Purple Dominates Annual Spring Football Game
April 28, 2007
SEATTLE (AP) -
SEATTLE (AP -- For one day, anyway, phenom Jake Locker didn'tlook as good as Carl Bonnell. He didn't complete as many passes.Had fewer touchdowns. Even had an interception.
But Bonnell could have looked like Dan Marino duringWashington's spring game on Saturday, and Locker still would be theHuskies' starter on Aug. 31 at Syracuse. And then against BoiseState, Ohio State, UCLA, Southern California, et al., this season.
'I've been saying it all along, in all different manners andmethods of saying it: Jake Locker is our No. 1 quarterback. AndCarl Bonnell is our No. 2 quarterback,' Huskies coach TyroneWillingham said.
Locker, a redshirt freshman and former high school superstarfrom Ferndale, completed just 4 of 8 passes for 38 yards with onetouchdown and an interception Saturday.
Bonnell was 8-for-15 for 127 yards and three scoring passes. Heand Locker's starter-filled Purple team beat the reserves on theGold 44-7 before an estimated crowd of 10,000 at sun-splashed HuskyStadium.
Even before spring drills began three weeks ago, Willinghamdeclared Locker to be the starter ahead of Bonnell, the 23-year-oldsenior who replaced injured Isaiah Stanback and started the lastfive games for last season's 5-7 team.
So how close is the competition between the Huskies' supposedsavior and Bonnell after 14 practices and Saturday's show?
Willingham smiled and stretched his arms as far out to each sideas he could.
'That far,' the coach said.
'I don't worry about those stats,' offensive coordinator TimLappano added, after Bonnell looked better than Locker did againstthird- and fourth-stringers on the Gold defense. 'The only thing Iworry about is wins.'
Locker did not get to showcase his vaunted speed much becausethe quarterbacks were exempt from contact Saturday. Willinghamestimated Locker ran only about '1/12th' of the offense he'll berunning in four months.
'I actually felt really comfortable throwing the ball,' Lockersaid. The lack of running all month has made him focus more onbecoming what he wants to be known as -- a complete passer, he said.
'I felt comfortable in the pocket. I threw the ball to theright spots -- I think every time.'
On his first play, Locker calmly received a shotgun snap andzipped a dart-like pass that stuck into the chest of tight endMichael Gottlieb. He then bobbled his second snap, tripped whilerolling out on his second pass play, and threw a short pass off thearm of defensive end Cesar Rayford.
But he ended the uneven series with a perfectly lofted pass onfourth down to Marcel Reece in the back of the end zone. Reece, ajunior-college transfer who started one game last season but willhave a much larger role this fall, made a juggling, one-handedcatch for a 2-yard touchdown.
Reece had two more scores on throws from Bonnell, who has saidall month that he understands his role in helping Locker'stransition to being Washington's starter for the next four seasons.
Locker and Bonnell alternated series throughout. On the firstdrive of the third quarter, Locker showed off the speed that hasWashington considering even more running plays than it did in thelast two seasons for Stanback, a track sprinter.
Locker took the shotgun snap and simply bolted past everyonearound left end for nine yards before stepping out of bounds.
That drive ended with Locker pump-faking a pass on a stop-and-goroute by Anthony Russo. Locker took far longer than defenses suchas Ohio State and USC will give him before lofting a deep pass toofar right to the open Russo. Redshirt freshman Jay Angotti racedover to make a leaping interception at the goal line.
'All spring, I got better,' said Locker, who said he feels heknows the offense thoroughly because of the season he watched lastfall. 'There are things that I definitely have to improve on, andI'm looking forward to working them out.
'But that's what the summer's for.'
The other intrigue on offense is returning tailback Louis Rankinstarting ahead of former Bellevue High School star J.R. Hasty.Rankin ran 16 times for 99 yards against the reserves, including a42-yard score in which he ran from one side of the field to theother.
Hasty, with the Gold, ran for 35 yards on 10 carries against thefirst- and second-team defense. Both tailbacks -- the only two onthe depth chart until freshmen report in August -- got praise fromLappano for their work all month.