It’s August 2, which means football season is kinda sorta officially upon us: The Washington State Cougars open up fall camp today in Pullman, where they will spend a day in shorts and helmets before heading out for six days at famed Sacajawea Junior High in Lewiston. They’ll then return to Pullman for the bulk of their preparation for the 2019 season, starting with their first scrimmage on August 9.
As usual, there are lots of storylines to follow, and Theo Lawson of the Spokesman-Review does a good job of covering the big ones here. About the only one that you’ll be able to follow in any kind of real time is the quarterback competition between Gage Gubrud, Anthony Gordon and Trey Tinsley.
Coach Mike Leach indicated on his conference call yesterday that he’d handle the QB competition as he did last year; if you don’t remember, he started camp by having two of the three guys take the bulk of the team reps each day, rotating which two day-by-day. That’s mostly a practical matter, as splitting the reps three ways in a day makes it difficult to get any of them enough reps to be meaningful.
Leach was asked about Gardner Minshew’s philosophy on QB competitions, in which he famously said “the team selects the starter.” Leach agrees ... to a point.
“A little bit – I don’t think that’s the whole picture,” he said. “Gardner, by describing it that way – and I did think it was quite impressive – has always been very flattered and honored by the way the team accepted and embraced him, which they did. But with that said, he earned a significant portion of that (through his play).
“I also think the team is going to accept and play for whoever they think is doing a good job. Last year I felt like we had three guys like that. But I did feel like Gardner did a good job of leading the unit, then continued to get better as the season went on.”
Summed up: The team will probably like you a lot more if you’re the best QB. That’s the challenge in front of all three guys.
Last year, it was pretty clear by about two weeks in — by the time the second scrimmage wrapped up — that Minshew was likely to be the guy. He seemed to be getting more and more of the reps, and doing more with them when he got an opportunity. That’s probably the same time frame you’re looking at here, too, since Leach has said he wants to zero in on someone with a couple of weeks to go until the opener. If it extends past that, it’s actually probably not a great sign.
For what it’s worth, I think Gubrud is going to be the guy. Put simply, I don’t think you go to the trouble WSU went to in order to get him to Pullman to not have him be your starter, and he also benefits from the softest of landings to open the season as he continues to try and quickly master the Air Raid. Maybe Gordon or Tinsley can step up their game, but I think one of those two is really going to have to show out to convince Leach they should get the nod.
If you’re interested, here’s the full camp schedule. The Lewiston practices are open to the public, as are the scrimmages, if you’re so inclined.
Which of Theo Lawson’s five story lines are you most interested in during camp?
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At some point late last season, Gardner Minshew expressed the philosophy that preseason quarterback competitions are essentially decided by teammates — that a candidate for a starter’s job needs to
Five storylines to follow as fall camp gets underway at Washington State | The Spokesman-Review
With one fewer mustache than it had last season, Washington State’s football team will take to the large patch of turf at Rogers Field this Friday at 3:30 p.m. for the first time this fall, before moving to Lewiston’s Sacajawea Middle School for the next six days.
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