Projecting WSU's two-deeps on Offense

PULLMAN — Who is winning the quarterback competition at Washington State with just two spring practices remaining? Could running back Keith Harrington actually vault over Gerard Wicks and Jamal Morrow? How deep are the wide receivers? And just how set is the starting o-line? We take a long look at that and more.

As with the defensive two-deeps projection, players limited due to injury this spring and players coming in this fall may change things up down the road (with the most likely spot being wideout). Kyle Sweet, for one, is an inside receiver who could make a move in fall camp at the H (or at the Y if injuries are a factor there). Sean Harper and JUCO transfer C.J. Dimry are two other WRs to keep an eye on.

QB
Luke Falk
-OR-
Peyton Bender
-It’s been the biggest battle this spring. Falk has been running with the first-team offense mainly but Mike Leach, as expected, says a final decision will not be made until the fall. Falk has done a nice job of managing the offense and not trying to stretch most of his throws. He's also gone more against the No. 1 defense than has Bender. Bender is a risk taker and it’s paid off for him, particularly of late. He outperformed Falk in the second scrimmage of spring and you can tell he looks more comfortable in the pocket. This competition is far from over. I give the edge to Falk right now, primarily because his success has come more against the 1s than has Bender's. But it's a slight edge.

Running back
Gerard Wicks
-OR-
Keith Harrington
Yes, I'm making this an -OR- and I'm including Harrington. The second-year freshman has been one of the most explosive players on the field for the Cougars this spring. Now, Harrington has been running primarily with the second team offense this spring, but has also mixed in with the first team offense. But his potential for a big play is always there. Wicks meanwhile has looked very solid this spring. There have been multiple times where Wicks simply ran over Cougar defenders, drawing oohs and aahs. So what about Jamal Morrow? From my chair, Morrow hasn’t shown that same explosiveness so far this spring, the kind that Cougar fans got used to seeing last year when he was the Cougs' most complete back. Morrow has also worked with the second team offense some this spring. He could use a big spring game to grab back some of the spotlight.

X receiver
Dom Williams
Daniel Lilienthal
-Williams has evolved as one of the Cougars' top wide receivers this spring. He’s done a nice a job of creating separation especially on deep balls. Williams caught six balls for 36 yards in the second scrimmage of this spring and it could have been more. Lilienthal has also had a nice spring as well, and should see quality playing time this season. Leach and position coach Graham Harrell have taken notice of Lilienthal’s play this spring. It looks like Williams should be the primary X receiver this season, but don't count Lilienthal out of the starting conversation.

Y receiver
River Cracraft
Tyler Baker
-Though Cracraft has been limited for most of this spring, you have to expect him to start at the Y receiving position this season if he's healthy. Cracraft put up impressive numbers and they would have been monstrous had he not been injured. With Cracraft limited right now, Baker has run with the first-team offense and has done a nice job after he burst onto the scene late last season. It's not difficult to envision a scenario where both play a lot in 2015. Both are the gritty "Wes Welker" type of fast, undersized slot receivers that can go over the middle, take a huge hit, but still make the catch. Cracraft is in a league of his own though, when it comes to making the tough catch on their down to move the chains.

H receiver
Robert Lewis
D.J. Thompson
-Lewis has been as explosive as any player out on the field, and has done a solid job of gaining yards after the catch. From the first spring practice, he has been running with the first-team offense. D.J. Thompson and John Thompson have spent time rotating with the second team offense. D.J. Thompson caught three touchdown passes in the second scrimmage, which was the most out of any receiver on the day. John Thompson finished third on the team in catches with five in that scrimmage, and also caught a touchdown. Fourth-year junior Brett Bartolone lines up at the H when he's been out there, but he’s been limited for most of spring after redshirting last season. While the Thompsons have done some good work, Lewis remains the clear choice here this spring.

Z receiver
Gabe Marks (pictured above)
Calvin Green
-There’s no question Marks has been the best receiver for the Cougars so far this spring. Every practice I’ve watched, he seems to make big play. While Marks redshirted last year, he said he worked during practices on getting up the field more after a catch -- and it’s definitely shown this spring. Marks does a nice job of seeing the field once he makes a grab. Based on his past production and how he's dominated practices of late, it wouldn't be surprising if he led the Cougars in receiving yards or catches in '15. Or both. Meanwhile, Green is also putting up quality numbers and he figures to see the field (either here, at another WR spot or both). He tallied seven catches for 91 yards and one touchdown in the Cougars’ second scrimmage, and does a nice job after the catch and he too sees the field well.

Left tackle
Joe Dahl
Brandon Evers
-Not much a shocker here that Dahl’s running with the first team offense. WSU offensive line coach Clay McGuire has given praise for Dahl’s work ethic. Dahl has also been pulling double duty, running with the second team offense during scrimmages. Evers redshirted last season, and has been working mostly with the third team offense this spring. If push came to shove, my take is Gunnar Eklund would move into Dahl's spot if Dahl were to have to come out of a game.

Left guard
Gunnar Eklund
Cody O’Connell
-Another returning player on the line that should keep his spot is Elkund. He's one of the leaders of this offensive line and has done a solid job of protecting the left side this spring. Heading into spring, McGuire told CF.C O’Connell still needed to work on his footwork -- with spring ball almost over, McGuire said O’Connell’s footwork is looking better. So that's a plus.

Center
Riley Sorenson
Sam Flor
-There's been more back and forth between Flor and Sorenson, but Sorenson remains in the top slot. Sorenson has spent more time working with the first team offense this spring, but Flor has also mixed in with the first team offense and done a nice job. This should be a good position to key in on during the spring game and beyond.

Right guard
Eduardo Middleton
Moritz Christ
-Middleton is another returning offensive lineman and has played the majority of snaps with the first team offense this spring. Christ has pushed Middleton this spring (a little) but Middleton remains the clear choice here.

Right tackle
Cole Madison
Jacob Seydel
-Madison has also ran with the first team offense this spring. Seydel started the final four games for the Cougars last season, but Madison is clearly the No. 1 here from my vantage point. That said, Seydel could prove himself to be the first option off the bench at a few different spots if he takes it up a notch in fall camp. McGuire continues to say there’s open competition with this offensive line unit and for good reason, with the twos performing at a higher level than they did last season, and that includes Seydel.


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