27 days to football: Grade the RB depth

William Mancebo

We discussed the quarterbacks yesterday, now let's take a closer look at the running backs.

WSU's "running game" was atrocious last year. That isn't some revolutionary concept, it's just a fact. Some of the issues were due to poor offensive line play and some of it was just poor performance by the running backs.

The offensive line didn't always give the backs huge lanes to run through, but there were many occasions where a Cougar running back needed to break one tackle, or make one man miss for a substantial gain and they just couldn't. Teondray Caldwell seemed to be the lone back capable of getting more than what was blocked last season and now he headlines the RB depth chart heading into this season.

I probably think as highly of Caldwell as anyone, but even with him leading the group, I still can't give the group above a "C" grade. Gerard Wicks has the potential to be a solid backup, even as a freshman, but we still have no idea what he will be able to do at the college level. Maybe he comes in and contributes right away, similar to what Caldwell did last season. Or maybe he takes longer to adjust and the Cougars are forced to rely on Marcus Mason and Leon Brooks as backups.

Brooks and Mason have their strong points, but both are likely better suited for situational roles. Mason is probably the fastest of the bunch, while Brooks received a lot of praise during practice last year for his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.

If Caldwell stays healthy and improves on his strong freshman season, the Cougars should be improved. A decent freshman campaign from Wicks and either Mason, Brooks or Jamal Morrow filling the situational role and WSU could surprise some people at running back. That is still too many "ifs" for me, so I'll stick with the C.

How would you grade WSU's running back depth?

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