Crimson & Gray Game: Keep an eye out for ...

ROBERT LEWIS, THE one-time grayshirt who arrived in Pullman in January, is indeed as fast as advertised. His wheels are among the attractions Cougar fans ought to look for Saturday when Mike Leach lines up his troops in Spokane for the annual Crimson & Gray Game.

Kickoff is set for 2 p.m., with television coverage on the Pac-12 Networks. WSU is expecting 15,000 fans to be on hand.

Lewis is raw and still learning (and may have some ball security issues based on the photo above) but watch out for his speed. If he finds a seam, do not turn your gaze because he can flat out fly.

Here's what else to pay attention to in the game:

  • The size of the offensive linemen. The hosses collectively are much bigger than a year ago. Three of the five starters on the Crimson side check in between 304 and 325 pounds.

  • Rico Forbes, who will start at right tackle for the Gray, is back after missing last season due to injury. He's a ballplayer who can make a difference. Also keep a look out for starting Gray left tackle Eduardo Middleton, a second-year freshman who could become a fixture for years.

  • Connor Halliday is returning home, to the field where he found great success as a prepster. He figures to be both loose and confident. Look for him to come out slinging. Meanwhile, there's Austin Apodaca, the second-year freshman who is athletic and agile but making his first college appearance in front of an audience. How will he handle the nerves?

  • MIK linebacker Darryl Monroe is definitely one to watch. He's been all over the field of late and really laying the wood.


    KACHE PALACIO

  • The speed of BUCK linebacker Kache Palacio has been apparent over the latter half of the spring. He might be poised for a coming out party akin to Logan Mayes' in last year's Crimson & Gray Game, when he logged 4 1/2 sacks.

  • Look for the position battle going on at the WIL - keep an eye on how Justin Sagote and Tana Pritchard perform -- Sagote will be on the White Team, Pritchard on the Crimson Team.

  • Gabe Marks has been the top receiver this spring according to Leach. That means every Cougar defensive back will be hellbent on shutting him down. Move your eyes away from the QB at the snap and focus in on what figures to be spirited battlin' out on the flanks.

  • Walk on Mitch Peterson had a strong start to the spring at free safety and will get the start for the Gray, while Taylor Taliulu will be next to him at strong safety. Both are intriguing.

  • That said, the secondary has turned in mixed results this spring with dinged up Deone Bucannon out, and there's been a particularly up-and-down quality out at corner. If the QBs have time, there are a number of wideouts beyond Marks who could post big numbers Saturday including Dominique Williams, Isiah Myers, Rickey Galvin, Bobby Ratliff, Kristoff Williams, Brett Bartolone and Lewis.

  • It will be interesting for those watching the game live to chart the number of rushes and the number of designed screens for the running backs on Saturday – and how effective they are against the Cougar D.

  • Watch Darryl Paulo at the nose for the Gray team. He gets low and uses leverage to his advantage, this offsetting the fact he's undersized for the position at 270 pounds.

  • On the Crimson team, with Ioane Gauta and Toni Pole sitting this one out, it will be walk on Moritz Christ starting at the nose tackle. Will the Cougs try to run more up the middle against the former offensive lineman?

    NOTABLE NOTES:
  • Beer, food and children's games will be available when the gates open at 11 a.m. The parking lot opens at 8 a.m. Cougar players will sign autographs from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Some players may be a bit late after visiting Providence Sacred Heart Children's Hospital in the morning.

  • Click here for the full rosters of the Crimson & Gray Game:, and see below for the starting line ups.

    GRAY team offensive starters:
    QBs: Austin Apodaca and Connor Halliday
    RBs: Teondray Caldwell, Leon Brooks and Theron West
    X WR: Dominique Williams
    Y WR: Robert Lewis
    H WR: Brett Bartolone
    Z WR: Gabe Marks
    LT: Eduardo Middleton
    LG: Niu Sale
    C: Elliott Bosch
    RG: Matt Goetz
    RT: Rico Forbes

    CRIMSON team offensive starters:
    QBs: Austin Apodaca and Connor Halliday
    RBs: Marcus Mason and Jeremiah Laufasa
    X WR: Isiah Myers
    Y WR: Rickey Galvin
    H WR: Bobby Ratliff
    Z WR: Kristoff Williams
    LT: Gunnar Eklund
    LG: Joe Dahl
    C: Zack Brevick
    RG: John Fullington
    RT: Jacob Seydel

    GRAY team defensive starters:
    RE: Lyman Faoliu
    NT: Darryl Paulo
    LE: Austin Brown and Jeff Waldner
    BUCK: Kache Palacio
    WILL: Justin Sagote
    MIKE: Jared Byers and Jeremiah Allison
    SAM: Eric Oertel
    CB: Nolan Washington
    FS: Mitchell Peterson
    SS: Taylor Taliulu
    CB: Rahmel Dockery

    CRIMSON team defensive starters:
    RE: Matt Bock
    NT: Moritz Christ
    LE: Xavier Cooper
    BUCK Ivan McLennan
    WILL: Tana Pritchard
    MIKE: Darryl Monroe
    SAM: Cyrus Coen
    CB: Anthony Carpenter
    FS: Casey Locker
    SS: David Bucannon
    CB: Damante Horton

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