Basketball is over and baseball is struggling, so I'm beginning my annual transition to football in the spring. If you haven't noticed -- and it's been tough to tell with workouts so spread out -- spring football is underway on the Palouse as Paul Wulff and his staff lay the groundwork for the coming season.
Before we get into the scrimmage highlights and a few items of note, there's a bit of housekeeping to take care of. Eli Edwards signed his Letter of Intent to play football at Washington State on Tuesday, bringing the class of 2011 total to 28. Edwards is another name to keep in mind on the defensive line, and will likely play at defensive end.
As always, a word of caution about spring football. There are three goals for the session: Don't get injured, see rule No. 1 and work to get more familiar with the system. If the Cougs can make it out of the spring practice sessions intact, without many major injuries, it will be a success. Lose a contributor to a major injury, or even a nagging injury, and it's a problem.
After the jump, a look at what we've learned about the offense so far.
Because none of us are in Pullman, I enlisted a little help from a CougCenter reader. Realizing the difficulty of doing a scrimmage report blind, I fired off a quick message to Crimson and Gray, who I knew was in the area and would be around. He kindly obliged, and sent me his observations from the scrimmage, and the spring practice sessions as a whole.
We begin at the quarterback spot where Jeff Tuel is entrenched as the starter already. There is a position battle at quarterback as redshirt freshman Connor Halliday and returning second-stringer Marshall Lobbestael are battling it out for the right to backup Tuel.
Tuel looks as you'd expect, but those hoping Halliday would come in and immediately assert himself will probably be disappointed. Lobbestael looks better, according to Crimson and Gray, but Halliday is pressing.
He is putting such a huge amount of pressure on himself that it's hard. He doesn't know the playbook that well (because he spent all last year running scout team plays) so he is having to rely upon pure instinct a lot of the time. When he lets the game come to him, he will be fine. But right now he feels he has to make the big play every time he gets a chance, so he is forcing a lot of things
At running back, Rickey Galvin has been outstanding this spring, as evidenced by his scrimmage performance. Galvin finished with 77 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries, including a 54-yard scamper for a score. But it's not just Galvin's burst of speed garnering attention. Vince mentioned Galvin's ability to push for extra yards, and singled out his four-yard runs as much as the longer touchdown run.
When he runs, you can't help but think of Jerome Harrison with how smooth his shifts in and out of his cuts are. Had a 60 yard TD run and another 20 yarder today in the scrimmage. Those runs are impressive, but what really impresses me is his ability to run in between the tackles. He gets the most out of every run.
The offensive line has taken on a bit of a different look. John Fullington, once thought to be the left tackle of the future, is no longer a tackle at all. Instead, Fullington is inside at left guard, with David Gonzales at left tackle and Wade Jacobson at right tackle. Andrew Roxas is taking the most repetitions at center, with B.J. Guerra assuming his normal position at right guard. Whether it sticks or not remains to be seen, but the coaching staff is experimenting with combinations.
The wide receiver group is deep after injuries decimated the position last season. We all remember running out four healthy recievers at one point, but it appears Wulff has more depth to work with, and a bigger rotation to put into play. Jared Karstetter and Marquess Wilson are back on the outside, with Isiah Barton, Henry Eaddy, Blair Bomber and Gino Simone all in the mix on the inside. Kristoff Williams is back, but not quite healthy, and Isiah Myers is another early-enrollee that could jump into the rotation right away.
Crimson and Gray noticed a red flag with Wilson, though, and it's something to keep an eye on.
The first few months he was here, he never, EVER dropped passes. I honestly don't remember him dropping one, even in practice. Then, the last month or so of last year, he started dropping passes. I thought it was just him tiring, but the trend has continued this year. I think he will be fine, but maybe something to lookout for.
Unfortunately, the tight end spot is still in flux. Aaron Dunn is back and healthy, but there may be an adjustment period for him, both as a receiver and blocker. Andrei Lintz and
Skylar Stormo are (ed: turns out Stormo is at defensive end now) is back, but we don't yet know how offensive coordinator Todd Sturdy plans to use his offense. With the depth at receiver, I'd expect to see more 10 and 20 -- one running back, zero tight end and two running back, zero tight end -- packages than I would packages with a tight end.
Since this is getting long, the defensive side of the ball will come in a second part. I'll be back with a look at what C.J. Mizell is doing, how Deone Bucannon looks and what we can expect from the defensive line this year.