PROVO University of Washington sophomore quarterback Jake Locker has the full attention of BYU's defense as the No. 15 Cougars prepare for their first road trip of the season, a visit to Seattle to face the Huskies.
Locker is 6-foot-3, 222 pounds, and broke the Pac-10 record for rushing yards for a quarterback (896) his freshman year. Locker is extremely quick, and his size poses a problem for defenders who let him get some running room.
BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall told reporters this week he's seen 11 game films of Locker, and the Husky star is the real deal.
"I haven't seen a team yet that was able to run him down," said Mendenhall. "He's physical with the football and makes great decisions. He's difficult to tackle, and he might be the fastest player on their team and certainly would be the fastest player on our team, and that combination presents all kinds of problems."
Defensive coordinator Jaime Hill made it simple: "He's fast, he's fast, he's just fast."
Max Hall admires Locker.
"He's just an athletic dude and he just makes plays," said Hall. "That's what I admire about him. He's a scrapper and runs around and makes things happen. He does a lot of good things. You can tell he's the leader of the team, and that's what a leader has to do. He's fun to watch and even more fun to go up against and battle."
Cougar defensive end Jan Jorgensen said the BYU defense respects Locker and will have its hands full.
To stop him, a key is keeping him in the pocket.
"You can't let him get room to run and start making plays with his feet and use his speed," said Jorgensen.
As for the Cougar offense, Hall said BYU will need to clean up some mistakes when it enters Pac-10 territory and plays Washington.
Offensive coordinator Robert Anae expressed his disappointment in "focus" by the offense in the third quarter of Saturday's 41-17 win over Northern Iowa, but Hall didn't see it as a total breakdown in the squad's focus.
"It really can turn around in just one play," Hall said. "I don't think it was a lack of focus. If you watch the film, we marched down the field and then had that fumble (in the third quarter). Unfortunately, the next series we went three and out and then the next series we had another fumble.
"I think the execution was there. I don't think we were spacey out there, we just had some guys with little game experience make some mistakes, and that happens."
EXTRA POINTS: Hall's performance last Saturday proved outstanding. He completed 18 of 21 passes for 276 yards on first-down plays alone. Statistics expert Paul Pocock claims in 8,300 NCAA games from 2001 to 2006, Hall became the only college QB to complete more than 80 percent of his passes and average more than 11 yards per attempt in more than 40 attempts for one game (Northern Iowa). ... Freshman O'Neil Chambers ranks ninth nationally in kickoff returns with a 33.67-yard average 101 yards in three attempts. ... Austin Collie returned kicks with Chambers in Tuesday's practice. ... Several freshmen who couldn't sing BYU's fight song had to roll on the ground for seven to 10 minutes after Monday's practice.
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