One way to pass the time between now and the start of spring football on March 30 is to review each of the positions heading into 2011.
So let’s start with what figures to be the No. 1 position of intrigue in the spring — quarterback — where the Huskies will be looking for a replacement for Jake Locker.
It’ll be the first time since 2005 that UW will enter spring with uncertainty at the position (remember that Tyrone Willingham announced before spring ball in 2007 that Locker would be No. 1 on the depth chart even though he had yet to take a snap at the time).
For each position, I’ll list a post-spring depth chart, players arriving in the fall, and then an overview.
POST-SPRING DEPTH CHART
Keith Price, 6-1, 192, RSo.
OR Nick Montana, 6-3, 191, RFr.
(Also expected to be on the roster in the spring is walk-on Erik Wilson, who was also a walk-on participant last season).
NEWCOMERS ARRIVING IN THE FALL
Derrick Brown, 6-3, 239, Fr.
Antavius Sims, 6-2, 200, Jr.
(Also expected to arrive in the fall is walk-on Thomas Vincent of King’s High School, though there’s apparently a chance he may enroll in time for spring practice).
As noted above, this is obviously the marquee battle of the spring. Just don’t expect it to be decided until the fall, as most observers think this battle could go deep into August.
UW coach Steve Sarkisian has said consistently that the race is wide open between Price and Montana (pictured at right during Holiday Bowl practices), neither entering the spring with an edge (though I would imagine Price will take the first snap of the first drill due to having been the backup last year).
Sarkisian also said in a live chat with the Times this week that both Price and Montana will need to be prepared to play next season.
That, however, shouldn’t necessarily be seen as indicating UW could go with two QBs, as Sarkisian also said in that chat he is not a believer in rotating QBs. Instead, he means mostly that the realities of a long college football season usually require that the backup has to play at some point, so both are likely to get called on next season.
Price would seem to have a slight edge due to the experience he got last season as the backup, playing the entire Oregon game as well as spot appearances in a couple of other contests (and Rivals.com predicted Monday that he will get the job, as well).
Montana, meanwhile, spent the season as a redshirt, usually running the scout team (or what Sarkisian calls the “service team”), meaning running the plays of UW’s opponent that week. But he did get some significant work running UW’s offense during the weeks Locker was hurt, and also in the run-up to the Holiday Bowl.
Sarkisian says that Price has shown a better arm than his reputation might have indicated, and that Montana has shown more mobility than his reputation might indicate.
Price completed 19-37 passes for 164 yards, two TDs and no interceptions this season for a QB rating of 106.42 (and a completion percentage of 51.4).
Montana, as noted, showed a decent ability to run. However, he also displayed some of the inconsistency to be expected of a freshman QB. The valleys should lessen a little bit now that he is in his second spring at UW (and as the Rivals piece notes, his 27-1 record as a high schooler indicates his ability to manage a game).
Price and Montana will be the only two scholarship QBs on hand for the spring, with Brown arriving in the fall, as well as Sims, who is officially listed as an athlete and whose primary position figures to be cornerback. However, Sarkisian has said Sims will get some looks at QB. Most likely, Sims could emerge as a specialty QB, running the Wildcat occasionally, that sort of thing. Brown, meanwhile, would figure to redshirt, though he said when he made the decision to come to UW that one of the allures of Washington was the fact that there is no established starter right now (Brown is also a punter and Sarkisian said he will compete at that job in the fall, as well).
But with the job being as open as it has been since 2005, and with UW returning its least amount of experience at the position since 2004 (not really a good omen there), just about any scenario for who gets the job may be possible.