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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

April 29, 2007 at 1:35 PM

QB controversy?

I’ve gotten a few people questioning our story today headlined “Bonnell closes QB gap with Locker” from some who feel we are trying too hard to create a quarterback controversy.
So I guess I’ll let you decide.
Here’s the quote from Tim Lappano, the team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach: “As coach Willingham said, the gap has closed. I think everybody can see that. How much is between us (UW’s coaches). But Carl has kept this thing very competitive.”
I left out the reference to Willingham in that quote in the paper because I didn’t hear Willingham say that.
Willingham instead said only that Jake was still No. 1 and Carl still No. 2. But he didn’t elaborate on that. When asked how big the gap was, he gave a joking response, opening his arms wide and saying “this much” and left it at that.
So it’s hard to tell if Willingham really thinks the gap has closed or not.
What I do think is true is that Bonnell had a much better spring than anyone really expected.
Remember, a month or so ago, there were a lot of questions whether he’d even be ready to practice in the spring, with the assumption being that he would definitely be limited. Willingham has admitted Bonnell’s health played a role in naming Locker the starter, though he also has said he would have named Locker anyway.
But Bonnell actually seemed better than ever this spring, something Bonnell admitted after the spring game — though he also acknolwedged it was comforting to know that he was off-limits to contact and wouldn’t be hit hard.
“This whole spring has been the most fun I’ve had,” he said. When asked why, he said “maybe because I’m old and I know what’s going on out there. There’s just less stresss when you know what’s going on.”
What’s also true, I think, is that the Spring Game played to Bonnell’s strengths.
The QBs were basically allowed to do little but hand off and throw simple passing routes.
Right now, when it comes to simply handling UW’s passing offense, Bonnell seems to have the edge.
But Locker has a lot of other strengths — command of the team, ability to improvise, running — that were things that didn’t necessarily come into play in a game as structured and limited as the Spring Game.
Watching Locker Saturday I was reminded that Marques Tuiasosopo was often a pretty pedestrian-looking player in practice.
But come game time, there were few better at finding a way for his team to win than Tuiasosopo.
Lappano talked about Locker’s intangibles afterward, mentioning how Locker was thrown into the Husky Drill on Thursday — where two players face off in a circle and try to push the other back.
“You could just see the team get around him,” Lappano said. “And they’ve been doing that for quite a while now. They are just gravitating around him right now.”
That said, I ran into a pretty knowledgeable sports fan who went to the Spring Game Saturday almost solely to see Locker and his first reponse to me afterward was “that’s Jake Locker?”
As Locker himself readily admitted afterward, he still has a long ways to go.
“We still have fall camp and then the season, so nothing is set in stone,” Locker said. “I’ve got to go out and prove myself week in and week out. I plan on putting in a lot of work this summer to go out and improve that much more in the fall and be ready in the fall when it’s game time.”
I fully expect Locker to do just that, and to be the starter when UW opens the season at Syracuse.
On the other hand, when the team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach says that “the gap has closed” I don’t know how to conclude anything else but that the gap has closed.



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