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Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?

Sep 29, 2009, 10:30 AM EDT

Surrounded by thousands of crazed college students, Pete Carroll gave up trying to find new Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian on the field, settling for a congratulatory embrace in the tunnel below Husky Stadium after Washington toppled USC 16-13 two Saturdays ago.

While Carroll had to be shocked that his Trojans could once again fall to a double-digit underdog in the Pac-10, his thoughts on the player who led the thrilling upset were crystal clear.

“That’s the best quarterback we’ve played in nine years here,” Carroll said. “Jake Locker has ridiculous talent, and had he remained healthy last year, Tyrone would still be coaching there.”

When pressed a few days later to reconsider his comments, Carroll didn’t back away from them, even after he was reminded of the game Texas quarterback Vince Young played in the 2006 Rose Bowl.

“I’m not saying he played the greatest game ever against us,” Carroll said later. “I think the guy from Texas did.

“But I just think he’s one of the really, really fine complete athletes. I don’t know why I’m blowing him up all the time, but I just really like the guy.

“I think this guy is the best quarterback we’ve played against.”

It’s no secret that Locker has been the key to the renaissance at Washington. He’s been praised for his athletic gifts since he arrived on campus in Seattle, a rare blend of power running and passing that had many believing he was the West Coast’s version of Tim Tebow. Now many consider him the class of the Pac-10 at quarterback and a more promising professional prospect than Tebow.

(Football isn’t the only sport where he’s a pro prospect. Even though he’s mostly stopped playing baseball while in college, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim paid Locker a six-figure signing bonus to control his professional rights for the next six years.)

Taking a closer look at Locker’s numbers presents us a different story. In Sarkisian’s pro style West Coast offense, Locker’s numbers are far from those you’d expect from someone Carroll presents as the best quarterback he’s played against.

Take away his performance against Idaho, where Locker went 17 of 25 for 253 yards and 3 touchdown passes, Jake is completing 55 percent of his throws, for only 6.7 yards per attempt, while tossing 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Even his prodigious rushing talents have been negated in Sark’s new offense. And while anyone who watched the Huskies beat the Trojans know that Locker relied on his legs to keep plays alive, he’s far from the option-running quarterback that Willingham unleashed back in 2007.

The Irish rank a woeful 106th against the pass, allowing opponents to complete 61 percent of their passes while throwing for an average of around 260 yards per game. Locker is the most esteemed quarterback the Irish will face, with all apologies to Colin Kaepernick of Nevada, and I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if Locker put up better numbers than Tate Forcier, Kirk Cousins, or Joey Elliot. But the question still needs to be asked, why is there such universal agreement on Jake Locker?

I think the answer most likely comes from the untapped potential many see in the junior quarterback. He’s the prototype that many coaches and talent evaluators look for: great size, great speed, great arm, great athlete, but a player still rough around the edges. For scouts and coaches, it’s much more exciting to find an unfinished product, and mold him into the player they envision.

Locker presents the Irish’s stiffest test from an opposing quarterback, as he’s shown that he can beat teams in a variety of ways. Yet his past performances point out that the very talented signal-caller still has a ways to go before reaching his potential.

  1. Brian C. - Oct 1, 2009 at 2:19 AM

    I guarantee ya’ll that the IRISH WILL WIN BIG THIS WEEK…The offense should be getting better w/ JClausen getting used to the other receivers and the defense is showing improvement. I will be vastly disappointed if we don’t blow out U-Dub…No excuses. They should have learned enough lessons from the last 2 years and this year. LET’S GO!!!

  2. robertg - Oct 1, 2009 at 4:31 AM

    locker is the real deal and so are washington’s offense and defense and the new coaching staff(the new head coach and defensive coordinator spent years at usc).
    if the pac 10 supplies an honest ref crew, notre dame will win this game and, while doing so, get a preview of usc.
    while winning big is always nice.
    while notre dame can make a big blowout happen, provided that the pac 10 refs are honest, with a combination of clausen and crist at qb and many leprechaut formations( the notre dame version of wildcat, with allen, tate,crist and riddick doubling as wrs and rbs and crist and john goodman( yes, goodman practiced extensively as the qb in many leprechaut positions before this season began and is a fine qb) as doubling as wrs, rbs, and qbs), this washington team is the real deal with the key weakness are challenging the washington secondary through the air, something which opens up the running came.
    usc is a completey one dimensional team this season with no decent qb, despite having a number of fine wrs. once washington shut down then usc passing game, wasshington simply ignored the usc passing attack and loaded the box against the usc running game.
    a similar approach against stanford the next week simply did not work.
    stanford had enough of a passing attack, although not very much of one, to open up stanford’s running game.
    the washington game deserves to be taken very seriously and we are very happy that charlie and his staff and notre dame are taking the washington game very seriously and watching both the game films of this year’s washington games and last year’s usc games since that is where washington’s coaches were last year and for several years before bailing out from petey and his baggage and moving on to washington..
    if a dishonest ref crew shows up at this game and even tries to rob notre dame of another win, we will take all of their material assets in the civil courts, along with those of jim muldoon and dave cutaia, the pac 10 conference officials currently in charge of football ref and tech review quality control.
    the new pac 10 commissioner, larry scott, seems perfectly honest so far.
    the washington/ notre dame will be a lot of fun to watch.
    GO IRISH!!!

