A breakdown of the Washington State Cougars’ football roster heading into the 2014 season.
2013 record: 6-7; tied for fourth in the Pac-12 Conference North (4-5). Returning 15 starters. 2013 Pac-12 media poll predicted finish: Fifth (Pac-12 North)
* Starters in bold.
The skinny: Connor Halliday ranked third in the Football Bowl Subdivision with a school-record 4,597 passing yards last season. “Honestly, I think he has the ability to win the Heisman,” said teammate Xavier Cooper, the former Wilson High School star. Halliday led the FBS with 22 interceptions, but he had just five in the last five games, and he tied Ryan Leaf’s school record of 34 touchdown passes.
Backup: Luke Falk may have outplayed 4-star recruit Tyler Bruggman in the spring after walking on last fall. Bruggman transferred to Louisville, and 2013 backup Austin Apodaca headed to Mesa (Ariz.) Community College, so Falk is the No. 2 QB. Halliday is the only WSU quarterback with college game experience.
|4||Luke Falk/QB||6-4||208||RS-Fr-SQ||Logan, Utah/Logan|
The skinny: The Cougars, who usually play four receivers at a time, have speed, depth, size, toughness and great hands at this position. “Those guys may be the best receiving group in the nation,” WSU linebacker Darryl Monroe said. Gabe Marks, who caught 74 passes last season (second in school history), might redshirt. Whether it’s due to an injury (he had an unspecified operation in the offseason) or something else, the Cougars won’t say.
Backups: A player is only as good as his last game/play/practice in coach Mike Leach’s world. With receivers in particular, Leach is not adverse to moving players around and altering playing time.
|1||Vince Mayle/X||6-3||219||RS-Sr-1V||Natomas, Calif./Sierra JC|
|80||Dom Williams/X||6-2||190||RS-Jr-2V||Pomona, Calif./Garey|
|84||River Cracraft/Y||6-0||199||So-1V||Trabuco, Calif./Santa Margarita|
|15||Robert Lewis/Y||5-9||162||RS-Fr-SQ||South Gate, Calif./South East|
|5||Rickey Galvin/H||5-8||171||RS-Sr-3V||Berkeley, Calif./Berkeley|
|83||Calvin Green/H||5-10||170||Fr-HS||Sacramento, Calif./Luther Burbank|
|18||Kristoff Williams/Z||6-2||210||RS-Sr-3V||Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley|
|88||Isiah Myers/Z||6-0||189||Sr-3V||Orlando, Fla./Olympia|
|9||Gabe Marks/Z||6-0||181||Jr-2V||Los Angeles/Venice|
The skinny: Talented redshirt freshmen Jamal Morrow and Gerard Wicks are listed as the top two backs, but don’t be surprised if seniors Marcus Mason and Theron West make an impact at some point.
Backups: Mason led the 2013 Cougars with 429 rushing yards and 865 all-purpose yards. West had a breakout game in the New Mexico Bowl. WSU has ranked last in the nation in rushing attempts and yards during both of Leach’s seasons on the job.
|25||Jamal Morrow/RB||5-8||187||RS-Fr-SQ||Menifee Calif./Heritage|
|23||Gerard Wicks/RB||5-11||211||RS-Fr-SQ||Carson Calif./Long Beach Poly|
The skinny: Left tackle Joe Dahl and left guard Gunnar Eklund, who switched positions in the New Mexico Bowl and have remained in their new positions, are the only projected O-linemen who have started a college game.
Backups: The O-line is much bigger and deeper than in Leach’s two first two seasons. Former California junior college stars Devonte McClain and Jacob Seydel could help.
|63||Gunnar Eklund/LG||6-7||305||RS-Jr-2V||Lake Stevens/Lake Stevens|
|69||Devonte McClain/LG||6-5||314||RS-Jr-SQ||East Palo Alto, Calif./San Mateo JC|
|58||Riley Sorenson/C||6-4||321||So-1V||Santa Margarita, Calif./Santa Margarita|
|73||Eduardo Middleton/RG||6-5||318||RS-So-SQ||Oceanside, Calif./Oceanside|
|71||Jacob Seydel/RG||6-6||295||RS-Jr-SQ||Riverside, Calif./Riverside JC|
The skinny: Xavier Cooper vows to return for his senior season next year, but NFL scouts and player agents are making their interest known in the Wilson High product. Toni Pole is an unsung hero who plugs gaps. “For 90 percent, 80 percent of my big plays, Toni was the reason I made those plays,” Cooper said.
Backups: Sophomore nose tackle Robert Barber is 305 pounds of nasty.
|99||Darryl Paulo/DE-DT||6-2||261||RS-Jr-1V||Sacramento, Calif./Grant|
|98||Toni Pole/NT||6-1||301||RS-Sr-3V||Union City, Calif./James Logan|
|92||Robert Barber/NT||6-3||305||RS-So-1V||Pago Pago, American Samoa/Faga’itua|
|97||Destiny Vaeao/DE||6-4||295||Jr-2V||Pago Pago, American Samoa/Tafuna|
|50||Lyman Faoliu/DE||6-3||266||Sr-1V||Vallejo, Calif./San Mateo JC|
The skinny: Darryl Monroe’s energy, leadership and attitude are invaluable. Kache Palacio can be a handful coming off the edge. Cyrus Coen appears to have improved in pass coverage, a weak area in the past. Former Lakewood High quarterback Tana Pritchard made his first three college starts at the end of last season.
