A little rest might be best thing for UW quarterback Jake Locker
Locker suffered thigh bruise early in loss to Oregon.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Jake Locker's fine with a little bit of time off. But only to a point.
As he did the previous two days, Locker spent Wednesday's practice throwing on the side, resting a deep right thigh bruise suffered in Saturday's 43-19 loss to Oregon. The practice was the last the Huskies will have until Sunday as they take Saturday off, their first of two byes.
But when the Huskies play at UCLA on Nov. 7, Locker expects to be ready to go.
In fact, while his coach, Steve Sarkisian, said he doubted Locker could have played this weekend, Locker insisted otherwise.
"I would have been OK," he said.
He said, though, that a brief bit of rest isn't so bad after the eight-week stretch the Huskies just concluded — every team UW has played has a winning record, and four games were undecided until the final minute.
"In a sense he's kind of embraced it, the opportunity to just kind of rest, not only physically but mentally," Sarkisian said. "I think this has been a good week for him."
It was a stretch highlighted by the USC win — which threw Locker into the national limelight and increased speculation his draft stock could be high enough to entice him to leave after this season — that closed with a thud against the Ducks.
The injury made the day especially frustrating. Locker was apparently injured on a third-down play at the Oregon 12-yard line on Washington's second possession when he took a helmet to the leg from Oregon safety Javes Lewis.
"It just felt like it was a Charley Horse through the course of the game," Locker said. "Once I was warm it was no big deal. ... I had a little bit of a limp. It was just tight. I felt it, obviously, but I didn't think it altered the way I played the game at all."
However, Sarkisian and the stats indicate otherwise. All three of Locker's designed runs occurred in the first two series. His only runs the rest of the way came on sacks (which are officially designated as runs in college football) with Sarkisian saying that knowing Locker was hurt impacted the way he called the game.
The injury might have been a factor on what was one of the game's biggest plays, fourth-and-goal at the Ducks' 1-yard line early in the second quarter. Sarkisian called for a Locker rollout and said Wednesday "the primary premise of the play, the initial start of the play, is for Jake to run, so really a run-pass option for Jake."
Locker, however, got hemmed in and pulled up and threw a pass into the end zone that was intercepted by Lewis.
"I tried, but I just couldn't get to the corner," Locker said. "Maybe I was a little slower, who knows? I just didn't make it for one reason or another."
Sarkisian, however, didn't sound too worried that Locker won't be able to play against UCLA.
"What the injury is is a deep thigh bruise and with time and rest and treatment, those things can heal," Sarkisian said. "So I'm not as concerned [about missing the UCLA game] but we'll assess it on Sunday night."
Assuming Locker returns next week, coach and quarterback will try to figure out a way to open up more opportunities for Locker to make plays on the run. Sarkisian said teams have increasingly tried to shut down Locker's running by bringing pressure from the wide side of the field, to hem him in on the short side.
• Locker was frustrated that there was no penalty called on a play that concluded the drive in which he was injured when his helmet was ripped off by Oregon linebacker Spencer Paysinger. An official standing right at the spot did not throw a flag, telling Locker he didn't see it. The play stopped the UW drive and forced a field goal. "Well, I didn't take my helmet off so somebody else did," Locker said. "My chin strap was strapped — I didn't have one undone or anything — and I got it ripped off my head."
• In another bye-week experimentation, safety Alvin Logan was tried at linebacker Wednesday.
• Most of the UW coaches will hit the road recruiting the next three days.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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