Washington heads into spring with three QB's on the roster, only one of whom has game experience. Fortunately, the one is Heisman candidate Jake Locker, who is expected to have a monster season in 2010, culminating in the Huskies return to a bowl game.
Jake had an up and down season in 2009 as he got his feet wet in Sarkisian's pro style offense. Mid-season injuries slowed down his mobility, corresponding with some tough fourth quarter losses, ultimately knocking Washington out of bowl contention.
The Jake we hope to see in 2010 will be the one we saw the last two games of the season, where he led UW to wins over WSU and California. Those performances represented an almost perfect balance of the use of his many talents. Look for Locker to continue to improve and become more comfortable in the offense in 2010. He could have left and been drafted in the first round but his confidence in Sark, Nuss, his teammates, and bonus money from the Angels convinced him that one more year at UW was more adventageous than holding a clipboard for a season in the NFL.
Backup (Rainbow) Ronnie Fouch decided to transfer in search of playing time, leaving an uncertain void behind Jake should he go down with an injury. RS Keith Price will be the first QB off the bench if the unmentionable happens in 2010. Price is a solid athlete who showed well in his first season running the scout team. The staff has spent a lot of time rebuilding his delivery and we will see the results of that this spring.
What I like about Price is his pure athletic ability. The kid can run and he has a strong arm. Mobility, as we have seen with Jake, is a great asset and Price has plenty of it. The coaching staff is pretty high on Keith, believing he can compete for the starting job in 2011.
Nick Montana arrives this spring fresh out of high school to get an early start learning the system. The coaches love everything about this kid; while he needs a year to learn the system and get stronger, he is considered the heir-apparent to take over the starting duties upon Locker's graduation.
Montana represents the ideal Sark QB recruit at Washington. He is a straight-arrow, smart, talented and has similar leadership abilities to his father, NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana. His arm needs to get stronger over the next year, so he isn't as ready to play as a Skyline High School's Jake Heaps, but he showed that he has the ability to make plays all over the field.
We all know what Jake can do but I think plenty of eyes this spring will be on Price and Montana. The battle for the 2011 starting job starts this spring. In a perfect world Nick won't play in 2010 and Keith Price will assume the backup duties. Washington is also scouring the HS ranks for a walk-on QB to take the place of Taylor Bean who also decided to transfer. Depth at this position has rarely ever been this low.
As for the future the Huskies will likely bring in two QB's in the 2011 class. You like to seperate it out by having one for every class but with only two returning Washington needs to build some depth into the position.