Nov. 10, 2012; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars quarterback Connor Holliday (12) waits for the snap against the UCLA Bruins during the first half at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Pete Carroll at Seattle talks all the time about competition bringing out the best in people, Mike Leach has a similar view. So it is that yet another preferred walk-on at quarterback will be headed to the Pullman campus this Fall, giving the Cougs a grand total of 7 or 8 depending on if Isaac Dotson joins the QB’s or another group.
Before thoughts about the situation, here’s a listing of all the presumed quarterbacks for this Fall on the Cougars’ roster:
2 Apodaca, Austin RS FR 6-3/191 Longmont, Colo./Silver Creek 12 Halliday, Connor RS JR 6-4/183 Spokane, Wash./Ferris 8 Brown, Jesse RS SO 6-2/199 Baker City, Ore./Baker Connor Ennis FR 6’1/170 Washington D.C./Gonzaga College HS Dominic Rockey FR 6’2/185 Auburn, WA/Auburn Mtn View Luke Falk FR 6’4/219 Logan, UT/Logan Isaac Dotson FR 6’3/210 Bellevue, WA/Newport Tyler Bruggman FR 6’2/202 Pheonix, AZ/Brophy Prep
First things first, addressing the concern by some that Halliday’s job is in danger due to this stockpiling of talent at the postion; Halliday has nothing to worry about from anybody who’s name isn’t Austin Apodaca or Tyler Bruggman.
Ok, now that that’s out of the way, let’s address the reasoning. Going back to the opening statement about competition, the more opportunity to seed it, the more it grows. Leach has told these guys that it’s an “open competition” and that the best guy will play. Halliday’s job is safe for the most part, but Leach is telling his entire team that you’re going to fight for your position and you’re going to earn it every day. While the idea is to give the best guy the rock, if you think that Connor Halliday isn’t that guy over a bunch of freshmen coming in, you’ve got another thing coming.
Another reason for the influx is that Leach loves to run a bevy of quarterback/receiver drills and the more arms, the more you can get accomplished in a given practice. This is especially true when you consider that there will be 17 or 18 receivers on the field this Fall, including the walk-ons.
The final reason is that these quarterbacks are all fans of Leach and throwing the football. There are a lot of things they can learn in one or two seasons backing up the three main guys, not to mention taking lessons from the head coach himself. Let’s not also forget that while coach David Yost coaches inside receivers now, he is also something of a quarterback guru and can give a wealth of information to these guys. I see it as a learning experience under the big boys before transferring to a place where they can become the immediate starter as a junior.
Those are some of my ideas on why the Cougars are bringing on so many quarterbacks. Rest assured, Connors job is safe, long as he goes out and gets work in this summer. Apodaca and Bruggman are safe also. Let’s not get too worked up about it, there are multiple positives that come out of it for everybody involved and ultimately the Cougs will benefit from having the daily competition and push by others at the position. Look for this to happen all over the field too, not just at quarterback.