No word about the NFL Draft proceedings came during the Huskies’ near two-hour practice Thursday, but it didn’t take long for quarterback Jake Locker to find out who was selected No. 1.
It was the quarterback who returned for his fourth season.
It was Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford.
And for all intents and purposes, the revelation made Locker – widely considered the odds-on favorite to be taken No. 1 in 2011 – one satisfied dude.
“I think it’s a good message for everybody that you can come back and play your senior year, and still fulfill your NFL dreams and aspirations at the level you could have the year before,” Locker told four or five reporters after practice Thursday.
“It’s a good message for everybody in college football.”
The post-practice plan for Locker was simple:
• Shower, get dressed, go to his house in Seattle and watch the second half of the first round.
• On Friday, see where UW linebacker Donald Butler goes.
• Hopefully early Saturday, see where UW defensive end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim ends up.
“It’s exciting when you play with guys … for four years,” Locker said. “And it’s fun to see them make that step to the next level.”
Locker doesn’t know Bradford very well, but he has gotten to know Notre Dame product Jimmy Clausen, with whom he’s attended a couple of quarterback camps.
“I haven’t (talked to him this week),” Locker said. “I’m sure he has a lot going on, don’t want to bother him with any more than he needs. Once it all settles down, I think I’ll give him a call to see how the whole process went for him.”
That’s not to say Locker hasn’t been unaware of how many interviews, or how many times Bradford has showed up on television this week leading up to the draft. This is how No. 1 gets treated.
“I’m sure he’s had a lot of things going on,” Locker said. “But I think that’s the nature of the beast at this point.”
• As earlier reported, running back Jesse Callier, one of four high school players to enroll early, stood near the east end zone with a knee brace on. He did not practice, and his status for the scrimmage Saturday is uncertain.
Coach Steve Sarkisian called it a “sprained PCL (posterior cruciate ligament),” and that it wasn’t deemed serious.
• Defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu grabbed his left arm during red-zone drills midway through practice while trying to get in on a tackle of running back Deonate Cooper.
Ta’amu later did non-contact stuff with his position group. Sarkisian said he “dinged an elbow.”
• Sarkisian has been tight-lipped about any sort of depth chart much of spring. But when asked who had a leg-up at the starting tight end spot, Sarkisian surprised the media group by giving “Chris (Izbick) a little bit of the nod there” over incumbent Kavario Middleton, of Lakes High School.
“I think Chris is playing really well,” Sarkisian said, noting the junior’s blocking was the best of the group.
• Erik Folk has, to say the least, been misfiring on field goals all spring. He’s mainly been pushing kicks to the left.
Is the second-year coach concerned?
“I’m not concerned. He had a good year last year and he wasn’t stellar last spring. This is an opportunity for those guys to work the battery combination (with long snapper Brendan Lopez and holder Cody Bruns.
“It’s not just the kicker; it’s the snap the place and the kick. And it takes time to find that rhythm. He’ll get it. He’ll be fine.”
• Offensive-line personnel has been shifting around the last couple practice. Center Drew Schaefer got some work in at right tackle. Gregory Christine has been in and out at guard with the No. 1 unit. And it appears walk-on Daniel Kanczugowski is at least giving coaches something to think about at one of the tackle spots with Skyler Fancher.
• Sarkisian, about the scrimmage Saturday: “We’ll probably go anywhere between 80 and 90 plays, somewhere in there. It’ll be a pretty hefty scrimmage. We’ll work one special team phase – kickoff return – to try and save our legs and not do all the phases of special teams. We’ll probably have some lengthy delays between series to get guys right. Hopefully we can get a fair amount of plays in.”