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

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Breaking down WSU’s 2020 offensive personnel

Who’s out? Who’s in?

This is the next installment in our series of stories previewing the 2020 Washington State Cougars football season. For other installments, click here.


New coach, new offense, right? Almost. As the Washington State Cougars transition from the Air Raid to the Run and Shoot, fans should expect plenty of yards, points and fun. The offenses don’t operate quite the same, but you’ll see some similarities.

If you’ve been following Jesse’s Run and Shoot primer, you should have some idea of what we’ll see this fall. So while we’re not seeing a complete overhaul of WSU’s offensive scheme like we did in 2012, some things will change. The running backs will run some more. The quarterbacks could, too. What WSU has going for it is the personnel it returns fits well with Nick Rolovich’s offense. We couldn’t quite say the same thing the last time there was a coaching change.

With the transition from Mike Leach to Nick Rolovich, we’ll probably see some of the same numbers we saw the last eight seasons.

Just look at the comparison of the WSU and Hawaii offenses in 2019:

Washington State

Washington State (2019) Stat National Ranking
Washington State (2019) Stat National Ranking
Total Scoring Offense 37.8 Points Per Game 11th
Passing Offense 437.2 Yards Per Game 1st
Total Offense 505.2 Yards Per Game 7th

Hawaii

Hawaii (2019) Stat National Ranking
Hawaii (2019) Stat National Ranking
Total Scoring Offense 33.9 Points Per Game 24th
Passing Offense 337.1 Yards Per Game 5th
Total Offense 471 Yards Per Game 13th

Pretty good! Of course, there are still questions, as there always are. The COVID-19 pandemic forced WSU to cancel spring practices, and going over a new offense on Zoom just isn’t the same as getting quality reps on the field. No quarterback on WSU’s roster has taken any college snaps—Jake Constantine, the graduate transfer from Weber State, is no longer listed on WSU’s roster. In fact, WSU only has four quarterbacks total listed on its roster.

WSU returns plenty at wide receiver, though it lacks a ton of height—which might not matter as much in the Run and Shoot. The offensive line returns a lot of experience but the second string will be brand new. Max Borghi has high expectations. It’ll be fun to see the running backs run the ball a little more in this offense.

With that, let’s look the 2020 version of Washington State’s offense:

Quarterbacks

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Quarterbacks

Player Height and Weight Class
Player Height and Weight Class
Cammon Cooper 6'4, 208 RS Sophomore
Gunner Cruz 6'5, 217 RS Freshman
Jayden DeLaura 6'0, 195 Freshman
Victor Gabalis 6'3, 207 Freshman

Out With The Old: We hardly knew you, Anthony Gordon. And thanks for joining, Gage Gubrud. And Trey Tinsley—I’ll always remember how you dominated the 2018 Spring Game.

In With The New: It might finally be Cammon Cooper time. Or Gunner Cruz? And what about this green freshman, Jayden De Laura?

We have to start with the most important position, of course. There’s nothing to go on with this group, so all we have are post-practice quotes from players and coaches. Media aren’t allowed to watch practice, so we don’t get that point of view, and video highlights don’t quite do it justice. So, who’s it going to be? The obvious bet is Cammon Cooper, based solely on him being the most veteran of the three. Nick Rolovich has singled out the differences between Cooper, Gunner Cruz and true freshman Jayden De Laura, and they aren’t exactly the same player.

However, Cooper didn’t exactly establish himself at the most recent scrimmage. Actually, none of the quarterbacks did. We’re less than two weeks out from the opener at Oregon State. Ideally, a quarterback would have emerged as the clear cut starter. But this isn’t an ideal year.

De Laura has the advantage of playing in a similar offense at Saint Louis High School in Honolulu, and was recruited by Rolovich at Hawaii. Cruz is a big body with a big arm and a big personality, apparently.

Realistically, it wouldn’t surprise me if all three get playing time during this truncated season. After all, this season is almost like an exhibition, since the players get this year back on their eligibility clock.

Running Backs

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Running Backs

Player Height and Weight Class
Player Height and Weight Class
Clay Markoff 5'9, 238 RS Senior
Deon McIntosh 6'0, 190 RS Senior
Cole Dubots 6'1, 203 RS Junior
Max Borghi 5'10, 198 Junior
Jouvensly Bazil 5'10, 185 RS Freshman
Dylan Paine 5'9, 180 Freshman

Out With The Old: Um, nobody?

In With The New: Let’s see what redshirt freshman Jouvensly Bazil can do.

Max Borghi returns for his junior season and looks to be the leader of a group that should find more yards on the ground this season. Running backs rarely catch the ball in this offense — their traditional role should return.

After Borghi, Deon McIntosh is back for his senior season. The Notre Dame transfer was a decent second option last year. Freshman Jouvensly Bazil could introduce himself as well. Mike Leach liked to use three running backs if possible. We’ll see how deep Rolovich’s running backs go.

Running back has been a questionable position in recent years when it comes to recruiting. WSU didn’t sign a running back in the 2020 class. It signed Bazil in 2019 and Borghi in 2018, but the 2017 signee—Caleb Perry—is no longer on the team. That’s why the team went out and got McIntosh and converted Cole Dubots to running back. But I repeat myself.

