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2011 Washington State Preview – Offense
Washington State WR Marquess Wilson
Washington State WR Marquess Wilson
Posted Jun 25, 2011 2011 Preview - Washington State Cougar Offense

Washington State Cougars

Preview 2011 - Offense

- 2011 Washington State Preview | 2011 Washington State Offense
- 2011 Washington State Defense | 2011 Washington State Depth Chart
- Washington State Previews 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

What You Need To Know:
Just block. It sounds simple, but it’s been a massive challenge for a Washington State offensive line that has simply gotten abused in recent years. Too bad, too, because head coach Paul Wulff has started amassing the talent he needs to successfully run his no-huddle attack. QB Jeff Tuel hit the tarmac in his sophomore year, throwing 18 touchdown passes and flashing his mobility. With Jared Karstetter and Marquess Wilson leading the way, the receivers promise to be one of the more underrated bunches on the West Coast. And young Rickey Galvin has the speed and moves to provide a much-needed boost to the running game. However, unless the offensive line can do a much better job of containing the other team, all of that talent will have a difficult time reaching its full potential.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Jeff Tuel
219-366, 2,780 yds, 18 TDs, 12 INTs
Rushing: Logwone Mitz
74 carries, 263 yds, 4 TDs
Receiving: Jared Karstetter
62 catches, 658 yds, 7 TDs

Star of the offense: Senior WR Jared Karstetter
Player who has to step up and become a star: Senior LT David Gonzalez
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman RB Rickey Galvin
Best pro prospect: Karstetter
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Karstetter, 2) Sophomore WR Marquess Wilson, 3) Junior QB Jeff Tuel
Strength of the offense: The wide receivers, the passing game
Weakness of the offense: Turnovers, the ground game, blocking, third down conversion, red zone scoring


State of the Unit: It’s taken time and patience, but Washington State finally believes that it’s in a position of stability behind center. A program known for its quarterback play over the years believes it’s closer than ever to bridging the gap to the days of Drew Bledsoe, Ryan Leaf, and Jason Gesser. While no one of that caliber is on the roster, the Cougars return the entirety of a group that produced 19 touchdown passes, they’re highest total since 2007.

Junior Jeff Tuel is the returning starter, completing 219-of-366 passes for 2,780 yards, 18 touchdown passes, and 12 interceptions. He also showed excellent mobility, rushing for a score and 204 yards, a number that was deflated by too many sacks. Now 6-3 and 214 pounds, he’s much stronger and thicker than when he arrived two years ago. A poised triggerman despite his chaotic surroundings, he was at his best down the stretch, raising expectations heading into the new season.

The favorite to back up Tuel for a second straight year is 6-3, 210-pound senior Marshall Lobbestael , a good all-around athlete with starting experience in his past. Last season, however, he only saw spot duty in six games, completing 7-of-15 for 61 yards. Inexperienced underclassmen David Gilbertson and Connor Halliday are looking to scale the depth chart early in their careers.

Watch Out For .... the continued maturation of Tuel. He has two years in the system, a full season as the starter, and a dynamite corps of receivers at his disposal. If the line can make even marginal progress, he has a chance to knock on the All-Pac-12 door.
Strength: The run-pass option. No, Tuel won’t be running the option this season, but if defenses blink, he’ll out run them to the sticks. His rushing numbers were deceptive, a product of lost yardage to sacks. Before the deductions, he actually ran for 459 yards, giving the offense an additional wrinkle.
Weakness: Consistency. In one year, the Cougars went from 114th nationally in passing efficiency to 53rd, a quantum leap. To keep that momentum going, they’ve got to play with a higher level of consistency, namely in the area of turnovers. Tuel is still prone to forcing passes, throwing a dozen picks in 2010.
Outlook: The Cougars finally have a building block under center, a young and exciting quarterback to lead the offense over the next two seasons. If Tuel can grow by even a fraction of what he did from 2009 to 2010, Wazzu will harbor one of the league’s more dangerous passing attacks.
Rating: 7.5

Running Backs

State of the Unit: Finding a feature back is on the offseason to-do list for a school that loses top rusher James Montgomery and hasn’t had a whole lot of success running the ball in recent seasons. Of course, the line was a huge reason for the mealy 2.6 yards per carry, meaning whoever rises to the top of the depth chart will have to learn how to make something out of nothing.

