UW coach, Locker OK on summer baseball

The question came in many different ways to both Huskies head football coach Tyrone Willingham and his sophomore star quarterback Jake Locker. It’s a wonder their heads didn’t spin.

  • Monday, June 2, 2008 4:02pm
  • Sports

UW star quarterback Jake Locker talks to the media during a spring press conference.

‘I have no concerns about it,’ says Willingham

The question came in many different ways to both Huskies head football coach Tyrone Willingham and his sophomore star quarterback Jake Locker. It’s a wonder their heads didn’t spin.

Will Locker miss any football while he plays this summer for the Bellingham Bells of the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League? Is Locker, an all-state pitcher and outfielder during his time at Ferndale High, looking for some career insurance in case of another big hit to the scrambling quarterback? Will this affect the quarterback’s performance next season?

The answers from both Willingham and Locker varied, but came to the same point: It’s not a big deal. Let the kid compete.

“Football is still my passion and my love,” Locker said, surrounded by media at UW’s pre-spring football press conference Tuesday. “But baseball is a game I missed, and I’ve got an opportunity to play a little bit this summer when time is permitting.

“It’s something I feel will make my life more enjoyable this summer, and I didn’t want to pass up that opportunity.”

While Locker added that he will not miss any football obligations during the summer, Willingham spent more time praising his quarterback for the improvements made on the football field, rather than what he might be doing on the baseball diamond.

“I know Jake is highly motivated to be a great football player,” Willingham said. “I have no concerns about it. We love having our kids compete.”

Willingham added that he is excited at the prospects of the upcoming season, especially with the improvements his young quarterback has made.

“Last year was a tremendous education for him, especially with the caliber of the teams we played,” Willingham said. “There is no question that Jake has progressed.”

Locker, the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year last season, set a school record for rushing yards as a quarterback with 986. He also threw for more yards (2,062) then any other freshman quarterback in UW history.

But the freshman struggled at times, completing only 47.3 percent of his passes.

“I want to complete more passes this year,” Locker said. “We’ve got a really talented group of receivers with a lot of ability and a lot of potential. If they’re able to understand the offense, they’ll be able to play full speed and it will be tough for other teams to contain them.”

The Huskies began spring practice Thursday. Today is the first day the team will be practicing in full pads.

Former Wolverines lose spots

Two players who will not be with the Huskies today are linebacker E.J. Savannah and running back J.R. Hasty, two former Bellevue High School stars.

Both Hasty and Savannah are not with the team for what Willingham described as a “failure to live up to the responsibilities of the football team.

“Right now EJ and J.R Hasty will not be, at this date involved in spring practice.,” Willingham said. “They are still eligible and they can be back at any time.”

Willingham said neither of the players are in legal trouble.

Both players are juniors who had illustrious careers at Bellevue High School, graduating in the class of 2005.

Savannah, who led the Huskies in tackles with 111, will be replaced on the first string defense by junior Joshua Gage. Hasty, who missed the 2006 season due to academic problems, was expected to compete for the vacated starting running back position. Sophomore Brandon Johnson is currently listed as the No. 1 running back.

Hasty also briefly quit the team last season before returning. Willingham said the “window is still open” for Hasty to make a significant contribution to the team.

Bellevue pair join team

Joining the Huskies this spring will be two former Bellevue High School standouts transferring from other colleges, Brandon Lopez and Mick Connors.

Lopez, a long snapper, spent last season redshirting for the University of Michigan. During his four seasons at Bellevue High, the Wolverines went 49-3, winning three state titles. Lopez was named the KingCo Defensive Player of the Year his senior year, and was an All-KingCo linebacker and offensive lineman.

Connors, a 5-foot-11 defensive back, attended the University of San Diego last season and redshirted for the football team.

Both are freshman in terms of eligibility.

Joel Willits can be reached at 425-453-4270 ext 5060 or at jwillits@reporternewspapers.com.

More in Sports

Interlake Saints senior pitcher Nick Bentsen will anchor his team’s pitching staff during the 2018 season. Shaun Scott/staff photo
Senior leadership exuded by the Saints baseball squad

Interlake softball team focused on taking the next step

​Shaun Scott, staff photo
                                Mary Catherine Tolbert, Kama Boswell and Montana Jones are the team captains for the Bellevue Wolverines softball team.
Martin is the new Wolverines softball head coach

Bellevue baseball team is focused on making a postseason run

Sammamish Totems senior catcher Noah Shaw earned Class 2A all-state honors as a junior during the 2017 season. Shaw, who played third base last season, will be the Totems’ starting catcher this spring. Shaun Scott/staff photo
Totems baseball team is focused on the fundamentals

Sammamish youthful softball squad is focused on continued improvement.

Shortstop Lexsi Barashkoff, senior Taylor Woodey, senior Bridget Johnson and senior Elliet Bradshaw will be four key players during the 2018 season for the Newport Knights. Shaun Scott/staff photo
Mamon to lead Knights softball program

Knights baseball squad is looking to take the next step.

Bellevue Christian seniors Annie Whitton, Katie Pippel, Jasmine Hathaway and Celine LaBossier are striving to bring home a trophy from the Class 1A state tournament in their final year of high school softball. Shaun Scott/staff photo
Vikings softball team wants to place at the Class 1A state tournament

Bellevue Christian softball team is led by strong senior class.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Landes
                                Bellevue Wolverines head football coach Mark Landes announced his resignation in early March after leading the program for the past two seasons. Landes had an overall record of 16-3 during his two-year tenure. Bellevue lost to the O’Dea Fighting Irish 34-33 in double overtime in the Class 3A state semifinals on Nov. 25, 2017.
Bellevue High School head football coach resigns

Bellevue Wolverines head football coach Mark Landes made one of the toughest… Continue reading

Jemal makes USA Junior National ultimate team

Adam Jemal of Bellevue, an alumnus of the Three Cedars Waldorf School… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of Don Borin/Stop Action Photography
                                Newport 285-pound senior Charlie Baumann pins Emerald Ridge sophomore Jonah Mains in the first round of the Mat Classic Class 4A 285-pound tournament on Feb. 16. Baumann caught Mains in one of his favorite moves, the head and arm.
Baumann rises to the occasion at Mat Classic

Newport Knights senior 285-pound wrestler Charlie Baumann has a motor that never… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of Patrick Krohn/Patrick Krohn Photography
                                Newport Knights senior Vanessa Hsia, who is one of three team captains, battled for position for a rebound with a Skyline player in a loser-out playoff game on Feb. 15 at Lake Washington High School in Kirkland. Skyline defeated Newport 72-57. The Knights finished the 2017-18 season with an overall record of 14-7.
Spartans defeat Knights in loser-out playoff game

The Newport Knights girls basketball team’s resiliency and determination was on display… Continue reading

Most Read