Last November, on a nice chilly Pullman night against the struggling Sun Devils from ASU, a freshman named Connor Halliday replaced Marshall Lobbestael at Qb and stormed the proverbial castle of Martin. WSU’s knight in shining armor was quickly born after setting a Wazzu freshman passing record in a 400+ yard performance and Cougars everywhere were singing Halliday Christmas carols late into the night. 6 games later from the young qb and that night is still Halliday’s moment, but it simply isn’t enough. A disappointing 2-4 start to this season and Halliday has once again replaced the starter, except this time he’s taken over the reigns for good.
This year, California is much like that ASU club, inconsistent but talented, explosive but implosive. The Bears could probably beat anybody in the Pac-12 on a great day, or lose to anybody on anything less than that. Defensively, they have speed and power, but they find themselves out of position as much as anybody and are a big play or two away from falling apart (a lot like our team, actually). Connor and the gang need to take advantage of those plays where Cal defenders find themselves woefully out of position and capitalize. He cannot throw interceptions like he has the past 3 games and he needs to throw to his checkdown at least twice as much as he has at any point this season because Cal has a pretty strong front 7 and they like to get after it.
I expect Connor to feel “right at home” so to speak, in a game that he’s commanded before. It would be nice to see a repeat performance of what we saw last season and I fully expect him to turn it around. Leach has given him full control of the team with a now healthy Jeff Tuel and after a bad performance. I think the confidence that goes along with that propels him into a terrific outing that gets the Cougs back on the map as a growing, dangerous team.