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Spaulding Roundup: Locker's Status, Neuheisel's Thoughts On Washington & Other Notes

Let's start our Humpday roundup with the latest on Jake Locker. Before yesterday's practice Steve Sarkasian called Jake Locker "a game time decision." After practice he didn't change that outlook although he did mentioned Locked looked lot better yesterday than earlier in the week. From Bob Condotta in the Seattle Times:

Sarkisian said that Locker "looked better today than yesterday'' and that he is "optimistic'' that Locker will be able to play Saturday against UCLA.

However, he said again no decision has been made and that he will need to see how Locker makes it through the week.

Locker took part in practice today and Sarkisian said Locker was able to handle what the team asked him to do, but he noted that "we didn't ask him to move around a whole lot.''

He said a key will be "how he looks tomorrow.'' He said again that "I don't want to put him out there and cause further injury down the road.''

He said Locker is in rehab sessions three times a day.

"We're very optimistic,'' Sarkisian said. "He's getting better every day.''

Guess the reporters will frett over Locker's status for another day or two. At this point though we can not only expect Locker to play this Saturday, we can safely assume that Locker will be attacking the Bruin defense with everything he has under his arsenal. Rick Neuhiesel is certainly expecting Locker to play:

As has every coach UW has faced this season, Neuheisel heaped praise on UW QB Jake Locker and said he fully expects Locker to play despite having a deep thigh bruise.

"I'm sure he will be in the game, and what a fabulous player he is,'' Neuheisel said. "He's a truly remarkable guy. I know there are a lot of QBs who get the accolades and because of the programs they are in. But I don't think there's a finer quarterback in the country. I would be shocked if very many would be picked ahead of Locker if he were available.''

Neuheisel as he has been whenever Washington has come up was gracious in his remarks:

"I always have a feeling when we play Washington,'' he said. "I have great memories there. There's no animosity there, if that's what you're asking. I just remember the good times that I had while I was there.'' [...]

As for what he's seen of the Huskies, Neuheisel said that "Sark (Steve Sarkisian) is off to agreat start and they've had a couple of signature-type performances, and it's fun to see Husky Stadium jumping around again.I watched bits and pieces of the USC game and when the camera starts shaking you start harkening back to some very fond memories.''

I wonder when the reporters will get tired of asking him about the same old questions on playing Washington. I am assuming we will have to endure it for at least another year or two. Hopefully in couple of years the reporters will spend their weekly conference calls asking him questions on the actual game and their strategies around it, then the off field drama that has been hashed over millions of times. More notes on the game after the jump.

The LA Times reports that Milton Knox received more reps at practice on Tuesday. He is excited about it:

"Hopefully, that's coming," said Knox, a redshirt freshman.

"I've been fighting all this time to get an opportunity to show what I can do. I just want to help the team."

Neuehisel has confidence in Knox's running ability but he also wants to make sure Knox and his other RBs are aware of their full responsibilites as RBs in Chow's offensvie scheme:

"There is no question he can run the ball, that's why he got recruited," Coach Rick Neuheisel said. "But knowing what to do and where to be and when to be there are all important things."

I am guessing Neuheisel is referring to his RBs (not necessarily just Knox) ability to help out in pass protection scheme. Among the RBs it seems like Knox and Thigpen have the best ability in terms of catching out of backfield. They probably still have to work on their pass protection skills, which I think takes time. Both of them are still 18-19 year old kids often going up against huge upperclassmen. So Knox needs to remain patient and chip away. Still we definitely would love to see our coaches make the best effort to get him and Thigpen in because they seem to have the ability to electrify an offense.

BTW I am curious why we haven't seen Coleman as much in recent weeks. He did struggle against Tennessee's speed and during the dreadful goal line series against Oregon. What I like to see from him is make an effort to fall forward. It seems like everytime he gets hit at the LOS he gets knock backward. Given his huge frame, I think he can gain extra yards by simply powering through and make an effort to fall forward. I think lot of the mixing and matching of our available running backs will work well if our QB and OL develops a consistent rhythm. We saw a hint of it against Oregon State last weekend. The question is whether we can pick it up right where we left off last Sat.

Speaking of the offensive line for those who are following Hasiak story here is the latest from LAT:

The mystery injury to freshman guard Stanley Hasiak remained just that Tuesday . . . a mystery.

Hasiak did not travel to the Oregon State game, because of a "personal health issue" given as the reason. Hasiak went through the entire practice Tuesday, participating on the scout team.

Asked whether Hasiak was going to play again this season, Neuheisel said, "We'll wait and see. I just want to do what's right by Stan and our ballclub. I want him to be fully healthy before getting back in there."

Asked what was wrong with Hasiak, Neuheisel said, "It's a personal issue."

I would strongly recommend everyone refrain from speculating on him until there are facts and he wants to share them with rest of the media. Given we have seen the kind of nonsense from UCLA beat reporters this year, I wouldn't jump to conclusions based on fragmented stories from the daily reports.  We should respect the kid's privacy here on BN.

Staying with the offensive line Ryan Taylor might hold on to right guard spot after last weekend's performance:

Guard Ryan Taylor did well enough against Oregon State to warrant continued work with the first offensive unit this week, coach Rick Neuheisel said.

"Ryan was good; there were a couple of times when he didn't anchor down on some bull rushes," Neuheisel said. "But he'll be that much better after a game under his belt, and we'll see how it goes during practice."

I thought the OL did a better job in terms of not killing themselves with penalties last week. Ryan Talor was pretty good in terms of showing poise on the road in his first start. Now we need our OL to come through for Chow and Prince, and help provide some balance by opening up some holes from Jet Ski, Knox and co. Hopefully they can get started on that with an balanced effort this Saturday.