Conventional wisdom said Jayden de Laura, despite missing spring practices due to a suspension, would be under center for the Washington State Cougars today. Throughout the fall, it was clear he and Jarrett Guarantano were the only ones competing for the starting job.
Conventional wisdom be damned, apparently.
Cougfan is reporting that the Tennessee Volunteers transfer will be the Cougs starter when they take the field against the Utah St. Aggies this evening. Guarantano, unlike de Laura, did take part in spring practices but hadn’t really separated himself from de Laura in the QB competition even this week, with head coach Nick Rolovich only narrowing it to the both them.
Per Jamey Vinnick:
With an experienced, veteran squad like the Cougs have in 2021, Guarantano likely was the pick because he’s a mature player who tends to be more methodical than de Laura.
If this were a team with a bunch of holes, you probably would look to a more creative quarterback, like de Laura, and ask him to go out there and wing it. And then you would live with any mistakes, with the idea the big plays would more than counterbalance them.
But Washington State this season has a mature offensive line and receiving corps — plus a stacked running backs room. What the WSU coaches likely wanted is someone who can methodically moves the chains, and Guarantano must have fit that role best in the eyes of Nick Rolovich, along with QBs coach Craig Stutzmann and OC Brian Smith.
Given everything we knew leading up to this decision, this certainly comes out of left field. All things being equal between the two of them, de Laura would be the better choice to start given his experience with this offense and his time with the program. While Guarantano may be a fine quarterback for Washington State this year, his history certainly doesn’t indicate he’ll be lighting the world on fire.
This decision also brings up another issue: what is the coaching staff going to do with de Laura? It seems the plan is to redshirt him, assuming Guarantano plays well enough to keep him off the field, according to our Brian Floyd:
My expectation is that de Laura will redshirt unless something weird happens https://t.co/h5XIldtRLD— Brian Floyd (@BrianMFloyd) September 4, 2021
Lets just all hope Guarantano plays well enough to irk Tennessee Volunteers fans.