Four are in the competition to replace the prolific Luke Falk at quarterback. Coach Mike Leach would like to make his pick about 10 days before the season opener Sept. 1 at Wyoming.
Who will emerge as the starting quarterback?
With Luke Falk, the all-time leading passer in the Pac-12, having graduated, that is undoubtedly the biggest question for the Washington State football team as it begins training camp Friday. Predictably, the first several questions coach Mike Leach answered Thursday in a conference call were on that subject.
“(The depth chart) is pretty deep, and that is where the finesse comes in,” Leach said.
Leach praised junior quarterback Trey Tinsley, who played with the first unit during spring camp, saying “he did a great job in the spring, and probably did better than I expected.” But Leach also praised junior Anthony Gordon and freshman Cammon Cooper (“arguably the biggest eventual talent of the group”) for their play during the spring, and he also had good things to say about graduate transfer Gardner Minshew.
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Four contenders, just one starting job.
“We are going to have to pair them up and there will be a lot of evaluation at that position,” Leach said. “I do feel good about these four guys. So we’re going to have to sort it.”
Leach said he would like to have a starter several days before the team opens its season Sept. 1 at Wyoming.
“The guys aren’t terribly experienced, at least on the field — Gardner has the most game experience — so we would like to (decide) 10 days or so before the game so they can really get a lot of reps,” Leach said. “I do think that’s important.”
Gardner threw for 2,140 yards and 16 touchdowns last season at East Carolina. Leach was asked how hard is it for a newcomer like Minshew to learn the offense in just four weeks of camp.
“I think it depends on the individual,” Leach said. “I haven’t had a ton of experience with that. … In the end, it’s who runs the offense the best. Who elevates the players around them. He’s a smart guy. He ran a system in high school that is similar to ours. He’s a smart, mature guy, so we’ll see.”
Leach said he doubts the quarterbacks will get equal reps, but he said all four will get opportunities.
“We’ ll look at all four and then we’ll try to channel it to the top two as quickly as we can and then go from there,” Leach said.
Leach said if he ran college football, there would be no offseason for coaches.
“We would go year-round,” he said. “We would expand the roster. We would have a varsity season in the fall, and then we would have a season in the spring where younger guys who didn’t play as much get some games and everybody would have a great time, and of course, they would televise the games. They’re probably not going to do that, but I’d get to coach year-round and the offseason for the guys who played in the fall would be the spring, and the offseason for the guys in the spring would be the fall. And it would be great fun for all.”
After practicing Friday at Pullman, the team will spend the next week in Lewiston, Idaho, practicing each day from Sunday through Thursday.