clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

How will the shortened season affect lineup decisions for WSU?

New, 8 comments

Coach Nick Rolovich indicates they’ll be making quicker decisions.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 28 Alamo Bowl - Iowa State v Washington State
Cammon Cooper will be one of the candidates to start this fall.
Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There’s nothing normal about any of what is about to take place, and it sounds like Washington State Cougars coach Nick Rolovich is already considering the implications of a seven-game season on his thought process heading into the season.

Since the announcement on Thursday of the return of the Pac-12, Rolovich’s only public comments have come on the return of his weekly coach’s show with Matt Chazanow. And he pulled back the curtain a little bit on what strategy he and his staff are going to employ in order to get the team ready for the season.

One big thing? They’re going to try and make decisions on personnel sooner than they normally would.

“Decisions are going to have to be made probably before we would want to,” Rolovich said. “But that doesn’t mean we don’t love you. That doesn’t mean you’re not getting better. It doesn’t mean your future is not bright. This is now about putting the best players on the field and win a football game.”

I’m guessing the thought process goes something like this: Without the soft landing provided by a non-conference season that featured three very beatable teams, and with no margin for error when it comes to trying to win the division in just a seven-game season, you try to create cohesion in practice by having the 1s practice together as much as possible.

(Shameless self plug: We talked about this a bunch on the podcast this week!)

That means you can expect a decision on a QB sooner rather than later — I’d guess at least two weeks before Nov. 6. And Rolovich is going to put them through the fire a little bit to figure it out.

“Listen, I’m sorry, but I’m going to be very hard on you guys in practice,’” Rolovich said he told his quarterbacks. “I want to see how you deal with adversity. I want to see how you deal with hard coaching.”

What’s going to be interesting to me is what factors go into his ultimate decision. Does he pick the guy who has the best grasp on his offense? Does he pick the guy who has the most athletic ability so he can try and keep it simple? Does he pick a guy with maybe just a little less upside if he’s more ready to go out of the gate?

One thing I think I’m pretty sure of: I’d be surprised if he picks the freshman, Jayden de Laura. I would not be surprised by the selection of either redshirt sophomore Cammon Cooper or redshirt freshman Gunner Cruz, who are fairly similar. Both have good size (although Cruz is bigger), both are mobile (although I think Cooper is more mobile), both have good arms (although I think Cruz’s is stronger). If Rolovich decides to get back to his roots in the Run and Shoot and employ a little more quarterback movement, I’d think Cooper is probably the choice. But it’s all just guessing.

Whatever the outcome, it seems like you’re probably more likely to see a veteran squad across the field that knows its assignments above those whose primary strength is flashes of athleticism.

LINKS

Dom Williams goes deep on 2012 WSU chaos, and new career horizon
Former WSU standout was ready to quit after what went down in Leach Beach in 2012. Today, he’s aiming to wear a different type of uniform.

Rolo braces for speed-coaching | Sports | lmtribune.com
Nick Rolovich is apologizing in advance.

Should College Football Playoff expand in 2020? The four vs. eight argument, reheated | Sporting News
Should the College Football Playoff make an exception and expand in 2020 because of COVID-19?

Best-to-worst case scenario for the Buffaloes' crossover game
3. WASHINGTON STATE

Nick Rolovich will transition Washington State from the Air Raid to the Run-And-Shoot, after Mike Leach left to take over at Mississippi State. The Cougars need to find a new quarterback and a pair of receivers, but Leach loaded the roster with backups and his system has developed players capable of stepping in immediately and be stars. The centerpiece to the run-and-shoot will be Colorado native Max Borghi, who rushed for 817 yards and 11 touchdowns and had a team-high 86 catches for 597 yards and five touchdowns in 2019.

Oregon’s President Says Money Wasn’t Discussed in Pac-12 Return. It Didn’t Need to Be. - The New York Times
Universities in the Pac-12 were clearly struggling financially even before the pandemic, which magnified the importance of football once it hit.

Thiel: Pac-12 football must run a broken field | Sportspress Northwest
The Pac-12 reversed itself, saying football is OK now because of better COVID-19 testing. But that doesn't stop students from infecting players. In one case, fatally.

Sources Dispute Reports of “Threats” in Pac-12 Meetings
On Thursday, Pac-12 presidents and chancellors, as well as commissioner Larry Scott reconvened to discuss the possible return of fall football. It wasn't until

Pac-12 football is back -- Better late than never | RSN
If the schools in the Pac-12 can keep their players safe from COVID-19, I’d say the conference’s decision this week to run a reverse and open the fields for football is a good one.

UCLA’s Chip Kelly in ‘happy place’ preparing for Pac-12 football season – Orange County Register

Takeaways from Mario Cristobal's presser on Pac-12 return
Pac-12 football is back on the calendar this fall and the Oregon Ducks will be on the hunt to defend their conference title from last season. Head coach Mario

ASU's Herm Edwards eager yet anxious with resumption of Pac-12 football
Picture a kid on Christmas opening toys and the smile on his or her face as they begin unwrapping gifts. That basically sums up ASU head coach Herm Edwards.

Arizona Wildcats still figuring out preseason itinerary after Pac-12 approves football restart - Arizona Desert Swarm
The light has turned green, but the Arizona Wildcats won’t be putting their foot on the gas for another few days.

Chip Kelly Talks With Dan Patrick About the Pac-12 Start
UCLA's Chip Kelly talked with Dan Patrick on Friday morning.