Official word is out that Jake Locker will miss Saturday’s game against the University of Oregon. Apparently the rib injury that has been bothering had progressed from a strain to a hairline fracture before last weekend, and now is a full-on cracked rib after the Stanford game.
I don’t want to second-guess the doctors or anything, but this could be a case of the coaches picking their battles. There’s no reason to doubt the diagnosis, and even the initial injury would keep most of the population off the field, but I’m betting Jake would say there’s not much difference in his pain level between now and what it was before the Stanford game. It’s not a stretch to say the coaches are admitting that Jake Locker wouldn’t have much effect this upcoming Saturday.
That might sound like an indictment of the coaches, but I don’t mean it that way at all. There are plenty of other reasons to be on them, but I don’t think this is one of them (and I might be the only one with this interpretation of Locker sitting anyway). The truth is that UW has little real chance of beating Oregon this Saturday. Crazy things happen, but I can’t imagine a worse matchup for this struggling Husky team. UW’s bowl chances will come down to winning their last three games, and I’d rather have Locker healthy for them (hopefully) than have him sacrifice more ribs to Brandon Bair and a hyped up Duck defense.
Keith Price will make his first start in Locker’s place. Price has looked decent, but he’s only played in mop-up duty, aside from the touchdown pass he threw to Chris Izbicki when Locker was out of the game for a play early in the year. If nothing else, this should be some good experience for Price for next year. I can’t think of a worse situation in which to make your first start than Autzen Stadium against a #1 ranked Ducks team. I’d expect a whole lot of Chris Polk and Jesse Callier, but I never expected Price to Izbicki, so who knows.
One thing’s sure: if Price pulls off the miracle upset, well, I don’t even know how to put into words how amazing that would be. I’m literally sitting here trying to come up with a way to describe it. Thinking about it will probably be the best feeling associated with this game, so feel free to hold off reality as long as you can.