Category Archives: Jake Locker

Hammel thrilled to be back in the Windy City; Dunn, Haas, Locker & more

In case you missed Jason Hammel’s press conference on Friday, the 2000 South Kitsap graduate is excited to be back with the Chicago Cubs.

The right-hander, who signed a two-year, $20 million deal, called his three months with the Cubs the best three months of his career.

Hammel will be reunited with Joe Maddon, his manager at Tampa, and Chris Bosio, the former Mariner who is the Cubs’ pitching coach.

Hammel was 4-1 with a 2.35 ERA at Wrigley Field last season before being traded to Oakland. Jon Lester, who was with Hammel in Oakland, will be a teammate in Chicago as well. Jake Arrieta had 10 wins and a 2.53 ERA.

“I can’t predict the future, but it’s going to be a very dominant rotation,” Hammel, 32, said. “And you win championships with pitching. Obviously, the offense helps. But all the teams that go (to the postseason), they all have dominant, consistent pitching.”


* Congratulations are in order for Lauren Haas, Olympic High grad who will be inducted into the Southern Illinois Hall of Fame in 2015. Haas, an infielder, was a four-year standout in fastpitch for the Salukis, and  the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year in 2008.

* Speaking of Hall of Fames, the 2015 Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame banquet will be held Jan. 24 at Kiana Lodge. Check out this link for a list of inductees. Tickets are $30 in advance; $35 at the door.

* North Kitsap grad Kasey Dunn joined the Oklahoma State coaching staff as receivers coach in February of 2011. Dunn and the Cowboys preparation for the Washington Huskies this week. OSU (6-6) and the UW (8-5) will play Jan. 2 in the Cactus Bowl in Tempe, Ariz. I talked to Dunn over the weekend. The well-traveled Dunn — he’s coached at nine colleges and had a two-year stint as running backs coach with the Seahawks — has been at OSU for four years, his second-longest tour of duty since getting into the business. He was at  Washington State for five years. The Huskies contacted him about a possible position when Rick Neuheisel took over from Keith Gilbertston, but the timing wasn’t right. Dunn  was happy at WSU, where Mike Price was the head coach.

* I always thought Jake Locker would have been an All-Pro safety if he’d played on the defensive side of the ball. He turned out to be a really good quarterback, but we’ll never know how good because of all the injuries he’s suffered. Locker dislocated his shoulder for the third time on Sunday, and his career with the Tennessee Titans is probably over.

* Jason Flora, senior form Bremerton, averages 13.0 points and 5.4 rebounds for the Seattle Redhawks (4-5), who play Northwest College on campus at Connolly Center Monday night. SU’s other home games are played at KeyArena.

* I won’t be surprised if Eastern Washington (8-2) wins the Big Sky Conference this year. I’m talking basketball, not football. The Eagles let one get away at No. 17 Washington on Sunday. They led the Huskies by 10 with 11:22 left but couldn’t hold on, losing 81-77. EWU’s not real deep, but they’ve got enough weapons to give anyone a tough time. Sophomore guard Travis Harvey (20.5 ppg) and Australian junior forward Jenky Vois (20.3 ppg) are for real. Harvey led the Big Sky in scoring a year ago. EWU beat Indiana in Bloomington earlier in the season. If the Eagles beat No. 19 California (9-1) in Berkeley on Dec. 19, they just might crack the top-25 polls.

* I still can’t get Robert Turbin’s 8-yard run out of my head. You know the one. It was 2nd-and-9 from the 12 and Turbo turned Beast Mode, running over the 49ers’ Antoine Bethea. Marshawn Lynch scored the go-ahead touchdown on the next play from the 4, and the Seahawks were in control.



Monday night football thoughts

But not necessarily about Monday night football:

Watch out for the Illahee Idiots this year in fantasy football. Got a good feeling. Overcame a 30-point deficit on Monday night to win Week 1 with Peyton Manning and RGIII sitting on the bench. Dumb coaching? Nah, just trying to keep ’em fresh.

Thoughts on the Huskies: Watching the Dawgs get pushed around by LSU on Saturday evening kind of brought me back to the late 1960s, when I was part of a junior varsity squad that scrimmaged against the West High varsity. It was like, wow, welcome to the big time. I imagine that must have been sort of how the Huskies felt like after Saturday’s game. That’s how it looked. Even cool, poised Keith Price looked a little out of sorts.

Speaking of the Huskies, did you see where ex-Dawg Johri Fogerson — the former O’Dea star — rushed for 103 yards and four TDs on just 13 carries in Central Wahington’s 56-28 win over Simon Fraser? Fogerson, partly because of injuries, never really panned out at the UW, but they could sure use him now.

