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Taking a look at position battles as we near the opener

Nothing says “football is almost here” like taking a look at backup position battles

PULLMAN, WA - APRIL 23: Washington State Cougar football take to Martin Stadium for the 2022 Crimson and Gray game Jack Ellis/CougCenter

Washington State wrapped up their fall camp over the weekend and picked up their normal practice routine yesterday with their first day of school. As we get closer to kickoff against Idaho, Colton Clark of The Spokesman Review pointed out a few position battles that are heating up as summer comes to an end.

The first position Colton pointed out was free safety. Sam Lockett III has been listed as the favorite to start against Idaho in week 1 but Jaden Hicks and Adrian Shepherd have been in the mix as of late. Shepherd has been seeing a lot more action at strong safety behind Jordan Lee over the past few weeks, which is where we originally saw Hicks. It was pointed out by Dickert that all four of these safeties will see a lot of playing time and the cross-training at both positions might come in handy as the season progresses.

Freshman Jaylen Jenkins is likely to backup redshirt junior Nakia Watson next Saturday. Jenkins had been going head-to-head with Djouvensky Schlenbaker until he was injured on August 13th. Jenkins’ big play ability has proven to be a big help during practice but a healthy Schlenbaker could come back sometime this week and battle for that backup role.

Cam Ward has been locked into the starting role at quarterback for some time now but John Mateer, Xavier Ward, and Emmett Brown have been battling for the backup spot. At the moment Mateer’s big arm has him as the backup to Cam but Xavier and Brown have proven they belong at the number two spot throughout camp. Dickert said that he would be deciding a number two next week and then sorting the other two out after that.

Francisco Mauigoa and Travion Brown might be the most interesting battle this season. The two linebackers could likely end up splitting time throughout the season as they have been splitting reps throughout camp. Brown spent a majority of last season as the backup but Mauigoa might have played himself into the starting role.

Fa’alili Fa’amoe has seemingly all but locked up the left guard position. Christian Hilborn and Brock Dieu had been competing for the spot but Fa’amoe has impressed the coaching staff enough to move him from defensive line to left guard. Hilborn and Dieu do have a little bit of experience as they both played in the Sun Bowl last season.



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