UW – All-Access Training Camp 2010

Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff allowed me to watch their team for the past few days of training camp and two things were obvious.

1. While the 2010 Washington Huskies will boast the top quarterback and running back in the Pac-10, they are also fundamentally sound at every other position. The days of going up against superior talent each week are gone as each position group is competitive in this staff's second full season. The defense, under coordinator Nick Holt flew around, made plays on the football and are playing better team defense than they did in 2009. The offensive line, after a full year with strength and conditioning coach Ivan Lewis, looked leaner and quicker up front. The wide receivers will boast the most complete trio heading into week 1 and the young secondary proved to be aggressive and fearless in coverage.

2. Jake Locker's improvement. He has gone from reacting as an athlete to reacting like a quarterback every time he takes a snap and it started in the final game of 2009 against Cal, where he went 19-23 for 248 yards and 3 passing touchdowns and 2 rushing scores.

Why has he changed?

He now understands the quarterback position. Remember, he was never taught HOW to play QB, HOW to take a 7-step drop; he just relied on his natural ability. Now, not only has his footwork in the pocket improved dramatically, but his timing and anticipation has allowed him to look like some of the QBs that Steve Sarkisian has coached in the past. (see Mark Sanchez, Matt Leinart, Matt Cassel, Carson Palmer, and even Rich Gannon with the Oakland Raiders).

Examples of how much he has grown were in the Cal game when he completed a variety of play-action passes on time, threw with great rhythm and for the first time, looked comfortable under center.

Now, towards the end of camp, he is continuing his mastery of the Husky offense as he has gone from completing 50% of his career passes before this staff arrived to completing 65% of them during the 2010 training camp…and as the projected #1 pick in the National Football League draft last spring…well, like Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach Doug Nussmeier told me, "Jake's best football is ahead of him."

Those two things will make the 2010 UW football team one that will compete this fall on the gridiron.
Yogi Roth is a college football analyst/host. He played wide receiver at the University of Pittsburgh from 200-2004 and was a member of the University of Southern California football staff from 2004-2009. He co-wrote New York Times best-seller Win Forever with Settle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. His book, From PA to LA, is set to be released in late September. You can follow him via Twitter @YogiRoth

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