The WSU Football team is set to square off against itself in the annual Crimson and Gray Game

Allan Henry-US PRESSWIRE

With spring camp winding down, WSU football team is set to play their annual spring Crimson and Gray game Saturday at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane at 1pm.

Saturday's Crimson and Gray spring game will take place a little over the halfway point between the last time Cougar fans have seen their team in action in the 2013 New Mexico Bowl (125 days) and the next time they will see their team in action against Rutgers at Century Link Field to kick off the 2014 college football season (123 days). Rosters for the teams were announced on Friday. The weather forecast for Spokane is looking fairly nice with partly cloudy skies and a high of 58 degrees. Kickoff is at 1pm.

In 2012, 10,713 Cougar fans flocked to Joe Albi to get an in-person glimpse of Mike Leach and his high octane offense in action. At the time, Andrei Lintz was drawing comparisons to a grizzly bear that could snatch up a lot of balls and barrel down the field with his big body. And some folks began to wonder whether Blair Bomber might just be the next Wes Welker. In short, we had hope, and a lot of it. And the season that ensued fell well short of those expectations.

Heading into the 2013 season, people kept their expectations in check and the attendance at the Crimson and Gray game dwindled to 8,340.The Cougs mustered just three wins in 2012 and fans were sort of scratching their heads unsure of whether or not the Leach and staff could push the program to the place they hoped it could be. The tamed expectations for 2013 were met with a surprisingly successful season in which WSU managed four conferences (three on the road) to make a postseason bowl game for the first time in ten years.

Expectations will be raised in 2014 just for the fact that they were exceeded on 2013. Still there are a lot of questions marks across the Cougar roster with inexperience at several positions.

Saturday's scrimmage should not do anything to shape our expectations nor should it answer any of the questions that remain for the Cougars. Although I will not take much stock in whatever happens on the field, there are a few players I will firmly have my eyes on:

#12 Connor Halliday (Crimson Team):

We are all familiar with the many manifestations of Connor Halliday. There's an explosive Halliday that has brought us to our feet and there's a reckless and inefficient Halliday that has planted our faces in our palms. Through all of this, I have never doubted that Halliday has the potential to be a special player. And I know that is what Leach saw in him in 2012 when he tried to stick with Halliday through his struggles over Jeff Tuel. It's a bold prediction, but I think Halliday will shock a lot of people in 2014 season and have the type of season that will get him mentioned with Kliff Kingsbury and Graham Harrell as a quarterback that thrived under Leach. As a senior, Halliday will shoulder a lot of leadership responsibility on this team and seems to be easing into the role nicely. I'll be looking for that Saturday.

#36 Isaac Dotson (Crimson Team):

Dotson came to WSU as a quarterback, although many of us knew from the outset that he would not fill that role during his time at WSU. Knowingly or not, Dotson seems to have been brought to WSU under the general tag of "Athlete" and that athlete has been groomed to take over the strong safety position from the best player WSU has had for several years, Deone Bucannon. Bucannon will be the first player to go above the third round in the NFL draft since the recently retired Marcus Trufant. Bucannon was the anchor of the Cougar defense and flat out delivered punishment to opponents. It would be absurd to expect Dotson to fill Bucannon's shoes, especially right away, but the less the Cougs give up at the strong safety position, the better the defense will be. For that reason, Dotson will be a player of interest for me.

Center play:

Much of the improvement of the 2013 Cougar offensive line was the result of the solid play of Elliot Bosch at center. With Bosch graduating, the reported competition for center is between #64 Sam Flor, a redshirt sophomore, and #58 Riley Sorenson, a true sophomore. Flor will be playing for the Crimson team snapping to Halliday, while Sorensen will be on the Gray team and is listed at right guard. Redshirt freshamn #68 Carlos Freeman was listed as the center for the gray team. Regardless of who is giving the snaps on either team, the play from the center spot will be something I have my eye on Saturday.

