Huskies QB Jake Locker looks good in practice, will start vs. UCLA
Jake Locker, who wore a protective sleeve around his right calf, displayed his trademark blazing speed and agility while taking the majority of the snaps with the No. 1 offense
Seattle Times staff reporter
UW @ UCLA, 12:30 p.m., FSN
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Maybe it was watching Jake Locker sprinting out of the pocket and darting across the Dempsey Indoor field that convinced Steve Sarkisian.
Or maybe it was the way Locker bounced between drills while high-fiving teammates and chest-bumping assistants when Sarkisian knew his quarterback, who had been hampered by a right deep thigh bruise, was ready to go Saturday at UCLA.
"He ran really well," Sarkisian said. "I was really, really impressed. He was a little sore earlier today from yesterday's practice, but he looked good today. I expect him to play."
Earlier in the week, Sarkisian wasn't so sure.
He held Locker out of practice during last week's bye and needed to see how the mobile quarterback responded during a full slate of workouts this week, especially Thursday.
"I wanted to see him run full speed," Sarkisian said. "I wanted to see him really open up and go full speed, and he was able to do that."
Locker, who wore a protective sleeve around his right calf, displayed his trademark blazing speed and agility while taking the majority of the snaps with the No. 1 offense. He showed no ill effects from the injury suffered Oct. 24 against Oregon.
"It's great to have your starting quarterback," Sarkisian said. "Just from an execution standpoint, being in the huddle, all the things that he brings. There are some obvious leadership skills that he brings that I know the team feeds off of."
Prince doesn't regret spurning Huskies
If things had worked out a little differently two years ago, Locker's status this week might have really hit home for UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince.
For about six weeks or so in late 2007 and early 2008, Prince considered himself a future Washington Husky, having committed to sign in what turned out to be the last full class put together by coach Tyrone Willingham.
Though Prince grew up in the San Fernando Valley and had been a ball boy for UCLA games, then-Bruins coach Karl Dorrell hadn't pursued Prince all that much, and Prince cast his lot with the Huskies. Then, when Rick Neuheisel was hired to replace Dorrell, UCLA set its sights anew on Prince. Shortly before signing day Prince switched allegiances, sold in part on the prospect of working with Bruins offensive coordinator Norm Chow and by a position that looked wide open in the future.
"I don't regret it," he said. "I still think Washington is a great school and when I talk to guys who are thinking about going places, who are considering it, I always speak highly of Washington. I still think it's a great school. But for me personally, I felt that UCLA would be a better fit and, so far it has been working out and hopefully it will continue to do so."
But as he prepares to face the Huskies for the first time, Prince said his brief past as a Husky isn't really on his mind.
"It seems like so long ago since that happened," he said."It seems like a lifetime ago. It's not a big deal for me this week."
What is, he says, is picking up where he left off last week in Corvallis, when he threw for a career-high 323 yards, a performance that resolidified his hold on the starting job. He was UCLA's starter to begin the season, then suffered a broken jaw in the second game against Tennessee, missing two games, then splitting time for a few more. He was 9 of 13 for 198 yards in the fourth quarter alone against OSU helping forge a 19-19 tie from a 19-3 deficit before the Beavers secured a win.
"That helped me realize that I can put the ball up for my receivers and go make plays," he said. "It was a big jump for us in terms of being able to trust each other and go out there and just let it loose and have fun."
• DT Cameron Elisara, LB E.J. Savannah (hand) and LB Jordan Wallace (knee) will not travel to Los Angeles this weekend.
• Sarkisian said he's considering starting senior strong safety Jason Wells, who hasn't played since 2007 because of an assortment of injuries.
• WR Jordan Polk (knee surgery) has been cleared to play.
• The Huskies have reportedly picked up a commitment from defensive end Andrew Hudson of Redlands East Valley High in Redlands, Calif., the alma mater of three current Huskies, including backup QB Ronnie Fouch and RB Chris Polk. The 6-3, 215-pounder is the 22nd commit for the class of 2010.
Staff writer Bob Condotta contributed to this report.
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or email@example.com
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