Pre-Spring Outlook - Quarterback

SEATTLE - Last spring Washington Head Coach Tyrone Willingham announced that Jake Locker would be the No. 1 quarterback over incumbent Carl Bonnell heading into spring, much to the surprise of many. The reason being, he had never shown his cards that early before. Typically spring under Willingham is all about the competition, so this move was intriguing.

This spring? There's no intrigue whatsoever, at least in terms of who is going to be the starting quarterback this fall.
10 Jake Locker* 6-3 225 So. Ferndale, Wash. (Ferndale)
 8 Ronnie Fouch* 6-1 195 Fr. Redlands, Calif. (Red. East Valley)
 7 Taylor Bean+* 6-1 202 Fr. Vancouver, Wash. (Skyview)

+ Walk-on
* Has utilized redshirt season

The only intrigue surrounding the quarterback position at Washington this spring is what happens if Locker gets hurt. Just that thought alone will have UW fans rapping the old wooden benches at Husky Stadium until their knuckles turn red. And with good reason. Locker's 3,048 yards in 2007 accounted for nearly 60 percent of the Huskies offensive output. This number appears staggering compared to the seven percent of total offense that is returning with Locker - meaning the other 37 percent came via outgoing seniors like Bonnell and running back Lous Rankin.

But don't believe that it's Locker or bust. It is in terms of experience, but his should be Ronnie Fouch's spring to shine. The redshirt frosh from southern California find himself in the same space occupied by Locker a year ago, but without the pressure that comes with the starting gig. From all second-hand reports this winter, Fouch has been the one impressing during informal 7-7 workouts, and has the ability to step in at a moment's notice.

The interesting aspect of this spring when looking at the quarterback position is just how much time will the Washington coaches give Locker to improve his flaws (passing game), while still giving Fouch the adequate time he'll need to instill confidence in his own game. Just the fact that Locker and Fouch are the only two scholarshipped quarterbacks this spring (freshmen Luther Leonard and Dominique Blackman won't arrive until the summer) should allow both ample time to dig into the 15 practices and come out the other side as better players.

Locker has the potential to be the most exciting signal-caller on the west coast in 2008; after that the Huskies coaches have to be scared to death at the proposition at what this fall might hold if he misses time for any reason. It would be one thing if they had Rankin and a veteran run game to shoulder the load, but Locker will be the veteran heading into the fall. Fouch will be a capable reserve, and could even be an upgrade from Bonnell when it's all said and done. But that's a big 'if', and it's not an 'if' anyone at Washington wants to find the answer to right now.

Because that will mean the Washington Huskies are one snap away from putting in a true freshman at quarterback.

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