UW quarterback Jake Locker was so distraught after Saturday’s loss to Notre Dame that he skipped talking to the media afterward for the first time in his Husky career.
But Locker met with the media Monday and explained that he was upset, he didn’t want to say something he would regret later.
“I didn’t feel like I was in the best emotional state to answer questions,” said Locker, who showered, dressed and boarded the bus before just about anyone else on the team. “I didn’t want to have to sit up here today and explain anything (that he might have said Saturday). I felt like it was in my best interest and the team’s best interest to take some time to cool down. That’s what I thought after the game.”
Coach Steve Sarkisian said he had no problem with Locker not talking after the game, saying “he deserved a mulligan on this one” and noting that Locker has always spoken before. And for those who have ever questioned Locker’s competitiveness, it was vivid proof of how much he cares about the game.
Locker said he continued to be bothered by the game on Sunday.
“It’s tough,” he said. “But like I said, it’s over; can’t do anything about it now. But, yeah, I’m over it. It was difficult after the game; I’m not going to lie to you. I hung onto it a little bit yesterday. But I’m excited for another week of preparation and getting ready for another conference game against Arizona.”
He said a talk yesterday with offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier helped.
“We talked about things that went on, the opportunities we missed, the chances that we had,” he said. “I think that helped, just to discuss that stuff. You’ve got to put it behind you now.”
If there was one thing he did in the game he’d like to change, it would be taking a sack for a nine-yard loss on the second play of overtime.
“Yeah, that was my fault 100 percent,” he said. “I thought they were going to come with the blitz, and I was going to go with the bubble. But they were good enough at disguising it, and they dropped out of it. I should have just handed the ball off to the running back. I got caught in between. Yeah, it was a critical, critical situation. It’s something I can learn from.”
Locker also obviously would like for a few of those quarterback sneaks to have gone the other way.
“On a couple of those, I think we had half a yard to get into the end zone,” he said. “You’re just trying to find any little space you can. You try to keep your feet moving to get in there. That was the tough part. Getting a push on that field was difficult. Your feet were sliding out. When you make contact with people, it was hard to change their momentum and create more momentum for myself. So it made it tough. It was difficult, definitely.”
Locker said he thought he scored on the first one, the third-down play from the 1-yard-line in the third quarter.
“I thought possibly on the first one we had (down toward the end zone near the tunnel),,” he said. “It could have been. It was hard for me to tell because I got spun around and I was backing up, but I got pushed back a little bit, so I thought I might have been in. But that’s the one I thought I got closest on.”
Locker said he thought it was meant to be for UW to score when the roughing-the-center penalty was called on a field goal in the fourth quarter.
“Honestly, after the first one, I felt like we left an opportunity out there in the other end zone when we got stopped, and then they got the penalty on the field goal,” he said. ” thought, Man, this is meant to be, we’ve got to score. And we weren’t able to do it again. That’s frustrating. It’s tough.”
Here are a few other comments from Locker today:
On what the options are on a sneak: “It’s kind of a feel thing. When I get the snap, it’s where I feel the spot is to move in, and when I feel that crease, to follow it.”
On the atmosphere at Notre Dame: “It was a situation that it was fun to play in an environment like that. It was hard to hear, but it’s an experience that, that’s why you come to school, to get in opportunities to play in games like that, against an opponent like that.”
On how that game impacts the team’s confidence: “I don’t believe it can hurt your confidence at all when you compete against a good football team like that in an environment like that. It allows you to grow up and mature as a football player.”
On the controversies in the game: “It’s just like any other loss. There were a lot of things we couldn’t control; there were a lot of things we could control. Neither of them you can go back and change. We’ve got to put it behind us and look forward to a good Arizona football team.”
On how he felt after the game: “It was a game that I was really proud of how our team played. I didn’t feel we gave up at any point in the game. We competed from the beginning of the game to the end. It didn’t go our way during the course of the game, but we didn’t let it affect the way we approached it. I felt like everyone went out and left everything out there. I was just disappointed in that we weren’t able to come away with a victory. … It was difficult, yeah. I felt bad for our guys, I felt bad for our coaches. When you put that much effort into something, it’s hard to not get the outcome that you’d like.
On whether he’s watched it: “Yeah, I watched the whole game.”
What he thought: “We just had a lot of opportunities. I think there were 10 plays inside the 2-yard line, and we couldn’t score a touchdown. There are a lot of things that you can look at, but if we score on any one of those 10 plays, we win the game.” (By the way, he said he watched it Sunday morning and a little more later that night.
On where he thinks the offense is right now: “I thought we made good strides this week as far as a running game. Our play action, I thought we tried to use that to our advantage this week and we’ll need to continue to use our play-action stuff off of that. That will continue to be our focus. As an offense, we improved a lot from last week. We’ll go out today and try to continue to do that.”