Going into the spring game this season, it looked like Keith Price had the upper hand in the quarterback battle due to his in-game experience and extra year in the system. Despite those advantages, head Coach Steve Sarkisian has commented on the race being neck and neck. The younger Montana has made strides in learning the system and preparing himself for the adjustment to playing on Saturdays.
During Saturday's spring game, Price came away looking much stronger in the passing game, going 20-28 with three touchdown passes. Price really looked impressive in the second half where he went 10-13 for two touchdowns.
Going into Saturday, we knew that Price was a highly-mobile quarterback, but he impressed the Husky Stadium crowd by ripping off an impressive 29-yard touchdown run on a bootleg. A 29-yard TD run is usually impressive, but even more so when he would be down by contact by being touched—but no one was near him as he raced towards the end-zone.
Nick Montana may not have had as an impressive day throwing the ball, going 9-20 for 146 yards with two touchdowns. He did, however, have the longest throw of the day; a 70-yard touchdown pass to Cody Bruns. The throw floated a bit, but Bruns was wide open and able to grab the pass and go untouched to the endzone. Montana did not have the impressive runs that Price pulled off, but he did show he is indeed a quarterback who has a good sense of quickness.
Going forward into the fall, it looks like the quarterback situation at the University of Washington, while still growing, is not going to be as big of a drop off as one might anticipate after losing the No. 8 pick in the NFL draft. Price is not going to take off as much as Locker did, but look for the staff to utilize his running abilities. It is not just about his running ability, as on Saturday he looked good running the offense through the air and is making good decisions.
If Price holds onto the job, Montana will be a capable back-up. The benefit for both these young men is the offense for Washington will rely on running and the play-action passing game, as those will be Washington's strengths.
With Chris Polk returning to try for his third straight 1000-plus yard season, his top two receivers returning, and the addition of a pass-catching tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, it will make the play-action game deadly for the Huskies in 2011.ASJ has already given the Husky faithful a glimpse of his ability in the spring game, making a couple of impressive catches.
Make no mistake, the Huskies will not be lacking weapons through the air this year, and both quarterbacks look capable of managing the game.