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Rolovich narrows quarterback battle to de Laura and Guarantano

With kickoff coming in just 11 days, the Cougars have cut their highest profile position battle in half.

Washington State University Football Fall Practice 12 - Jarrett Guarantano (18) Jack Ellis/CougCenter

Throughout fall training camp, the biggest (on field) story for Washington State football has been centered on the quarterback position. All offseason, everyone thought the battle would be between Jayden de Laura and Tennessee transfer Jarrett Guaranto. But, at times this fall, head coach Nick Rolovich had four players rotating through starting reps, a group that also included Cammon Cooper and Victor Gabalis. But on Tuesday, Rolovich officially narrowed the competition to just two.

“We’re down to Jayden and Jarrett right now,” Rolovich confirmed after practice on Tuesday. He went on to explain that Cooper, Gabalis and even freshman Xavier Ward played well enough to make him think a little harder about the position battle. But, in the end, de Laura and Guarantano stood out enough to stay in the fight.

“I think it’s the consistency that Jarrett showed, you know. He was pretty steady the whole time,” Rolovich said. “Jayden can make some fantastic plays and just dialing him in... If we can make some high level plays, we’ll be better. I think they both performed well with pressure and leading people in the scrimmage on Saturday.”

With kickoff coming in just a week and a half, the Cougs are running out of time to decide who will start next weekend against Utah State. Obviously, the team knows some of what they can get from de Laura, who started all four games last season. But they have to weigh that against the unknown of the transfer from Tennessee. Guarantano started 32 games across four season for the Vols and brings the experience to the position battle.

In the end, Rolovich says is going to come down to what they can do in practice. And right now, it’s essentially a dead heat.

“I have a feeling that this will continue for a long time,” Rolovich added about the QB battle. “They’re staying on each others heels... Just because you take the first snap doesn’t mean you’re going to take the second snap. We all have to have that mindset for whatever reason. We have to stay ready and prepare like a starter.”

It took a while for the Cougs to narrow the position battle to two players, and it sounds like we shouldn’t expect them to announce a starter anytime soon. Rolovich even left the door open for multiple signal callers to see some playing time.

“I think (the other offensive players) better prepare for multiple guys,” Rolovich said. “Not that we’re going to play multiple in a game yet, but there are guys that can play the position for us... Being able to trust three or four guys back there with the ball, some may feel like that’s a stress, but I try to look at it like, ‘if we get in this situation could we do this? Could be do that? Could this guy do this?’ They’re all very different, and trying to utilize all of their skills could be something that we try to look at.”

It sounds like Rolovich wants to keep the opposing team guessing each and every week... And the fans are likely to come along for the ride this year as well.


Down to two: Nick Rolovich narrows Washington State quarterback competition to Jayden de Laura, Jarrett Guarantano | The Spokesman-Review
PULLMAN – In Washington State's quarterback race, Jayden de Laura and Jarrett Guarantano are neck and neck.

Some Washington State position battles get an update, others remain unresolved | The Spokesman-Review
PULLMAN – Quarterback isn't the only skill position at Washington State featuring multiple players still jockeying for starts.

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