2014 WASHINGTON STATE FOOTBALL PREVIEW
June 20, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
2013 Record: (6-7, 4-5)
The Washington State cougars are looking for bigger and better things in 2014. The return of their starting quarterback running back in all three wide receivers will make head Coach Mike Leach more comfortable going into the fall. One area of concern will be the offensive line were only two starters return. The two returning linemen John Dahl and Gunnar Eklund are both juniors. The Cougars lost 80 starts to graduation. Connor Halliday returns as the starting quarterback after leading the team to over 421 yards of total offense per game and 31 points per game. In order for Halliday to be more effective he must find a way to cut down on his 22 interceptions. Wide receiver Gabe Marks will be Halliday’s top returning target after catching 74 balls last year. Also returning will be Vince Mayle and River Cracraft. The running back position will be manned by senior Marcus Mason. Mason will be backed up by Theron West and freshman Jamal Morrow.
Washington State’s defense will return seven starters but lost three out of four in the secondary to graduation. That could be good news since they ended up next to last in the conference in pass defense. The only returning starter will be Taylor Taliula. Cornerback Daquawn Brown also saw time in 2013. The veteran defensive line returns Xavier Cooper (13.5 tackles for loss), Kalafitoni Pole and Destiny Vaeao. One of the conference’s most underrated players is linebacker Darryl Monroe. He will be joined by Tana Pritchard and Kache Palacio to form a solid linebacking corps.
Washington State played well enough to receive a bowl bid in 2013. But a loss to Colorado State in a complete meltdown left a bitter taste in the Cougars mouth. Coach Mike Leach is trying to change the culture of the program. If they can overcome the problems on the offense of line and their secondary plays better Washington State will have a chance to play in another bowl game in 2014. One other key this season will be the play of quarterback Connor Halliday.