Jake Locker knows people are talking.
Whether it’s on the radio, Internet message boards, in the newspaper or uttered by disenchanted Huskies fans, his awful performance in Saturday’s 56-21 loss to Nebraska at Husky Stadium has been endlessly discussed.
Most of it, of course, hasn’t been positive.
Then again, when you’re a fifth-year senior and a preseason Heisman contender and you complete four of 20 passes in a losing performance, criticism is going to come.
“Yeah, I know it,” he said.
But while the sting of the lopsided loss and a 1-2 start lingers among UW fans, Locker has embraced Steve Sarkisian’s philosophy of forgetting all games – won or lost – after 24 hours.
“Obviously, you think about it right after and watch the film and see what you can learn from,” Locker said. “But if you dwell on it it’s going to continue to beat you.”
So what did he see on the film, particularly that first interception he threw into double coverage on the Huskies’ first offensive play.
“I wish I hadn’t thrown the first one,” Locker said. “He was well-covered. The guy made a really good play, and was in perfect position. Yeah, it’s probably a throw that if I could have had back, I wouldn’t have thrown it.’’
But Locker said that the Nebraska defense had plenty to do with his struggles.
“It was probably the best one I’ve seen since I’ve been in school,” he said. “They played really well and we reverted back to some things that we haven’t been doing the first couple of weeks, mistakes and mental errors that will cost you against a football team like that. Against a good football team like that, they will make you look like that.’’
The Cornhuskers made Locker look unsure of himself and hesitant, and nothing like the first pick of next year’s NFL draft – as some have projected.
Obviously, a plummeting draft stock would cost Lockers a pile of money in his first NFL contract.
But he wouldn’t hear any talk of regret for coming back for his senior season.
“No, no, no, not at all,” he said. “Like I’ve told you guys before, I made the decision because it was what I knew I wanted to do no matter what the outcome was. Obviously it was a tough game, but a game I think I will be better for going forward. I will learn a lot from it, and it will make me a better football player and allow me to grow as a football player, and that’s what I’m able to take from it.’’
So any more talk about the loss to Nebraska or his dreadful performance all seems pointless to Locker. He and his teammates are moving on.
“There’s nothing I can do about it now,” he said. “There’s nothing any of us can do about it now. You don’t gain anything personally or as a football team sitting and wondering what if. The best thing is to look ahead and see what we can improve on and try and grow as a football team, and dwelling on that is not going to help us.’’
It’s a major reason why Locker asked Sarkisian to practice on Monday, instead of taking the day off. He wanted to move forward.
“It was just to get back out here and start working,” he said. “It’s another opportunity to get better and I didn’t want to miss out on it.’’
It is, after all, a bye week.
While some people may be panicking, Locker and his teammates aren’t.
“There’s a lot of season left,” he said. “We’ve played three football games to this point. The season is not lost. There are a lot of things for this football team to look forward to. We just need to keep working hard, practicing hard, preparing really well and going out and giving good effort on Saturdays.”
Left tackle Senio Kelemete missed practice again Tuesday with the flu. Freshman Erik Kohler, who started last week at left guard, took his place at left tackle. Senior Greg Christine worked at left guard. ... Running back Jesse Callier and linebackers Cort Dennison (concussion) and Victor Aiyewa (shoulder) wore red jerseys at practice. ...
Wide receiver James Johnson (ankle) took several snaps with the first-team offense. Johnson said he’s about 90 percent healthy, but said he should be ready to play next week at Southern California. He has several family members and friends expected to attend the game.
Ryan Divish: 253-597-8483 email@example.com