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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 16, 2006 at 9:44 PM

More on Stanback

Not a fun day on Montlake as the Huskies have lost not only their leader, but a player that everyone really respected — and that all of us covering the team really liked.
His injury is one of the most devastating I can remember.
Obviously, nothing can top what happened to Curtis Williams. But for the sheer magnitude of what it could mean to the team, and how it will affect everyone involved with the program, this is one of the worst injuries UW has endured in a long time.
From a personal standpoint, Isaiah was one of the most accomodating players I’ve had the pleasure to deal with during my time on the beat. I remember last summer when he was drafted by the Orioles in the late rounds. Not a big story, but something I thought was worth a little more than just one line in the paper. I put in a call to the UW media relations office asking if there was a way to get a hold of Stanback. I was told they’d call him and leave a message telling him to call me. Most of the time in this business when you are told something like that, the call never comes.
But about 10 minutes later, the phone rang and there was Isaiah, happy to answer my questions. He was always available to us in good and bad — and obviously and unfortunately, there was a lot more bad the last few years than good. But Isaiah always stood up to all of it, usually taking more of the blame than he needed to, and it’s that class that should be remembered more than his record or his stats.
As for what this will do the team, I think it will be tough, and Tyrone Willingham’s motivational skills will be put to a severe test. It’s tempting to think that maybe it will serve as a rallying point, though more practically, the team will sorely miss Isaiah’s on-field leadership and his performance, especially against a team as good as Cal.
As for what UW does now, I think the coaches owe it to Carl Bonnell to give him a real shot, especially now that they have named him the starter. But I also think everything is up in the air now that they know Stanback is gone for good. If they think Jake Locker is their best option, than five games is more than enough season to pull the redshirt, especially with a bowl game on the line.
But even the best of true freshmen QBs struggle. The last true freshman QB to play at UW in a significant role was Marques Tuiasosopo. He was forced to come off the bench against Nebraska three games into the 1997 season and almost pulled that one out. But a little later in the year, when given his first start (again as an injury replacement for Brock Huard), he struggled a little bit and UW lost.
By the way, there’s a lot of revisionist history on Tui out there. He was the backup QB heading into the season for a team that was ranked No. 2 in the country. I don’t think it was a wasted year at all for him. Jim Lambright had to worry about winning games that year — and not four years down the road —with a team rated that highly, and he needed Tui in some key situations.
Back to the present, I think the best-case scenario is that Carl Bonnell gains everyone’s confidence in practice this week and then plays well enough to hold onto the job, and Locker can keep his redshirt.
But if not, they need to decide quickly that Locker is the guy. If he’s going to play, there’s no use in waiting.

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