WSU SPRING FOOTBALL: Sizing Up The QB Competition, Via Cougar Sports Weekly

Mike Leach is famous for not tipping his hand. If you were not aware of this, just go ahead and read any of Christian Caple's spring practice recaps in which he is forced to repeatedly alert the reader to Leach's policy of not commenting on injuries.

However, as we try to get a handle on who is eventually going to be WSU's starter at quarterback in the fall -- Jeff Tuel or Connor Halliday -- Leach actually has tipped his hand in a big way: Through what he had to say about the position in his book, "Swing Your Sword."

For today's Cougar Sports Weekly, which I'll be sending out shortly, I decided to go back and examine what Leach had to say about what attributes are most important to him in selecting a quarterback and then see how Tuel and Halliday stacked up. Here's a brief excerpt from the lengthy examination I wrote on the topic:

Says Leach, "It’s very difficult to gauge a quarterback’s intelligence from recruiting tape, but I know that guys who throw into double coverage aren’t making good decisions. What I want to see is him throwing to his receivers right on the break, or just as they find themselves wide open."

Substitute "recruiting tape" with "watching as a fan on TV" and you’ve got our position. All we can do is apply the same two standards Leach does when he watches quarterback prospects: Is he throwing to guys who are open and is he throwing it to them as they come open?

In terms of the latter, I see this as another push between the two of them. But with regards to the former, I think this is an area where Tuel has a bit of an advantage at the moment. Among the seven full-time starters in the Pac-10 in 2010, Tuel had the highest attempt-to-interception ratio. This jives with what I saw with my eyes, and I think part of it is due to Tuel’s ability to tuck the ball and run rather than force the ball when nobody is open.

Halliday, on the other hand, has a bit of a gunslinger mentality. Sometimes he gets away with it and throws for 500 yards. Sometimes he throws four interceptions in the first half, as he did against a Utah team that was excellent defensively and actually prepared for him and his skill set.

If you'd like to read the whole thing, you can subscribe to Cougar Sports Weekly here. It's cheap! And you'll get access to our archives when you do.

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