August 19, 2008

Locker Ready to Go

The biggest news from Husky's fall practices came two weeks ago when quarterback Jake Locker suffered a hamstring injury. Husky fans got the news they had been waiting for yesterday, when Locker resumed practice in a limited role. Today Locker sat down with the media and spoke about his progress and limitations that follow him leading up to the Oregon game on August 30th.

"I feel good," said Locker with a smile. "I got the chance to run around in practice yesterday and throw the ball. It was limited stuff but it felt good. Hopefully I will be able to work more and more in as the week goes on."

The coaches have been and will continue to be extremely caution with their prized playmaker, but Locker doesn't foresee any setbacks.

"I never really had any setbacks. It went pretty smooth and was able to do more and more each day and it just got stronger and stronger and I will continue to do that. I haven't had any pain and they want me to do everything I'm doing pain free. I'm not really allowed to open up and sprint yet and we will just see day to day when I can. Besides that it felt really good. I feel like I could [sprint] but it's not necessary at this point." But Locker added, "I don't want to do anything that is going to re-injure it or push me back. When I feel comfortable with it I will [test it by sprinting] and if that is [this] Saturday or the 30th then that is when it will be."

Despite missing valuable practice time leading up to a pivotal year in the Husky program, Locker actually feels that something good can come of the time spent observing from the sideline.

"Yeah it's tough to watch, but I think you're able to take a lot in from there [sideline]. You can take a step back and look at what's going on. As hard as it was I was able to take a lot from it. Ronnie [Fouch] did a great job filling in. Working with those guys he did really well," Locker explained. "Just being able to take a look at things from a different perspective and point of view. Being able to watch the defense and see what they are doing and watch the receivers run their routs. I was able to take it all in and store it away."

A change in perspective is one thing, but what about his timing with the young receivers?

"I'm able to throw all of the 7-on-7 stuff, and hopefully in the next couple of days we get comfortable again. It's not like having a week off is going to kill us with that, we did it all summer and all spring and now it's just going to be refreshing that and making sure we are on the same page going into next week."

Much of Lockers confidence comes from three-years now in the system. He has matured as a quarterback and even some time missed with injury won't derail that confidence.

"You never understand anything as well as you can, so you always want to learn. But I have talked about it before; I'm throwing the ball with more confidence and poise." Locker continued when asked about playing more with instincts, "When playing quarterback, you always have to be thinking. A huge part of the game is mental so I don't think you can just go up and play. You have to see what is going on and go through your progressions but it's a little more natural now definitely."

All eyes will be on Locker's left hamstring the rest of fall camp. But with 11 days remaining before the Huskies showdown with the Oregon Ducks, Locker's progress might actually be the least of the concerns for the Dawgs at this point.

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