The Washington State football team still has a practice tomorrow before darting of into “Summer” workouts, but after watching the scrimmage on Saturday there are definitely some things to be decided at many positions. Here is a rundown of the positions and the battles that could be affected by newcomers or injured players returning in the Fall. (Hint, every single position)
November 3, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Washington State Cougars wide receiver Kristoff Williams (18) awaits a kickoff during the first quarter against the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
RS junior Connor Halliday seems to have this pretty well within his grasp. RS freshman Austin Apodaca did some nice things in Spring but due to the youth he’ll have to not only be better than Halliday, but completely roll him in the Fall to unseat him. Mike Leach might say it’s close, but close won’t beat Halliday, even if Apodaca has an edge, at least initially. Tyler Bruggman may factor in slightly to the competition, but I’m pretty solid in my assumption that Leach wants to redshirt him, no matter what.
When you start to hear the rs sophomore Jeremiah Laufasa might be looking at playing time because of his style of running, you know that all three of the incoming players at running back will be in the mix. Senior transfer Daniel Jenkins and newcomers Gerard Wicks and Jamal Morrow will all be trying to edge their way in and unfortunately for the Cougs already there, those three won’t have far to go unless something drastic happens this Summer. Sophomore Teondray Caldwell, junior Marcus Mason and rs junior Theron West have a slight head start.
This Spring has produced better than anticipated results from the wide receivers. The battles are fierce and the team is in much better “hands” than at this time last season. Junior College transfer Vince Mayle is sure to come in and compete for a starting role, due to his size and pure strength. But sophomore Gabe Marks, rs sophomore Dominique Williams and rs junior Kristoff Williams are all bigger, faster, stronger. Newcomers River Cracraft and Charleston White won’t be in the mix unless unfortunate injury strikes, but the additions of rs freshman Robert Lewis and rs junior Rickey Galvin are sure to give defenses a tough group to handle, regardless of what the lineups are on any given play. And that’s before mentioning sophomore Brett Bartolone, junior Isiah Myers and rs junior Bobby Ratliff.
A very disappointing Spring game effort would give any Coug fan the thought that a freshman or two could come in and play right away, but not so fast. While the newcomers could certainly push for a two-deep role, the line is still in decent shape coming out of Spring. A lot of the 11 “sacks” given up were when 1’s (defensive lineman) were lined up over 2’s on the O-line. With a much improved defensive line, it’s tough to say just how good or bad the O-line played. I think all five incoming freshman will hit the weight rooms for a season before getting into the ‘starting’ discussions. If you are looking for freshmen that will push the envelope, look at Cody O’Connell and Riley Sorenson based on their size. Our projected starters are (from left to right) rs sophomore Gunnar Eklund, rs sophomore Joe Dahl, rs senior Elliot Bosch, senior John Fullington (or rs junior Jake Rodgers) and rs senior Rico Forbes.