Tag:Jake Locker
Posted on: November 1, 2010 4:21 pm
 

Rough weekend for injured Pac-10 quarterbacks

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

You would think that a 41-0 loss to Stanford and a 35-7 loss to Oregon State would be enough bad news for one Saturday for Washington and Cal . Unfortunately for both teams, injuries to their starting quarterbacks mean that you'd think wrong.

For the Huskies' Jake Locker , the problem is a cracked rib that had already suffered a hairline fracture before being further exacerbated by the rough treatment from the Cardinal. Though the oft-injured Locker should be able to return before missing too much action -- the early indications seem to be that he could return for the Nov. 18 meeting with UCLA , meaning he'd sit out only one game -- the timing for Washington truly could not be worse, as this week's schedule sends the Huskies to Eugene to take on No. 1 Oregon .

Taking Locker's place will be redshirt freshman Keith Price , who'll be making his first career start at Autzen Stadium and will likely triple his 9 career passing attempts. Best of luck, Keith.

Things could be so much worse for Washington, though, as the knee injury suffered by Cal's Kevin Riley early in the Bears' loss in Corvallis illustrates. When even your head coach isn't really holding out hope for your return ...

Tedford acknowledged that the injury was serious, saying, "Right now, it looks a little bit more serious than just your everyday sprained knee" ...

"He was in a lot of pain," Tedford said. "He came off the field with tears in his eyes, and I'm sure that has a lot to do with his disappointment. He felt like it was pretty significant. Kevin is a tough guy. It's unfortunate."
... things are not looking good. An MRI today should confirm the extent of Riley's injury, but if he's torn a ligament, the fifth-year senior's career at Cal will be over.

Replacing Riley will be junior Brock Mansion , who completed 14 of his 24 passes against the Beavers (including a late touchdown) but for only 5.8 yards an attempt. Mansion's a seasoned veteran compared to Price; he has 32 total career attempts.

The good news for the Bears is that Jeff Tedford has a strong track record of developing college quarterbacks, and that Mansion will have at least a week to get his feet underneath him against hapless Washington State . But unless Mansion is a stunningly quick learner (or Riley ends up OK), any hope of the Bears scoring the upset of the season when Oregon visits Nov. 13 has probably gone out the window.


Posted on: October 17, 2010 10:57 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2010 11:31 pm
 

Can Oregon make the BCS Championship Game?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Certainly, one of the teams that got the best news tonight is Oregon, ranked second in the initial BCS rankings. While there's only so much that can be read into these rankings with six games of play remaining, of course, the fact remains that as of right now Oregon is projected to go to Glendale to play for the BCS Championship.

So, those six games. There's no such thing as an automatic win in college football these days, but the Ducks should be heavily favored in the majority of these contests.

October 21, vs. UCLA: UCLA is of the most schizophrenic teams in the country, blowing out Houston and Texas but getting crushed by Stanford and a truly mediocre California. Still, even with the Bruins playing at their best, it's hard to imagine they can put up enough points to keep pace with the Oregon offense.

October 30, at USC: If there's any team left on Oregon's schedule that has the sheer talent to run with the Ducks for 60 minutes, it's likely USC. Lane Kiffin's team, led by emerging star Matt Barkley, is young and lacking in depth, but still explosively athletic. If Oregon's really a championship team, it'll handle the Trojans.

November 6 vs. Washington: Anyone think Jake Locker can lead the Huskies to eight touchdowns against Oregon's defense? Because the Ducks are probably putting up at least a 50-spot on the Washington defense.  

November 13 at California: It's a road game, which means the Ducks have no business looking past the Bears. They probably won't, and on paper, they'll probably win by about five or six touchdowns here. But you never know -- there's no such thing as a safe road game anymore. We'll see if the game on paper resembles the game on the field.

November 26 vs. Arizona: Here's another potential roadblock for the Ducks; Arizona quarterback (and the Pac-10's leading passer up until his knee injury) Nick Foles should be healthy by the time this game rolls around, and Arizona is one of the few teams that has an offense that might keep pace with the Ducks. Might. 

December 4, at Oregon State: Oregon State QB Ryan Katz is developing as a passer game by game, but the Beavers surely miss wideout James Rodgers, lost for the year with an awful knee injury. But that Oregon State defense doesn't have the horses or the discipline to keep Oregon down, so even though this is a rivalry game and anything can happen -- especially with a BCS championship at stake -- this is a probable win.

So yes, Oregon's road to an unbeaten record is relatively safe. Now, there's another question of whether Oregon can stave off Oklahoma and Auburn if they both go unbeaten, too. But that's a question the BCS will be tasked with answering, isn't it?

