Arizona Wildcats: Shutting Down Washington's Jake Locker the Key to Victory

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Arizona Wildcats: Shutting Down Washington's Jake Locker the Key to Victory
(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

The last time Arizona visited Seattle they came out with a win by the skin of their teeth in a shootout 48-41.

This is where we saw Washington quarterback Jake Locker throw for 336 yards and two touchdowns and rush for 157 yards and two touchdowns.

The one thing that has always given the Arizona Wildcats problems is a mobile quarterback. It seems to throw Mike Stoops's philosophy of bend don't break out of whack.

Locker has emerged this year as one of the best quarterbacks in the country and become a better passer under new coach Steve Sarkisian. His completion percentage, passing yards, and quarterback rating have all drastically improved.

In Washington's new offense, he is under center more, limiting the amount of quarterback runs and option plays that made him so effective running the ball. With this, his passing has now become another weapon for him to use.

"His ability to scramble, make plays, and his accuracy is phenomenal," Arizona coach Mike Stoops said. "He can make a lot of throws that a lot of people just can't do psychically."

So not only do the Cats have to worry about his mobility, but his arm is a reason for concern.

So what do the Wildcats need to do in order to keep Locker from being effective with his feet and through the air?

Stay at home.

Now this is much easier said than done. The front four have to make sure to keep Locker in front of them at all times. If they over pursue him, this is where he will use his mobility to hurt the Cats. With defensive end Brooks Reed probable for Saturday's game this will tremendously help Arizona's front four.

The linebackers also need to keep an eye on Locker. If he is able to get out of the pocket then they need to make sure they are staying in front of him. If Locker is able to get to the second level, then the Cats could be in trouble as he is much bigger than the team's secondary.

The team speed of the Cats is definitely an advantage for Arizona compared to past teams. They are able to cover more grounder quicker than they ever have before. This will also help stop Locker running the ball.

In order to stop Locker in the passing game, the secondary should just keep doing what they are doing.

Trevin Wade is a ballhawk and does a great job in baiting quarterbacks to throw his way. Devin Ross is a shut down corner in every sense of the term and rarely gets balls thrown his way because of it. Both safeties have been solid in coverage so far this season.

The one knock on the secondary might be covering the underneath route. Big plays in the air against the Cats have been few and far between. If you look at the stat sheets a lot of the damage is coming from receiver catching a lot of passes for five to eight yards.

If the linebackers and secondary are able to limit the amount of these passes it will greatly improve their chances of winning.

In order to win, Arizona will have to limit the effect that Jake Locker can have on the game with his feet and his arm.

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