Your Guide to the WSU Crimson & Gray Game

MANY COUGFANS WILL BE getting their first look at the 2014 Washington State football team Saturday at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane. Here's some of the compelling storylines to follow on offense, defense and special teams -- plus all the event info you need to know before heading out, or watching it from home.

On offense, keep an eye on running back Theron West (No. 24). The fifth-year senior has gone from obscure special teams player for most of the 2013 season, to the Cougs' RB frontrunner. And he's done it within a group that is much deeper than what Mike Leach had in his first two seasons at WSU.

There's a lot of star power at wide receiver but if you like the young up-and-comers, Robert Lewis is your guy, (No. 15). With Brett Bartolone limited much of the spring, that's really opened things up for Lewis in the slot at the H spot. Rickey Galvin (No. 5) has been with the 1s all spring at the H and he can skate with the best of them. But Lewis has top-end speed, and he's been showing sticky hands this spring.

There's been a QB battle going on this spring, but not for the starting gig, where Connor Halliday (No. 12) has reigned supreme. Tyler Bruggman (No. 10) entered the spring listed as an –OR- with walk on Luke Falk (No. 4) on the depth chart and that's held true. According to our man on the ground, Michael-Shawn Dugar, Falk has played as well as Bruggman, if not better, through 12 practices. Both QBs looked good in the first official scrimmage -- but Bruggman ran with the 3s, while the No. 2 defense Falk faced, especially in the secondary, is considerably stingier. Neither are pushing Halliday. And the No. 2 job doesn't yet have a clear winner, says Dugar.

On defense, focus in first on the push from the defensive line – there's been improvement from the 2013 campaign. The offensive line hasn't necessarily struggled but every now and then nose tackle Toni Pole (No. 98) and T Xavier Cooper (No. 96) get a jump off the line and explode into the backfield. Out of all the areas on defense, that's clearly been the biggest and best development of the spring, and E Destiny Vaeao (No. 97) and T Daniel Ekuale (No. 90) are also worth keeping an eye out for. Clemson and others allowed some of their QBs to be hit this spring but we don't expect Leach to do the same on Saturday. If he did, based on what Dugar reports this spring, Halliday and his fellow QBs would likely be in for some rough stuff from the d-line.

The cornerbacks came into the spring as Conversation Topic No. 1, and they remain that way headed into the spring game. Look for Charleston White (No. 16) as he's trying to lock down a starting job against some high-value receivers. Daquawn Brown (No. 25) has been the most consistent of the group but he hasn't wowed – yet, Brown seems to do his best work on the biggest stage. The Crimson and Gray game is a huge opportunity for Marcellus Pippins (No. 39) to put himself squarely in the mix while fifth-year CB Tracy Clark (No. 27) is playing the role of a savvy veteran, but one who loves to gamble.

Out on the field, walk on safety Beau Glover (No. 35) has been seemingly everywhere of late. Isaac Dotson (No. 36) is No. 1 on the depth chart at the free safety spot but Glover's play has been demanding consideration. After every practice this spring, the defense has honored standout players at each position and Glover is winning the secondary honors nearly every day. No, he's not a big hitter, he's not incredibly fast and there are other scholie players with more athleticism. But he has good timing that enables him to log a lot of deflections and he's been seldom out of position. He's not too bad on the goal line either. Can he continue his inspired play this spring in the Crimson and Gray game? It's worth keeping an eye out to find out.

On special teams, there are a ton of questions surrounding the kickers and punters. But K Erik Powell (No. 40) has been coming on lately in practice. Now it's time to see how he does in front of a crowd. The punting at times has been downright shaky this spring. But a strong performance by Wes Concepcion (No. 44) Saturday in front of a game-day atmosphere would go a long ways towards CougFans breathing easier. Among those players expected to get a chance to show their wares in the return game are Lewis and Sebastian LaRue (No. 2). Both are capable of ripping off an electric return at any time.

What: The Crimson and Gray Game
Where: Joe Albi Stadium; Spokane
When: Saturday, April 26
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: Click here for the Cougar Sports Radio Network.

BRINGING THE RV to the game? Overnight RV Parking begins at 4 p.m. Friday at Joe Albi, and no RSVP is required. RVs must depart by 6 p.m. on Saturday night.

--Prizes given away on Saturday will include Autographed Mini-Helmets/Football, a Dad's Weekend Game Package, Club Seats To Each Home Game and Gift Cards to area businesses.

10 am
Gates Open -- Beer Garden, Children's Inflatables open.

10-11:30 a.m.
Youth Skills Combine held on the field

Team warm-ups begin

1 p.m.
Crimson and Gray game

Note: A postgame autograph session will be held on the field for 30 minutes after the game concludes.

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