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Tag:Boise State
Posted on: October 25, 2009 2:24 pm
 

Locker struggles in loss to Ducks

Some of my draft analyst cohorts are jumping the gun a bit, I believe, in lauding Washington junior quarterback Jake Locker as the elite passing prospect in the country.

Now, don't get me wrong. I do agree with the assessment that Locker has an unmatched set of tools. He has a strong, accurate arm, has made night-and-day improvement in his reading of defenses under the tutelage of Steve Sarkisian, and is arguably the country's most dangerous mobile quarterback -- because unlike some other highly touted running passers, Locker has learned to keep his eyes downfield when preparing to run (and has the accuracy to take advantage of his vision). I argued as much in series of posts following the Washington-Notre Dame contest two weeks ago. Jimmy Clausen's Irish won the game and his poise down the stretch was impressive, but in terms of arm strength and mobility, Locker was the more impressive talent.

However, in now his third starting season for the Huskies, Locker has yet to finish a season healthy. Much of this is because Locker is surrounded by relatively little talent, especially along the offensive line. Still, if there are questions about Sam Bradford's durability with scouts, there must be similar concerns for Locker. 

And while there is no denying his potential, Locker remains unpolished, which was evident throughout the Oregon contest Saturday afternoon.

Locker's two interceptions on this day were especially telling.

On the first, with UW down 8-3 but threatening on the Oregon 2-yard line, Locker, after play-action, rolled to his right and attempted to throw the ball to one of his two tight ends (#80 Kavario Middleton and #88 Dorson Boyce). The throw, however, was in between the two of them, making it an impossible catch for either of the Huskies, but an easy interception for Oregon DB Javes Lewis.

In the third quarter, with Oregon leading 22-6, but with UW once again challenging, Locker dropped back from the Oregon 32-yard line and threw a post-corner to Devin Aguilar (#9) that was intercepted by true freshman Cliff Harris (#3). The pass was thrown into double coverage with senior safety TJ Ward supplying coverage over the top and Harris dropping back from his primary assignment (RB Chris Polk in the flat) after reading Locker's eyes.

Locker's throw was accurate, but he failed to look off the defenders, allowing Harris to get into position to make the play.

It isn't necessarily fair to judge a quarterback's day on two throws. However, with the game still in the balance, Locker made two poor decisions -- precisely why scouts are apprehensive about his readiness for the NFL.

Being based out of the greater Seattle area, I've scouted Locker as much as any one. Hell, I "scouted" his final high school game -- the 3A state championship in which he, then a senior and his Ferndale teammates beat current Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, then a junior, and Prosser.  I know Locker's game well and have seen him make huge improvements while at UW. 

If he were to leave after this season, he'll be a high draft choice. His physical tools are just too special to ignore, especially considering the questions regarding this senior class of quarterbacks. Perhaps a top ten choice, as I projected in my first 2010 mock draft .

However, if he were to return for his senior season and in doing so tighten up his mechanics, Locker could enter the year as the unquestioned #1 overall prospect.

Posted on: September 3, 2009 1:58 pm
 

FBS Season Begins: South Carolina vs NC State 7pm

The FBS season officially begins today with the a full slate of games, including as many as five televised contests, depending on your location and cable provider.

South Carolina travels to North Carolina State in an intriguing regional and SEC/ACC conference battle. Each team offers plenty of talent for NFL scouts and fans to pay attention to; not the least of which are a pair of pass rushers in South Carolina's Eric Norwood and NC State Wolfpack defensive end Willie Young. Norwood is a well known commodity after earning back to back All-SEC accolades after the past two years. Young is not quite as well known across the country, but I think the 6-4, 250 pound pass rusher could turn in a big senior campaign. With the Gamecocks losing Jamon Meredith to the Green Bay Packers last April, Young could flash some of his intriguing burst off the snap to harass talented sophomore quarterback Stephen Garcia and put a damper on Steve Spurrier's passing attack. The game will begin at 7 pm (EST) on ESPN.

Following the opener is a very intriguing west coast battle between Oregon and Boise State. The Ducks are looking for payback after losing 37-32 in Eugene to the Broncos last season. Oregon features one of the more intriguing running backs in the country in senior LaGarrette Blount, a 6-1, 240 pound back who led the Pac-10 and broke the school record with 17 rushing touchdowns last season despite starting zero games behind Jeremiah Johnson. With Johnson off to the NFL, however, Blount, a JUCO transfer, will have this season to shine. Tight end Ed Dickson is another intriguing Duck to keep an eye on. The Broncos have their share of NFL prospects, as well. The most exciting being cornerback and return specialist Kyle Wilson, who considered leaving school last year after posting 5 INTs and 3 returned punts for touchdowns. This game, also on ESPN, is slated to start at 10:15 EST.

Other potentially televised games are:

North Texas at Ball State (ESPNU) at 7:30
Eastern Kentucky at Indiana (Big Ten Network) at 8:00
Utah State at Utah (The Mountain) at 9:00

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com