Aug 31, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Washington State Cougars wide receiver Kristoff Williams (18) is brought down by Auburn Tigers defensive back Jermaine Whitehead (9) as Washington State Cougars wide receiver River Cracraft (84) avoids a collision at Jordan Hare Stadium. The Tigers defeated the Cougars 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports
The Washington State coaching staff hasn’t been shy about their willingness to play freshmen right away if they are ready. However the Cougars officially only burned two redshirts at Auburn.
Inside receiver River Cracraft started the game and wasn’t a major factor in the game, but he should have been. He did record 3 catches for 14 yards while being targeted 6 or 7 times. From what I remember, he had a clean drop, couldn’t dig out a low throw from Connor Halliday and was interfered with twice down the right sidelines without a deserved flag on either play that would have earned the Cougs 2 huge first downs (which is why I say he should have been more of a factor).
Aug 31, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall (14) avoids the tackle of Washington State Cougars cornerback Daquawn Brown (25) during the second half at Jordan Hare Stadium. The Tigers beat the Cougars 31-24. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
Cornerback Daquawn Brown was inserted into the game in the 2nd half when Nolan Washington got dinged up on a tackle and was most certainly a part of a big defensive effort for WSU. His high energy attitude and confidence was on full display (something I haven’t seen since Jason David was out playing corner for the Cougs). While he did make a few mistakes letting receivers get behind him, the Tigers never made Washington State pay for that and more often than not Brown was around the play. He recorded 4 official tackles and .5 of a tackle for loss.
Mike Leach on Cracraft:
"I do think he’s (Halliday’s) confident in Cracraft. I think he’ll settle down and get better and better. He didn’t really have any of those first-game meltdowns."
Leach on Brown:
"One thing that helps him out is he’s fearless. Daquawn Brown isn’t afraid of anything! He’s going to be a really good player."
Leach added that Brown could start in the defensive secondary this week. JC transfers DE Lyman Faoliu and WR Vince Mayle played in the game but didn’t record any official stats. Mayle did drop a fairly large 3rd down pass in the first half and wasn’t really heard from at all, but Leach has mentioned this week that he will get going and become an asset to the offense going forward.
Other freshmen that were expected to play at position or on special teams were MLB Peyton Pelluer, WR Robert Lewis, WR John Thompson and CB Charleston White, based on comments from the coaches on the week leading up to Auburn. This obviously doesn’t mean that they are going to be redshirted throughout the season, but if the Cougs can stay healthy enough, hopefully these kids can gain a valuable year.