The staff is going to have two distinctly different options when it finally decides on go-to guy. On the one hand, there’s 6-1, 230-pound senior Logwone Mitz, who was second last year with 263 yards and four scores on 74 carries. He’s a big and physical north-south runner, seeking out contact between the tackles and dragging defenders for additional yards. His alter-ego is 5-8, 162-pound redshirt freshman Rickey Galvin , a much young and quicker choice out of the backfield. A potential gamebreaker, who’ll make people miss, he was scheduled to see plenty of action in his debut before breaking his arm in the opener. A little further down the depth chart, but still in the hunt is 5-8, 197-pound junior Carl Winston. Another change-of-pace to Mitz, he has a little wiggle and is tough to hit cleanly. Used sparingly for a second straight year, he ran for 90 yards on 28 carries a year ago.

Watch Out For .... Galvin. Sure, durability will be an ongoing concern, but then again, you can’t hit what you can’t catch. He’s the explosive element that was missing last season, an exciting playmaker whether he’s taking handoffs or catching swing passes out of the backfield.
Strength: Different looks. For the first time in a few years, the staff will be able to throw very different looks at opposing defenses. Mitz and Galvin both have value, but in very different ways. Mitz is the meat tenderizer, wearing out defenses and excelling in short yardage. Galvin can provide electricity with his speed and acceleration.
Weakness: A proven go-to guy. Do you want to give any of the backs on the roster 25 carries a game? Mitz is methodical and has yet to prove in four seasons that he’s worthy of a full-time load. Galvin looks more like a specialist, best suited for situational purposes.
Outlook: If Washington State is going to be better on the ground, it’ll have more to do with the linemen than the backs. That said, the runners will need to take of business as well, hitting the hole with authority, picking up blitzes, and gaining yards after contact. Mitz is a journeyman, but Galvin has special qualities.
Rating: 5.5


State of the Unit: Three Pac-10 teams had a pair of receivers catch more than 50 balls in 2010. Wazzu was one of them. With a blend of old and young, the Cougars have manufactured a terrific cast of receivers for QB Jeff Tuel. Now that the starters are close to being etched in stone, the coaching staff is looking to develop a few more capable hands in an effort to build depth and spread the wealth.

Although it won’t get a lot of play outside the Palouse, 6-4, 208-pound senior Jared Karstetter has quietly emerged as one of the conference’s better wide receivers. A two-time All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection at “Z”, he once again led the Cougars in receptions, making 62 catches for 658 yards and seven scores. A precise route-runner, with good hands and know-how, he’ll use his length and strength to gain advantages vertically, while galloping past unsuspecting corners.

Last season’s big surprise was provided by 6-3, 173-pound sophomore Marquess Wilson , a starter at “X” receiver in his first year out of Tulare Union (Calif.) High School. Overlooked by major programs in the state, he delivered a Freshman All-American campaign, making 55 catches for 1,006 yards and six touchdowns. While not the fastest member of the group, he has a long stride and a knack for picking up yards after the catch. He has an enormous upside, especially after he packs on a little more muscle.

At “F” receiver, the slot, the Cougars will employ both 6-1, 190-pound senior Isiah Barton and 6-0, 180-pound junior Gino Simone. Barton is a steady performer, with the muscle to beat the jam at the line of scrimmage. A former JUCO transfer, he caught 19 balls for 165 yards, while will go north once starts catching the ball more cleanly. Simone has some of the best hands on the team, catching 13 balls for 132 yards in 2010, but has had a hard time remaining healthy. Now that junior Skylar Stormo has gone from starting tight end to backup defensive end, an opening has been created for 6-5, 247-pound Andrei Lintz . The junior has mostly been used on special teams, but flashed an ability to make plays in the passing game during the offseason.

