BY Todd Dybas 04:43PM 04/09/2011

Huskies QB: No fight in this competition

Price and Montana continue to be congenial rivals through spring football with the starting quarterback position on the line.

Quarterbacks Nick Montana, center, and Keith Price, left, are in a friendly head-to-head competition to be the starting quarterback. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

It’s a misnomer to call the competition for the Huskies’ starting quarterback position a battle, war or any other menacing term. This fight is as ferocious as Tinkerbell.

The competition is more daily exchange. One day, Keith Price plays with the ones. The next, Nick Montana. They alternate days and reps in team settings, swap positions and throws during drills.

Each advises the other if something is missed. They work out and watch film together.

As if that’s not enough, just talk to them. It’s all Smurfs and rainbows.

“We work together,” redshirt sophomore Price said. “I don’t see myself above him, I don’t see him above me. We don’t even look at it like that.”

As far as helping the other see something he missed?

“It’s just a natural thing,” Price said. “We’re not selfish.”

But you know the starting quarterback spot is on the line, right?

“I don’t worry about that at all,” Price said. “We’re all on the same team.”

Montana echoed many of those thoughts, and added that Price is a “great quarterback” who makes him better every day.

“I don’t see it as a competition like everyone is making it out to be,” Montana said. “We’re just going out there and having fun, and (I’m) trying to be the best I can be.”

Well, kumbaya.

The congeniality is enough to make the question of whether one should have more of an edge, or swagger, feel a little odd.

Does the quarterback need to be a vocal, ferocious leader? Is competency enough? At some point, one of them will be the huddle boss during fourth down on the road.

“They’re both great guys; they’re both very competitive though so there’s a lot of ways to exude confidence and moxie and, I guess, in today’s modern verbiage — swag,” Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian said. “There’s a way of doing all that and not being arrogant and I think they both have the ability to do that. That’s what makes a good leader and quarterback, so I don’t think they’re ‘too nice’ by any means.”

The competition is still treated as open and even, and certainly without ill will.

“I think they’ve both made steady climbs and have gotten better,” Sarkisian said. “No day has been perfect and it never will be. I thought that we had a few more mental setbacks than we’ve had the first five days.

“For whatever reason, I’m not exactly sure, we have to figure that out, but there were a few more mental mistakes than they’ve had, but they’re both doing some really good things. I’ve been pleased, especially from the standpoint of we’re not turning the ball over and that’s one of the big keys at that position.”

Kelemete’s foot pops, everyone’s happy
An injury reaching its peak is typically not beneficial, but that is the case for crucial left tackle Senio Kelemete.

The Huskies’ insurance on the left side has dealt with a pull of the plantar fascia in his right foot. Saturday, it popped. That put the 6-4, 289-pound senior on the trainer’s table at practice, then his right foot subsequently in a protective boot.

This, Sarkisian explained, is good news.

“Those things really never heal until they finally pop and then it heals 100 percent,” Sarkisian said. “So you are hopeful really when you have a pulled one that it pops sooner rather than later and you can start the healing process. His finally popped so now his is really, truly on the mend instead of just playing through the pain.”

Kelemete is likely to miss practices, though Sarkisian did not rule him out for all of the remaining nine practices.


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