Fouch Has Experience In The Pocket

Aug. 20, 2009

by Michael Jeremiah

In one play against Stanford last year, Ronnie Fouch went from a freshman quarterback with kick holding duties to one of the youngest starting quarterbacks in the Pac-10 Conference. With Jake Locker being led to the locker room for examination of a broken thumb, the offense was handed to Fouch under the lights of Husky Stadium. For the next eight games, Fouch ran the show for the Huskies in his first year of action in college football.

'Last year was good to get experience,' said Fouch. 'But we are looking forward to this season and getting a new start. We're looking forward to a great year.'

The 2009 season has Fouch back working with the second-string in fall camp, giving the Huskies an experienced backup to work with the second unit. In the Huskies' first full scrimmage of fall camp, Fouch showed the experience of a full season of Pac-10 play. Fouch passed for 89 yards and two touchdowns during the scrimmage, hitting Anthony Boyles for 16 yards and Cody Bruns for 15 yards, both completions in the end zone.

The passing offense was not the star on offense though, as the rushing attack was in the spotlight under the direction of Fouch, Locker and freshman Keith Price.

'I felt like our offense was in a rhythm and got comfortable in the first half,' said Fouch. 'We made a couple of mistakes in the second half as far as lining up and offsides. I felt like we got into a rhythm and our running backs made some plays.'

That rhythm can be attributed to the increase of familiarity with the new offensive system that Coach Steve Sarkisian, offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier and the staff are installing. The quarterback is one of the most important players to have locked in to the system, and the improvement is there.

'[We] are getting more comfortable with the offense and learning to be smarter with the ball,' said Fouch. 'We get off our progression when they're not there and check it down to the back. That's one thing that these coaches are really trying to hone in with us.'

The arrival of Sarkisian and Nussmeier gives the quarterbacks two new mentors to learn from. Sarkisian's reputation as a quarterback guru, mentoring first round picks like Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart and Mark Sanchez during his time at USC, and Nussmeier's playing and coaching experience in the NFL make it an exciting time to be a Husky quarterback.

The scrimmage allowed the coaches to take a more hands-on approach. Sarkisian is a constant presence around the quarterback at practice and is helping to lead the quarterbacks along with Nussmeier.

'They try to let us play and make our own decisions but they are quick to tell us right after the play what we did wrong or what we should look for during stuff like that,' said Fouch.

With a new coaching staff and a wealth of experience, Fouch seems poised to grow with the new offense as a sophomore this year. The knowledge that he is again one snap away from leading the team is motivating him to get a handle on the offense and give Washington another valuable arm under center.

'I'm more prepared this year,' said Fouch. 'Last year I wasn't as ready as I am now. I just need to get comfortable with the offense and keep getting better so that when my time comes, I'll be ready.'

Check here later for a brief update from Thursday's practice, photos from the day and a post-practice video from Coach Sarkisian.

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