USA Today Sports/Jake Roth

To dead snap or not? WSU taking look at 'crudely simple' method for boosting reliability in center-QB exchange

PULLMAN — Jeff Saturday, Peyton Manning’s old center with the Colts, was a fan and coaching legend Pop Warner was an advocate back in the 1920s. Today, the “dead snap” method of getting the ball to quarterbacks in shotgun formation is catching on across college football. And your Washington State Cougars are experimenting with it.

The dead snap has the appeal of being a simple, pendulum motion that gives centers -- especially ones with small or sweaty handles -- a wider margin for error.

More teams than ever will be going to the dead snap in 2017, reported in this recent story about the advantages vs. the standard shotgun snap.  The “crude simplicity” is the dead snap's most attractive feature, ESPN says.

“We actually messed with that a little bit the other day,” WSU offensive line coach Clay McGuire said after Tuesday’s practice. “It went alright. It’s an option.”

For sophomore center Frederick Mauigoa — who currently sits atop the Cougars’ depth chart — it wasn't exactly a love connection. 

“After scrimmage on Saturday, (Coach) Leach wanted me to use that snap, but I was uncomfortable with it,” said the 6-3, 305-pounder from American Samoa. “When I go run block, I feel like I’m gonna be slow off the ball (using the dead snap).”

With the dead snap, one tip of the ball is planted on the turf upright, like for a placekick, and the other tip nestled in the center’s palm.

WSU’s experimentation with the method is understandable given a spate of errant conventional snaps by Mauigoa and his top challenger, Noah Osur-Myers, in their spring battle to replace graduated three-year starter Riley Sorenson.

Leach is rather non-plussed by it all.

“We’re not worried about whether it (the snap) spins or not. We’ve never worried about whether it spins,” he said. “I like them a little dead . . . we don’t want it like a field goal snap.

“Basically, you want it to come crisply back (to the quarterback), but you want it to be easy to catch … everybody’s different in how they do it.”

RELATED STORY: Hilinski emerges at QB

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