There's a saying that referees are doing their job best when they aren't being noticed. That statement is even truer for long snappers. It's quite easy to forget they exist until a snap flies over a punter's head or rolls into a holder's hands.
While long snappers toil in relative obscurity, their skill is unique. And that is why WSU carries a backup long snapper. On this team, his name is Ryan Saparto.
Saparto's WSU Career
He came to WSU in 2011 after a year at Victory Valley Community College in Victorville, Calif. The move to Pullman must have been a shock to Saparto. Not because of the change in climate, but because after living in a valley with such a triumphant name he has won just seven games in two years on the Palouse.
Saparto walked-on to the football team as a sophomore and redshirted during Paul Wulff's final season. He comes into the 2013 year with two years of eligibility remaining.
Saparto was on the team, but didn't see the field last season.
What to expect in 2013
Alex Den Bleyker was the starting long snapper in 2012, and he was obviously good enough to hold down the whole season. Barring injury or poor performance from Den Bleyker, he should hold down the job again this season. Saparto is likely to spend another year on the sidelines.
However, judging by this 26-second video, the Cougs should be in good shape if Saparto is called into action:
Turns out Saparto is a member of the ZZU CRU and also owns a signed Klay Thompson basketball:
Congratulations to Ryan Saparto! You were the winner of the Klay Thompson Autographed Basketball for ZZU CRU DAY... http://t.co/tTrnZzwF— ZZU CRU (@ZZUCRU) October 3, 2011