CRIMSON AND GRAY GAME

Crimson and Gray Rosters Announced For Spring Game - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
WSU will play its Crimson and Gray Game Saturday, April 26 at 1 p.m. at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane, Wash.

WSU spring football: Connor Halliday returns to Albi - Spokesman.com - April 25, 2014
PULLMAN – Connor Halliday will return to his old field of glory on Saturday. But when he leads the Cougars into Spokane’s Joe Albi Stadium for the Washington State Crimson and Gray game it will be to showcase his quarterbacking talents, rather than proving them. As a prep football player at local Lewis and Clark and Ferris high schools, Joe Albi was the site for many of Halliday’s early exploits that caught the eye of college coaches. He returns as WSU’s record-setting quarterback and one of the national passing leaders.

MEN'S BASKETBALL

The Men's Basketball team announced that longtime Ken Bone assistant Curtis Allen would be remaining with the program as an assistant coach to round out Ernie Kent's staff. Retaining Allen makes sense for WSU from the standpoint of needing to recruit in the Seattle area. Also Aaron Cheatum, who announced earlier in the week he would be coming to WSU, officially sent in his National Letter of Intent, meaning WSU could officially announce that he was coming.

Curtis Allen Joins Ernie Kent's Coaching Staff - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Curtis Allen has been retained and will join first-year Washington State University Men's Basketball Head Coach Ernie Kent's staff as an assistant coach, Kent announced Thursday.

Ernie Kent retains Curtis Allen as assistant - Spokesman.com - April 25, 2014
New men’s basketball coach Ernie Kent did not have to travel far to find the third and final member of his coaching staff. Curtis Allen came to WSU as an assistant under former coach Ken Bone and will remain in the same capacity under Kent.

Aaron Cheatum Signs NLI with Basketball Program - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Aaron Cheatum has signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Washington State University men's basketball team beginning with the 2014-15 season, head coach Ernie Kent announced Friday.

Aaron Cheatum makes it official - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - April 25, 2014
From Pullman -- After verbally declaring his intentions to sign with Washington State earlier this week, Aaron Cheatum made it official today, sending in his National Letter of Intent and becoming new coach Ernie Kent's first recruit at WSU. The 6-foot-7, 240 pound forward hails from Moreno, Calif. via East ...

BASEBALL

With the  team pretty much out of contention and head coach Donnie Marbut continuing to serve a six game suspension, WSU Baseball squared off Friday night against No 5 Washington in Seattle.The Cougs fell behind early when starting pitcher Joe Pistorese gave up a four runs in the bottom of the second inning, including a three-run homer to Austin Rei.  Pistorese was able to hold his own for a few innings and the offense gave him some runs to pull with a run at 4-3 when Ben Roberts delivered a two-run triple.. Kellen Camus came on in relief of Pistorese and bailed the Cougs out of a bases loaded, one out jam in the bottom of the fifth. The Cougs tied the game in the bottom of the seventh 4-4 when Ian Sagdal came to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. Sagdal fouled off several pitches after falling behind in the count 0-2 before delivering the game winning two run single.  Ian Hamilton kept the 6-4 margin in tact by striking out the side in the bottom of the ninth to pick up his Pac-12 leading 11th save. It was just a tremendous ballgame! I thoroughly enjoyed it to say the least.

The Cougars and Huskies will square off again Saturday night at 7:30 pm on the Pac-12 Network.

Cougars Rally Past FIfth-Ranked Huskies - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Washington State overcomes four-run deficit.

TENNIS

Cougars Open Play at Pac-12 Championships - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
It was a difficult first day of play for Washington State at the 2014 Pac-12 Tennis Championships, with all five Cougars falling in their opening-round matches Friday at the Ojai Athletic Club.

WOMEN'S GOLF

Women’s Golf Prepares for Pac-12 Championships - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
The Washington State women's golf team travels to Corvallis, Ore. for Pac-12 Championships Apr. 25,-27, 2014.

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