Price vs. Montana

Spring practices!  How about it!

Yeah, I’m not gonna lie to you, it’s next to impossible to get excited for college spring practices.  Unless I can stand out in the parking lot of Husky Stadium drinking beer all day beforehand, I don’t think caring is in the cards.

Of course, if there EVER was a year to care – even a little bit – this might be the year.  Which seems a little backward, because we’re not supposed to contend for the Pac-12 championship.  We don’t have a Heisman candidate.  Yeah, we’re coming off of a marginally successful season capped by a late-season run against mediocre teams … but the 2011 Huskies will look nothing like the 2010 Huskies.

The reason to be excited is simple.  This is the first real test of Sarkisian’s ability to recruit.  Granted, in the last two seasons, we managed to expunge most of the guys from the previous regime simply by merit (or lack thereof) alone.  But now, even the quality guys have moved on.  No more Jake Locker to kick around.  No more Mason Foster.

We’ve got position battles, people!  We get to see how ALL these Freshmen – who’ve been getting extended opportunities the last couple years – progress and mature and grow.  Will they turn out to be studs?  Will we have to cycle in ever more Freshmen?

One of the major stories of the spring thus far is how much better the Defense is compared to the Offense.  I think that’s one of the most overrated stories of any offseason program.  Oh, you’re telling me the defense is dominating?  Well, what does that really MEAN?  Is our offense just so craptacular that we’ll be lucky to average 10 points a game this year?  I’m not gonna lie to you, I’m leaning more on that side of the spectrum.  Although, if what I’m hearing about our defensive line is true, we could all be pleasantly surprised come September.

The most important position battle, of course, is that for our Starting Quarterback.  Nick Montana vs. Keith Price.  Nick Montana, who red-shirted last season; and Keith Price, who started and played fairly well at Oregon.

I don’t have much of an opinion on this, because I’ve never seen Montana play and I only remember Price running for his life as the Ducks ran up the score in the 4th quarter.  It sounds like the race is too close to call, but it also sounds like Price has an edge in this race.

If I had it my way, I’d make this Montana’s job to lose.  Very simply put:  there’s a ceiling on all “running quarterbacks” where there’s not for a pure pocket passer.  Now, I don’t know where Montana’s head is at, if he’s making dumb mistakes, or if he’s got the field smarts of his father; but it seems to me that this was the biggest “Get” of Sark’s early recruiting run with the Huskies.  He’s got a year under his belt where he watched a legend lead his team to a Holiday Bowl victory, he’s got four years of eligibility left, and quite frankly he’s got some of the best running backs in the conference to lighten his load!

I’d rather have Montana get the chance and let this team grow around him for the next four years.

And, not for nothing, I’d really like to thumb my nose at BYU and Jake Heaps.  After all, Montana is the guy we settled on when Heaps spurned us in favor of the Mormons.  Heaps had his chance last year and ran away with it; I’d like to see Montana get that same opportunity.

I think I read somewhere that Sark doesn’t like going with dual quarterbacks; he likes to have a clearly defined starter and backup.  If they’re so close in ability right now, I kinda wish he’d back off that stance a little bit and give both a chance to play this year.  ONE of them is going to have to become a star.  I’d hate to see Montana’s growth stunted for another year based on one man’s personal preference.

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