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HCA: As preseason camp rolls on, which positions will be the best to watch

Preseason camp has been going on for four days now

Washington State v Arizona Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

With day five of preseason camp right around the corner, Theo Lawson of the Spokesman Review gave his five position battles that you should watch as the season inches closer. Quarterbacks, receivers, linebackers, and nose guards lead the charge for the top positions to watch, but who will be kicking for the Cougars will also be one of the most interesting competitions to come out of Lewiston.

At quarterback you have Gardner Minshew, Trey Tinsley, and Anthony Gordon all gunning for the starting spot in Mike Leach’s offense. The trio of quarterbacks have all had their days so far in camp and it is completely up in the air as to who will get the start come week 1. Another name to watch in this is true freshman Cammon Cooper and will he get a chance to see some live action this season?

With Minshew transferring in and Tinsley already knowing the offense and being high on Leach’s list, my best guess is it will be one of the two but we could possibly see them trade off for the first couple of weeks until one of them locks down the position.

The next position to keep an eye on is the guy that will be on the other end of the quarterbacks passes. Dezmon Patmon, Easop Winston, and Calvin Jackson Jr. all have very good reasons as to why they should be at the Z position. While Jackson has been making a name for himself on ‘Last Chance U’ he has also been impressing coaches with his speed. The only question however is will his speed be able to keep up with Patmon and Winston’s previous experience in this offense.

Last season Patmon finished with 35 catches for 379 yards while Winston took a redshirt year. One of the differences with this position is that they could all actually get their fair share of snaps this season. The rotation of receivers in this offense could actually benefit all three as they each have their strengths; Patmon with height, Winston with hands, and Jackson with his speed. My guess is that we will see Patmon out there first this season.

At Will linebacker Jahad Woods and Dillon Sherman are competing for the starting role. This one is an interesting one as Woods proved himself time and time again last season and started in 10 games as a redshirt freshman. Sherman, as a redshirt freshman, also saw the field plenty last season as he appeared in 13 games and had 23 total tackles including 5 against Washington. This one is not completely about experience but expect to see Woods back in his role.

For the big men up front, Taylor Comfort and Pono Lolohea are both going for the nose guard position. Comfort is in his fifth year in Pullman but Lolohea is one of the top junior college transfers in college football. While Lawson goes with Comfort, I’m going to actually say Lolohea wins this one. While Comfort has the experience, I believe Lolohea’s nastiness and talent will outweigh Comfort when it comes to week one. But expect there to be a decent rotation between these two throughout the season.

The final spot that Lawson looks at in the man who will be kicking the ball. Jack Crane, Ryan Henderson, and Blake Mazza are all vying for the spot. This one is actually quite interesting. Mazza was one of the best kickers out of high school while Crane has been spot on this off season. My best guess would be Crane as he handled some of the kickoffs last season and has proven all off season that he can find the middle of the uprights. Don’t be surprised however if Mazza or Henderson get their chance during the season.



Five position battles to watch during Washington State preseason camp | The Spokesman-Review
Beginning with the most obvious one, we take a look at five position battles that could cause a few restless nights for Mike Leach and his staff in the coming weeks.

Observations and notes from day four of Washington State preseason football camp | The Spokesman-Review
The patch of grass at Sacajawea Junior High didn’t get any cooler Monday afternoon as Washington State slogged through its fourth day of fall practice, and third in Lewiston. Here’s what we noted and observed. Notes and observations

Video: Washington State linebacker Dillon Sherman post practice Aug. 6 | The Spokesman-Review
Cougars linebacker Dillon Sherman talks about the first four days of fall camp and reflects on how playing last season brought up to speed.

Video: Washington State quarterback Cammon Cooper post practice Aug. 6 | The Spokesman-Review
Cougars freshman QB Cammon Cooper discusses his fourth practice of fall camp and the NCAA’s new redshirt rule.

Don’t count new lineman as a newbie | Sports |
LEWISTON — There are three new starters on the Washington State offensive line these days, and typically that would be major cause for concern.