New walk on QB adds depth, protects Bruggman

THE ADDITION OF a new walk on quarterback at Washington State not only bolsters the stable, it severely diminishes the possible threat to Tyler Bruggman's redshirt.

A redshirt decision made purely on choice, that is, rather than burning it out of necessity. It's not impossible Bruggman could still earn his way into the starting backfield as a true freshman – it's unlikely, but it's at least possible.

But what the addition of Luke Falk (6-4, 219) first and foremost accomplishes in the greater scheme of things in 2013 is it protects Bruggman from being forced to start should injuries strike the QB corps.

Falk late last week told the Deseret News he was walking on at Washington State after renouncing his commitment to Cornell. The Ivy League doesn't provide athletic scholarships and after Cornell's coach left for the CFL and Falk got in contact with WSU, he made the decision to switch.

Falk sat out his junior season after transferring from and back to Logan High, thereby mostly missing out on the all-important junior recruiting cycle.

Also a basketball player at Logan who helped lead his team to the 4A semifinals this year, Falk passed for 5,124 yards, 53 TDs against 15 interceptions over his two year career at Logan on the gridiron. He averaged 11.1 ppg on the hardcourt his senior season.

Falk's addition is more than just another body added to a thin, inexperienced group of Cougar QBs. What makes him a more valuable insurance policy than most is that he played in a system at Logan that is very similar to Mike Leach's Air Raid.

The 2013 Cougar offense is almost certain to be shepherded by Connor Halliday or Austin Apodaca, with Halliday the clear pre-spring frontrunner. But WSU allowed 57 sacks last season, and Halliday was listed this past season with all of 189 pounds over his 6-4 frame. Apodaca was 6-3, 180 last season.

Even if WSU's offensive line improves its protection significantly in 2013, it's likely to take more than a season for the Cougs to go from 57 to the 13 sacks Texas Tech allowed in 2008 under Leach.

Still, the Air Raid is a pass-first offense that can at times absorb more hurries and hits to its quarterback than the average offense. The backup QB, and the backup's backups, figure to be on red alert over the course of the 2013 season.

With Falk now one more possibility between the Cougs and burning Bruggman's redshirt.

After Halliday and Apodaca, walk on Jesse Brown figures to be the No. 3 this spring -- David Gilbertson and Cody Clements both departed the program this offseason.

After Brown, walk on Conner Johnson is a possibility though he played a myriad of other positions on the scout team last season. Isaac Dotson arrives in the summer along with Bruggman and Falk, though his best position at the college level may be other than quarterback.

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