Posted on: October 17, 2010 3:14 am
 

What I learned from the Pac-10 (Oct. 16)

Posted by Adam Jacobi

1. Oh, right, USC. That team with an embarrassment of riches. Them. It's easy (and not altogether unwise) to forget sometimes based on their on-field "exploits," but the USC Trojans still have a ton of talent. They don't have a ton of experience and they're with a brand-new coach, but still: these guys have some innate physical advantages. Take Matt Barkley, for example. The 5-star recruit had a rough freshman campaign last season with 15 touchdowns and 14 picks, but, y'know, he's still a former 5-star recruit. And he flashed that talent in a big way today with a 25-37, 352 yard, five-touchdown, zero-interception performance against Cal in a 48-14 whipping. Even with the reserves seeing plenty of garbage time, the Trojans still racked up 32 first downs, 602 total yards, and 5.9 yards per rush. And this is against a Cal defense that held UCLA to seven points and Arizona to 10 in their two prior games (yes, 52 to Nevada prior to that, but hey). USC isn't allowed to go to a bowl, and its scholarship restrictions are going to sting for years, but every now and then these Trojans are going to lay waste to mediocre opponents. This was one of those weeks.

2. Jake Locker is here, and not a moment too soon. Washington QB Jake Locker, the much-ballyhooed freshman of three years ago, is a senior now, and whether through lousy luck with injuries, insufficient surrounding talent, or poor play of his own, he hasn't really lived up to his high expectations for any sustained amount of time. Again, not completely his fault, but it's true. To Locker's credit, he's kept his head down and stayed at the task of improving this whole time, and he was rewarded today with a five-touchdown performance in Washington's 35-34 overtime win over Oregon State. Locker made some gorgeous throws today, and the memories of his ghastly 4-20 performance against Nebraska just four weeks ago seemed much further away today. Locker wasn't perfect, and his fourth-quarter fumble in Beaver territory killed the Huskies' most promising shot at a game-winning score in regulation, but still: five touchdowns. 

3. Meanwhile, bravery and stupidity are not mutually exclusive. After seeing his team match Washington's touchdown in the second overtime, Oregon State coach Mike Riley made the commendable decision to go for the win right then and there, to tell his team that victory was only three yards away. Curiously, though, Riley declined to dial the number of Jacquizz Rodgers, who had played like a man possessed up to that point with 189 total yards and four touchdowns up to that point -- including three rushing scores from within six yards. No, Riley called on his sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz, who tried to connect with tight end Joe Halahuni on the conversion. The ball slipped through Halahuni's hands before falling harmlessly incomplete, and that was that. Now, going for two was a bold, mansome decision, but not giving the ball to Rodgers even if the defense was expecting it (much as they had for the entire game thus far) doesn't put Oregon State in the best position to succeed, and for that Oregon State now has a loss instead of a win.

4. Is Matt Scott better than last season? We're about to find out. There wasn't a whole lot to take away from each team's performance in Arizona's 24-7 win over Washington State; the Huskies are improving but still not very good, but we already knew that. The real news is that Arizona's star QB Nick Foles injured his knee after getting rolled into early in the second quarter. Early indications are that it's a dislocated kneecap, which sounds far worse than it is; Matt Barkley suffered the same injury last season, and he was practicing after a week or two. Mike Stoops told reporters he expected Foles to miss two to three weeks. If true, that's rough news for the Wildcats, who will face Washington, UCLA, and Stanford in their next three games. Backup Matt Scott came in for Foles, but he's the guy who was benched for Foles after three games last season for ineffective play. He sure didn't do much for Arizona against Washington State, and there's no guarantee he can put up points against some of the Pac-10's better defenses. For the sake of everybody on the Wildcats, let's hope Scott can put together some good games in Foles's absence, because it's incredibly disheartening to see a team's shot at a conference crown go south on account of one key injury.

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Posted on: October 10, 2010 1:44 am
Edited on: October 10, 2010 3:39 am
 

What I learned from the Pac-10 (Oct. 9)

Posted by Adam Jacobi

1. This conference is Oregon's and nobody else's. The Oregon Ducks didn't look great tonight in their 43-23 win over Washington State -- and they weren't looking great even before Darron Thomas left, either -- but they must be thrilled with the way the rest of the conference shook down tonight. Stanford dispatched USC, and we'll talk about that in a second, and Oregon State knocked Arizona from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 29-27 win. The more the other nine teams of the Pac-10 beat each other up, the easier the Ducks' road to the conference crown becomes. Not like they've needed the help so far.

2. When it matters, USC can't make the stop. Last week, Jake Locker led the Washington Huskies on a last-minute drive against the USC defense, and Erik Folk hit a game-winning field goal to beat the Trojans, 32-31. This week, same scenario: the Trojans score a touchdown to take a 35-34 lead on Stanford with 1:12, and everybody in the stadium knows that's too much time to give Andrew Luck. Sure enough, Stanford drives, Stanford moves the chains over and over, and Luck gets the Cardinal in place with enough time to spare that before the game-winning field goal, Luck had the luxury of running a play where he could down the ball in the middle of the field. Nate Whitaker was true on his kick, and USC found itself on a losing streak. Clearly that can't continue if the Trojans want a better destination than the Emerald Bowl this season.

