Rating the Cougs' depth on offense

PULLMAN – There's no shortage of wide receivers at WSU, but just how deep into the bench can the Cougars go with the rest of the offense? As we await the start of fall camp and count the days until the season opener in Seattle, CF.C takes a long look at the position depth on the Washington State offense, rating each group's stockpile on a scale of 1-5.

Quarterback: 3
The absence of a position battle at quarterback is somewhat bittersweet. On one hand, it's refreshing to see Connor Halliday head and shoulders above the competition. On the other hand, it puts into question if there's an adequate replacement should Halliday ever be unable to go. After the departure of Austin Apodaca, it appeared second-year freshman Tyler Bruggman would move into the backup quarterback role behind Connor Halliday, but Luke Falk managed to match his efforts, sometimes even outplaying him, during the spring. Neither Falk nor Bruggman looked stellar through 15 spring practices, and it's pretty obvious the offense wouldn't have looked nearly as good as it did without Halliday at the helm.

Running back: 5
This is the Air Raid, but the Cougars have great depth out of the backfield. Leach says two will play significantly and Theron West is the starter headed into fall camp, but all the roles are presumably up for grabs. Marcus Mason, who showed great promise towards the end of last season, missed a majority of spring camp with an ankle injury but is expected to see a healthy dose of reps this season. Teondray Caldwell, deemed the most talented back on the roster by running backs coach Jim Mastro, is another guy we've already seen be fairly productive carrying the rock. He's a veteran who's proven he can grind out some tough yards in addition to displaying speed. Factor in the speed and hard cuts of youngster Jamal Morrow and the power-running of freshman back Gerard Wicks and Leach is looking at the most running back depth he's had at Washington State. Leach at the end of spring said if the season were to start tomorrow, West and Morrow are the ones getting those significant reps. But WSU has three capable running backs right behind them.

Wide receiver: 5
This is without a doubt the deepest position on the WSU roster. There are 16 receivers listed on the roster and I expect at least eight of them to see significant playing time in the upcoming season. Vince Mayle, River Cracraft, and Kristoff Williams were the stars of spring camp, with Drew Loftus and Robert Lewis emerging as reliable targets while multiple wideouts were sidelined due to injury. Mayle is the most likely to command a double team against a Pac-12 foe but opposing defenses still can't afford to ignore Dom Williams, Gabe Marks, Rickey Galvin or Isiah Myers on the outside. There was a bit of a drop off between the top nine receivers and the rest of the bunch, but even guys like Calvin Green, Tyler Baker and Daniel Lilienthal showed they can make a few clutch catches when their number is called.

Offensive line: 2
If this was simply regarding the talent of the five guys up front, the rating would be higher. But it terms of depth, this group is slightly thinner than the rest of the offense, which is ironic considering this is the heaviest group on the team. The battle at center between Riley Sorenson and Sam Flor prevented a legitimate first-team group from ever being established this spring. That, coupled with the fact the "second team" typically included two or more members from the starting unit make it difficult to be ultra-confident in this group's depth. The only real glimmer of depth for the O-line came in the rare moments Cody O'Connell stepped in ran with the 1s. Once a starting center is named (which Halliday hopes is sooner rather than later) to go along with LT Joe Dahl, LG Gunnar Eklund, RG Jacob Seydel and RT Cole Madison, those five figure to be mainstays in fall camp. But WSU needs to see guys like Devonte McClain, Carlos Freeman, Eduardo Middleton and others come out firing in fall camp if the Cougs are to bolster their depth up front.


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