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Three things to watch at the WSU Spring Game

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Are you ready for some football?

PULLMAN, WA - APRIL 19: Washington State Cougars football program takes to Rogers Field for spring practice Jack Ellis/CougCenter

Happy Cougar Football Saturday, fellow Coug fans. The spring version of the 2022 Washington State Cougars takes the field today for the annual Crimson and Gray game, and I hope you are able to watch either in person or on the Pac-12 Network. As a Spokane native, I sure liked when it was in Spokane because of the convenient drive, but I do believe hosting the game in Pullman is the right way to do this. The auxiliary events are good for WSU athletics and the university.

Plus, Joe Albi Stadium is in the process of becoming a pile of dirt. Good riddance.

Today’s game won’t feature two teams mish-mashed together like we’ve seen in the past. It’ll be the offense straight up against the defense. Good. That’s how it should be. It should also be 1v1 and 2v2, not 1v2 like we saw during in 2011 when the Crimson team/first string took it to the Gray squad/second string 38-3. Of course that’s how that matchup should end. Pitting the ones against the ones gives you a better idea of what kind of team this might be come the real season.

But as good as a 1v1 format might be, it’s still a spring game, and anybody looking to make great projections into a scrimmage in late April is fooling themselves and/or the chairman of the Andrei Lintz Fan Club.

So if Cameron Ward goes for 225 yards and completes 75% of his passes at an 8.6 YPA clip, don’t get too excited yet. And a Ward stat line of 95 yards at 55% and 4.5 YPA isn’t something to fret about. I mean, it’s still April. You have more important things to worry about, like fertilizing your lawn.

But today is still an annual rite of spring and allows the fans a fun day to get a preview of the 2022 WSU football team. With that, here are three things to watch:

Three Things To Watch

  1. The Offensive Line: Forgive me if I’ve said this before, but this is the scariest position group based solely on what we saw in the Sun Bowl. That’s probably not entirely fair, but this group has a ton to prove, and no matter how good Cameron Ward is behind center, he won’t be effective if he’s running for his life a la Jeff Tuel in 2012. Or Connor Halliday in 2013.
  2. Daiyan Henley: The Nevada transfer has one year of eligibility left and he’s coming to Pullman highly touted. How highly touted? Well, here’s what Jake Dickert had to say: “There’s an inner drive that Daiyan has that I believe is going to allow him to play in the NFL for a long time.” That’s pretty high praise, and perhaps it’s true, and perhaps it’s Dickert talking up his player, as any good coach would do. Fair or not, Dickert set a high bar for Hanley, who’s playing a position that needs a boost this year.
  3. Cameron Ward: Duh. The big name FCS transfer got himself a nice new rig for coming to Pullman. Let’s see if he’s the real deal under this new age Air Raid.

Go Cougs.

Jake Dickert has seen some you-know-what

If you thought Dickert’s 2021 season was a blender, it might not have even been the weirdest year of his coaching career.

Not his first chaos: WSU coach Jake Dickert’s background helped prep him for the challenge of replacing Nick Rolovich | The Spokesman-Review
Dickert led the Cougars to a bowl bid in ’21 and became the permanent head coach.

In-state recruit alert

Sigh. The NCAA announces new rules for college football for some reason

OK, I like one of these changes and despise another. Here’s Barrett Sallee of CBS:

The NCAA announced Thursday that several rules will be enacted for the 2022 football season, including an appeals process for the targeting rule. Additionally, changes were made to address fake injuries, fake slides, blocking below the waist and defensive holding.

Basically, schools will now be able to appeal second half targeting calls after the game, conferences can send reports of players faking injuries to the national coordinator of officials after games, and Kenny Pickett’s awesome fake slide is now illegal.

The fake injury part is good—any player faking injuries should be embarrassed. Get that garbage out of the game. Obviously, making it a judgment call during the game puts the officials in a really tough position, so making it an after-the-fact rule might be the best the NCAA can do. It’s not like football players are going all LeBron James out there. Or faking it like some soccer player.

The Kenny Pickett rule is just dumb. Why take such a creative act out of the game? That move he made was genius. We need more genius moves, not less.

College football rule changes 2022: NCAA addresses targeting appeals, Kenny Pickett slide, fake injuries - CBSSports.com
The NCAA announced several rule changes for the 2022 college football season.

Links

'He put his mind to it and made it happen': Spokane's Armani Marsh a model of consistency for Washington State secondary | The Spokesman-Review
From local walk-on to power-conference standout – Armani Marsh’s success story is a result of internal motivation.

Receiver Zeriah Beason transfers to Washington State out of Oregon State | The Spokesman-Review
Washington State dipped into the transfer portal and added to its pool of promising young pass-catchers, signing former Oregon State receiver Zeriah Beason on Wednesday.

Washington State lineman Sam Carrell enters transfer portal | The Spokesman-Review
Sam Carrell, who decommitted from Baylor to sign with Washington State in late 2020, has entered the NCAA's transfer portal.

WSU Ends First Round of PING Cougar Classic in Sixth - Washington State University Athletics
PROVO, Utah – The Washington State men's golf team carded 4-under par 284 in the first round of the PING Cougar Classic Friday, April 22, to highlight the first day of play for the Cougs at the Riverside Country Club.

Cougar Women Win, Men Fall Short Against UW In The WSU-UW Dual - Washington State University Athletics
PULLMAN, Wash.— The Washington State women's track and field team claimed victory over the University of Washington at the WSU-UW Dual, as both the Cougar men's and women's track and field teams competed at the Mooberry Track and field for the first time since 2018.

BSAA, Field and Maistrenko Recipients of 2022 President's Awards - Washington State University Athletics
PULLMAN, Wash.— Washington State rowing student-athletes Cate Field and Kateryna Maistrenko and the WSU Black Student-Athlete Association were named recipients of the 2022 President's Award by WSU President Kirk Schulz at the WSU Leadership and Engagement Awards of Distinction Tuesday, April 19.