Nov. 23, 2012; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars running back Carl Winston (3) scores a touchdown against Washington Huskies safety Justin Glenn (20) 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 perceptions about an air raid offense are largely pass oriented and for good reason. But even the air raid has moments where it likes to drop some ground troops on you. Coach Leach has talked about “balance” and how the idea of that balance is largely overrated when it comes to needing to handoff the football in the run game. He’s very adamant that it’s all about balancing the “touches” with all of your skill players vs handoff and pass balance.
Still, the Cougars would like to be able to run it when the situation calls for it, particularly inside the 10 yard line. While Teondray Caldwell and Marcus Mason can be good in the open field and can get your occasional “tough yard”, neither is really that goal line running back that you could trust to get in the endzone in case of collision. That’s why Carl Winston was in the game for all three attempts to get into the endzone inside the 5 in the Apple Cup.
Fast forward to this Fall, with Winston graduated and the Cougs still needing to find that kind of back. We all kind of thought Daniel Jenkins or one of the incoming freshmen would be that all-around type of guy to take the job, but of course Jenkins opted to return to Arizona this Spring and so far the “incumbents” to the position are holding off the newcomers.
The goal line back is turning out to be a previously forgotten commodity, bowling ball Jeremiah Laufasa. The 5’10”, 208 lbs sophomore broke out in the second half of the Spring as the surprise power-back and it’s carried over to the Fall. Laufasa is consistently bouncing off the piles against the first or second team defense, or driving them into the endzone from 10 yards and in. Doesn’t seem as if he’s getting very many carries outside of the 10, where Caldwell and Mason are still getting to strut their stuff, but he’s just that type of back that the Cougs need at this point.
Going back to the freshmen for a second, both Gerard Wicks and Jamal Morrow are showing pretty well in camp for their part. Wicks has been very vocal about his goal to be freshman of the year with several touchdowns this season, so it’s going to be tough to count him out with that attitude. It does seem however that Caldwell and Mason have steadily improved to the point of being just enough for what Leach needs outside of the 10 yard line and have each earned the reps you expect out of a starter. They’ve been taking them all with the 1’s in practice so there’s not much else to go off of at this point.
We’ll be keeping you updated if anything changes, or even if it doesn’t in preparation for Auburn over the next couple weeks.