  3. robertg - Oct 1, 2009 at 5:08 AM

    we are informed that the notre dame sports information department prefers the spelling leprecat and we will defer to them.
    in addition, anyone who wants to get a closer look at the trash work of eric hansen and his associate hansenites need only look at the online version of the south bend tribune and at the self generated bash nd and weis comments from so-called notre dame fans below each article by hansen and lesar.
    GO IRISH!!!

  4. Jimmy - Oct 1, 2009 at 10:20 AM

    ok guys. this is going to be the irish’s first game against a team without a losing record. Defense needs to somehow step up. teo needs to start and stay in the game. sit torian smith. Clausen needs numbers if hes healthy. He is one of the best passers in the league but stat wise he took a step back last week. that shouldnt matter so much because he comanded the team to an amazing win. however hiesman voter hate nd. there are no easy games left on this schedual.
    GO IRISH!!

  5. Jim - Oct 1, 2009 at 12:24 PM

    first game against a team w/o a losing record???
    what about Michigan?….I believe they are un-defeated!!!
    Go Dawgs-

  6. robertg - Oct 1, 2009 at 1:42 PM

    you are correct, michigan, courtesy of 2 crooked big 10 ref and tech reviews crews at the notre dame and indiana games, is still undefeated on paper, although 2 of those wins on paper will be turened into forfeit losses in the civil courts before the 2009 season ends.
    no one at notre dame is taking the huskies lightly at all.
    we will be watching the pac 10 or other ref crew very carefully, not that we think that washington has ever been involved in the crooked reffing at the pac 10 conference in any way, or ever would be.
    the names of the responsible pac 10 conference officials in charge of football reffing and tech reviewing are jim muldoon and dave cutaia, who both have long histories of involvent in crooked colleger football enterprises and in coverups for crooked pac 10 refs and a new, honest pac 10 commissioner, larry scott, who will clean out muldoon and cutaia and their associates, but who simply may not be able to clean out the pac 10 crooked ref and tech reviewer rats’ nest during the 2009 season.
    the 14 point sports bookie spread is not rational, but it is certainly enough to draw in some bookies looking for a fix and a big financial score. however, the knowledge that many people and agencies, including the fbi,will be watching the refs and the cash flows on the bets very closely.
    the tech review crew should be from the big east conference.
    we know that both notre dame and washington want an honestly called game and we anticipate a fine college football game.
    however, for us, it is GO IRISH, but with all due respect to a fine washington huskie team and to some coaches who were very wise to get as far away from pete carroll and usc as they could.

  7. ryanw - Oct 1, 2009 at 2:18 PM

    get over the refs man and get off this blog.

  8. McG - Oct 1, 2009 at 2:27 PM

    robertg – I’d be more worried about alien’s abducting the ND football game before the game than the refs. (Seriously, I’ve been watching and they’re ploting something scandalous!)

  9. Irishmannoirishfan - Oct 1, 2009 at 3:17 PM

    Hey robertg, is your inability to spell or punctuate an indication of your fine Notre Dame education?

  10. Notsofast - Oct 1, 2009 at 5:56 PM

    For those ND fans that aren’t privy to Pac-10 football in the midwest and are constantly stuck watching boring Big-10 football, I just have to tell you Locker is scary good. I bet many wrote UW off as a win, but I’d revisit that logic. I know UW is 0-7 all time against ND, but every team is due. Clausen is a good player and more polished than Locker, but Locker is by far the better athlete playing with much less talent than ND. It’s not going to be the laugher you’re used to; nonetheless, it’s going to be a great game.
    The point spread is steadily falling. America isn’t too confident that ND is going to win by more than one score. Bounce Back win- 34-31 DAWGS

  11. mjpundit - Oct 2, 2009 at 11:44 AM

    Lord, you know the Irish are one of my top ten hated teams of all time–overrated, yet with TV executives standing by to give them a wax job on a moment’s notice.
    But Lord, you know I hate the Huskies even more, having lived in their midst and having been persecuted by them during the Don James years. And the blasphemies from their mouths lately–saying You wear purple and gold, and that Locker is your Son.
    So Lord, if you see fit, please lend Notre Dame your righteous strength, and let them smite the UW with vigor, and frequently, so that the Huskies might know humility, and suffer greatly for their transgressions against others, and learn to accept their place at the bottom of the Pac-10 ladder.
    Thank You.Amen.

