a bowl team.”
So figure that Locker will enter the season with plans to redshirt but on emergency status in the early games and then the situation will dictate what happens from there.
— Having now had a couple of weeks to assess the team’s overall condition, Willingham said it “wasn’t bad” but not quite where he hoped it would be. Interestingly, he said it “was not better than” the team’s overall condition of a year ago. That seems to go against what many of the players have said about the team being more committed this year than ever. Of course, Willingham could also be playing it cautious and wanting to make sure his players don’t become satisfied.
–One additional note: There was only one gold jersey winner from the second practice Wednesday — cornerback Roy Lewis for special teams. Willingham said Lewis has had a great camp having arrived in great shape after a hard summer working out with strength coach Trent Greener.

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