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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

February 19, 2011 at 5:19 PM

February questions, volume four

Jake Locker’s accuracy, quarterbacks and recruiting philosophy in this edition. …

Q: Seems to me that if you rate Locker on his completion percentage, plus give him credit for the drops, he’d be over 60 percent in completions. And I’d factor in another few percentage points to compensate for the complete lack of a pass catching tight end. If that’s fair, then he’d be about at the 65 percent Steve Sarkisian aimed for. Fair or not to think this way?

A: Maybe, if you look at it just that literally. If you gave Locker three more completions per game in the same number of attempts, for instance, he would have been 223-332 this year, roughly 67 percent. And no doubt, any observer of a UW game could probably find three more passes per game that could/should have been complete. But doing so also assumes that no UW receiver ever made a catch of a pass that might have been incomplete to another receiver, or that no UW receiver ever got in position to catch a pass another receiver might not have — unfair, I think, to a guy like Jermaine Kearse, who for his faults is one of the better receivers in the conference.

And if you were to just add those completion to Locker and move him up the Pac-10 passing list would also assume that no other QB on any other team ever had a pass dropped, or always had a full complement of receivers. Was Locker a victim of more drops than most other QBs this season? Maybe, if not probably, though without having a list of drops for every team, hard to know for sure.

Some have also asked if it hasn’t seemed like Locker has been held to a diffferent standard on this topic than some other QBs. That may be so. But I also think that’s the price of having gone into the 2010 season regarded as potentially the No. 1 NFL Draft pick. More is inevitably expected of a player in that position.

By the way, for those wondering where Locker ended up among Pac-10 QBs this season, here’s the rankings both for average yards and passing efficiency rating

Q: Once Sarkisian has picked a starter at QB do you think he will stick with that starter through the season no matter what (assuming everyone is healthy)? If that QB struggled the obvious choice would be to slide the backup into the starting slot, but could we find ourselves in a position where this QB battle goes back and forth throughout the season if both don’t separate themselves? Or do you think Sark will make a choice and stick with it?

A: He has said consistently he prefers to pick a starter and let that person play instead of rotating. But obviously with any coach, there could come a time when he’d have to make a change if circumstances warranted. No coach is that stubborn. Given that both QBs will enter the season unproven, the margin for error may be a little slimmer. But I’d also imagine Sarkisian will give whichever QB he picks enough of a chance to prove he deserved the job.

However, it’s worth noting Sarkisian has shown himself to be pretty flexible so far during his UW career, altering the offense quite a bit during the course of each of his first two seasons, so maybe depending on how the QB battle unfolds he’ll change his stance on going with just one QB, as well.

All the uncertainty at the game’s most important position, however, is what makes this spring and fall camps so intriguing.

Q: In your chats you’ve stated multiple times that all the talent needed for a National Championship is in California, we just have to go there and get it. But nowadays it seems like programs like Miami, Florida, etc are really trying to offer a lot of California guys even though they have a deep pool of talent in their backyard. As this continues don’t you think it will require schools like us to expand our search for talent to other states as well?

A: I’m not sure I’ve ever said it quite like that. What I’ve said is that I don’t think UW has go to away from its traditional base recruiting area of the West Coast, concentrating in Washington, California and Hawaii. I really don’t think schools from outside the area coming into California is any different now than it’s ever been. California has always been a huge producer of talent and schools from all over the place have always tried to mine it.

As a refresher, it might be worth looking at the stats that produced the primary starters for UW’s 1991 team:

Washington, California, 8 each.
Oregon, Virginia, 2 each
Hawaii, Arizona, 1.

Virginia (Ed Cunningham, Donald Jones) was obviously an anamoly. The rest, though, is the tried and true formula that no one will convince me has to change. You can only have one head coach and nine assistants recruit at a time. Trying to branch out means spreading those guys thinner. I think you’re better off spending your resources where you are most likely to get players (percentages of getting a kid are still always going to be lower the further away you go), and spending the time necessary to do the evaluation to limit recruiting mistakes.

And every time I’ve heard Sarkisian asked about this, he’s said the same. There will always be some special cases where UW looks outside (if it has a connection with a coach or a player in a certain area, or for more specialized positions like QBs and kickers). But I don’t see any reason UW can get all it needs to reach its highest goals from its traditional recruiting base.

All for now.



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