Spring Preview: Quarterbacks

In the first of Dawgman.com's spring previews, we take a look at the all-important quarterback position that got a huge boost when senior-to-be Jake Locker decided to return for his final season of eligibility. Will Keith Price or incoming freshman Nick Montana be the main backup this fall? A lot will be determined once the Huskies complete their 15 spring workouts…

The Players: Sr. Jake Locker; RS Fr. Keith Price; Fr. Nick Montana
The Questions: Will Locker take another huge leap forward in his progress as a signal-caller? Who will be the primary backup?

It goes without saying that Locker returning for his senior season will probably be the biggest factor in whether Washington improves on their 5-7 2009 season. His athleticism, leadership and playmaking abilities are an absolute must for an offense that finally started to find some semblance of potency as the season progressed.

Locker finished the season completing 58.4% of his passes for 2,800 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions which were all career-bests on what he had done in previous years. He showed improved decision-making and a better understanding of defenses, however he hesitated at times on when he should tuck the ball and run as opposed to moving around and keeping his eyes down the field to find an open receiver.

His two games to finish the season, versus Washington State and California as well as his leading the Huskies to a win over USC in September, were huge for his development as a passer and showed why fans should be excited by what could be in 2010.

He will undoubtedly end up being drafted in the top 10 in the 2011 NFL Draft and many experts think he will likely be the top quarterback selected.

Will his loyalty to Washington be rewarded with a bowl game? It would be shock if that wasn't the case.

The situation behind Locker became somewhat cloudy when Ronnie Fouch decided to transfer to Indiana State in order to find some playing time. Fouch wasn't the most physically gifted signal-callers, but he was smart and his knowledge of the offense made him a nice "security blanket" should Locker go down with an injury.

Vying for the backup spot during the spring will be Price, who redshirted last fall, and Montana who was one of the most sought-after quarterbacks in the country this past recruiting cycle.

Whereas Locker has the ideal size and arm-strength to be one of the top quarterbacks in the country, Price doesn't have those physical skills and needs to show more knowledge in the system this spring.

That's not to say Price doesn't have talent.

He's got good feet and enough speed to hurt a defense that isn't paying attention. However, his arm is only average and he isn't very big, so he's going to have to find ways to read defenses while looking around lineman, rather than over them.

Montana is a little taller than Price and his delivery is excellent. He's also a great leader, however we have yet to see what he can do on the field against a college defense so everything we see in the 15 spring practices will go a long way in determining his fitness to run a Pac 10 offense this fall.

The expected situation is that Price will probably be in the lead as we head into the summer, but Montana will get every chance to make up ground during the fall in order to get the best possible backup the most reps during the season.

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