Starting signal caller set for Saturday?

PULLMAN -- For the first time since fall camp began, Washington State coach Mike Leach named a starting quarterback early on in the week -- "probably." On top of that, a key starter on the offensive line returned Sunday night, a player who wasn't even listed on the depth chart as recently as two days ago.

The Cougars suited up Sunday night for what many expected to be a profanity-laced, self-esteem devouring, hard-work driven nightmare. Except it wasn't. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Instead of a practice chock-full of punishment, the Cougars came out with a focused mentality; an ‘on to the next one' mindset.

Quarterbacks Connor Halliday and Jeff Tuel both took snaps, but to the surprise of everyone, Leach announced Halliday will ‘probably start' come Saturday against Oregon at CenturyLink Field.

As far as the Colorado game goes and allowing the team 24 hours to let emotions simmer, Leach hopes the team sees it as a learning experience.

"We just have to prepare well, play well and be a more competitive group," he said.

Also practicing with the team Sunday was senior offensive lineman Dan Spitz. The Spokane native hadn't participated with the team, or even been at any practices since the Eastern Washington game more than two weeks ago. Spitz wasn't even listed on the depth chart last week.

"He's just got to come out here and get ready to go," offensive line coach Clay McGuire said. "If he comes out and does better than one of the other guys, we'll play him."

Regardless of whether Spitz starts, his presence is a welcoming sight to an extremely thin offensive line.

Looking forward to next week, Leach says the Cougars don't need to worry so much about what Oregon is doing just yet. Instead, they should focus on getting better themselves.

"Our whole battle is improving ourselves," Leach said. "Individually we can't be a team that waits for somebody else to make a play. There's got to be an expectation to be successful."

One thing Washington State has seen highly scrutinized in regards to Saturday's performance was the offensive play calls. Having a significant lead in the fourth quarter, many wondered why the Cougars continued to throw the ball. According to Leach, that isn't something that falls strictly on the coach's hands. Instead, he said it is a culmination of the efforts of the quarterback and offensive coaches as a whole.

Leach said Halliday would be given a call, but there were ‘quite a bit' of check-downs on Saturday between the coaches and Halliday.

The 1s
NOTE: Running with the 1's for the scrimmage: Leach said yesterday that the team might see some changes in the depth chart this week after several players failed to perform Saturday against Colorado. On Sunday night, no scrimmaging was run, so any definitive changes were tough to come by.

OFFENSE

LT- Gunnar Eklund
LG- John Fullington
C- Elliott Bosch
RG- Jake Rodgers
RT- Wade Jacobson
QB – Connor Halliday (Jeff Tuel got some snaps)
RB – Carl Winston/Teondray Caldwell/Leon Brooks
X-WR – Marquess Wilson (Dominique Williams got some snaps)
Y-WR – Brett Bartolone (Andrei Lintz got some time)
Z-WR – Gabe Marks and Isiah Myers
H-WR – Bobby Ratliff
DEFENSE

LT- Matthew Bock
NT- Ioane Gauta
RT- Steven Hoffart
BUCK- Travis Long
SAM- Cyrus Coen
MIKE- Darryl Monroe
WILL- Justin Sagote
CB- Damante Horton/Daniel Simmons
CB– Nolan Washington/Daniel Simmons
FS- Casey Locker
SS- Deone Bucannon
SPECIAL TEAMS
LS- Alex Den Bleyker
P- Mike Bowlin
KO- Bowlin/Andrew Furney rotation
FG- Furney
KR- Leon Brooks
PR- Leon Brooks (Rahmel Dockery got some snaps)

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