The biggest question mark going into next season for the WSU football team other the quarterback is what we can expect from the defense with the loss of coordinator Alex Grinch. New boss Tracy Cleays comes highly regarded, but questions remain about how the returning talent will jell with the new system and how much overall defensive talent is on the roster. After the first few practices, it looks some new faces could be key to answering this question in a positive manner.
According to a source close to the program, two players that turning heads for the coaching staff are the so-called “Willie brothers”. Defensive lineman Willie Rogers and rush linebacker Willie Taylor are impressing the staff early according to our man on the field.
The 6-foot-5 250 pound Rogers has put on about 25 pounds since his freshman year when he played sparingly in seven games. Former NBA star Jason Richardson’s nephew could be key on a defensive line that lacks returning starters.
Taylor has also put on about 25 pounds and checks in at a solid 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds. The big time athlete out of Georgia is turning heads in the pass rush department.
Cougar broadcaster Matt Chazanow also gave the fans some intel on twitter on a couple new faces to watch.
Coach Leach: (asked about new contributors) two guys that kinda showed up today Fa’avae Fa’avae and Halid (Djibril)...both did some really good things....as we go and see what they (whole team) can do and get them equipped w knowledge of scheme we will see who separates #GoCougs— Matt Chazanow (@M_Chaz) August 7, 2018
Fa’avae is an athletic linebacker who redshirted last year after a knee injury suffered in high school and Djibril is a true freshman out of WSU’s LA Cathedral pipeline who checks in at 6 foot 190 and may be giving Skyler Thomas a run for his money at the safety position.
It’s going to be exciting to watch these youngsters emerge this season.
Notes and observations from day six of Washington State preseason football camp | The Spokesman-Review
Temperatures finally broke triple digits at Lewiston’s Sacajawea Junior High – the count was 102 when I arrived – as Washington State battled through another steamy, hazy day of preseason camp.
Washington State ready to display depth at inside linebacker | The Seattle Times
Injuries ravaged the Cougars last season giving several players time to get into games.