Sep 14, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Washington State Cougars running back Leon Brooks (23) runs forward for a four yard gain during the second quarter as UNLV Rebels linebacker Tani Maka (41) defends at Sam Boyd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Washington State Football: RB Race Opening Up, Not Clearing Up

November 3, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Washington State Cougars running back Leon Brooks (23) prior to a game against the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

We can pretty much assume that Teondray Caldwell is gone. All Washington State has released is that it is a matter that will be handled internally, but all past indications based on Leach’s fast and furious decisions on these issues point to Caldwell losing his spot on the WSU football roster in fairly short order.

This is a development that is never good in any way for the program, but of course opens up spots on the roster. However that doesn’t mean that all is clearing up with what we will see in the Fall. It has been my opinion that Daniel Jenkins was going to take over the starting spot by the time the season rolled around. Assuming judgement is swift and complete on Caldwell, that looks almost certain to happen now.

An incoming senior transfer from Arizona, Jenkins is a somewhat experienced back in the spread, which isn’t the air raid that Leach runs but has many of the same principles for running backs. He is also a quick and powerful back at the point of attack which will serve him well both at the line of scrimmage and in the open field. I originally thought those would be the reasons he won the job and of course, even more so now.

The most intriguing issue will be the backup role, which becomes a real toss-up now. Co-juniors Theron West and Marcus Mason were probably set to take the main shot at 3rd back, but now they jump to a battle for number 2. Sophomore Jeremiah Laufasa has thrust himself into the conversation for that role as well, as more of a one-cut back, but needs to become more consistent.  Senior Leon Brooks was really on the outside looking in, trying to capture return duties with his quickness and play-making ability, but could also be back in the picture to see some carries.

The final pieces of the puzzle are incoming freshmen Gerard Wicks and Jamal Morrow. Wicks is the bigger back but both are pretty dynamic and electric in the open field, which is something that is ultra-important  in the air raid from the backs. I think either of these guys could come in and show out early in the Fall, which would plunk them right into the middle of the backup race.

If neither one wins the number 2 job outright, I don’t think you’ll see them on the field in 2013, because gaining an extra year would be best for the program. Leach doesn’t have to play his athletes just because he has them and I think the talent is good enough for the time being to get by. It’s just a matter of figuring out the rotation.

Interesting stuff continues for Mike Leach and Cougar football. Of course if Caldwell is found innocent and the football team keeps him, I imagine himself and Jenkins will battle for the starting spot and ultimately split duties. Everyone else gets pushed down a slot at that point. Here’s to hoping that’s the case, but it doesn’t sound like a good situation for Teondray WSU future.

Go Cougs!

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Tags: Football Teondray Caldwell Washington State Cougars

  • Lew Wright, Sr.

    Don’t be so quick to close the book on Caldwell. Let that drama play out within the team…which it will. Coach Leach doesn’t necessarily have a quick trigger finger, he simply has a record of moving forward.

    As for Jenkins, saw him in limited action last season and would rate the guy above anyone on the roster during spring camp. There’s no flash to Laufasa, but the young man is a player. He might not be the quickest or fastest, but his passion will match any other player in a crimson/gray uni.

    But what caught my attention was your headline…which says it all. The running back position coming out of spring is wide open. It’s a great opportunity for someone with decent talent and tremendous passion to earn some serious playing time.

    • All Coug’d Up

      Like this comment… A LOT! I really hope Caldwell isn’t in as big of trouble as it initially sounded. I think he’s is a terrific option out of the backfield as a pass catcher and he has great feet in the open field. Doesn’t have the initial strength at the LOS but a great compliment back to someone who does. Here’s to hoping he stays alive as a Coug!

  • Jeff Maulden
    • All Coug’d Up

      That news hurts me LOL. Too bad and it only muddles things more.