Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Sarkisian: Locker's bad habits are fixable
By Paul Kuharsky
A college coach isn’t going to get on the radio in a market where one of his guys was drafted and say bad things.
Still, thoughts from Washington’s Steve Sarkisian on Tennessee’s new quarterback, Jake Locker, on “The Wake Up Zone” in Nashville this morning were of interest. (Disclaimer: It’s the show I’m part of, though not this morning.)
On what people should know about Locker:
Steve Sarkisian said he would "be surprised if there is a college quarterback more mentally prepared for the NFL than Jake Locker is."
“I think his preparation will surprise people for a kid just coming out of college, on and off the field. Ultimately, how many NFL games are won in the final two or three minutes, that final drive? What he was able to do for us this past two seasons on final drives, game-winning plays, to either win football games or preserve wins, I think is what really makes him special.”
On Locker’s accuracy issues:
“Part of it is, I wish we were better up front for him, to be quite honest with you. And I think throughout his career starting as a red-shirt freshman and being a four-year starter, you can create some bad habits. And those bad habits can get magnified if the protection isn’t as good as it needs to be. So I think there are some habits there that are easily fixable and I know [offensive coordinator] Chris Palmer and those guys on the offensive staff are going to get that done. But from a physical standpoint, you go out and throw in a T-shirt and shorts, he throws as good as anybody. There are some concerns I know everybody had about him in the pocket with guys rushing around him. And I don’t think it’s a lack of courage or awareness, it’s because the guy got beat up so much he knew he had to escape and go make plays out of the pocket.”
On Locker’s NFL readiness:
“I’ll be surprised if there is a college quarterback more mentally prepared for the NFL than Jake Locker is. We do it all. He does all the protections, Mike IDs, change of protections, we kill plays, we auto plays, we audible plays. We have a very pro-style approach at the line of scrimmage and we handle all that stuff beautifully, which we had to do. We just aren’t quite where we want to be yet where we can just line up and pound the ball regardless of what you’re in. We’ve got to find the best play available to us on every snap."
Hey, it’s all we can get right now. No one is more eager to be on the sideline of an OTA or training camp practice to watch Locker throw than I am. In the meantime, though, reviews like this one are all we have to chew on.