  12. robertg - Oct 3, 2009 at 5:39 AM

    for family reasons, i turned down a full academic scholarship to notre dame and graduated summa cum laude and phi beta kappa(top 2% of the class) from fordham university(which offered me even more money than notre dame, allowed me to make a substantial profit every one of my years at fordham, to send the excess funds to my parents and family members who needed the money, and to be close to elderly members of my family in the new york area who needed my personal assistance on a daily basis), and from law school at yale university, editor of the yale law journal and director of the yale moot court of appeals(yale law school does not calculate class rankings or give out any other honors,while i was a student there, aside from those that i won).
    i also completed the bulk of the work for my masters degree in economics at yale graduate school and would have stayed on at yale for my phd in economics, but for an offer from a big wall street law firm that was too good to turn down and permitted me to buy a house for my parents.
    in over 30 years, i am undefeated in jury trials, as is true of every one of the other attorneys(while we have many friends who are notre dame graduates,we have excluded them from participation in this projectfor political reasons) who have been gathering evidence with me on crooked reffing and rules enforcement at the conference and ncaa levels.
    every one of the attorneys in our informal group, including me, has authored numbers of books and scholarly articles in the legal field.
    while we all admire the honesty and integrity with which notre dame and some other schools run their football program, i am the only notre dame fan in our group.
    we run into brain dead idiots and internet thugs like you(usually hansenite types or shills for the opposition) in our civil rico cases all of the time.
    we have heard before and seen in writing the same type of garbage that some of you people put on the internet and much worse, along with many threats of physical violence against ourselves and our families.
    the hot shots who used to run enron and mci worldcom told and wrote to us the very same things before we hit them with our civil rico cases.
    since the outcomes of the enron and mci worldcom civil rico cases are a matter of public record, you can look up the outcomes on the internet.
    we just never back off and we never lose jury trials in the civil courts.
    fortunately, matters like these are decided in real courtrooms before real judges and juries based on the evidence.
    if you are so inclined, we invite you to come out from your hiding places(everyone knows who we are) and try to appear as witnesses at real court trials, if any of you have the guts to do so.
    you might also attempt to produce any real evidence that the current ref and tech review systems are honest.
    try concentrating, after you read the ncaa rules book for football, purchase the game films of every bcs college football game going back through the 2005 season, and hire the experts from the nfl to break down every single game film for dishonest(not just iffy calls) ref calls on the oklahoma/oregon game film from the game which was played at oregon with a dishonest pac 10 ref and tech review crew(you might contact coach stoops of oklahoma about this game and his policy of refusing to schedule any games in which pac 10 ref or tech review cres will be involved), the 2005 notre dame/usc game(all pac 10 ref crew, there was no tech review crew since petey, for obvious reasons, declined to have one present, which was an option that season) , the 2006 notre dame/michigan game( all big 10 refs and tech review crews), the 2007 notre dame/stanford game( film clips of the 2 dishonest calls which robbed notre dame or 14 points can be seen at under football and under greatest plays of the charlie weis era), even though notre dame won that game despite the dishonest officiating, and, of course, the 2009 notre dame/michigan game( all big 10 ref and tech review crews), with special emphasis on allen’s td which was called back with every bit of film evidence contradicting the calls of the onfield refs and the tech review crews) and the 2009 notre dame/michigan state game(big 10 refs), even though notre dame won that game despite the dishonest reffing from the big 10 ref crew.
    also let us know why, after the 2006 season, notre dame cancelled its decades old agreement with the big 10 conference to provide ref and tech review crews for all notre dame away games and substituted big east ref crews.
    there was a big 10 ref and tech review crew at the 2009 notre dame/michigan game because a provision in the game contract entered into before charlie weis took over at notre dame altering the usual rule that the visiting team brings the ref crew to all way games.
    given their public statements and conduct, coach stoops of oklahoma, charlie weis, joe paterno, steve spurrier,urban meyer. and numerous other prominent college football coaches agree with our evidence and conclusions on crooked reffing and tech reviewing and rules enforcement in college football at the conference and ncaa levels.
    you people obviously are more qualified than every one of these coaches are, although you decline to give the public any information on your backgrounds, for reasons which we completely understand.
    we are not at all sorry to make people like you unhappy.
    in fact, we enjoy doing so and we would just love to have you show up in a real courtroom before a real judge and jury and try your tactics on a witness stand under oath.
    did you people inherit your stupidity or become stupid on your own?
    however, please keep up your posts for the entertainment value.
    we really need geeks like you for good laugh breaks from real work.
    GO IRISH!!
    no, i never proof read or spell check internet postings or emails. i save things like that for court and business documents and for books and articles. i all the style stream of consciousness with a lot of hard evidence included.
    are you hiding your attacks on the hard evidence?

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