Nov 29, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Keith Price (17) is tackled by Washington State Cougars defensive end Xavier Cooper (96) during the second half at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
All right, let’s count down: 187 days ’till Cougar Football!
More than half a year separates us from Rutgers in Seattle, but a salve, a methadone fix to satiate desperate Cougs will be available in two days. Spring practice commences Thursday for a team comfortable at some positions, and while not panicking in others, there remains pensive concern.
Here is the WSU Spring Football Prospectus, for those of you who would like to waste time at work or avoid homework for about an hour or so.
Leach will have the easiest time this season season selecting his field general. Connor Halliday will not be unseated. Those who were calling for Apodaca last season (Austin has since announced his transfer to an undetermined institution) may be disappointed. Detractors should remember that CML’s offense is advanced theoretical physics, and these freshman are still learning their calculus. Bruggman is the apparent backup, but rumors of Luke Falk’s aptitude for the Air Raid may provide some Springtime drama, so keep your eyes on #10 and #4.
Receivers and backs will make for an entertaining watch, as always, but there are no major questions to be answered. All of these guys are going to see the field this fall, they will get their chances. How many reps and targets in October will mainly depend on what they do in September, not in April. The only real question to be addressed at the skill positions will be whether true freshman/early enrollee Calvin Green will play this Fall, or redshirt.
The OL will be a more difficult area for the coaching staff to solidify. Size abounds, but experience is lacking. Eklund and Dahl are both returning but have exchanged positions, the rest is, well, you could probably throw darts and be as accurate as anyone in the know. The bodies are there, but how they will gel is in the air. This is a chance for intrigue, as another group is where your concern should lie.
Defensive line is still strong. The loss of NFL hopeful Ioane Gauta could prove daunting, but Xavier Cooper and Toni Pole’s leadership will undoubtedly assist in this group’s development. The depth and experience will again provide for competition 3-4 defense that utilizes a large rotation of lineman.
Linebacker is equally strong, if not stronger. The competition for starter is unlikely to be compelling, with the possible exception of the WILL battle between Tana Pritchard and Jeremiah Allison. As with the DL, just enjoy watching these guys develop this Spring.
Secondary . . . well, damn, this is going to be tough. The experience level is disturbingly low. The depth is almost frightening. Tracy Clark is the lone Senior on the depth chart and mercurial starter Taliulu is the only Junior. April 26 at Joe Albi in Spokane (Spring Game) could conclude with some sincerely warranted concern or cautious optimism (best case scenario).
Hopefully these guys will prove themselves, we have little evidence in either direction today. Advice to the young Cougs: Listen to Mike Breske, he will steer you toward the correct path. You all have the chance to play this Fall, to start and shine, and he will lead you each in the direction that your aptitudes will be exposed as your weaknesses are masked.
Coug fans, it is Spring ball. We do not celebrate it as fervently as they do in the South, but this is an important staging point for the Fall. In all reality, a 3-0 start is probable. Wins do not occur in April, but in the Fall; however, the preparation in Spring and Summer lead to Autumn victories.