With the Washington State football season getting closer and closer I take a look at the returning offensive starters for the Cougars in the first of this two-part series.
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The Cougars finished last season going 6-7 and finishing the season with a heart-breaking loss in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl to the Colorado State Rams. With the season approaching, the Cougars are looking to continue their success and go to a second consecutive bowl game and are looking to do so behind the arm of Connor Halliday.
The Cougs are returning 8 of their 11 offensive starters for the upcoming season including quarterback Connor Halliday and wide receivers Gabe Marks and River Cracraft.
In fact, they will be returning every starter in every position but offensive line. Lineman Elliot Bosch, John Fullington, and Matt Goetz are the only players who will not be returning on offense for the Cougars next season.
Below is a table showing what players are returning and which starters have been lost.
|QB - Connor Halliday
|OL - John Fullington
|OL - Joe Dahl
|OL - Elliot Bosch
|OL - Gunnar Eklund
|OL - Matt Goetz
|WR - River Cracraft
|WR - Dom Williams
|WR - Gabe Marks
|H - Rickey Galvin
|RB - Marcus Mason
The Cougars are going to have to replace the offensive lineman that left and we will really get a close look at how good the players that have been recruited are going to be. Mike Leach has recruited very well for the team and it is finally time to see what those young players can do on the field.
At the center position the fall camp depth chart has an “or” listed in between Sam Flor and Riley Sorenson and according to The Spokesman Review, Mike Leach said the competition between the two was still “very close”
Oct 5, 2013; Berkeley, CA, USA; General view of the line of scrimmage as Washington State Cougars long snapper Alex Den Bleyker (65) snaps the ball against the California Golden Bears at Memorial Stadium. Washington State defeated California 44-22. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
According to the fall depth chart; on the right side of the offensive line the Cougars will have Jacob Seydel as the right guard with RS Freshman Cody O’Connell backing him up. At tackle, they have Cole Madison in the first spot but have Seydel as the backup. There could be a few changes with this as fall camp has progressed and more players have been able to prove they belong at the starting spot.
The Cougars are extremely lucky to be returning all of their receivers this year and returning their quarterback. Even the backup receivers are all players that have had a decent amount of playing time in their careers. Of the 12 players that caught 10 or more passes last season, 2 will not be returning this season; Bobby Ratliff, who decided to give up football earlier this year, and Leon Brooks.
The quarterback position gets a little bit more complicated and is really riding on Halliday staying healthy as the team has lost Tyler Bruggman and Austin Apodaca to transfers and have freshman Peyton Bender as the only other quarterback that is on scholarship. Backup quarterback Luke Falk is looking to take the reigns of backup if the unfortunate happens.
The Cougars are going to have to work a lot with their offensive line being so young and inexperienced but there is no doubt the Cougars coaches will have the players and the team in line for their home opener against Rutgers on August 28th.
Check back tomorrow for a look at the returning defensive starters.