Nov. 23, 2012; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars running back Carl Winston (3) and wide receiver Andrel Lintz (87) celebrate a touchdown against Washington Huskies during the second half at Martin Stadium. The Cougars would go onto beat the Huskies by a final score of 31-28 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
The WSU football team has already had to deal with multiple problems in their first day of spring practice yesterday with the terrible weather conditions and the Cougar football project. The construction of the project made it tough for coaches to communicate with their players. Still WSU took the field yesterday with a different type of “swagger” and confidence. Coming off of an Apple Cup victory and a strong recruiting class, expectations are on the rise for this Cougars football team. Besides figuring out how to improve the defense, the main focus this off-season is the quarterback competition between junior Connor Halliday and red-shirt freshman Austin Apodaca.
What we learned after day 1 of practice is that no one stood out in the Coug’s first day of practice, as Connor Halliday threw 4 interceptions during scrimmage. Apodaca was inaccurate with his throws, and was trying to force his passes into tough situations. According to reports from Coug Fan.com, Halliday is the favorite to be starter, but the junior said he’s knows what Apodaca is capable of. With the terrible weather conditions right now, and with only one day of practice, it’ll take a while before we see which quarterback will stick out.
We’ve also learned that the mindset of the team has changed from last year, as this Cougar football team seems very confident, which Mike Leach is very happy to see. This mentality will only help the Cougars, as they’ll want to work harder in practice and want to get better. The harsh criticism of Mike Leach on his team has seemed to pay off.
WSU also has the majority of their offensive linemen healthy which Cougars offensive line coach Clay McGuire said he was very happy with and will lead to more competition in this off-season. From last year’s horrible offensive line, things seem to be turning in favor of the Cougars with this new offensive line, and we’ll make Leach’s Air Raid offense dangerous this upcoming season.
On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Ivan McLennan stood out with his explosive pursuit to the ball and his tremendous size. McLennan will be a Junior this upcoming Fall, and came to WSU back in January out of El Camino JC. The defensive secondary which is the Cougars’ biggest area of concern made some plays with multiple interceptions, and hopefully will progress as the off-season moves on.
Even with the poor conditions, the first day of practice for this Cougars football team was a success and will only get better heading into a 2013 season that could surprise some folks.
–Evan Baron (Follow Me On Twitter: @BaselineBaron09)