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Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.

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May 12, 2008 4:20 PM

Answers, volume one

Posted by Bob Condotta

Wow. Ask and I shall receive, apparently. Figure I'll tackle the easy ones you guys sent --- such as what's the meaning of life --- later. And since there were so many, I'll parcel these out a bit, as well. Also, some will take a little research. But keep checking back as I'll try to eventually (meaning in the next couple weeks) get to all of them.

Now on to the first batch:

Q: Does Jake Locker have a chance at earning any Offensive Player of the Year-type honors next year and getting in the Heisman Race?

A: Definitely on the first. The Pac-10 is wide open enough this year, having lost a lot of the big names from last season, that it's easy to envision that Locker could work his way into significant honors territory. At the moment, I'd figure Rudy Carpenter is the odds-on favorite for Offensive Player of the Year honors in the Pac-10. But he's far from a lock for something like that, and there aren't a lot of other proven QBs back (Arizona's Willie Tuitama is about the most notable other than Locker) and no returning 1,000-yard rushers. The leading receiver back is Brandon Gibson of WSU. So no reason Locker, if he improves from a year ago, can't get into that conversation. The Heisman is obviously a different matter and pretty dependent on winning big. Here's an early list of candidates . Locker certainly plays the right kind of schedule to get into the race with a lot of high-profile games early. If he were able to lead UW to wins over the likes of Oregon, BYU and Oklahoma by the third week of the season, he'd definitely be on a lot of lists. But getting that done is obviously a different matter.

Q: Who do you think will be UW's leading rusher next season?

A: Tim Lappano said in the spring he hopes it's not Locker as the preference is that they won't need to lean on his running quite as much this season as they did last year, when he rushed for 986 yards, the most ever by a Pac-10 QB. But at this moment, if you were placing odds, I would think the smart money would go on Locker. The RB spot is far from solidified, and it's easy to see where that could turn into a committee-type approach with a lot of guys getting carries. If Locker's in the 800-900-range, I would think there's a good chance that would make him the leading rusher in 2008. Besides Locker, the other obvious choice is Brandon Johnson, who will enter the fall as the No. 1 tailback.

Q: Same question about the receiver position.

A: This one seems more cut-and-dried as sophomore D'Andre Goodwin emerged as Locker's go-to receiver during the spring and has by far the most catches during the spring scrimmages, including seven for 109 yards in the spring game. He knows the offense the best of the receivers, and has established a good rapport with Locker (the two are tight off the field, as well).

Q: Which newcomer will have the greatest impact in 2008?

A: One obvious place to look is all the new receivers like Chris Polk, Devin Aguilar and Anthony Boyles. Due the need for immediate help there, those guys are going to have to play and will inevitably make their presence felt --- Polk and Aguilar seemed the readiest to do that by the end of spring. RB Willie Griffin also will likely get his share of work in the fall. But here's one easy to overlook --- PK Erik Folk. Given the health problems of Ryan Perkins, it would be little surprise to see Folk win the PK job. He showed a strong leg in the spring and seems destined to handle kickoffs no matter what. He needs some consistency on FGs, but if he gets that, he could get the starting job.

More to come.


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