The Huskies are so lean at running back that it’s triggered a debate about whether they should move safety/linebacker Shaq Thompson, the talented freshman, to running back. If he’s as good as people say he is, play him both ways. Yeah, I’m serious.

Thoughts on the Seahawks game against Arizona: Can’t they find somebody to make a clutch catch? C’mon, no way they should have lost that game. This is a team in major need of a playmaker at wide receiver. How can an NFL team be so deficient at that postition? And, oh by the way, I know it’s just one game, but what’s up with sure-handed Doug Baldwin?  I think I counted two drops and you could make it three if you count the one in the end zone at the end of the game. It would have been a helluva catch, but I think he makes it 8 of 10 times.

More thoughts on the Seahawks-Cardinals game: If QB John Skelton doesn’t get hurt, the Seahawks win that game. He was so rattled, there’s no way the Cardinals were going to get anything going against the Hawks’ defense. Give Kevin Kolb credit. He sliced and diced ’em up on what turned out to be the game-winning drive after replacing Skelton. It was shocking how easy he made it look, considering how nasty the Seahawks had been playing on defense. Just goes to shows, you can never figure this stuff out.

Trivia: Can you name the last Seahawks QB that led the team to a fourth-quarter comeback win? If you said Matt Hasselbeck, you’re wrong. It was Charlie Whitehurst, who did it last year against the Giants.

Did you catch what Howie McDonald’s been up to lately? The senior linebacker from Central Kitsap followed up his 21-tackle game in Eastern Oregon’s opener with 25 tackles on Saturday. They said he was too small for D1 or DII football — the No. 17-ranked Mountaineers list him at 5-foot-9, 217 pounds — but I think he would have found a way to contribute wherever he played. Howie plays with as much heart as anybody I’ve seen.

Are the Wolves back? South Kitsap looks to be the real deal after two weeks. They’ve got a solid nucleus of returners and some excellent talent at the skill positions, but will they keep improving on a weekly basis? That’s the key. We’ll find out about Central Kitsap this week when the Cougars take on the highly-regarded Lions of Bellarmine Prep. They might be doing it without hard-running Nick Zawadzki, who took a shot to the head last week. The Olympic League? Nathan Joyce of our staff tabbed North Kitsap and Sequim as the preseason favorites. Both are 0-2. Bremerton figured to challenge for top honors, and still could despite losing at home against Wilson. The winner of Friday’s Sequim at Bremerton game gains the inside track.

I thought former Husky QB Husky QB Jake Locker looked pretty good in his first NFL start for Tennessee. He had to leave with a separated left shoulder after making a tackle following a fumble. He threw the New England guy down like a linebacker. Which only reinforces what I’ve always felt: Jake’s a pretty good QB, but I think he be a perennial Pro Bowler as a safety.

Did I mention the Illahee Idiots? Anybody want to trade for Phillip Rivers? Didn’t think so.





UCLA still interested in Sarkisian; Do you hate the Angels now?

The Los Angeles Times reported today that UCLA is still interested in talking to Steve Sarkisian, but the Washington football coach hasn’t shown any interest in the Bruins’ vacant job. Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable and former Seahawks coach Jim Mora have also been mentioned as candidates.

Washington, by the way, got another verbal committment for the class of 2012 over the weekend when linebacker/fullback Ryan McDaniel said he was going to play for the Huskies. He’s from Torrance, Calif., same as UW coach Steve Sarkisian. Defensive end Cory Littleton of Mount Miguel High in Spring Valley, Calif., committed later in the week. That pushes the 2012 class to 19. Five of the 19 verbals are in-state players. Here’s the complete list.

Washington State also has 19 verbal committments, four from the state. There are no QBs on this list, but you know that’s going to change with Mike Leach coming to Pullman. This might be a good spot for Jake Heaps, who has decided to transfer from BYU. After sitting out a year, he would be a junior in eligibility wherever he lands. Between Heaps and promising freshman Connor Halliday that would give the Cougs some pretty good depth at that position.

Former Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck and Husky QB Jake Locker, now teammates with the Tennessee Titans, ham it up for’s Kenny Mayne, a former quarterback at Wenatchee CC and Pacific Lutheran University. Funny stuff.

The Angels spent $331.5 million to sign slugger Albert Pujols and pitcher C.J. Wilson. Everybody always complains about the Yankees buying pennants. Well, is it now time to start hating the Angels like so many people hate the Yankees?

