Aug. 17, 2010
SEATTLE - The goal of the Huskies' first scrimmage this fall wasn't to overload the starters with a bunch of reps. Instead, Coach Steve Sarkisian hoped to acclimate his younger players to the type of conditions they would face once Sept. 4 and BYU become a reality.
Jake Locker and Co. certainly impressed at Husky Stadium in limited work. But the bulk of the scrimmage was handled by freshmen and sophomores, who are continuing to accelerate the learning curve it takes to play college football. Whether it be the rainbow lob from quarterback Keith Price to receiver Cody Bruns (a 70-yard hookup that resulted in a touchdown), or the audible "pop" that came with a vicious Sean Parker collision, it was clear the underclassmen came to play on Tuesday afternoon.
"The key to this day was to see our young kids play," Sarkisian said. "Obviously (I wanted to see) our two young quarterbacks, but all of them: the linemen to the (linebackers) to the DBs to the wide outs. To see them play and see them get through the first couple series and get through the jitters and anxiety."
The scrimmage was an audition as well. The depth chart is beginning to mold into place, but the Washington coaching staff wanted to see which student-athletes would step up in game scenarios. Throughout Fall Camp, the coaches have continually made their evaluations to see what young players out of that group are deserving of time. Sarkisian reserved particular praise for both young quarterbacks - Price and Nick Montana. Each impressed not only with their familiarity of the offense, but with their arm strength and accuracy as well. In fact, the statistics were so similar it's hard to glean who had the better outing. Price went 11-for-17 for 130 yards and a touchdown. Montana completed 14-of-20 passes for 123 yards and a score.
The No. 1 offensive unit departed after just two series, but it was enough to show why seemingly every pundit considers Locker as one of the nation's top quarterbacks. The senior from Ferndale, Wash., coolly moved the offense not only with efficiency, but with big-play ability as well, showcased by a 60-yard catch and run from Jermaine Kearse and the 36-yard diving catch from Devin Aguilar to open the scoring.
"I thought we executed pretty well," Locker said. "Obviously we have to go in and watch some film to see how we really did, but I think we got the results we were looking for."
When asked about his offensive line, Locker said the unit has jelled well since camp started. Sarkisian piggy-backed on his quarterback's comments and later singled out linemen Greg Christine as someone who gave exemplary effort in the scrimmage. The Huskies have another scrimmage this Saturday at 3:00 p.m., and then the following week the coaching staff will begin making decisions on the immediate futures of the young players.
"I think we have a decent idea of where guys are shaping up," Sarkisian said.
The Dawgs will return to practice Wednesday with a double-day, working out at 8:45 a.m and 6:45 p.m.