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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 4, 2010 at 9:48 PM

Locker talk — Thoughts on USC and playing without fear

Monday is also the day of the week that UW QB Jake Locker meets with the media. Here’s some of what he had to say:
On comparing the mindset and identity of USC with Nebraska: “It’s a different situation. We were moving the ball, running the ball pretty well Saturday. And I just think we had more options. There were more opportunities for us to get the ball downfield and make plays. That wasn’t so much the case against them (Nebraska). They were able to take some things away from us and that always makes it more difficult.”
On the absence of fear in his game and the team’s game: “It was something that, over the two weeks…as a team it was something that we thought about a lot. I looked back to the last two games of last year and I believe those were two of the best games that I’d been a part of. From a team perspective since I’ve been here, I thought that our football team for those two games against Cal and Wazzu played without fear. Didn’t care if they made a mistake, went out and played fast and played hard and had fun and enjoyed playing the game. The results took care of themselves. It’s something I thought about the two weeks leading up to this game and it was something I challenged the guys with. I said, ‘Hey man…let’s go out and play without fear today. Let’s go out and have fun and enjoy the game and don’t worry about making mistakes. We’re going to make mistakes. Don’t dwell on them. Move on and keep playing.'”
On when he challenged the team: “Just before the game.”

On if he was aware of Keith Price’s touchdown throw: “I didn’t get to see it. I heard our section up there cheering, so I knew something good had happened. Then they told me Keith threw one, so I was really happy for him. Keith’s a great guy and a really hard worker. He’s really come a long way in two years, so I was really proud of him, really happy for him to be able to do that – not only in one of his first appearances, but at home in front of a lot of his family and friends. I thought it was a pretty cool deal for him.”
On what was going through his mind as he was being taken out of the game: “I was just glad that we got seven points out of the deal.”
On USC cornerback Shareece Wright: “He’s a great football player. After the game I said that he was all over the place Saturday and made a lot of plays and always found a way to get around the ball. I’ve got a lot of respect for how he plays the game, with the energy and effort that he plays with. And his talent level is obviously very, very high. He’s a fun guy to watch and a guy I’ll enjoy watching for a long time, I believe. A fun guy to play against, he’s a competitor. And any time you have an opportunity to play against guys like that, it raises your level of competitiveness and it makes it fun.”
On sharing thoughts with him during the game: “Oh yeah! But he was the first guy I looked for after the game to congratulate him, let him know that, hey man I respect the way you play the game.”
On jumping during the 4th and 11 pass to D’Andre Goodwin: “Yeah, I didn’t even realize it until I watched it. (laughs) Yeah, I probably wouldn’t do that again if I could go back.”
On when he felt right after getting his bell rung: “When I stood up I felt pretty good.”
On being told it looked like he got hit with a right cross: “No, no, no…I felt good. When I was able to get up and start walking there, I felt normal. That’s why I was telling the trainers, hey man, I’m fine. I’d know if something was wrong, and I don’t feel weird. I remember everything and I know where I’m at…they did a great job of making sure they ran me through all the proper tests.”
On what tests he went through: “It’s all kinds of different tests. I’m sure they could talk to you about it if you wanted to know. There’s a baseline test, I think, they give to everybody. They ran me through those and I didn’t have any problem with them.”
On his ego taking a hit on the long run when Wright knocked the ball through the end zone: “No. Like I said, he’s a great player. It was an awesome individual effort by him. I’ve got to protect the ball better on my end, but honestly on that play I thought I beat the one guy I thought I had to in the safety, and I had no idea he was coming there. It was a great play by him.”
On the horsecollar on that play: “It’s done and over with now, but I thought that’s what the flag was originally on the field for. I know that rule went into effect a couple years ago, so I thought that was what the rule was for so I thought for sure we would get it. I don’t know the exact wording of the rule though, so I can’t really comment on that.”
Overall thoughts on the USC game: “It was one of the best games I’ve been a part of in college, probably rank up there with last year’s game. It was a lot of fun and to be able to do it in that fashion on the road against a football team like that was awesome.”
On the fourth-and-11 pass to Goodwin: “They got into their odd package and I could tell they were going to get into Tampa 2 and there is not a whole lot of really good pass plays against Tampa 2 and I felt some pressure up the field so I thought I might be able to get out and possibly have a chance to run for the first down. I got pushed up in the pocket and happened to see D’Andre there and he found a little spot in the zone and I was able to get the ball to him and we were able to convert on a big 4th down.”
On finally breaking along run: “I guess I’m not fast enough. I thought our rushing game was really productive all day and I felt really good about it and taking advantage of running not only in the designed plays but maybe when there wasn’t something downfield or maybe when I was able to find a lane. Things and situaitons that in the first three weeks I passed up sometimes while I waited in there for routes to develop and at points not using one of my strengths, I believe. I thought I was able to get back to some of that Saturday and felt really good about.”
On whether the coaches had to remind him to run: “No, just after watching the games and looking back at the first three it was something personally for me that I felt was missing. It was a part of my game that I think creates more of a challenge because you can’t account for it. It’s not designed and for me, helps me stay in the game, I beleive. It was something not consciously trying to run more, but taking advantage of the opportunities when they’re there, to just trust my feet and trust my eyes and take those lanes.”
On the reaction after the game: “I think the coolest part was being able to see the excitement the guys had because of the type of game we played, the effort we played with, and the reward that we all were able to receive because of it. That was the coolest part about it for everyone in that locker room to know that I did everything I could to help our football team win today and we were able to win in that fashion is a memory that will stick with all of us for the rest of our lives and a memory that will carry with us. It’s priceless.”
How do you bottle that absence of fear feeling: “I think it’s preparing really well. Having a good week of practice and making sure you are doing your film study and preparing really well so that you can play in the absence of fear and knowing that I feel really comfortable in the looks that I see and if I do I can get to the sideline and talk about it and figure it out. And that’s when you are able to play with that absence of fear and play fast and really enjoy the game.”
Why aren’t the tight ends involved in the game more: “I think they’ve been doing a good job in our run game helping us spring some big runs and it’s part of the game that we are developing right now. We were able to get in some naked stuff this last weekend that I think in the future will obviously incorporates them and will allow them to be more involved in the passing offense. Chris (Izbicki) probably should have had two touchdowns — I missed him on the one on the goal line there. So I don’t think there is an absence of them.”
On what he remembers of last year’s ASU game: “For me personally I take away, being an offensive minded guy, that we had an opportunity to win the game and we didn’t do it. We had the ball with four minutes or so left in the game and went three and out and punt and gave them an opportunity to win the game. As an offense your goal any time you get the ball in that opportunity to put the game away is to get two or three first downs and run the clock out and win the game. So that’s what I remember about last year’s game, and it’s been a point of emphasis since the coaches got here is finishing. It will be another focus for us this week.”
On what he says to Jermaine Kearse after a dropped pass: “I didn’t say anything to him. I don’t think you need to. He’s a great competitor and football player and he’s very mentally strong. I don’t think it’s going to help or hurt him any to say anything to him and there’s nothing you can do about it after it happened. So we got back in the huddle and for me, my belief is I went back to him and I trust him. I will throw the ball to him whenever he is open and he knows that and I’ll continue to do that. And he’ll expect it and I’ll expect him to bring it down and I won’t think twice about it.”
On what was it like on the team plane: “Haven’t really been able to enjoy a flight like that in a couple years. I didn’t think I was going to be able to sleep. Then when the plane took off and they turned the lights off I got pretty tired. But it was pretty loud until the lights went out.”



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