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Pac-12 football: Redlands native Chris Polk to lead Washington

July 26, 2011 | 10:55 am

Washington Coach Steve Sarkisian no longer has quarterback Jake Locker to rely on. The Tennessee Titans drafted Locker eighth in the NFL Draft, and as a result, Sarkisian said he plans to rely more on a running game than he has in his first two seasons with the Huskies.

“Obviously on the offensive side of the ball, replacing Jake Locker will be very important for us,” Sarkisian said. “The reality is we won’t be able to rely on the quarterback position like we did on Jake for the past two years.”

Running back Chris Polk, a Redlands native, will lead the way, after tallying 1,415 rushing yards last season.

“I can’t be the guy in the back anymore, quiet,” Polk said. “I have to really step up and accept my leadership role, especially with these young guys coming in.”

With the possibility of his third consecutive 1,000-yard season, Polk’s team finished third in the North Division in the Pac-12 preseason media poll

“I think when you’re running the football and playing sound defense, you’re giving yourself a chance in the fourth quarter to win games,” Sarkisian said. “And we’ve got a good horse to ride.”

-- Douglas Farmer