SEATTLE — The blame game is going around regarding the dropped passes that have become a problem for Washington’s offense in the past two games.
Quarterback Jake Locker is placing the blame on Jake Locker. While receiver Marcel Reece, who has had a few costly drops in the Huskies’ past two games, said that Marcel Reece is the problem.
Bad hands have become a problem, but at least pointing fingers have not.
“I just have to make a little bit more accurate throws, maybe take a little bit off the ball, so that’s on me,” said Locker. “We’ll get that worked out.”
“We didn’t drop balls in camp, I didn’t drop balls in camp,” he said. “I put it on myself. I consider myself a leader on this team and a leader of the wide receiver corps, and it’s unacceptable to be dropping balls. I can’t expect anyone else to catch every pass if I’m not doing it myself. I’ve just got to get back to concentrating and making big plays.”
For Locker, arm strength is clearly not a problem—as a pitcher at Ferndale he was clocked in the mid 90s—but touch has been, he admitted.
“That’s one of the things that I think comes with becoming a good quarterback at this level,” he said. “In high school, I kind of just threw everything as hard as I could and it worked out some of the time, but I had ones that were going off of people’s hands. It wasn’t as big of a deal then. So that’s something that you need to learn, which passes you need to put a little extra on there to get it in there. There are some times you have to do that, but there are a lot more times when you need to put a little more touch on it.”
He said he’s trying to communicate with receivers about his touch.
“I ask them, ‘Did I throw that one a little hard? Did it get on you a little fast?’” he said. “It’s something that’s kind of hard, because you don’t really think about that in the heat of the game.”
Locker still has full confidence in his receivers, despite a few too many drops.
“When I make a bad pass, they don’t lose confidence in me, and maybe when they have a chance to make a play, I don’t lose confidence in them,” he said. “I trust those guys, and I’ll go to those guys as many times as I need to.”
Backup back: Aside from tailback Louis Rankin and Locker, few Huskies are carrying the ball for the Huskies. That’s something Tyrone Willingham would like to see change.
“That’s been a concern for us,” he said. “Not just this year but in the last couple of years, making sure we have Louis at the end of the season. We’ll monitor that, but I think right now he’s in good shape.”
J.R. Hasty came into fall camp as the No. 2 tailback, but has been slowed by an ankle injury and been pushed by freshmen Brandon Johnson and Curtis Shaw. Hasty has only one carry this season that came late in the Huskies’ first game.
Willingham was non-committal on whether Hasty would see more action this weekend.
“He might,” Willingham answered when asked if Hasty would carry the ball more against UCLA. “I see some improvement in his ankle. I don’t think that’s all that’s keeping him out of the lineup. I think some of the other guys are making some good plays, so therefore we’re looking at what they can do also.”
Injury update: Willingham had no updates on the team’s injury situation. Cornerback Byron Davenport (hamstring), linebacker Dan Howell (knee) and Johnson (bruised ribs) missed the Ohio State game, but are listed on this week’s depth chart.
Players of the week: Fullback Paul Homer (offense), tackle Daniel Te’o-Nesheim (defense) and Rankin (special teams) earned player of the week honors. Scout team winners were quarterback Ronnie Fouch (offense), linebacker Cort Dennnison (defense) and cornerback Marquis Persley (special teams).