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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 20, 2006 at 6:02 PM

To play or not to play?

That’s the question the Washington Huskies face today in regards to Jake Locker.
Coaches kept it close to the vest this week on what they will do — and they may not honestly know until game time.
Watching the 25 minutes of practice we are allowed to watch this week, however, led me to believe that Locker is indeed the backup to Carl Bonnell.
When practice began with a two-minute drill Wednesday, Bonnell led the first drive, Locker the second, and that was it. Locker threw an interception on the second play of the drive he led.
Thursday, when the QBs lined up for passing drills to begin practice, Bonnell and Locker worked together, with Johnny DuRocher and Felix Sweetman on the other end.
Then, when practice began in earnest, Bonnell took the first 8-10 snaps, followed by Locker. Then the media accessibility was over and that’s all I saw.
But that all leads me to believe that they are prepping Locker to play should he be needed due to injury or severe inability to get anything done by Bonnell.
UW coach Tyrone Willingham said Thursday that Bonnell was getting most of the reps with Locker and DuRocher getting “limited reps.”
That indicates they aren’t necessarily prepping Locker to play no matter what — if they wanted to play him for certain, you’d think they’d get him as many reps as they could to make sure he’s ready.
On the other hand, they may just decide that Locker is likely to play at some point in the last five games, so they’ll sneak him in Saturday and just start playing him.
Contrary to what you may have heard elsewhere this week, that’s exactly what Jim Lambright did in 1997 with the last true freshman to play significantly at QB for the Huskies — Marques Tuiasosopo.
When Shane Fortney left the team the previous spring, Tuiasosopo emerged as the backup in fall camp to Brock Huard, beating out another true freshman, J.K. Scott. Lambright figured that he would need Tui at some point, so he put him in briefly in the first two games of the season against BYU and San Diego State.
In the third game of the year against Nebraska, Huard hurt his ankle and Tui played the final three quarters, almost leading one of the most amazing comebacks in school history.
Sure, it would have been nice to save Tui’s redshirt year and have him there in 2001. But it wasn’t practical, nor would it have been the smart move in 1997 considering that team had national title hopes.
I never heard Tui complain about it once — in fact, he enthusiastically embraced playing that season, and he ended up seeing significant time in several other games, including a start against Oregon when Huard was hurt.
I think Locker has the same attitude — that if he’s needed now, he wants to play.
A lot can happen in the next five years.
So if the coaches think Locker’s time is now, they may as well let it begin sooner rather than later.



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