Many people think the animal on the dock with Jake is a husky because that is the UW mascot, but it is not a husky. It’s a coyote.
When Jake Locker first started playing football for UW, I heard a story that sounded too wild to be true. It was the kind of story that someone makes up, and as time goes on it becomes wilder and wilder, yet more and more true to the people who tell it. The story goes like this. While Jake was a junior at Ferndale High, a crazed coyote wandered onto campus. Some students thought it was a dog from the neighborhood and tried to pet it. As they approached the animal they realized something was wrong, but it was too late. The coyote attacked the students and began a rampage throughout campus. The entire school was frantic and people were scrambling to hide in the nearest classroom. There were 5 students who were not lucky enough to find shelter in a classroom. They were walking through the quad and walked right into the coyote. They were trapped, with nowhere to go. Several teachers were watching through the office window, and all they could do was scream. The students slowly backed up until they were against a wall. The coyote inched closer and closer, snarling and showing its teeth.
This is where the story gets a little confusing because I have heard several versions of what happened next, but I will stick to the version I heard from Jake. Jake was in the gym during the attack, but he heard the screams of the students who were trapped in the quad. Without hesitating, he took off his football pads, and ran out of the gym toward the sounds of the screaming. As he entered the quad he walked directly up to the coyote with his arm held out in front of him holding his palm up as if motioning to stop. He said a single word, although no one remembers what he said, and instantly the coyote relaxed and allowed Jake to pick it up. He tucked the animal under his arm and walked out of the quad. Since that day, the coyote has never left Jake’s side.
I wasn’t quite sure if I believed this story when I first heard it, but I decided to bring it up on the phone with Jake before our shoot. I asked him if the story was true, and if he would bring the coyote with him for a few pictures. He said that wouldn’t be a problem, and I was able to shoot a few frames with Jake and his coyote.
College football starts this weekend. Go Huskies!!! And go Jake Locker!!! I’m a big fan.
I also posted a number of outtakes from this shoot on my Facebook page if you would like to see more.