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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 13, 2007 at 1:26 PM

Locker talks

Jake Locker met the media here a little while ago and said he hopes to play Saturday against Cal.
“I’d like to, so I’m going to try as hard as I can,” Locker said, saying it was “not out of the realm of possibility” that he will see the field against Cal.
Locker said his biggest health concern right now is a stiff neck, and his injury was obvious during his press conference as he struggled to turn.
“My neck is just kind of tight right now, so I’ve got to get that movement back and that’s what we are focusing on this week,” Locker said. “I’ve just got to try to get some of that mobility back because that will be the quickest way to get back on the field.”
UW coach Tyrone Willingham said in his press briefing earlier that Locker was progressing quickly but that he would be held out of practice today to continue his rehab. Wednesday’s practice, which will likely be UW’s only full pads practice this week, figures to be the key one for Locker.
Willingham said Carl Bonnell will take the starter’s reps today with true freshman Ronnie Fouch taking the backup reps.
Locker admitted that the events of Saturday, when he was carried off the field on a stretcher and taken by ambulance to a local hospital after a hard hit by Oregon State’s Al Afalava, were frightening.
“That was a scary situation Saturday for me,” he said. “I’ve not really had anything
like that happen me, I guess. That’s part of the game. It happens. I understand that, and I think everybody who plays understands that. I don’t think you can be scared. I’m sure, I’m 100 percent positive, that the team physician won’t let me play if I’m not physically ready. So if they tell me I’m okay and I feel okay, I trust them and I trust myself that I’m okay to play.”
Asked to recall the incident, Locker said:
“It was third down and I couldn’t find anything open so I was trying to scamble so I knew I need four or five more yards. I could have run out of bounds but I tried to get extra yards and I just kind of remember colliding with the guy. And then I went down and tried to push myself up and kind of just rolled over on my left side and I couldn’t move my left arm, and that’s when it scared me a little bit. And my neck, I felt a little pinch in the back of my neck, so that’s when I worried a little bit. But once I was able to move my arms I felt better about it. But I still had the pain in my neck. But by then I was on the stretcher and in the ambulance.”
Locker said he did not think Afalava meant to hurt him.
“We did hit helmet-to-helmet, but I don’t think he had any intention of leading with the helmet trying to take me out,” Locker said. “I don’t think he had any intention of that. We had seen on the film all week that he played hard and he hit guys and I think that’s what he was trying to do, come up and make a big hit. It’s like I said before, it’s football and that kind of stuff happens. Unfortunately it had to happen that way. But I don’t believe in any way that he was intentionally trying to do that.”
Locker, who returned to the field in the final minutes after being released from the hospital, said he talked with Afalava briefly after the game.
“He came up to me after the game and asked me how I was feeling and he was really pretty cool about the situation,” Locker said.
Locker said the incident wouldn’t change the way he plays the game.
Asked if next time he might just duck out of bounds instead of trying to get extra yards, Locker said “to be totally honest, probably not.”
COMMENT — My hunch, just watching Locker struggle to turn his neck to answer questions, is that it’s probably more on the unlikely side that he’ll play this week, especially since he would probably have to be able to practice Wednesday to be ready. But we’ll see. Willingham said earlier it’s “day-to-day.”

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