Locker's response to UA defensive ends is key

2010-10-23T00:00:00Z 2012-11-30T19:29:59Z Locker's response to UA defensive ends is keyPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
October 23, 2010 12:00 am  • 

Steve Sarkisian was blunt when talking about the Arizona Wildcats' defense - and his Washington Huskies' chances today.

"The two ends," he said, "they're monsters."

Ricky Elmore and Brooks Reed are the greatest threat to quarterback Jake Locker and the Huskies' offense.

"They're the whole game to me," the UW coach said. "Our ability to block them is going to be a significant factor in the outcome of this football game."

How Locker responds to them will be, too.

Here's a look at four of Locker's body parts and how they can avoid the grasp of the Wildcats' two star defensive ends:

His head. Halfway through his senior season, Locker has identified one area he said he could improve the most: his decision-making.

"I think a lot of things that I still need to work on, get better at," he said. "I did some good things, but I'm always looking to get better. Cut down on the mental errors is something I'm going to focus on."

It's not limited to passing, Locker said. The Huskies have audibles that the quarterback can make when the team wants to run the ball, depending on the defensive alignment.

The quarterback is concerned about the defensive ends then, too.

"They're really talented," Locker said.. "They're athletic, strong, physical, guys that we're going to have to make sure we always have guys on them. We hope to keep that edge secure."

His lungs. An illness limited Locker in a loss two weeks ago to Arizona State; whenever he rolled out, the senior got winded. A thigh bruise slowed him during the UW's practices all last week.

Which is why, on the first play last week against Oregon State, Sarkisian called for his quarterback to roll on a pass play.

He felt good - bad news for defensive ends on the chase. Locker completed a 28-yard pass to D'Andre Goodwin.

"It worked," Locker said. "We got a good play off it."

His right arm. Locker threw for five touchdowns and 286 yards Saturday against the Beavers, but he could have had more.

After watching film, he said, "there were probably a couple opportunities" where he didn't wait and throw the ball downfield.

So far this year, Locker has completed 114 of 203 passes for 1,431 yards and 13 touchdowns with just four interceptions. He praised his teammates for making it so he didn't have to scramble. He has taken eight sacks this year; last season, the figure was 28.

The Huskies' offensive linemen must have confidence they can block the bookends.

"I thought my linemen did a great job of creating a pocket all Saturday," he said.

His right thumb. Locker broke his thumb in 2008 and didn't play against the UA in a blowout loss later in the year.

The Huskies are a different team with Locker.

With Locker, the Huskies defeated the UA last year. He got some help when Nick Foles' pass bounced off Delashaun Dean's foot and into linebacker Mason Foster's arms for a late touchdown.

"It was a crazy one, one of the craziest ones I've been a part of - and we've had some wild ones the past couple years," Locker said. "It was a game that was a big one for this football team."

The Huskies are 5-7 since; they were 2-10 the 12 games before beating the Wildcats.

"Everyone kept playing," he said. "There wasn't a sense of, 'There's no way we can win this football game,' and the ball bounced our way.

"Yeah, a big win for us."

On StarNet: Check out our new Pac-10 blog at azstarnet.com/pac10pundit

Trying to pick 'Lock'

Washington quarterback Jake Locker has fared well against Arizona:

Year Comp-Att-Yards TDs INTs Rushes-Yards TDs

2009 12-23-140 3 1 11-92 1

2008 DNP (thumb injury)

2007 17-30-336 2 2 23-157 2

Totals: 20-53-476 5 3 34-249 3

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