DuRocher enjoying the ride, despite its bumps
A few months after leaving Oregon for Washington, Johnny DuRocher happily said his father had burned virtually everything he owned related...
Seattle Times staff reporter
A few months after leaving Oregon for Washington, Johnny DuRocher happily said his father had burned virtually everything he owned related to his brief career as a Ducks quarterback.
But as the prospect of another visit to Oregon looms Saturday, for a game in which he could see time at quarterback, DuRocher won't fan any more flames.
"I don't think they will ever get their fill of giving me a rough time," said DuRocher, who heard plenty last year when the Huskies lost in Eugene 45-21, a game in which he completed two passes while backing up Isaiah Stanback. "But it is what it is. So it'll be fun to go down there and play again."
And if that latter statement sounds like just the politically correct thing to say, it contains a sentiment that's come to mean a lot more to DuRocher as his college career winds down.
When DuRocher left Oregon early in the 2004 season and ended up at Washington the following spring, he was the first official recruit of the Tyrone Willingham era at UW. Conventional wisdom was DuRocher might earn the starting job immediately.
But it never happened, as an eligibility mix-up and injury cost him his best chances to win the job last year, and he simply fell behind Stanback and Carl Bonnell on the depth chart this year.
Washington @ Oregon, 12:30 p.m., TBS
When the Huskies fully invested this season in a spread-option offense that values mobility and suits Stanback, Bonnell and Jake Locker but not DuRocher, who is more the classic drop-back type, the writing seemed on the wall that he might never have a significant role on the team again.
"Once you become a junior or a senior and you aren't playing as much as you'd like, it's really easy to just be salty and be like, 'You know what? I don't want to do this anymore,' " DuRocher said. "I would be lying if I said there weren't some times when I wasn't like, 'Man, this is horrible.' "
But as this season has gone on, DuRocher said he has come to realize he's better off just enjoying the ride.
And the man he credits with helping turn his attitude is Locker, the freshman from Ferndale whose presence seems only to assure that DuRocher's potential playing time may be limited to the rest of this season.
The two have become, in DuRocher's words, close friends. And DuRocher says, "Having Jake around has really made it a lot more fun for me. Everything to him is still new and exciting and that really helps to be around someone like that."
DuRocher said watching Locker made him realize that, "I'm going to be here. I may as well enjoy it. Why not enjoy fall camp, or two-a-days, as much as possible? It's no fun being miserable."
So DuRocher stuck with it, and Saturday he got his first real reward when he was called to replace Bonnell in the fourth quarter. DuRocher finished off a drive that sent the game with Arizona State into overtime when he threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Sonny Shackelford with 2:19 left.
"It was crazy," DuRocher said. "That was the most fun I've had playing football in four years."
DuRocher admits that, with Bonnell's health initially uncertain, he thought a lot about perhaps making his first start as a Husky against his former team and his former home.
Instead, Bonnell has been cleared to play and is listed as the starter. Still, UW coaches say DuRocher will get more snaps this week in practice as he prepares to be the backup.
Considering that Bonnell is also nursing a sprained left shoulder and has failed to finish three of the four games he has started in his career, the ultimate homecoming could still arise.
And DuRocher is beginning to understand that even if it hasn't all worked out as he hoped, it's still working out.
"Any time you get a chance to go out there and play and play well," he said, referring to Saturday, "it makes it all worth it."
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.