September 13, 2010

Locker presents Huskers with unique challenges

After two warm-up games to start the season, Nebraska will gets its first real test on Saturday when it travels to take on Washington for its first road trip of the year.


Along with playing on the road for the first time, the Huskies also present NU with one of the toughest challenges in college football in quarterback Jake Locker, who is regarded by many to be the best overall player in the country.


Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini talked about Locker and the dangers he poses to defenses during his interview on the Big 12 coaches' teleconference on Monday.


"Obviously he's a heck of player," Pelini said. "He can do a lot of things. He can run. He can throw. He can beat you in a lot of different ways and he can hurt you in a lot of different ways. We'll have our work cut out for us."


Through two games so far, Locker ranks 17th nationally with an average of 298 yards of total offense per game to go along with five passing touchdowns, a rushing score and zero interceptions.


While the Huskies come into Saturday's game 1-1 on the season, Locker helped his team pick up its first win of the year in impressive fashion last week against Syracuse, completing 22-of-33 passes for 289 yards and four touchdowns.


What makes Locker so dangerous, Pelini said, is his ability to makes plays both with his arm and his legs, as Locker will arguably the most versatile quarterback the Huskers will face all season.


In order to keep him under control, Pelini said Nebraska's defense would have to be more disciplined than ever in following their assignments every play.


Pelini said the defensive line would especially have to make sure to maintain its rush lane discipline while also being able to put pressure on Locker and not let him sit back in the pocket.


Nebraska might want to look into what BYU was able to do with in its 23-17 win over Washington in Week 1.


While the Cougars did give up a rushing touchdown to Locker in the game, they were able to hold him to just 29 yards rushing on 11 attempts while holding him to a completion percentage of just 54 percent (20 of 37).


"He creates some challenges for you defensively, but I think that as long as you play your system and you do your things and you're disciplined in how you attack him - you've got to give him the necessary respect," Pelini said.


"I've been there before. He's a really good player and we have a lot of respect for him."

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