3. The end zone tackle has got to go. First of all, if you haven't seen the knee injury suffered by James Rodgers, don't. It's gross and heart-breaking. The fact that it came on a tackle in the end zone, two strides past the goal line, only worsens the circumstance. Obviously, Arizona safety Adam Hall was just playing defense and not giving up on the play, but his effort really should have stopped at the strip attempt he made at the goal line--not by dragging Rodgers down five yards in. If the NCAA wants an issue to take up in the offseason, declaring tackling in the end zone after the whistle unnecessary roughness would be a good place to start. 

4. This conference might be Andrew Luck's and Jake Locker's now, but it'll be Ryan Katz's soon. Oregon State's sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz, a first-year starter, is not the best quarterback in the conference. He might get honorable mention. But from Week 1, he's been a surprisingly talented thrower, and he looked as good today against that normally decent Arizona pass defense as he has all season long. Katz had 393 yards and two scores through the air, and he did it without Rodgers for more than 30 minutes of play. As long as Oregon State keeps talented receivers around Katz, he's going to be putting up some huge numbers very soon.

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Posted on: September 22, 2010 10:30 am
Edited on: September 22, 2010 10:55 am
 

Locker: Nebraska D is 'best I've seen'

Posted by Chip Patterson

When Washington hosted Nebraska on Saturday, many people put the No. 8 Huskers on upset alert.  After all, it was the first true road test for freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez, and the Huskies were in need of a benchmark win heading into conference play after starting the season with an embarrassing 23-17 loss to BYU.

Nebraska was still favored to win, but few people expected to see the 56-21 dismantling of Washington in Seattle.  Huskies quarterback Jake Locker, a preseason Heisman hopeful, was held to the worst game of his career; completing only 4 of 20 passes for 71 yards and being picked off twice by the Nebraska defense.  It was a sign that the "black shirts" of old may be reincarnated in the 2010 Nebraska squad.  Locker even admitted to the Seattle Times that it was one of the best defenses he'd ever played against at Washington.
"Yeah, [Nebraska's defense] was probably the best one I've seen since I've been in school here. They played really well and we reverted back to some things that we haven't been doing the first couple of weeks, mistakes and mental errors that will cost you against a football team like that."Nebraska's defense was stellar, but they were also helped by 287 yards of total offense from Taylor Martinez.  The true freshman ran for three touchdowns and threw for another, including a back-breaking 80 yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage in the second half.  Martinez has thrown for at least 100 yards and rushed for at least 120 yards in each of his first three career games.  Eyebrows were raised when he was named the starter over Zac Lee and Cody Green, but no one is doubting Bo Pellini's decision now.  

Nebraska hosts South Dakota State on Saturday before kicking off conference play with a Thursday night showdown in Manhattan against Kansas State.  If the Huskers defense continues to frustrate opponents and Martinez continues to produce, it could set up a Big 12 battle for the ages when Nebraska travels to Austin to face Texas on October 16.

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Posted on: September 3, 2010 1:54 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2010 2:00 pm
 

Does Terrelle Pryor have inside track on Heisman?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

If a selection of voters is any indication, Terrelle Pryor is likely your (insanely) early leader for Heisman consideration. StiffArmTrophy.com announced the first voter survey of the season, and while Pryor isn't atop the list, he will be very soon:

rank player weighted% votes
1 Alabama RB Mark Ingram 100% 88
2 Ohio St QB Terrelle Pryor 99% 87
3 Washington QB Jake Locker 84% 74
4 Boise St QB Kellen Moore 81% 72
5 Houston QB Case Keenum 79% 70
6 Pitt RB Dion Lewis 77% 64
7 Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett 77% 69
8 Oregon St RB Jacquizz Rodgers 70% 59
9 Wisconsin RB John Clay 56% 47
10 Stanford QB Andrew Luck 53% 47

Yeah, Mark Ingram's not staying on top--especially the longer his knee forces him to sit on the sidelines.

It's important to note, though, that these types of lists don't behave in the same way a team poll would. For teams, it's pretty much a win-go-up, lose-go-down ordeal, and tracking stats is a much more nuanced process than that. Further, these are all purely projections for 2010; Terrelle Pryor wasn't even a Heisman finalist last year, so it's not as if he's being rewarded for past performance or anything. Thus, if he doesn't meet those expectations, he'll tumble down the list--there are way too many quarterbacks west of the Mississippi who'll be putting up absurd stats this year.

Aside from the top 10 listed above, the only non-QB, non-RB candidates in the top 25 are Georgia WR A.J. Green at no. 16, Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn at no. 23, and Alabama WR Julio Jones at no. 25. Jones seems comically underrated, but as mentioned earlier, this is early. If he puts up numbers, he'll rise up this list, and if he doesn't, they'll find someone else. 

 
 
 
 
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