SEATTLE – Keith Price, the University of Washington’s new – albeit temporary – starting quarterback is going into the proverbial hornet’s nest when he makes his first collegiate start this Saturday in Eugene, Ore. Price and the Huskies will face a top-ranked Oregon team that has been making mincemeat of opponents this season.
“I’m going to go out there and just have fun and play, just like high school,” said Price, the eternally-grinning redshirt freshman said Wednesday evening.
Price grew up in Compton, a section of Los Angeles known for its crime. It wasn’t the most conducive environment for a kid so dedicated to the game of football that he slept with a pigskin at night.
“It was rough, hanging out with the wrong crowd of guys,” he said. “My parents didn’t like that too much.”
So Price’s parents moved him in with his grandmother in Long Beach and he attended St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower.
“I know what it’s going to be like,” said Price, who will replace injured starter Jake Locker on Saturday but isn’t expected to be needed beyond that game. “I’ve already been getting (text) messages, you know.”
“I don’t even know who they are,” he said of the people who have been trash-talking through social media this week.
Through it all, Price has maintained his sunny disposition.
On the field, Price has shown an ability to play without fear as well.
But playing at Autzen Stadium is an entirely different animal.
“I think the whole key to this thing is: not being distracted,” said Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian, who was part of the USC staff when Trojans quarterback Mark Sanchez made his first career road start at Oregon. ”At times at Autzen, you can be distracted – not only by the noise, but the frantic atmosphere that is there.”