Oct 12, 2013; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars quarterback Austin Apodaca (17) slides against Oregon State Beavers safety Micah Audiss (37) during the second half at Martin Stadium. The Beavers beat the Cougars 52-24. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
A casualty of the recruiting success by Washington State head coach Mike Leach‘s staff was reported yesterday by Jacob Thorpe of the Spokesman-Review. Austin Apodaca, who was the No. 2 quarterback for WSU last season, will transfer to another school where he hopes to get more playing time. Joshua Davis offered his take on the announcement Friday evening here on ACU.
My take on the news of Apodaca leaving was a mixture of disappointment and excitement.
It’s disappointing to hear a quality student-athlete like Apodaca is leaving the WSU football program. With three years of eligibility remaining, his upside held much promise. Good size, a very quick release and nice mobility, Apodaca seemed a good fit for the air attack of Leach.
As an unabashed ‘glass-half-full’ kind of guy, this news actually bodes well for the state of Cougar football.
If a guy with the skill set of Apodaca doesn’t believe he will see enough playing time over the next three years to wait his turn, the guys further down last year’s depth chart must be even better.
And if there is any position on a football team where self-image should border on over-confidence it’s the starting quarterback.
Dec 21, 2013; Albuquerque, NM, USA; Washington State Cougars quarterback Connor Halliday (12) throws a pass in the second quarter against the Colorado State Rams during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
With redshirt freshman Tyler Bruggman using last year to become acclimated to college and learn Mike Leach’s offense, any and all observers of his progress last season felt the highest profile player from the Class of 2013 might present the greatest challenge to incumbent starter Connor Halliday this spring.
Clearly the young man who wore No. 17, that of former Coug great Jason Gesser, joined the chorus singing praises about the potential of Bruggman.
This turn of events says a lot about what Mike Leach is getting done in Pullman.
Leach is all about facilitating the process of everyone in the WSU football program becoming the best at what they do.
As good as this coaching staff is, they are working to get better every day. That process includes their performance catching the eye of other head coaches who won’t hesitate to call with attractive offers to lure them away.
As good as the WSU roster is becoming from top to bottom, some players are going to become frustrated and transfer to another school seeking a chance to earn more playing time.
Between now and the end of the semester, chances are a few more players will be leaving Washington State for what they perceive to be ‘greener pastures’. Some of those departures will be the result of other programs seeking out a player to fill a specific need.
Heck, you better believe Coach Leach is weighing options to fill a huge void on his present roster now that Signing Day has passed. His team needs a good punter and kicker on the heels of both Andrew Furney and Mike Bowlin graduating.
And because the evolution of Cougar football is marked by the influx of high character people, in the future when we hear news that someone is leaving Pullman it will continue to spark disappointment. That should be the case due to the nature of being a part of the Cougar family.