The most intriguing story coming out of Day 1 of the Washington State Fall camp in Lewiston is the fact that Destiny Vaeao is penciled in as the BUCK starter and played such a role on Friday.
Before going any further with this, let’s quantify where Vaeao fits in this scheme. At 6’4″, 290 lbs (on the current listing from WSU Athletics) this kid has been running around the defensive line in different situations just to get his impressive athleticism on the field. People in touch with the teams’ Spring and Summer workouts have raved about his improvements this offseason and he has recently been named as the surprise player to keep an eye on as we move towards the season by Cougfan.
Again, he’s 290 pounds. Travis Long, who manned the position as a previous defensive end in 2012 was around 250. The other two guys in contention for major playing time at the BUCK are junior Ivan McLennan and sophomore Kache Palacio, McLennan is the bigger of the two at 6’4″, 244.
What does it mean?
I take it to mean two things; Vaeao is something of a freak athlete at his size, and the Cougs may look to go with four down linemen more than they did last season to bulk up against the run. We’ll see how this shakes out as we move forward in training camp, but Leach had a good quick review for Vaeao in the post-practice talk so expect this to be something that takes.
In other news the new guys are impressing early. The guys that Leach mentioned were running back Jamal Morrow (whom we’ve taken for granted with the arrival of Gerard Wicks), receiver River Cracraft and junior sensation Vince Mayle, who is huge against the defensive backs but looks every bit the part of a cut-up athlete at 6’3″, 244 lbs. Mayle is the type of guy that we don’t see here so we try and analyze if he’s too big, but frankly he looks just like a lot of elite SEC-type receivers and they wouldn’t think one extra second about it, so I say neither should we.
On the other side of the ball Daquawn Brown was vocal on day 1, exuding confidence and the readiness to compete immediately at this level. The self-proclaimed “Cheetah” picked off Austin Apodaca, which won’t do anything to quiet him down. The Cougs need a little confidence in their secondary, so good stuff on the first day. Still, Nolan Washington and Damante Horton manned the starting spots.
Oh yes, and Connor Halliday had a very solid day and is looking like the team leader at this point (early as it is) in the game. Fans all Summer have looked for a quarterback battle to really break out. I still roll my eyes to the back of my head when I hear that, but some want controversy there, so we’ll probably beat it to death over the next month until we see #12 on the field to start the Auburn game.
For more information on day 1 of Fall camp for WSU, check out Cougfan.