Watch Out For .... Simone to become an integral part of the passing game. Yeah, he averaged a catch a game last fall, but injuries had a lot to do with that drop in activity. He already has the confidence of QB Jeff Tuel, and with Karstetter and Wilson garnering so much attention on the outside, he could be an ideal option on third down.
Strength: The starters. In Karstetter and Wilson, the Cougars have a pair of all-star-caliber wideouts capable of making plays on the outside. Both have good size and the long stride to get behind a secondary. If one receives extra attention from opposing defenses, the other is capable of making them pay with an eight-catch, 120-yard effort.
Weakness: Tight end. Defenses are going to commit the resources to stopping Karstetter and Wilson, which means the underneath routes will be uncongested. Although Simone and Barton can be effective, it’d be nice to access to a sure-handed, pass-catching tight end as well.
Outlook: A good receiving corps was elevated to another level when Wilson arrived and declared he was no ordinary rookie. That one-two combination, along with Karstetter, gives Washington State a couple of legitimate playmaking threats on the outside. And with an extra season with Tuel, both can be counted on for at least 50 catches again this season.
Rating: 7.5

Offensive Line

State of the Unit: Hold up the stop sign if you’ve heard this one before: The Wazzu offensive line is in disarray. While eight letterwinners and three starters are back, this is an issue that extends well beyond just body count. The Cougars simply struggle at the point of attack in a league filled with grown-up, ranking 119th nationally in sacks allowed and 117th in rushing offense. Building a tougher, more physical line is a perennial concern in Pullman, one that’s unlikely to dissipate in 2011.

The closest thing to an anchor up front will be 6-3, 315-pound RG B.J. Guerra , a third-year starter and honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection. A one-time defensive tackle, he has the strong base and outstanding upper body strength to give the front wall the toughness and physicality that it desperately needs.

Over at left guard, 6-7, 320-pound junior Tyson Pencer is working hard to win the job. Built like a tackle, with the long arms to stun defenders, he lettered as a backup in 2010 and started four games in 2009. However, now that former RT John Fullington has moved to left guard, all bets are off. The 6-5, 268-pounder, who started the final five games of his rookie year at left tackle, is a good athlete who’s better prepared to battle following an offseason of conditioning.

Right tackle should be filled by 6-6, 304-pound senior Wade Jacobson , a starter in all but one at left guard in 2010. If he winds up staying on the right side in his second year out of the JUCO ranks, it’ll give the line a couple of physical guys to the right of center.

Senior Andrew Roxas, a fifth-year veteran of three letters, is being asked to take over at the pivot. He’s in the best shape of his career, which is a good thing since 6-3, 280-pound junior Taylor Meighen, a rookie out of Kilgore (Tex.) Junior College is coming on fast. Protecting the quarterback’s backside is 6-6, 275-pound senior David Gonzales . Still learning, yet light on his feet, he started the first seven games at left tackle in 2010.

Watch Out For .... a very fluid process. During spring drills alone, the starting lineup shifted at least a half-dozen times. Expect more of the same in the summer as the coaching staff hunts for the best combination, especially when imports, like former Texas Tech G Matt Goetz arrive on campus.
Strength: Competition. In theory, a competitive atmosphere brings out the best in everyone. If that’s true, the Cougars should experience a spike in their play since so many positions are up for grab. This is also a versatile group, with most of the blockers having played multiple positions.
Weakness: Blocking. Yeah, it’s sort of a little too spot on, but how else can you sum up an offensive line that routinely gets shoved into its own backfield? In the two most important areas of the job, the Cougar blockers struggle mightily at keeping the pocket clean and creating running room for the backs.
Outlook: The Cougar line will again be a weak link. The only question is a matter of relativity—just how bad will it be? As is often the case in Pullman, progress will depend on how quickly transfers can adapt to their surroundings and compete for jobs. Even so, it’s hard to imagine this unit not being the Pac-12’s worst in 2011.
Rating: 5

- 2011 Washington State Preview | 2011 Washington State Offense
- 2011 Washington State Defense | 2011 Washington State Depth Chart
- Washington State Previews 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006