Are you having withdrawals from not watching #4 drop back and throw the ball 40 times weekly? Do you find yourself re-watching game film intently looking to see if Mike Leach actually smiled? Don't worry... COUGAR FOOTBALL IS BACK.
Well, at least for the Spring, and I am going to give you a few reasons why you need to start stocking up on Busch Light and making sure you have enough Fireball to last you through the next month of this awesome time called spring football.
Your Washington State Cougars are coming off an amazing 9-4 season that included an upset win against Oregon in overtime and a win at the Rose Bowl against UCLA. Then, to cap it all off, they went down to El Paso and beat Miami 20-14 in the Sun Bowl.
The cleats are getting laced up, the pads are getting put back on, and helmets are starting to strap up. Get ready, the start to the 2016 football season starts now.
FOOTBALL BACK pic.twitter.com/Yqf1IroFK0— BRITTON® (@BKRansford) March 24, 2016
Plenty of new guys: Dig deep into your memory bank and think of the 2015 signing day. All those guys that faxed in their signed letters of intent are finally here to make a difference. It is their time to earn a spot, and who wouldn't want to watch a battle for a position?
We got excited, yes even us here at CougCenter, for the 2015 class and all that anticipation of "this guy is the diamond in the rough" or "I can't wait to watch him fly down the sideline" is finally here. We finally get to see what these guys can do with a year of collegiate coaching under their belts.
The Cougars have 21 redshirt freshman on their roster and another 21 true freshman (of which only 3 are on campus now). Not all 42 of them will see the field this season, which is why spring ball is so nice. Not only are we getting a first look at what the future of Cougar football is, a few of these guys are getting their first look at what they can do against true Pac-12 conference talent.
Redshirt freshman James Williams is one of those guys that many people have been waiting to watch ever since he started posting clips on twitter showing off how easy he can make guys look silly. You can find those clips here, here, here, and even here.
On offense there is plenty to be excited for. Isaiah Johnson (WR), Cedric Bigge-Duran (OL) and Tyler Hilinski (QB) are a few names that you are likely to hear a lot during this time and will look to show why they deserve playing time.
Kameron Powell (S), Garret McBroom (DL), and Deion Singleton (S) are new names that you will be hearing from the other side of the ball and are looking to help out this stellar defense that has improved tremendously over the past year.
Justus Rodgers, Jalen Thompson, and Isaiah Johnson are the 3 early enrollment's the Cougars landed out of high school that you can expect to be hearing a lot about this spring. McBroom is the other guy that the Cougars got here early as he is transferring from a Junior College in Oklahoma. Expect to see these guys make a name for themselves this spring.
The Cougars are loaded with unseen talent and plenty of guys who want to make their push, and spring is the best time to check it out for fans.
We finally get to see the work that gets put in during the off-season:
For a college athlete with dreams of making it to the NFL, putting in the work in the off-season is what gets you noticed during the season. Every one of the guys that we saw last year will not only have another off-season in the weight room but also in the film room.
Spring practices and the Crimson and Gray game (April 23rd in Spokane) are when they get to show the coaches what they have improved on. As fans we get to sit back and enjoy the beautiful weather and watch Cougar football.
Many players have spent time in the weight room and that can easily be seen in Britton's breakdown of weight differences.
This not only goes for players, but for coaches too. Mike Leach and staff have been able to come up with ideas and plans for this season and are now able to put these ideas in motion. We are getting to see changes on the offense that could allow them to explode this season, and moving guys around on defense to help slow down the run game.
Practice makes perfect, right? Who doesn't want to see Falk connect perfectly with Gabe Marks or River Cracraft down the seam for 60 yards to the house? Falk and his offense have been working on taking this team to the next level. Marks would not have stayed around for his senior year if he did not honestly believe in this team. Believe me when I say these guys have been working their butts off to improve on last season and now is the time they get to show off.
But most of all, Spring is the start of what could be:
The Cougars are starting their 2016 campaign and it is just the beginning of what is to come. This team could go undefeated in the regular season and run the table in the playoffs. You have absolutely no idea of what to expect and that is an amazing feeling. (Dear Football Gods.... please?)
All of what is to come, starts right here.
Spring is a fresh start for all those guys who are trying to make a name for themselves. Every spot is open to the best player and the spring is when guys show up to play to get their name up on the depth chart.
If you don't show that you deserve it in the spring you don't get it in the fall.
For the first time in a while fans are looking forward to what is coming and actually know it is possible. There is nothing that should slow that down. The Cougars won 7 of their last 9 to finish off the 2015 season and look to pick up even higher than where they left off.
Coach Leach has this team ready to go and you should be just as excited as they are for spring.