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5 things to watch in WSU spring game

SATURDAY’S SPRING GAME won’t feature Washington State's No. 1 units going against each other. Instead, the starters will be divided among Team Crimson and Team Gray. That adds another layer to the storylines headed into the showdown at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane. Here are five things to watch in Saturday’s spring tilt (Pac-12 Networks, 2 p.m.)

1. Will DL run hot and cold?
Hercules Mata’afa has looked this spring like he’s capable of a monster year. But for the d-line as a whole, it’s been feast or famine. For every play they get pressure and/or make big plays, there’s a play where it’s a completely different story. The thing to watch is if they can disrupt series, not just a down.

2. Will someone seize moment at RG, C?
The offensive line isn’t in midseason form yet. The errant snaps have been the most visible thing but both the right guard and center positions aren’t settled. A stellar spring game performance by Frederick Mauigoa/Noah Osur-Myers at center, B.J. Salmonson/Robert Valencia at right guard would be welcome.

3. Quarterback
Mike Leach has made it a point to say Luke Falk and Tyler Hilinski are running neck-and-neck, this will be the first time for most to see what gains Hilinski has made this offseason. How well Hilinski makes plays on the move when being pressured should be intriguing.  And so will the level of chemistry between Falk and his young receiving corps, with Gabe Marks and River Cracraft no longer in the pattern.

4. Can the defense contain?
The Air Raid, strictly on its familiarity with the Cougar D alone, should make some big plays on Saturday (and vice-versa). What will be far more instructive to observe is if the D, with nine returning starters, can rise up and stop the offense from ripping of the 6- and 7-yard gainers with regularity and get off the field.

5. Inside vs. outside
The outside receivers have made the most explosive plays this spring. The inside group hasn’t played poorly by any means, but it will be worth watching if Kyle Sweet, Robert Lewis, Kyrin Priester or others grab hold of the opportunity to have a big day.

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