Competition has always been a key part of Jake Dickert’s philosophy in his short tenure as Washington State’s head coach. This year, the concept is moving to the forefront as the team kicks off spring practice in Pullman.
“This is the most competition I’ve probably ever had at positions going into a new season,” Dickert told the media after day one of spring football Tuesday.
“I’m really excited about the competitive nature that our team needs and that our team has right now.”
After yet another offseason filled with change, including the departure of both coordinators, there will be plenty of opportunities up for grabs heading into next season. One of the most notable spots to watch this camp will be the wide receiver unit. The Cougs saw each of their top four wide outs from last season leave town. In their spot, a trio of former Mountain West pass catchers are looking to step up alongside WSU’s other returners and newcomers. Kyle Williams (UNLV), Josh Kelly (Fresno State) and Isaiah Hamilton (San Jose State) are hoping to use their experience to fill those gaps.
“They’ve been able to pick up this offense within the first couple weeks of getting here,” says quarterback Cam Ward on helping to his new teammates adjust to the team. “We threw a lot in 7-on-7 PRP’s leading up to this moment. Then, also just hanging out with each other. I feel like if I can know then more on a personal level, it will transfer out here on the field.
“I think we’ve gotten more athletic out there,” Dickert added about the wide receiver group. “There are a lot of guys out there competing their tails off. I’m excited about where that group can go.”
While a lot of the offense is going through changes, from the coordinator and scheme to the a lot of the players, there is one key piece WSU is hoping to build around in Cam Ward. The starting signal caller is back for year two behind center hoping to build on a 2022 campaign with plenty of high points.
While Dickert says he has some things he’d like to see Ward develop this spring, the most important thing will be what happens off the field.
“I want to see his leadership grow and develop,” Dickert said. “That’s something I’ve seen in the weight room, but we’ve got to see that on the field. We’ve got a lot of new guys on offense. There are a lot of new receivers. There are a lot of guys working in and there are going to be some mistakes. How is he going to raise the level of everyone else around him? That’s expectation number one.”
The Cougs continue spring camp Thursday morning in Pullman. Their schedule culminates with the annual Crimson and Gray spring game on April 22 in Pullman.
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