UW QB Jake Locker spoke to the media today for the first time since declaring that he would stay at UW for his senior season. Here’s some of what he had to say:
On not waiting to hear back from the NFL about his draft prospects: I still don’t know if we got it back. I’m not sure. Like all decisions I make, I look at it like I want to make a decision that I’m not going to regret 30 years from now. I want to make a decision that I’m going to be able to live with because it’s a big decision. If you make the wrong one, it will really wear on you. I knew that I hadn’t done what I set out to do when I came here. I felt that the opportunity I had in front of me with the team we had coming back this next year was a pretty good one. I want to play it out. I want to see how good we can be.
How big of a burden is it off your back?: Like I said, it’s a big decision. I was just happy to make a decision and feel good about the decision I made. I haven’t regretted the decision. Since I made it, I haven’t second-guessed myself; I’ve felt really good with it. So, yeah, it’s great to have it over with.
On goals for next season: I thought we made great strides last year. We had a lot of games, if we could have found ways to win them, we might’ve been talking about how the bowl game went. It was a good turnaround. Just the style we played with was what I was used to watching in Washington football. I’m excited about where this team’s going and the opportunity we have next year. I can’t tell you where we’re going to end up. But I think we have a good chance to out ourselves in a good position to have an opportunity to play with the best teams in the Pac-10 and the best teams in the country.
What’s a realistic goal?: Realistic is whatever you want it to be. If you work hard enough, you train hard enough, and you believe in those people in the locker room, realistic is going undefeated. That’s a realistic goal; it really is. I wouldn’t be surprised if we were able to come out that way next year.
Who helped make the decision?: I spent a lot of time with my family. I’m really close to them, so I spent a lot of time talking to them, and friends who are close to me. And with Coach (Steve Sarkisian) and coach (Doug) Nussmeier. They were able to put me in contact with a lot of people who were able to give me information to help me make an educated decision. I didn’t talk to a lot of people. I just talked to the people who I thought it was necessary for me to talk to. They put me in contact with the right people and gave me the input that I needed in order to make a decision.
Was there one moment of clarity when it all came together?: Yeah, that’s why I made my decision so quick. The more I thought about it, and the more I looked at everything, the only reason for going was because there’s a lot of money involved. I didn’t care about that. That’s not what it’s about for me. I want to enjoy what I’m doing. So when I looked at it that way, it was a real easy decision for me.
After Cal game what did you thimk?: I would’ve told you what I told you guys in the press conference a couple weeks leading up to that game. I had no idea. I hadn’t thought about it. Obviously, it was something I was aware of, and I knew I was going to have to make a decision, but I didn’t make any attempts to lean either way or get information that would have helped me make that decision until after the season. So I would’ve told you I had no idea. I wasn’t leaning either way. I hadn’t thought about it. I was enjoying the win at that point.
Thoughts on playing for Sarkisian again: It played a big part in my decision, obviously. I think I was able to grow a lot as a quarterback this season, and I’m really looking forward to working under him and Coach Nussmeier in this system. I feel like we were really hitting our stride, offensively, toward the end of the year. I feel comfortable that we’ll carry it into the spring and into the fall. Yeah, it was obviously one of the big parts of it.
What did you say to friends about turning down all that money?: Yeah, they gave me a hard time. But they were supportive of me and of the decision I made. They said they would stand next to me with whatever decision I made.
Worried at all about the Sam Bradford injury?: No. No. You can’t make decisions worried about what could happen. A lot of things could happen. You could get hurt a lot of different ways playing a football game. It’s something you can’t control, and that’s something you can’t base your decision on.
Was the way the team played at the end of the year a reason to come back?: You hit it on the head. What we have coming back. Offensively, we were young last year. At the skill positions, we didn’t lose a guy. They’re all coming back. They’re very talented players. We have a chance to have the All-Pac-10 receivers both on our team. On the outside, we have guys who are very talented, and we have guys coming in who are very talented. We have the opportunity to have an explosive offense. We saw flashes of that toward the end of the year. Now that we’ve got another year to become more comfortable in this offense, and another year to work together in this offense, I’m excited about where this offensive unit can go. And then, defensively, I’m excited as well. We’ve got some good players coming back and some good players coming in too. Overall, we’re going to have a really good football team. Ultimately, that was a factor in my decision. I knew we were going to have a chance to do something that I haven’t done since I’ve been here, go to a bowl game. When I was at home, sitting and watching all the bowl games, I thought it would be something fun to do, something you should experience in your lifetime. That’s why I made this decision. Those were probably the biggest factors.