2013 Washington State Spring Analysis
Washington State Cougars 2013 ...
Head Coach: Mike Leach
Why To Get Excited … the learning curve on the Palouse will be much flatter now that head coach Mike Leach has had an entire season with his players. The Cougars return nine starters to each side of the ball and both specialists, lending hope that the team will operate with a higher degree of consistency and pop this fall. Everyone knew it would take time before the new staff became ingrained in the fabric of a new program; a full year with Leach will prove beneficial to everyone, especially the quarterbacks.
| 2013 Schedule|
8/31 at Auburn
9/7 at USC
9/14 Southern Utah
10/5 at California
10/12 Oregon State
10/19 at Oregon
10/26 OPEN DATE
10/31 Arizona State
11/9 OPEN DATE
11/16 at Arizona
11/29 at Washington
Why To Be Grouchy … compared to the rest of the Pac-12, Wazzu still has a long way to go before narrowing the talent gap. Both lines are shaky, and the defense gave up more than 33 points a game in 2012. It’s going to take at least another recruiting class and intense player development before the Cougars can seriously think about competing for a spot in the postseason.
The Number One Thing To Work On Is … the offensive line. If the Cougars are going to surprise any opponents this year, it’ll likely be initiated by QB Connor Halliday and a budding corps of receivers headed by Gabe Marks, Brett Bartolone and Isiah Myers. However, the Wazzu quarterbacks will again be treated like crimson-clad piñatas unless the blockers can do a better job of protection. The 2012 edition was abused for 57 sacks, more than any other FBS team.
Non-Conference Games: at Auburn, Southern Utah, Idaho
Games Against The South: at Arizona, Arizona State, at USC, Utah
Realistic Best Case Record: 6-6
Worst Case Record: 2-10
Likely Finish: 3-9
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Southern Utah, Idaho, Utah
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Auburn, at USC, Stanford, at California, Oregon State, at Oregon, Arizona State, at Arizona, at Washington
Schedule Analysis: The Cougars have to be far better and need to come up with several upsets to have a decent year. Starting out on the road at Auburn and USC won’t help, but coming back to Pullman to finish out the non-conference slate against Southern Utah and Idaho should provide a decent base of wins going forward. However, the meat of the North schedule kicks in with Stanford, a trip to Cal, Oregon State and a road game against Oregon as part of a seven-game run before finally getting a break.
Unfortunately, the week off in late October is followed up by a date with Arizona State and another week off – it would be nice to have had a bye week in late September. Missing Colorado from the South is a bad deal, but the Cougars get Utah as the final home game of the season in between road games against Arizona and Washington.
Team Concerns For 2013: There has to be some semblance of a running game. Of course, the Cougars are all about the passing game under Mike Leach, but there wasn't any ground game whatsoever averaging under 30 yards per game. Part of the problem was the offensive line that was so miserable in pass protection, finishing last in the nation in sacks allowed giving up 57 sacks on the year. The O has to be tighter with the ball after giving it away 30 times, while the defense has to come up with more big plays after coming up with a mere six recovered fumbles.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. Mike Leach is getting his share of offensive options with quarterback Tyler Bruggman out of Phoenix fitting the role of the right triggerman, while receivers River Cracraft and Vince Mayle are going to be factors. After a disastrous season for the defense, Leach went hard after defensive linemen hoping JUCO transfer Lyman Faoliu a possible answer at one end and prepsters Gerald Sterling and Daniel Etuale for the interior. JUCO linebacker Ivan McLennan will have a shot at a starting linebacker job this year, while Daquawn Brown is a future No. 1 corner.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 56. That Class Was Heavy On ... Take a wild stab at what new head coach Mike Leach is looking to bring in. It actually isn’t quite what you’d think, even though a few nice receivers are signing up. Leach is starting up front by signing up offensive linemen to build around for the next few years. There aren’t a lot of top prospects coming in – there hasn’t been enough time for Leach to work – but it’s a huge class with lots of options to play around with. Soon, though, he’ll be going after the passers he needs to run his attack.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 52. That Class Was Heavy On ... JUCO defensive ends. The best players in the class are at linebacker with Max Hersey and Darryl Paulo two future starters for the inside, and Chester Sua and Logan Mays two potential killers on the outside once they add ten-plus pounds. But head coach Paul Wulff needs to show improvement and he needs to show it now. Hellooooo, JUCO transfers. Wazzu welcomes in four JUCO defensive ends, and while none of them are going to be on any All-America short lists, they’re all quick, they’re all ready, and they’ll all be a part of the rotation immediately.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 57. That Class Was
Heavy On ... Wide receivers.
Paul Wulff needed playmakers and he needed them last
year. There might not be any sure-thing starters for
2010, but Bobby Ratliff, Marquess Wilson and Robert
Jiles, and Blair Bomber are upgrades at receiver.
Tight end Aaron Dunn needs to be a part of the
offense now, and running backs Rickey Galvin and
Devontae Butler-Booker are quick backs who should
provide a boost for the running game. JUCO transfers
David Gonzales and Wade Jacobson will push for
starting time at tackle this offseason, while C.J.
Mizell is a ready-made linebacker to plug in on the
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 44. That Class Was
Heavy On ... defensive backs. The only reason why last year’s pass defense wasn’t worse off was because the run D was so easy to navigate. The Cougars realize there’s still plenty of work to be done in the secondary. They beat out the likes of Arizona State and Boise State for talented CB Nolan Washington, and bagged five safeties with the potential to start at some point in their careers. Heck, Wazzu even got themselves a Locker, beating out Washington for Jake Locker’s cousin, Casey.