Washington State has really struggled finding quality depth all over the field over the past 5 or 6 seasons, it’s no secret that many Pac-12 caliber players just haven’t filled out the charts in that time. But this year seems to be a bit of a corner turner for the Cougars, as they strive to actually attempt to compete in their second string with players that could actually hold down the position at this level of college football.
CougCenter put together an early projection of the 2013 Offensive Depth Chart and we’re going to put in our own thoughts with their projections for each position group. For CC’s full projection thoughts, click the link.
Nov. 10, 2012; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars running back Teondray Caldwell (34) gets past UCLA Bruins linebacker Eric Kendricks (6) during the first half at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
The Running Back position in 2012 struggled mightily to gain any kind of flow during the season. They had some decent pieces in the puzzle, but with the complete and total disaster of an offensive line blocking for them it was painfully obvious that running the ball just wasn’t going to work. Not only that, but even though teams ignored the run almost altogether, when WSU did call it’s draws and traps they would get pass blitzed and somehow a defender would magically land in the lap of the RB who had the ball.
WSU eventually figured it out a little bit and was able to be mildly successful at times over the second half of the season, so the anticipation is that the Cougs would like to improve on that and run the ball quite a bit more in 2013. Leach is air-raid friendly but not stupid. He knows his defense needs to be on the sidelines twice as long as they were last season and he brought in David Yost who is a great spread-run-game mind to pair with Jim Mastro, a proponent of the pistol-zone-run scheme.
Then Leach went out and recruited 3 big running backs to fit the system, each an all-state performer in their own conference from California. He also got a gift in picking up a graduate-transfer from Arizona in Daniel Jenkins for one season, who has plenty of experience in the spread. Add the already returning pieces and you get the deepest Wazzu backfield you’ve seen in forever.
ACU: While I want to see Gerard Wicks and eventually Jamal Morrow tote the rock, This is probably a more accurate representation of reality at this point. Mason will be a big threat in the kickoff return game as well because he has speed to burn. It says a lot about the depth of the position that your sophomore has the upper hand in starting vs two seniors and a junior. But Caldwell has the body and the speed to be a starter, if he can stay away from putting the ball on the ground. Personally would like to see Brooks step up and make some big plays this season, he a new favorite of mine for some odd reason.
Backs are going to be fast and I think just a little bit better than last year from a talent perspective. I think their stats will be infinitely better though, because of the line. I also somehow think Gerard Wicks will compete and work his way onto the field for some significant time, but it’s not the logical play, just a gut feeling.