Evaluating Halliday midway through spring

A NUMBER OF Cougar fans wondered headed into spring ball, would Tyler Bruggman push Connor Halliday at quarterback? Bruggman is but a second-year freshman and Halliday is a fifth-year senior but Bruggman's potential became apparent last year during the Thursday night sessions and Halliday's interception total in 2013 was eye-catching. Midway through spring, one thing has become clear.

Connor Halliday is your starting quarterback.

It's not that Bruggman, (or Luke Falk for that matter) has played poorly.

It's more that Halliday has simply been head and shoulders above his fellow quarterbacks.

"Halliday just looks sharper on everything they do," says CF.C's Michael Shawn-Dugar. "Everything just looks a lot more smooth when Halliday is out there."

Dugar says with an exception or two, all the big defensive plays this spring have come against Falk or Bruggman.

And when it comes to accuracy and decision-making, the attributes Mike Leach most prizes in a quarterback, Halliday has been the clear leader this spring.

Whether it's timing routes, long balls, fade routes, medium-range routes, all the quick stuff – the mistakes have been few and far between when it comes to Halliday.

And that's about what you'd expect when it comes to an experienced, fifth-year quarterback as compared to younger quarterbacks who are still in the early part of their careers.

Leach generally doesn't name his starting quarterback until a few days before the opener. He wants to reap the benefits of competition at QB, as well as at the other positions. But through eight spring practices, Halliday has been the man and it hasn't been in question.

Halliday had considerable success last season, but those 22 interceptions placed an asterisk next to all of it. Cougar fans are hoping that Halliday has that corner-turning senior season in 2014. But one could argue Halliday is already well into that into that process.

In the first seven games last year, Halliday threw 17 picks. Over the final five contests, he tossed five. Add his performance this spring into the equation and Halliday is on pace to render the 2014 campaign at WSU one for the books.

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