BY Todd Dybas 05:16PM 04/23/2011

Price is right in scrimmage

Washington’s quarterback battle is ongoing, but Keith Price showed flashes Saturday that may begin to separate him from Nick Montana.

Washington middle linebacker Cort Dennison said tackling running back Chris Polk is even more difficult than last year. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

Sun-covered Memorial Stadium was the site for Saturday’s step forward by Keith Price.

Washington’s redshirt sophomore quarterback is steeped in a battle for the starting job with redshirt freshman Nick Montana. But Saturday’s performance was one of the days where it was clear Price put on a superior performance, though each played well.

Unofficially, Price was 15-for-23 for 161 yards and two touchdowns and Montana was 13-for-19 for 86 yards during the scrimmage portions of Washington’s practice. Price threw touchdown passes to Johri Fogerson (15 yards) and Jermaine Kearse (25 yards).

Price continues to show maneuverability around the pocket. With Washington basketball coach Lorenzo Romar in attendance, Huskies head football coach Steve Sarkisian went to a basketball metaphor to explain Price.

“He’s a real point guard out there,” Sarkisian said. “He’s not truly a runner. He’s just kind of slippery and buys time and steps up well.”

Montana said last spring he was trying to remember where one guy might be. Now, he feels his understanding of the offense allows him to work on moving through progressions.

Each is working on huddle command. Kearse provided a glimpse into how the youngsters are running things.

“Keith is more the smiley; Keith is all smiles,” Kearse said. “Nick is all smiles but Nick is just a goofy guy in the huddle. Keith is always talking about swag in the huddle and Nick is always laughing in the huddle.”

So, there’s that.

Sarkisian said the huddle presence will take time.

“I think that’s a work in progress but that stuff comes with confidence as much as anything,” Sarkisian said. “That command that it takes in the huddle and the line of scrimmage is critical. I think both those guys have gotten better but there’s still plenty of room for them to grow in that area.”

The quarterback competition is not over yet. Each continues to split time with the ones and twos. It’s likely not to be settled prior to the fall.

“When it feels right I’m going to do it,” Sarkisian said. “I’m not putting a timeline on it.”

Polk strong like bull
A benefit for each no matter who is the quarterback will be Chris Polk. After consecutive seasons of hard running that led to more than 1,110 yards rushing, he’s still impressing teammates who have to bring him down.

“I normally don’t tackle Chris Polk and we were going at it today,” senior middle linebacker Cort Dennison said. “I think his lower body strength has definitely improved this offseason.

“He was already hard enough to bring down in the fall last year. I think with more lower body strength he’s just going to be a nightmare for defenses. That in particular stuck out to me today, just Chris’ lower-body strength is amazing.”

That’s a good sign since the core of the offense will shift from the quarterback to Polk. Defenders that lingered outside last season will be creeping back toward the middle to slow Polk, daring one of the new quarterbacks to beat them.

Polk should have some help. Deontae Cooper, who can cut both ways now following rehabilitation for ACL surgery, is expected to be 100 percent by the fall. Putting him in the mix with Polk, Jesse Callier and Fogerson — who had a good day Saturday — provides Washington depth and another factor.

“We need to continue to develop big-play guys and I definitely think (Cooper) can be one of them,” Sarkisian said.


YourThoughts

  • Jenkins

    @Dybas

    You have done an OUTSTANDING job on covering Husky Football this Spring. I swear to Gawd i start here every morning. Could be because of how my favorites are setup but I never miss your write-ups. I’m telling you your reports have been frigg’n on par with some of the premium sites i visit. I really like the application and accessibility to the older stories. Yes I’m swinging, but I don’t care because Husky Football is LIFE baby. Thanks again for a Bang-up job Todd!