And so the post-Jake Locker era begins.
What’s In Store For Washington in 2011?
Is that such a horrible thing for the University of Washington? Sure, the Tennessee Titans still graded Locker out as a first-round NFL talent, but it’s not like he led the Huskies to the promised land last season.
Aside from the high of toppling Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl, Washington was largely a bust in 2010, going 7-6.
Does that mean it could improve in 2011?
Locker’s replacement, Keith Price, may be a better fit for the offense. Washington is a run-first team and Price is comfortable making plays with his feet. If he struggles, don’t be surprised if freshman Nick Montana, son of Joe, gets his shot.
The name alone should earn him some snaps.
In theory, the running game remains in good hands with Chris Polk. He was the team’s bellcow last year, totalling 1,415 yards with nine scores on 260 carries, and many scouts believe he’ll be a first-round pick in the NFL someday soon. Problem: Polk just had surgery on his meniscus and may not be ready for Week 1.
Factoring in the QB change, it seems inevitable that Washington’s offense will start slowly this season.
What should we expect from the Huskies’ defense? They were strong against the pass a year ago, ranking 27th in the nation; their secondary returns starters Nate Fellner and Desmond Trufant (Marcus’ brother).
But will their run defense once again be horrendous? Washington allowed 192.7 yards per game on the ground last season.
Considering that the Huskies said goodbye to all-Pac-12 linebackers Victor Aiyewa and Mason Foster this offseason, I have to think this team will have a heck of a time stopping the run again.
The schedule doesn’t do Washington any favors this season, either, as it includes some great offenses. The Huskies may survive against Hawaii’s high-octane passing attack in Week 2 but Nebraska could run wild against them in Week 3.
Trips to Stanford and USC look scary and it’s especially terrifying to wonder what LaMichael James might do to Washington when Oregon visits on November 5.
It hurts to type these words, Washington fans, but the Huskies blew their chance when Locker was still attending UW. It’s time to rebuild now. A brutal run defense and rebuilding passing game will keep Washington from doing much this season.
2011 Season Prediction:
The Huskies will have to work hard just to play in a bowl game.