Last year, Oklahoma squared off against several of the nation's fastest quarterbacks, including Oklahoma State's Zac Robinson and West Virginia's Pat White. But Saturday, the Sooner defense will be charged with containing perhaps the fleetest-footed quarterback in college football — Washington's Jake Locker. "The Pac-10 coaches that recruited him, that know him, claim he's a 4.2 guy,” said defensive coordinator Brent Venables, referring to Locker's time in the 40-yard dash. "We've seen that from a couple of different coaches, (Oregon's) Mike Bellotti being one. (Southern California's) Pete Carroll has said he's one of the best high school quarterbacks he's seen in the last 20 years. "If you watch the tape, you see a really big, fast guy. In particular, you watch him play USC, or Ohio State a year ago, you see him outrunning everybody on the field. A great, great talent. Obviously, he has our attention.” And while his speed is eye-catching, he's hardly one-dimensional. At 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, he's capable of rumbling over linebackers and defensive backs, which he did several times last weekend against Brigham Young. Locker also has a cannon for an arm, and he's not afraid to take chances throwing the ball downfield. "He's a big guy with great speed,” coach Bob Stoops said. "He throws the ball well. He's done an excellent job. He's a very talented young guy. It's a big challenge going on the road out to Washington.” Looking for a comparison? Think Tim Tebow West. "They've got a great system,” Venables said. "They're going to find a variety of ways to utilize his skills. "Our guys are going to have to be on point. " Locker earned the starting job last season and was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year after throwing for 2,062 yards, running for another 986 and totaling 27 touchdowns. Even though most of the Husky skill players surrounding him are freshmen — 11 of his 17 completions last weekend were to freshmen — Locker nearly rallied Washington to victory over 18th-ranked BYU. On the final drive of the game, Locker scrambled across the goal line with two seconds left to pull the Huskies to within an extra point of sending the game into overtime. But when he jumped up, Locker threw the ball high into the air. Officials flagged him for excessive celebration. BYU blocked the long extra-point try and escaped Seattle with a controversial 28-27 win. "Obviously it was a difficult call,” Locker said. "But the reason I love playing this game is you're able to play with and show emotion. I'm not going to give up the fire or passion I play with because I got a penalty on one play.” Preventing Locker from making plays like he did on that final drive against BYU will be paramount for a Sooner defense that allowed White to run wild in the Fiesta Bowl. "He's a great athlete,” defensive end Jeremy Beal said. "We have to contain him and keep him in the pocket. It's going to be a big challenge for our defense.”
Washington quarterback Jake Locker is one of the fastest quarterbacks in college football. ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Prized recruit and defensive end R.J. Washington will likely take the field for the Sooners for the first time on Saturday. BY KELLEY CHINN, Fort Worth STAR-TELEGRAM