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Originally published April 30, 2011 at 7:54 PM | Page modified April 30, 2011 at 10:16 PM

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Quarterbacks grab spotlight in Washington's spring game

The focus of the estimated 10,000 fans on hand to watch Washington's annual spring game Saturday at Husky Stadium inevitably was on the question of who will replace Jake Locker — Keith Price or Nick Montana?

Seattle Times staff reporter

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The focus of the estimated 10,000 fans on hand to watch Washington's annual spring game Saturday at Husky Stadium inevitably was on the question of who will replace Jake Locker — Keith Price or Nick Montana?

Continuing a spring during which he has seemed to have the edge, Price shined throughout the game. He threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, completed 20 of 28 passes for 212 yards, and led five of the seven scoring drives as the "Dawgs" defeated the "Huskies" 31-14.

Price quarterbacked the Huskies — the No. 1 offense paired with the No. 2 defense — in the first half and the Dawgs in the second half.

Montana had his moments as well, completing 9 of 20 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns.

But when asked after the game if Price had the lead in the quarterback battle, UW coach Steve Sarkisian said, "I would think so. I thought he played well today."

Sarkisian added he was not sure if he would officially name a No. 1 heading into the fall, or leave it open. He also reiterated he doesn't expect either Price or Montana to replace Locker alone, saying it will have to be more of a group effort in 2011.

To that end, Sarkisian said he thought the Huskies accomplished one of his main objectives for spring practice — becoming a more cohesive unit.

"That's something we were really trying to focus on — becoming a team," he said.

Sarkisian did what he could to spur that process along, deciding to have captains selected now instead of waiting until the fall.

"We changed that this year to get our leaders in place, so that we're getting the proper leadership in the summer conditioning programs and the workouts and whatnot," he said.

Getting the nod through a vote of their teammates were offensive tackle Senio Kelemete, receiver Jermaine Kearse, defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu and linebacker Cort Dennison.

Kelemete sat out the spring game with a foot injury that isn't expected to linger into the fall. But the other captains took their turns showing the Huskies may have what it takes to be a more well-rounded team in 2011.

Dennison and Ta'amu led a front seven that dominated much of the game. Sarkisian said the 330-pound Ta'amu might have been the MVP of the first half.

"He really disrupted the offense," Sarkisian said.

Kearse had five catches — four, including a 5-yard touchdown reception from Price, came in the first half before substitutions became more liberal.

Four different receivers caught touchdown passes, including a 70-yard catch-and-run by Cody Bruns from Montana that was the longest play of the day; and two by junior James Johnson, hoping to bounce back after a sophomore slump.

That the No. 1 defense dominated much of the day — — holding the Huskies to 65 yards rushing on 19 attempts and 247 overall — which might raise some concerns about the offense, especially the line.

But Sarkisian noted the absences of Kelemete and potential starting tackle Ben Riva, and said their return should help solidify things up front.

He expressed more alarm about a linebacking corps that, other than Dennison in the middle, remains unsettled, in part due to some injuries.

"That one is a little concerning, just because I haven't seen the whole product and I haven't seen these guys play to the best of their ability yet," Sarkisian said.

But the coach left the spring feeling good about most other spots, as well as two other objectives — becoming a smarter team on the field, and continuing the physical play that was the trademark of the four-game winning streak that ended 2010.

"We are able to do a little bit more as far as checking things as a football team, whether it's on offense or defense, and giving them a little more autonomy on the field to make decisions and change calls," he said.

Notes

• OL Erik Kohler and LB Alec Kimble each left the game with knee injuries. Sarkisian said both are sprains that are not serious.

• Sarkisian said DT Chris Robinson, who has been battling knee injuries, may not be able to return. "We will have to make a decision here where he is at with his career," he said. Otherwise, UW did not suffer any new injuries during the spring that figure to limit anyone for the season.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com

Dawgs 31, Huskies 14

Dawgs 7 0 7 17 — 31
Huskies 0 7 0 7 — 14
First quarter

Dawgs — Johnson 15 pass from Montana (Guttorp kick), :46

Second quarter

Huskies — Kearse 5 pass from Price (Folk kick), 2:35

Third quarter

Dawgs — Campbell 13 pass from Price (Guttorp kick), 2:30

Fourth quarter

Dawgs — Guttorp 26 FG, 6:50

Dawgs — Johnson 2 pass from Price (Guttorp kick), 2:10

Huskies — Bruns 70 pass from Montana (Folk kick), 1:49

Dawgs — Price 29 run (Guttorp kick), 1:25

INDIVIDUAL STATS

RUSHING — Dawgs, J. Fogerson 8-53, Price 4-49, Callier 7-39, Wilson 10-33, Montana 4-6, Chandler 1-5, Sager 1-3. Huskies, Polk 7-22, Montana 2-20, J. Fogerson 4-19, Price 1-4, Callier 5-0.

PASSING — Dawgs, Price 10-13-0-108, Montana 6-12-0-68. Huskies, Price 10-15-0-104, Montana 3-8-0-78.

RECEIVING — Dawgs, Johnson 6-52, Chandler 5-72, J. Fogerson 2-26, Campbell 1-13, Leonard 1-8, Hudson 1-5. Huskies, Kearse 5-38, Bruns 4-102, Aguilar 2-11, Hartvigson 1-29, Polk 1-2.

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