Washington State finished the 2014 season with a 3-9 record and fans were left asking questions regarding how much longer it was going to take to turn the program around. Those questions were answered rather quickly as the Cougars finished the 2015 season at 9-4.
Fans are now asking questions about what is next for Mike Leach and the Cougars. Kyle Bonagura of ESPN's Pac-12 blog asks three questions for the offseason. And they are not questions about when Leach going to get fired.
Bonogura first asks if the Cougars can take the next step. With two first team all-conference players in Luke Falk and Gabe Marks returning next season as well as another wave of fresh talent coming in, it looks very possible. The loss of LG Gunnar Eklund and first team all-conference LT Joe Dahl to graduation could be the biggest pieces to replace. The coaches did get somewhat of a head start with new guys rotating in with the injuries that were sustained this season.
Bonagura's next question is about the running game, a part of the offense that exploded this season. He asks what is next for the trio of Gerard Wicks, Jamal Morrow, and Keith Harrington. He mentions the excitement around James Williams, the red-shirting true freshman that posts electrifying videos from Thursday night football every week on his twitter. The group of running backs increased the teams average yards per game 40.7 yards this season to 80.5 rushing yards per game which was able to open up much more down the field. The rushing game only looks to get better.
His final question asks about what is to come for Alex Grinch's defense. The defense improved tremendously over the past season and looked to only get better as the season went on. The Cougars will be losing a couple of key defensive players but are have a talented depth chart. It will be no surprise to see their presence become more of a factor after another off-season of coaching from the first year defensive coordinator.
Washington State has a ways to go before reaching the peak of college football and playing in the playoffs, but this season was a glimpse into what could be for them and now we start to look towards next season.
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