CFB: Replacing Locker key for Huskies
SEATTLE (AP) – For the first time in four seasons, the Washington Huskies are in search of a starting quarterback.
Jake Locker started every game he was healthy enough to play in the last four years for the Huskies and led Washington to its first bowl game appearance since 2002, a 19-7 win over Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl.
With spring football opening on Tuesday, the focus on finding Locker’s replacement becomes the Huskies’ biggest question mark.
Keith Price and Nick Montana are the leading candidates to win the job; they’re the only two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster for spring practice. Yet, they have just one combined start between them.
“We’re going to need both these two kids,” head coach Steve Sarkisian said. “This isn’t just about Keith Price or Nick Montana. We’re going to need both of them and we’re going to need both of them to perform at a high level and that’s going to be the goal this spring.”
Price started for an injured Locker in the Huskies’ 53-16 loss at Oregon in November. Price kept Washington in the game until midway through the third quarter, when Oregon pulled away. He finished the game 14 of 28 for 127 yards and a touchdown in his first extended playing opportunity.
Montana redshirted after enrolling at Washington last spring.
“I think they have a lot of intangibles that you want at the quarterback position,” Sarkisian said. “Now how that all plays out remains to be seen. We’ve got to continually put them in the settings to where they can show off and show where they have those intangibles and where they’re deficient, and hopefully we can help them grow in those areas.”
Sarkisian said he has no plans for using a platoon at the quarterback position when the season begins, but that he’s not going to rush to name a starter either. He also said he could see the battle extend into fall camp.
“We’re just going to take our time, we’re going to allow these two young kids to grow and evolve at the position, to go through some ups and downs and then when we get there we’ll make that call,” Sarkisian said.
Defensive end Kalani Aldrich and offensive lineman Mykenna Ikehara are no longer a part of the football team due to knee injuries. Both are now on medical scholarship and on pace to graduate.
Guard Nick Wood (hip), defensive tackle Semisi Tokolahi (ankle) and cornerback Adam Long (knee) will not participate in spring practice due to injuries.
Tackle Senio Kelemete has a plantar fascia tear that will limit his availability.
The Huskies will have three scholarship players with them in spring who weren’t with the team last season. Linebackers John Timu and Thomas Tutogi enrolled in January. Timu was a class of 2010 commitment while Tutogi transferred from Southwestern Junior College. Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is the only early enrollee of the class of 2011, enrolling in classes for spring quarter after graduating early from high school.
Seferian-Jenkins gets thrown into the mix with an opportunity to win a starting a job at one of the greatest positions of need for the Huskies. Washington tight ends accounted for just six catches last season.