USC coach Carroll raves about UW’s Locker

SEATTLE — The Jake Locker Fan Club appears to have a new member.

USC coach Pete Carroll has now joined coaches all around the country in singing the praises of Washington’s quarterback. In what has become a weekly event, the coach of Washington’s next opponent gushed about the dual-threat quarterback.

First there was Syracuse’s Greg Robinson, then Boise State’s Chris Petersen. Not long after, Jim Tressel and Karl Dorrell raved about Locker. Now it’s Carroll’s turn.

“I can’t help but just be totally attracted by what Jake’s done,” Carroll said in a teleconference Monday. “He is really, really an outstanding football player for a first-time-around freshman. Much like last year, the quarterback spot draws such focus because you you’ve got such a great playmaker there. Running, he’s a terrific runner, and he looks like a pocket quarterback as well. It’s rare that you feel that threat on both ends. He’s only going to get better as he goes. This experience that he’s had already has improved him. He’s just a remarkably competitive guy.”

Carroll also said nice things about the Huskies and other offensive players, but even when he tried to do that, he couldn’t help but go back to Locker.

“There’s a lot of guys in this offense, but Jake draws so much attentions because he’s such a big part of it,” he said. “I’ve always thought Louis [Rankin] is a good player and good runner, and [Anthony] Russo is good. They’ve got a lot of good players, but Jake is just, I’m just blown away by how good he is … He’s just as much of a threat as a guy can be right now.”

Locker wasn’t quite as kind when assessing his performance Saturday, specifically when it came to throwing the ball. He said he felt good about the way he played in the fourth quarter, but that he missed too many passes in the first three quarters. One of the culprits, he said, might have been his footwork.

“My feet were in the wrong place a couple of times,” said Locker. “I got kind of crazy with my feel a little bit, which I haven’t had a problem the last couple of weeks, so it’s something I really need to focus on this week in practice, and we should be alright next week.”

New starting corner? The only change on this week’s depth chart was the listing of Byron Davenport as a possible starter at cornerback along with Vonzell McDowell Jr. and Matt Mosley. McDowell started the first three games at the cornerback spot opposite Roy Lewis, but Mosley started in his place against UCLA.

Davenport had missed all but four plays this season with injuries to both hamstrings coming into the UCLA game. He played mostly in nickel defensive packages in the first half against the Bruins, but played more in the second half.

“We’re not sure yet,” Tyrone Willingham said when asked who would start this week. “We’ll go through the week and see how that unfolds. But it is nice to have Byron in the mix, it give us one more body to work with. Hopefully that competition allows us to be much more competitive and hopefully continue to improve our play.

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