Former Garfield and University of Washington star Brandon Roy is reportedly contemplating retirement because of knee injuries that have limited him. Even with bad knees, he was a force, averaging 19 points over five NBA seasons. If the Portland TrailBlazer gives it up, he’ll still go down as second-greatest basketball player born and raised in Washington state. The greatest? NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton.

Husky-Ducks links

Oregon running backs coach Gary Campbell, when asked about Pac-10/12 running backs, said there’s no way the UW’s Chris Polk ranks among the top-5 backs he’s seen in 29 years: Campbell told The Oregonian:  “I think (UW’s Chris) Polk is good but he’s not as good as Steven Jackson or Ken Simonton or LaMichael (James) and probably not as good as Reggie Bush.”

Die-hard Cougar, Go-to-Guy Jim Moore, has nothing but nice things to say about Husky Stadium.

Former Husky QB Brock Huard says current Husky Keith Price QB sounds like Avery Ward and plays like Charlie Ward, the former Heisman Trophy winner from Florida. He also reveals that teammates call Price “Teeth” because he’s smiling all of the time. Huard, now an analyst for ESPN and radio host on 710 ESPN, wrote about the top sophomore quarterbacks in the country is this ESPN insider piece.

The Autzen Zoo, an Oregon Ducks fans site, poses this question: How much longer will Oregon own the Northwest?

Ralph Russo of the Associated Press picks the UW to upset Oregon 38-33.

The more we know, the less we know

The unpredictability is the best part about sports.

Everybody says Tim Tebow can’t play in the NFL,  and the quarterback/evangelist/right winger proves everybody wrong, nearly leading Denver to a comeback, upset victory over the Chargers on Sunday. You don’t have to agree with his politics or like his passing technique to appreciate what he brings to the football field — the guy’s a winner. It’ll be interesting to see if his role will increase after what he did on Sunday.

Everybody buried the Seahawks weeks ago. But Tarvaris Jackson shows he can play when he gets a little protection, and when he goes down, maligned Charlie Whitehurst comes off the bench to lead the Hawks over the New York Giants. The 10.5-point underdogs thrive in a no-huddle offense, the defense makes a lot of big plays and they shock the world. If not the world, the bookies in Vegas and all of those football know-it-all analysts.

The Yankees, the Phillies, the Red Sox are done, but the Brewers, Tigers, Cardinals and Rangers play on. And the Diamondbacks came thisclose to advancing to the baseball’s Final Four. You can’t figure this stuff out, which is the way it should be.

And how about those San Francisco 49ers? The mild, mild NFC West might have a legitimate contender after all. Jim Harbaugh can coach and QB Alex Smith, the Bremerton-born player and former No. 1 pick who has been labeled a bust, isn’t a such a schmuck after all.

How many of you gave Olympic High a chance to beat North Kitsap in football on Friday night?

How many of you thought Washington’s Keith Price was going to be this good? Steve Sarkisian will never come out and say that Price is flat-out a better college QB than Jake Locker, but he is.

Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, remember that you don’t.

There’s always going to be a Buster Douglas come along to knock out a Mike Tyson.

There’s always going to be some shocking surprises along the way; there always are and it’s a big reason why the games we like to watch and play are so much fun.

Dawgs Get More Than Revenge in Holiday Bowl

The Washington Huskies didn’t have a turnover.

Didn’t give up a sack.

Only had three penalties for 30 yards.

Held Nebraska to 91 rushing yards, despite missing three defensive linemen.

Rushed for 268 yards (177 on 34 carries by Chris Polk, 83 on 13 carries by Jake Locker).

That’s how the Washington Huskies upset No. 18 Nebraska 19-7 on Thursday at the Holiday Bowl in San Diego.

That’s the same Nebraska squad that humbled the Dawgs 56-21 in Seattle on Sept. 18. Nebraska finished with 533 total yards that day, 368 of it on the ground.

Nobody saw this one coming. Washington, playing in its first bowl game since 2002, beat Nebraska at its own game. The Huskies won the battle in the trenches; they played with more passion and hit harder. Washington outplayed Nebraska in every aspect of the game.

Locker caught a pass, but didn’t complete one in the first half and Washington led 10-7. He was just 5 of 16 for 56 yards overall, but he threw about five passes away and did a masterful job of managing the game.

Finishing the season with a four-game winning streak, capped by this inspired performance, brought back memories of what it used to be like at Washington when it routinely competed for the Rose Bowl and Pac-10 titles.

This win should be enough to convince even the cynical among us that the Huskies have taken their biggest step yet toward returning to that level.

Washington earned more than revenge on this night; it earned back some national respect and just made itself a lot more attractive to potential recruits.