The start of the 2015 college football season is still months away, but WSU fans will get a glimpse of the team that will take the field next year when WSU hosts its annual spring football game on Saturday. The Cougars will once again be in Spokane for the event with the Gray team taking on the Crimson team at Joe Albi Stadium.
For WSU fans not in Spokane, Pac-12 Network will provide television coverage with online streaming also available through Pac-12.org. The game is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. PT.
Spring games serve as the first look at the new team and there will be plenty of things to focus on this year. Here are a few things I'll be watching.
1. The new defense
Alex Grinch will go through his first spring game since taking over as defensive coordinator. While it sounds like the Cougars will do some similar things to what they did under Mike Breske, there will be some changes. This will be the first look at what the Cougars may run on defense and how players are fitting into new roles. Grinch isn't going to show all his cards in a spring game, but it will be interesting to see the changes, even if they are subtle.
2. The cornerbacks
WSU has several talented corners on the roster, but most are young and lacking experience. Eventually the position is going to sort itself out and a semblance of a legitimate two-deep depth chart will be the result. I'm not sure we are there yet with a number of players pushing for playing time. You can lump the safeties and the new nickelback in as well.
3. Keith Harrington
After reading positive thing after positive thing about Harrington, I'm looking forward to seeing the redshirt freshman in action. He's moved to running back where he's shown off some great agility. Defensive linemen have singled him out as the hardest player to tackle. It will be fun to see him get some touches and hopefully he makes an explosive play or two that has everyone looking forward to next season. The running backs as a whole are an intriguing group and will be fun to watch.
4. The second-team wide receivers
I'm fairly confident in WSU's starters at wide receiver. Dom Williams, River Cracraft, Robert Lewis and Gabe Marks are going to be a productive bunch. But the Cougars rotate heavily and will need a solid second group to form so there isn't a significant drop off when the subs come in or injuries hit. Currently the second group is a bit of an unknown, so I'll be watching to see how they perform and if WSU is going to be able to have enough depth to replace Vince Mayle and Isiah Myers.
5. The quarterbacks
Can you have a spring watch list without mentioning quarterbacks? We know what Luke Falk can do but it will still be interesting to see how he's improved from last season. We've seen less of Peyton Bender. Mike Leach seems to love his arm talent, even if he is behind on other things. The spring game is an excellent time to show that off. Tyler Hilinski will also get some reps and while he may not factor in the quarterback competition next season, there is a very good chance he is a big part of the future and it will be good to get a first look.
That's what I'll have my eye on, what will you be watching?
Washington State’s annual spring game will take place at 2 p.m. at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane, and will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
Although spring games are ultimately spiffed-up practices that serve to widen the football program’s ticket-buying base by giving fans a free taste of the game-day experience, the annual scrimmages have been fairly pivotal in Luke Falk’s Washington State career.
Ben Roberts’ two-run double highlighted a five-run, fifth inning as Washington State defeated Utah 10-3 in the Pac-12 series opener Friday at Smith’s Field.