A pro scout sat in the press box at Reser Stadium this afternoon, set on getting his first look at Jake Locker running the Washington Huskies' offense.
By the way, Oregon State clobbered the Huskies, 48-21, in Corvallis, Ore. in the worst beatdown the UW has been part of in the Steve Sarkisian era.
On his bicycle much of the first half under heavy pressure by the Beavers' front seven, one hurried pass kind of summed up this game.
It was late in the first quarter, and the Huskies trailed 10-0. They called timeout with 1:46 to go.
Locker rolled out on third-and-5, and had a receiver open on an intermediate route along the right sideline. Instead, the junior from Ferndale locked in on tight end Kavario Middleton 10 yards past that.
The quarterback squeezed a dart in between two Oregon State defenders, and right off the hands of the sprawling Middleton, and the pass fell incomplete.
The scout looked over and said, "I don't know how he got that pass in there."
"And I don't know why he'd want to get it there."
For Locker, it's been a steady descent since the USC game. On Saturday, he passed for a season-low 153 yards, was sacked four times, picked off once. He did toss three touchdown passes – two coming in the fourth quarter.
With Locker's performance, so much of what needs to happen for the UW to win rides on his shoulders. With what goes on, so much hinges on what others can give – or aren't giving – around him.
It's not a surprise the UW has dropped five of its past six games.
"It’s difficult, especially when we get behind in such a manner that we did," Sarkisian said afterward. "Then it’s pretty obvious that we have to throw the ball to try to get back into in, and now they’re pinning their ears back and really rushing the passer. And that’s not a fun position for any quarterback."
More so in this game than in any of the previous ones in 2009, Locker had little or no chance against OSU. By the time he received the snap, he was already under siege. Barely could he set his feet. If he was lucky, he'd get the pass off without incident.
And like a soldier who falls on the team sword, Locker took responsibility for the team's unusually slow start – three three-and-out drives and the interception in the first five UW series - Saturday.
"Some of the stuff is on me," Locker said. "I need to be able to recognize what they're doing and get the ball out quicker than I was."
So there stood Locker tonight, bundled up in a sweatshirt, wearing a black knitted hat with the Husky logo on it and looking about as uncomfortable as any team leader could in a post-game press huddle.
Locker was asked if a game like this made him realize a return to school would be the best idea for his future – to which he basically rolled his eyes.
"Like I told you guys, we've got two games left in the season," Locker said. "It's not over. That is something we'll sit down with (coaches)."
Days like Saturday could make any quarterback see both sides of it – staying for a better future or leaving for a better future. It's up to Locker which one leaves the lasting impression.
Other stuff from the game Saturday:
· JONES GET FIRST SACKIt took 31 games, but senior defensive end Darrion Jones finally got that elusive first sack for the Huskies.
And it came on OSU's first drive when Sean Canfield dropped back to pass near midfield. Jones beat right tackle Mike Remmers, motored about the corner and not only dropped the quarterback for a 2-yard loss, but stripped him of the football.
"I was happy with it. I was surprised it came on the first play, on the opening drive," Jones said. "I feel good about it. But I still know there's … more than one. I can't be complacent with it."
· YES, MR. RODGERS WAS FASTOn the opening kickoff of the second half, freshman Desmond Trufant stood there waiting as the last line of defense.
And up charged returned James Rodgers through a huge hole, and right in Trufant's direction just short of midfield.
Actually I was waiting for a move, but he didn't give me one. He kept going at full speed," said Trufant, the Wilson High product. "That is kind of what got me stuck."
Trufant later did what few in the Pac-10 can do – catch Rodgers from behind. Trufant dropped him at just short of the end zone. Brother, Jacquizz Rodgers, scored on OSU's drive on a 1-yard run.
"He's real fast," Trufant said.
· ORTING'S FINESTJoe Halahuni promised his mother a TD this season, and the Orting product doubled up on that guarantee.
The Beavers tight end hauled in a pair of short scoring passes – a 3-yarder in the first quarter and a 5-yard in the final period.
"It was fun," Halahuni said. "Growing up, I dreamed of playing for the Huskies. It didn't turn out that way, and I'm happy here."
• Quick-hit stuff: Lakes High's Jermaine Kearse is officially on a roll. The UW receiver caught two TD passes Saturday, and now has four scores in his past two games. The first one came right before halftime on a 3-yard catch, cutting OSU's lead to 20-7. "We ran a regular out route," Kearse said. "Jake looked at me the first time, so I turned up and he threw a good ball to me." His career-high six TDs are most on the team. … The UW rotated Devin Aguilar, James Johnson, Chris Polk, Donald Butler and Quinton Richardson as the kickoff returners. … Free safety Nathan Fellner (torn biceps) left after the first quarter, and will be evaluated this week. Aguilar (knee) was hurt at the end of the first half, but returned. … OSU coach Mike Riley won his 63rd career game, tying Tommy Prothro for No. 2 all-time with the Beavers behind Lon Stiner (74).