Fall camp faceoff: Key position battles on O

WHEN IT COMES to sizing up the position battles on offense, the scrums in Washington State's fall camp will be high visibility, but not necessarily numerous.

QB: Luke Falk vs. Peyton Bender

Falk has the experience and studies film like no one else. Bender (pictured above) has the quick release and more natural physical gifts. What it might come down to is decision making. Falk has a leg up in that area heading into fall camp, while Bender needs to shake the habit of throwing into too tight of a window.

RB: Gerard Wicks vs. Jamal Morrow vs. Keith Harrington (pictured at top of story)

It would probably make life easier for running backs coach Jim Mastro to have one guy standing above all the rest. But that would mean he would have to be the best at catching the ball, running the ball, picking up the blitz and all the other things a WSU running back is asked to do. Wicks is the fastest and had the best spring but keep an eye out for a healthy Morrow, who is the best all-around 'back. Harrington (pictured above) might not be the blocker now that he'll be later in his WSU career but he can be electric with the football in his hands. It sure feels like a running back by committee year out on the Palouse, but fall camp will provide the definitive answer.

H: Robert Lewis vs. Tavares Martin vs. Kyle Sweet vs. John Thompson

This one might be a non starter. But WSU would love more from this spot and for Lewis (pictured above) to take the next step. From this chair, Sweet is going to be a good one, a la River Cracraft, but he might be best served by a redshirt season. Martin has been turning heads in skelly but is he an inside receiver? And is WSU better off if he redshirts regardless? Lewis quietly posted 41 receptions last year but his 378 yards is about 622 less than what Leach wants from the H. (Leach said last month he wants 1,000 receiving yards from all four wideout positions, with the inside receivers having more catches than the outside receivers). Meanwhile, Thompson, a walk on, saw action in three games and caught but one pass.

Honorable mentions:
  • The offensive line looks pretty well set but can't count out Jacob Seydel or Cody O'Connell. Meanwhile, Carlos Freeman vs. Sam Flor for the No. 2 center spot should be compelling to watch.

  • While Dom Williams or Gabe Marks appear set in stone at the X and Z, respectively, Mike Leach has been known to switch up the receiving depth chart from day to day -- touching on that again Friday in his presser. Make no mistake, Leach won't hesitate to put Calvin Green, Daniel Lilienthal or possibly even rookie C.J. Dimry with the first string if Williams or Marks aren't focused. And the easiest way to fall down Leach's depth chart is to not put out maximum effort at practice. All you have to do is think back to Leach's first year on the Palouse.

    Everyone remembers the messy in-season divorce between Leach and wideout Marquess Wilson but few probably recall that Leach demoted Wilson at times in both spring ball and fall camp, and during the season, too. This, after Wilson was talked about all offseason as an All-America candidate. As good as Marks looked this spring, that is no longer relevant -- everyone is day to day in Leach's world.

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