What might "Life after Locker" look like?

Washington had a wildcard on just about every down in Jake Locker. Number 10 had the ability to break free on any down if the defense didn't shadow him. Thus, coordinators had to account for his speed on every snap. With Locker wowing onlookers at this weekend's NFL combine, I thought it would be good to start looking ahead to what we might see at UW now that Montlake Jake is gone.

Locker had sub-4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash, and that allowed him to get outside of containment if a linebacker took a poor angle. The fact that he was such a physical specimen also enabled him to burst through the tackle box and pick up short yardage.

That dimension may still exist in the Husky offense, depending on who wins the starting quarterback position in what should be a two-way, and possible three-way position battle next fall.

Keith Price will most likely enter this spring as number one on the depth chart, and he brings very good mobility to the table. He uses quickness to elude the rush and keep plays alive, but he also has very good speed that would enable him to turn the corner should he need to get by the outside linebacker. His arm strength will be debated ad-nauseam because of several passes that wound up short of their targets in his one start at Oregon in 2010, but those misses had nothing to do with arm strength. They had everything to do with mechanics and release point. He may not have one of the stronger arms in the Pac-12 should he win the job, but it will be strong enough to run the offense. What will either make him the starter or send him to the bench will be his decision-making under duress.

His biggest weapon he has over his counterparts will be his ability to save big losses and buy time with his legs. He is extremely shifty and has a lot of wiggle. He is not very big, and that could be of some concern should he take a lot of snaps and take a lot of hits.

If Price does get the nod, he is very capable of running some option and veer, and probably a lot more comfortably than Locker ever did. Locker was never really able to bring that look to the offense. He was much better at tucking and running rather than setting up something outside.

Nick Montana would be more of a pro-style quarterback, and what he brings to the huddle is good decision-making, an accurate and technically sound throwing arm, and a little more size to the position. Montana is a legitimate 6-foot-2 and he will fill out to 210 to 215 pounds or so pretty quickly. He also has that drive that you can see in his eyes. This is a young man who wants to succeed in the worst way and he works hard every practice to make sure that happens.

Montana doesn't have Locker's arm strength, but in the practices I saw his arm was a little stronger than Price's. He seemed to get the ball to where it was supposed to go a little quicker from release-to-receiver, and his ball had a tighter spin on it. If I was looking for which of these guys could get the ball out to Jermaine Kearse on a quick out across the hash-marks, I would go with Montana because I think the ball would not be in the air as long.

The third guy that should not be counted out just yet will be newcomer Derrick Brown. Brown put up some gaudy numbers in high school and has probably a good mix of the tools that Price and Montana both have. His arm strength is above average and his mobility is outstanding. He is very capable of running the spread and is a solid 236 pounds. Steve Sarkisian went after him hard and stole him from Pac-12 new rival Utah. He is a definite upgrade over Joseph Gray, who parted ways with Washington after an initial verbal commitment. Gray will now play with San Jose State, a smaller school where he might play sooner.

Still, Brown won't be on campus until fall, so he will be miles behind Price, who will be entering his third year in the program, and Montana, who will have two full springs and an entire redshirt season under his belt.

Given that there will be inexperience at the position regardless of who wins the job, expect Doug Nussmeier to game plan accordingly each week. Although Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian calls the plays, Offensive Coordinator Nussmeier designs the offensive strategies each week and implements them before each Saturday. I would think Nuss will adjust his schemes to fit whichever quarterback will be taking the majority of the snaps.

The top weapon in the 2011 Husky offensive arsenal will certainly be Chris Polk, the 5-foot-11, 215-pound bruising tailback. Polk will go for his third-straight 1,000+ yard campaign and will run behind a lot of experience up front.

The weak tackle position will be manned by Senior Senio Kelemete, who will be a Pac-12 post-season honors candidate. The other tackle spot could go to a variety of players, but the options available to OL coach Dan Cozzetto will all be experienced. It could be true sophomore Erik Kohler, senior Skyler Fancher, or redshirt freshman Micah Hatchie, who is a budding star.

The interior will boast even more experience with returning starters Drew Schaefer at center and Colin Porter at guard. The other guard position will most likely be filled by Kohler (if Fancher or Hatchie can step up and claim a tackle spot) or perhaps Daniel Kanczugowski can step in and provide some quality snaps as well. He is one of the biggest and strongest of the offensive linemen, and should provide good depth on short yardage or goal line packages. If Mykenna Ikehara can put on weight, a constant problem he's faced since arriving to Washington, he can also add some good experience to the center and guard positions.

The receiving corps will largely be the same, with Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar on the splits. Someone will need to step into the void left by D'Andre Goodwin in the slot, but there are ample candidates in James Johnson, Kevin Smith, and incoming freshman phenom Kasen Williams. And the tight end will once again be an option for the Husky offense as Michael Hartvigson returns from injury, and he will be joined by incoming nationally-acclaimed freshman, Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

Still, the emphasis will be on the running game. Expect Polk to get 18-20 carries per game early in the season, and he will be augmented by Jesse Callier, Johri Fogerson, and Deontae Cooper, who should return 100 percent from injury. Callier shows great ability to bounce outside and get the corner, and next will try to show the dimension of smashing it between the tackles. Fogerson was more of a receiving threat when he was healthy, and Cooper was sensational in spring before being derailed by an ACL injury. I don't expect them to take many snaps away from Polk or Callier, at least not initially. Both Fogerson and Cooper could be counted on as situational third-down backs.

The biggest wrinkle in 2011, besides having a tight end that can catch a pass, will be from the fullback position. I fully expect Dezden Petty to step in and contribute as a receiver. Sarkisian wants that element in the offense, and Petty is just the guy to give it to him. He will be about 225 by the time he gets here and has good hands and very good speed for a big back.

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