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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

March 29, 2011 at 10:54 PM

Polk feeling happy (to be at UW) and free (of a few unwanted pounds)

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On the first day of spring practice Tuesday, Washington running back Chris Polk acknowledged he was carrying around a little unneeded baggage when last season ended.

It wasn’t, however, the weight of a decision on whether to declare for the NFL Draft after a 2010 season in which he rushed for 1,415 yards, second-most in UW history.

Deciding to stay at UW for his junior season, he says, was easy (since he redshirted in 2008, he would have been eligible for the draft since he’s been in college three years).

“It wasn’t a really big decision because I felt like I hadn’t done anything yet,” said Polk, pictured above at right in practice Tuesday in a Dean Rutz photo (alongside teammate Johri Fogerson).

“I hadn’t reached the goals I wanted to reach, so I wanted to come back and accomplish that and improve and get better.”

Asked if he spent much time on the decision, he said: “I didn’t spend any time because I already knew in my heart I was going to stay. I felt like there are a lot of areas where I can improve before I go there so I just want to keep becoming a better player.”

One of those was cutting a little weight and improving his strength and quickness.

It might not have seemed like it watching Polk shred the defenses of WSU and Nebraska for a combined 461 yards on 63 carries in the final two games, but Polk says now he was too heavy in those games, topping out at 227 pounds (while listed at 214).

“That’s the heaviest I’ve ever been,” he said. “I wasn’t really comfortable with that. … I felt last year I was too heavy and I wasn’t able to move as well as I wanted to so I cut some weight because I wanted to get faster and still keep my strength.”

Polk says he now weighs about 220 pounds, which is where he hopes to be for the season.

“I feel a lot faster coming out of my breaks and sudden change,” he said after Tuesday’s practice. “But I still kept my strength and I just want to improve on my speed and get more speed on my cuts and become more explosive.”

Polk made those comments the day before scouts from virtually every NFL team will be on campus for the school’s Pro Day. But Polk insisted he didn’t even so much as look at what draft analysts were saying about him before making it official that he would return.

“I didn’t really pay attention to that,” he said. “I feel like (until) I become the best player I can be I’m not even going to think about that.”

So instead, he remains at UW, where he figures to be the focal point of the offense in the first year of the post-Jake Locker era.

Not taking handoffs Tuesday from Locker, he admitted, was a little strange.

“Yeah, it’s weird because he was such a father figure to us and a real leader,” he said. “But now we have some young guys step up that are starting to become more mature and we are really growing from it.”

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