Jake Locker caught everyone’s attention in 2007 with a sensational freshman campaign. He entered 2008 being hailed as the “Tim Tebow of the West”, but his year was cut short due to injury. As a result, the Huskies finished with a woeful 0-12 record.
Exit Tyrone Willingham. Enter Steve Sarkisian.
What can we expect from Mr. Locker in 2009? Is he healthy? How will the new coaching staff utilize him?
What’s the scoop?
Locker had a fantastic freshman year in 2007. The question heading into 2008 was whether he could duplicate his success? The fear with Locker was he was a “one man show”, and the Washington schedule was a Murderer’s Row. With defenses keying on him, would he be as effective in year two?
The answer to that question was a resounding “no”. Locker got no help from his offensive line, and the young skill players were still maturing and unable to take the pressure off their star quarterback.
He had one good fantasy performance in three full games (the infamous BYU “controversial celebration” game), then in week four he broke his thumb and was lost for the season.
The team went winless the remainder of the way, and Head Coach Tyrone Willingham was let go. Steve Sarkisian, most recently the offensive coordinator at USC, was hired.
Here’s a look at Locker’s stats in his first two years on campus:
|Games||Pass Yds||Pass TD||Rush Yds||Rush TD||Fantasy Pts||Fantasy PPG|
You’ve got to give Washington credit for not shying away from the competition. Last year’s non-conference slate of Oklahoma, BYU and Notre Dame was one of the toughest in the nation. In fact, the Huskies’ Strength of Schedule was rated as the most difficult in the land.
This year, the out of conference games are slightly easier to handle. The Huskies keep Notre Dame on the docket. They add LSU (yikes) and Idaho (yippee)
2009 WASHINGTON FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
09-05-09 LOUISIANA STATE
09-19-09 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
09-26-09 at Stanford
10-03-09 at Notre Dame
10-17-09 at Arizona State
11-07-09 at UCLA
11-14-09 at Oregon State
11-28-09 WASHINGTON STATE
Locker is said to be completely healed from his thumb surgery and should be ready to go this fall.
The Sark’s Offensive Philosophy
Coach Sarkisian knows quarterbacks. He played the position at BYU back in the 90’s. He continued playing in the CFL before starting a coaching career that included the following bullet points on his resume: USC - QB Coach, Oakland Raiders - QB Coach, USC - Offensive Coordinator.
Sarkisian has made his mark working with classic pocket quarterbacks. It remains to be seen how Sarkisian will utilize a dual threat like Locker. This is new ground for The Sark, and it will be interesting to see how he handles it.
Our guess is that the number of designed QB running plays will decrease significantly. However, when a play breaks down - and the Husky o-line is a disaster - we expect Sarkisian to encourage Locker to continue to tuck it and run.
How about a little help from my friends?
The Huskies actually have some talent at the skill positions. Wide receiver D’Andre Goodwin showed promise last year, catching 60 balls for 692 yards and one score. RB-turned-WR Chris Polk was a heralded recruit who ironically spurned Sarkisian at USC and signed with U-Dub.
The problem for Locker and company is the offensive line. They gave up a dismal 2.5 sacks per game in 2008, ranking them 105th in the nation. The run blocking wasn’t much better as Washington ranked 113th in the country with a paltry 2.84 yards per carry average.
If your college fantasy football draft was today (03/18/09)...
As much as we enjoy watching Mr. Locker play, there are too many variables at play to consider him with a top draft pick. Locker would look nice on an All-120 league roster as a third quarterback.
Todd DeVries is the founder of CollegeFootballGeek.com, your premier resource for college fantasy football information. Check us out.