We’re three days into preseason practices in Pullman, and our fears about our inexperienced offensive line might blossom into a full-blown FUBAR. Things seemed to be going fine on days one and two. Those were in helmets and shorts, as they say (they never mention tops, which is odd). On Friday, the shoulder pads went on and the injuries piled up, all in the wrong spot.
Take it away, Colton Clark of The Spokesman-Review:
Right tackle Ma’ake Fifita sustained what appeared to be either a foot or ankle injury when he found himself at the bottom of a pileup. The sophomore from Everett, a starting guard last year who shifted to tackle this spring, sat on the turf and spoke with trainers for about 5 minutes before being helped upright. Fifita put some weight on his foot for a moment, then sat on the back of a cart and was transported off the field. Jack Wilson, the 6-foot-11 former Idaho and Oregon State basketball player, replaced Fifita in the Cougs’ first unit.
Great. Our starter, who is playing a new position on the line, goes out and a former basketball player is the next man up. Mind you, Jack Wilson is massive and I’m rooting for him (his is a great story), but let’s hope this is the worst of it and Fifita can come back.
Rodrick Tialavea, a sophomore who is competing for a backup role at guard, went down with an unspecified lower-body injury shorty after Fifita. Tialavea was also carted off the field. Dickert did not speak with the media after practice, so it’s uncertain how serious the injuries are.
Come on! Our depth was already suspect, but now it’s a BIG WORRY.
By the way, there’s another FCS transfer not named Cameron Ward who is likely starting this year: Grant Stephens at right guard. The Northern Colorado transfer was an All-Big Sky honoree last year. Our depth is such that we must rely on an FCS transfer to fill a hole.
As Clark noted, the severity of the injuries is TBD, but you’d be forgiven if you panicked a little. Glass half full: It’s early enough in preseason camp that there’s plenty of time for them to rest and recover. Glass half empty: I smell a return to the 2012 offensive line!
The good news is Ward performed well and threw no interceptions, according to Clark. Cross your fingers that he keeps it up, no matter who’s in front of him.
To reiterate: We don’t know the severity of the injuries on the offensive line, but we do know the position group is key to the Air Raid, was a work in progress and has limited depth. Staying healthy is paramount if this season is going to be a success. Cross your fingers.
Playing with a limited offensive line, Cougar Air Raid operates smoothly: Notes and observations from Day 3 of Washington State fall camp | The Spokesman-Review
Washington State will hold 25 fall-camp practices ahead of its season-opener Sept. 3 against Idaho. The Spokesman-Review will be in attendance for each of those, tracking relevant storylines, notes, depth-chart developments and key plays as the Cougars prepare for the 2022 football season – their first campaign under coach Jake Dickert. Below are observations from the third day of fall camp in Pullman.
Fall Camp, Day 3 | Practice in Pads - Washington State University Athletics
WSU practiced in shoulder pads for the first time this camp.
Cougar defense impresses in final padless preseason practice: Notes and observations from Day 2 of Washington State fall camp | The Spokesman-Review
Washington State will hold 25 fall-camp practices ahead of its season-opener Sept. 3 against Idaho. The Spokesman-Review will be in attendance for each of those, tracking relevant storylines, notes, depth-chart developments and key plays as the Cougars prepare for the 2022 football season – their first campaign under coach Jake Dickert. Below are observations from the second day of fall camp in Pullman.
Pac-12 mailbag: Kliavkoff’s grant-of-rights challenge, UCLA’s fate, Big 12 fans and more | The Spokesman-Review
The Hotline mailbag is published each Friday.
22 compelling storylines, teams, coaches, players that will dominate the 2022 college football season - CBSSports.com
With one month until Week 1 officially kicks off, let's take a deeper dive into what's ahead.