The Washington State Cougars’ Crimson and Gray game produced some unexpected performances, or more appropriately, some performances we were really hoping for. In particular, the redshirt freshman tandem of Jamal Morrow and Gerard Wicks made a serious case for major playing time out of the backfield.
Jamal and Gerard Wowed Us a Couple Times
I’m still trippin’ on the move that Morrow put on one of the linebackers in the 3rd quarter. On 4th and inches from just outside the 20 yard line, Luke Falk handed off on an inside zone play for Jamal to power himself to a first down. Instead Morrow pressed the left stick and made a lightning-quick jump cut to the outside, leaving somebody grasping for air. He gained 10 yards on the play and ended up with 40 some-odd yards on the day, all were hard-earned.
That play actually led to a short burst by Wicks, the first of his two touchdowns in the second half. Wicks would finish the game with another short run but that wasn’t all he accomplished. Actually early in the 4th, Wicks made a similar move to the one Morrow had made in the 3rd and while wearing the same number was nearly impossible to discern as a different back.
Regardless, they impressed onlookers and the coaching staff with their efforts. They both pressed the hole well and generally were solid, one-cut backs who will work perfectly in this system. Theron West made his presence known and isn’t at all ready to give up the starting role, but I’ve been excited since seeing these two commit two years ago and that didn’t change Saturday. After watching them do their thing in some game action, I really can’t wait to see their progression into the Fall.
Somebody I was really very interested in watching was junior Teondray Caldwell, as he is fighting to stay in any sort of rotation with the others. From where I sit, Caldwell is still capable but is going to struggle to find any playing time this upcoming Fall and I still wouldn’t be surprised to see him transfer in search of an better opportunity elsewhere.
I think we should stay tuned for what happens here, with Aaron Baltazar and Squally Canada also joining the mix in the Fall (though Baltazar isn’t available till 2015), Caldwell would have to overwhelm the others for meaningful snaps and I just don’t see it at all. He’s also been phased out in the return game, which doesn’t bode well for his continuing career at WSU. Caldwell still possesses a redshirt opportunity as well.
Where(‘s) Amazin’ Happens?
Finally we come to Marcus “Amazin’” Mason, who seems to be missing most of the Spring for an undisclosed reason. It’s difficult to not always assume it’s some sort of injury, but we’re not always correct on that and usually get no indication one way or the other by the coaching staff. All we can say is that as far as we know Mason was present and did get some minimal work in some Spring practice sessions.
The other thing we know is that he can produce and even with the emergence of West, Morrow and Wicks, is talented enough to be a definite fixture in this offense come Fall. With his experience and play-making ability, I fully expect Mason to be the No. 1 or No. 2 back come opening day in Seattle.