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HCA: quarterback battle taking shape in Lewiston

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Who will take the first snap at signal caller in 2018 for the Cougs? We likely still won’t know for quite a while.

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Entering the 2018 season, the Washington State quarterback battle seemed like it would be the one to watch at fall camp. Four signal callers entered camp with at least a shot of winning the starting job. Anthony Gordon, Trey Tinsley, transfer Gardner Minshew and true freshman Cammon Cooper were the front runners, but many assumed Cooper was a prime candidate to sit out the season with a redshirt.

But that all changed along with a major offseason rule change.

A new NCAA policy allows players to see game action in as many as four game before losing their year of eligibility. It’s a change that could alter gameplans for teams across the NCAA — Especially in Pullman.

“That was huge,” Cooper told Theo Lawson of the Spokesman Review. “Knowing that if that does happen, knowing I could just always be ready to go in any four games throughout the season. Knowing I could go in and help the team out when I need to.”

Of course, the rule change is big for the coaches as well. Cooper figures to be a part of the competition for the starting job. While Mike Leach and company would love to have their hot shot QB from Utah on the squad for five years, they also need to put the best quarterback out there. And Cooper is getting looks.

At camp in Lewiston on Monday, Cooper rotated in at starting quarterback for the first time this fall. And while he was back to the background on Tuesday, Leach is committed to giving everyone a chance. “We’re trying to look at all of them, but we’ve got to move as fast as we can,” Leach told the media. “So we’ll look at film and evaluate from there.”

There’s plenty of football left to practice before September 1, but if we’re going to be reading the tea leaves early, Tinsley appears to be the favorite. In Tuesday’s camp recap article, Lawson pointed out that Tinsley has been repped more than any other quarterback in camp. He was highlighted four practices, Minshew and Gordon in three and Cooper in just one on Monday.

The drama of the QB battle rages on, and it likely will for quite some time. But at least for right now, it looks like a four horse race.

Fall Camp

How will Washington State use the NCAA’s new redshirt rule? Four-star QB Cammon Cooper could be part of the plan | The Spokesman-Review
The NCAA found itself in unfamiliar territory this June when coaches, players and fans unanimously applauded the new legislation, which seems to be advantageous for just about everyone involved.

Observations and notes from day five of Washington State preseason football camp | The Spokesman-Review
A layer of smoke from nearby wildfires filtered into the Lewiston on Tuesday as the Cougars took the Sacjawea Junior High field for day No. 5 of preseason camp. The daily observations and notes are below.

Video: Washington state coach Mike Leach post practice Aug. 7 | The Spokesman-Review
WSU coach Mike Leach evaluates the quarterbacks after day five and talks about how the intensity ramps up with full pads.

Pac-12 Networks (Still not on DirecTV)

Strategy shift: Football the centerpiece of Pac-12 Networks programming plans
The campuses made it clear to Pac-12 Networks' management that they wanted more football. content. Programming changes for the upcoming season reflect that directive.