Backups: Ivan McLennan, a former junior college All-American who redshirted at WSU last season, struggles with inconsistency at times but possesses impressive athleticism.
|40||Kache Palacio/BUCK||6-2||227||Jr-2V||Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra|
|3||Ivan McLennan/BUCK||6-4||236||RS-Jr-SQ||El Hawthorne, Calif./El Camino JC|
|33||Tana Pritchard/WILL||6-3||225||RS-Jr-2V||Lakewood/Clover Park|
|45||Chester Su’a/WILL||6-1||226||RS-Jr-2V||Pearl City, Hawaii/Kaimuki|
|13||Darryl Monroe/MIKE||6-1||235||RS-Jr-2V||Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips|
|8||Jeremiah Allison/MIKE||6-2||224||Jr-2V||Los Angeles/Dorsey|
|42||Cyrus Coen/SAM||6-0||208||Sr-3V||Pearl City, Hawaii/ Pearl City|
|26||Paris Taylor/SAM||6-3||206||RS-So-JC||Altamonte Springs, Fla./Pierce JC|
The skinny: The defensive backfield has equal measures of promise and inexperience. Daquawn Brown, who started four games as a true freshman last season, starts at cornerback opposite Tracy Clark, a fifth-year senior who has seen little playing time.
Backups: Listed second-stringers include true freshman Jeff Farrar, who arrived in the middle of fall practice after failing to gain admission to Virginia, and junior Teondray Caldwell, who recently moved from running back. Marcellus Pippins and Patrick Porter are promising freshmen cornerbacks.
|22||Tracy Clark/BCB||5-11||184||RS-Sr-3V||Pittsburg, Calif./Pittsburg|
|10||Jeff Farrar/BCB||5-11||196||Fr-HS||Pasadena, Calif./Upland|
|33||Darius Lemora/SS||6-1||218||RS-Fr-SQ||Port Arthur, Texas/Memorial|
|34||Teondray Caldwell/SS||5-8||197||Jr-2V||Los Angeles/Venice|
|30||Taylor Taliulu/FS||5-11||206||Jr-2V||Aiea, Hawaii (Kamehameha)|
|25||Daquawn Brown/FCB||5-11||175||So-1V||Los Angeles/Dorsey|
|16||Charleston White/FCB||5-10||176||RS-Fr-SQ||Amarillo, Texas/Palo Duro|
The skinny: Don’t pay too much attention to the depth chart, because names and roles may change hourly in the early going. Andrew Furney, one of the best kickers in school history, will be difficult to replace.
|40||Erik Powell/K||6-1||178||RS-Fr-SQ||Vancouver, Wash./Seton Catholic|
|41||Quentin Breshears/K||6-0||173||RS-Jr-JC||Turlock, Calif./Fresno City JC|
|45||Jordan Dascalo/P||6-1||180||Fr.-HS||Woodland Hills, Calif./Taft|
|84||River Cracraft/H||6-0||199||So-1V||Trabuco Canyon, Calif./Santa Margarita|
|84||River Cracraft/PR||6-0||199||So-1V||Trabuco Canyon, Calif./Santa Margarita|
|27||Marcellus Pippins/PR||5-10||163||Fr-HS||El Cerrito, Calif. (El Cerrito)|
|18||Kristoff Williams/KR||6-2||210||RS-Sr-3V||Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley|
|5||Rickey Galvin/KR||5-8||171||RS-Sr-3V||Berkeley, Calif./Berkeley|
Rutgers at Seattle, 7 p.m., FOX Sports 1
WSU looks superior on paper, but Cougs have struggled at CenturyLink Field.
At Nevada, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Senior QB Cody Fajardo will test WSU’s young secondary.
Portland State at WSU, 5 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Projected Big Sky also-rans just want the $500,000 payday.
Oregon at WSU, TBA
The Ducks are ranked third in the nation for a reason.
At Utah, TBA
A home loss to WSU won’t improve the shaky job status of Utes coach Kyle Whittingham.
California at WSU, TBA
The Bears are ranked 116th out of 128 FBS teams by USA Today.
At Stanford, 6 p.m., ESPN
The 11th-ranked Cardinal figure to be plenty tough in Palo Alto.
Arizona at WSU, TBA
One of WSU’s three Pac-12 road wins last season came at Arizona.
USC at WSU, TBA
No. 15 Trojans eager to avenge last year’s home loss to the Cougars.
At Oregon State, TBA
OSU’s Sean Mannion set a Pac-12 record with 4,662 passing yards in ’13.
At Arizona State, TBA
The Cougars were outscored 88-7 in their past two trips to Tempe.
Washington at WSU, TBA
WSU lost 4 of the past 5 Apple Cups, but won in OT in Pullman in 2012.