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Cougars set to open fall camp Wednesday in Pullman

The wait is finally over, Coug fans.

Washington State University Football Fall Practice 3 - Defensive Coordinator Jake Dickert and Ben Wilson (9) Jack Ellis/CougCenter

It’s been a long offseason. From head coaching search drama to the recruiting carousel and extensional dread about the Pac-12 and the future of Washington State football, there has been plenty to pay attention to over the last eight-plus months... And, honestly, not much of it has been all that much fun to think about.

On Wednesday, however, that all changes. The off-the-field drama will finally take a backseat to real, honest football as the Cougs return to the field to open up their first fall camp under Jake Dickert.

“There’s a lot of excitement to finally hit that field. This isn’t spring ball. This is here, for real,” Dickert told the media Tuesday in his pre-camp press conference. “If you’re a football person, which I believe I am to my core, you love fall camp. You love the teaching, you love the time, you love the moments you’re sharing together.”

Of course, Dickert will be one of the biggest stories to watch during camp. The former defensive coordinator turned interim head coach turned full time head coach is coming off of an offseason to remember. Weeks after the 2021 season ended, Dickert had the interim tag taken off his title. Then, in January, he announced his new staff of assistants, led by offensive coordinator Eric Morris.

Dickert’s path to the top wasn’t exactly textbook. But he plans to use that adversity as he leads WSU into the 2022 campaign.

“Pushing through last year – experience is life’s greatest teacher because it gives you perspective,” Dickert said. “I’ve had an opportunity to get a perspective on what the preparation is like and what it takes.”

On the field, WSU added some exciting new players. One of the biggest additions came in the form of one of the highest-touted transfers on the market in quarterback Cam Ward, who has all but officially been named the team’s starting quarterback.

While newcomers like Ward and Morris stole the headlines this offseason on the offensive side, Dickert spent some time Tuesday focused on a key veteran making his return.

“Renard Bell has been amazing,” Dickert said. “The energy he brings, the leadership capabilities, and he’s 10-15 pounds heavier. He’s not just running the way he used to run, but he looks physically different, and that’s a big-time playmaker that we have back in the fold that a lot of people have forgotten about.”

It seems like the Cougars have high expectations for themselves in the upcoming season. The media, however, didn’t quite seem to agree with those expectations picking WSU to finish seventh in the newly division-less Pac-12.

“I know, at Washington State, we’re used to being the underdogs and maybe being overlooked and all those things, but it really has nothing to do with the focus and attention in what we’re trying to accomplish. It’s all about the belief we have in this building,” Dickert said. “We’re excited about focusing on and knowing that we have enough talent every Saturday to sing the school song that we love to after all of our wins.”

The Cougs open up fall camp Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. on campus. They’ll return to the field Thursday, Friday and Saturday before their first break on Sunday.

'This is here, for real': First-year Washington State coach Jake Dickert eager to debut 'New Wazzu' when fall camp opens Wednesday | The Spokesman-Review
Technically, Jake Dickert is a first-year head coach. So, it’s only natural that he’s feeling a bit of “nervous energy” on the eve of his Washington State football team’s first day of fall camp.

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Three storylines to watch throughout Washington State's fall camp | The Spokesman-Review
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