No rush to name Locker heir at Washington

March, 29, 2011
3/29/11
10:30
AM ET
The Jake Locker Era is over at Washington, and coach Steve Sarkisian said Monday he's in no rush to announce the quarterback who will lead the next era of Husky football.

That means it's unlikely that a winner in the quarterback competition between Keith Price and Nick Montana will be announced at the end of spring practices. Sarkisian said it might not be announced until just before the Sept. 3 opener versus Eastern Washington.

[+] EnlargeKeith Price and Nick Montana
AP Photo/Ted S. WarrenKeith Price or Nick Montana will be the No. 1 QB, but Steve Sarkisian isn't ready to name a starter.
"I'm not going to rush to judgement to name a starter for the sake of naming a starter, but I'm also not planning on going into the season platooning quarterbacks either," he said.

Price, a sophomore, was the backup last year and started at Oregon when Locker was hurt, but that experience won't automatically give him an advantage over Montana, a redshirt freshman.

"It's only an advantage if [Price] uses the experience," Sarkisian said.

Perhaps no coach in the country does a better news conference than Sarkisian in terms of laying out the answers before reporters ask their questions. What are the goals this spring? Sark articulated roughly eight by our unofficial count, to quote:

  • "The physicality that we play with."
  • "We need to raise our football I.Q."
  • "Our turnover ratio is not where we need to be to be an elite team."
  • "We really want to improve our pass rush."
  • "We need to improve offensively in our dropback passing game."
  • "The return game and special teams ..."
  • "[The receivers have] got to improve getting off press coverage."
  • "[There are] a lot of key position battles."
To that last one, Sarkisian named -- in addition to quarterback -- tight end, linebacker and offensive line.

The plot thickens at tight end because of the addition of touted true freshman Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

At linebacker, the Huskies are replacing standouts Mason Foster and Victor Aiyewa. On the offensive line, there's some experience -- three returning starters and a few more players with starting experience -- and youth, including seven players who signed in the 2010 class.

Injuries and other issues: Three players are out due to injuries. Offensive lineman Nick Wood (hip), cornerback Adam Long (knee) and defensive tackle Semisi Tokolahi (ankle). Defensive end Kalani Aldrich and center Mykenna Ikehara have retired due to recurrent injuries. And receiver Jordan Polk and running back Johri Fogerson are suspended for off-field issues.

A number of players will be limited in practices: cornerback Greg Ducre, safety Taz Stevenson, and linebackers Princeton Fuimaono and Cooper Pelluer all had offseason shoulder surgeries. Defensive end Talia Crichton (knee), defensive end Chris Robinson (knee), safety Sean Parker (neck) and offensive tackle Senio Kelemete (plantar fascia) will be limited. Running back Deontae Cooper and punter Will Mahan are coming back from knee injuries and also will be watched closely.

Ted Miller | email

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