Wide Receivers

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Wide Receivers

Player Height and Weight Class
Player Height and Weight Class
Renard Bell 5'8, 161 RS Senior
Calvin Jackson Jr. 5'10, 196 RS Senior
Jamire Calvin 5'10, 160 RS Junior
Travell Harris 5'9, 180 RS Junior
Lucas Bacon 6'2, 202 RS Sophomore
Brandon Gray 6'5, 198 RS Sophomore
Mitchell Quinn 5'11, 170 RS Sophomore
Zion Lucia 6'0, 168 RS Freshman
Donovan Ollie 6'3, 209 RS Freshman
Billy Pospisil III 5'10, 186 RS Freshman
T.J. Robertson 6'0, 170 RS Freshman
Marshawn Buchanan 5'11, 177 Freshman
Joey Hobert 5'11, 183 Freshman
Riley Jenkins 6'4, 197 Freshman
Carter Kamana 6'1, 173 Freshman
J.R. Little 6'1, 186 Freshman
Cedrick Pellum 6'1, 190 Freshman
Jay Wilkerson 6'1, 168 Freshman

Out With The Old: We will miss Easop Winston Jr.’s amazing hands, and we hope Tay Martin finds success at Oklahoma State.

In With The New: Reports seem to indicate this Joey Hobert kid is pretty good. He should be the first NCAA player to receive NIL benefits, if we’re being honest.

This is the position group we’re used to being excited about, and there’s no real reason not to be excited this season. Sure, Tay Martin transferred (and understandably so). Rodrick Fisher showed plenty of potential, but he left the team.

But guys such as Renard Bell, Calvin Jackson Jr., and Travell Harris have proven they are excellent options for whoever stands in the pocket. And don’t forget the return of Jamire Calvin. True freshman Joey Hobert has been praised a bunch, and he had 113 yards and two touchdowns in the team’s recent scrimmage.

The group doesn’t have a ton of size, at least not what we’re used to, though that might not matter as much in the Run and Shoot. So long as they form a good tandem with whoever is at quarterback, this should be a position group that shines.

Offensive Line

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Offensive Line

Player Height and Weight Class Career Game Played
Player Height and Weight Class Career Game Played
Liam Ryan 6'5, 300 RS Senior 29
Josh Watson 6'4, 285 RS Senior 28
Abraham Lucas 6'7, 328 RS Junior 26
Brian Greene 6'3, 300 RS Junior 18
Seth Yost 6'7, 312 RS Junior 2
Jimmy Price 6'5, 303 RS Junior 0
Cade Beresford 6'7, 300 RS Sophomore 4
Jarrett Kingston 6'5, 296 RS Sophomore 11
Austin Martin 6'2, 294 RS Sophomore 0
Hunter Mayginnes 6'5, 308 RS Sophomore 13
Syr Riley 6'4, 323 RS Sophomore 0
Blake McDonald 6'5, 306 RS Sophomore 0
Qinn McCarthy 6'5, 283 RS Freshman 0
Ma'Ake Fifita 6'5, 305 RS Freshman 0
Patrick Utschinski 6'7, 297 RS Freshman 0
Konner Gomness 6'4, 299 RS Freshman 0
James McNorton 6'5, 280 Freshman 0
Rodrick Tialavea 6'5, 344 Freshman 0
Devin Kylany 6'5, 311 Freshman 0
Julian Ripley 6'5, 300 Freshman 0
Dylan Mayginnes 6'5, 293 Freshman 0

Out With The Old: So long, Frederick Mauigoa and your 43 games of experience, including 39 straight starts.

In With The New: WSU has some holes to fill on the offensive line, and all candidates are pretty green.

I included the “Games Played” column to showcase the gap between experience and inexperience. As in, if one of our top guys goes down, behind him is an extremely inexperienced backup.

Liam Ryan, Josh Watson and Abraham Lucas are the most experienced, obviously. Eight of Jarrett Kingston’s 11 games played featured him on the offensive line in a backup role. Former walk-on Brian Green has appeared in six games on the offensive line, while Hunter Mayginnes’ 13 games played came entirely on special teams.

So, let’s hope this group stays healthy. We know what we’re getting in Ryan, Watson and Lucas, and Green is likely the center. That leaves one more guard position up for grabs. Without the benefit of practice recaps, let’s assume Kingston is the guy at left guard, based solely on experience. So, the line could be, from left to right:

Liam RyanJarrett KingstonBrian GreeneJosh WatsonAbraham Lucas

After them, it’s almost all new guys. Of course, Ryan, Watson and Lucas were once rookies with hardly any experience, and that’s turned out well.

Coaches

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Coaches

Name Responsibility
Name Responsibility
Brian Smith Offensive Coordinator and Running Backs
Craig Stutzmann Co-Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks
Andre Allen Wide Receivers
Mark Wever Offensive Line

We’re used to WSU having a head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterback coach all rolled up into one big Mike Leach. Now, we’ll need to get used to a different setup.

Brian Smith coaches the running backs but he’s also the offensive coordinator and will call plays (though as Theo Lawson noted, Rolovich sometimes steps in to call a play). Craig Stutzmann’s position group is the quarterbacks but he adds co-offensive coordinator to his job title. So expect the offensive game plan to be created by the three-headed monster of Rolovich, Smith and Stutzmann.

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