Think of this as a baseline depth chart that will morph throughout camp. For now, there are some new faces in the mix, and some veterans transitioning to new positions.
LEWISTON, Idaho — Washington State has yet to don pads this fall yet, but based on the first two days of football camp, some depth chart patterns have begun to emerge. Here’s a look at which players have merited assignments in the two-deep depth chart so far.
Much of this will morph as camp progresses this fall, but it’s often telling to track how the depth chart develops over time, see which players rise to the top, and which ones falter.
— The first team offensive line seems pretty set. The Cougs are running the same configuration they went through spring ball with: Redshirt sophomore Andre Dillard (6-5, 295 pounds) at left tackle, redshirt junior Cody O’Connell (6-8, 354 pounds) at left guard, senior Riley Sorenson (6-4, 330 pounds) at center, senior Eduardo Middleton (6-5, 316 pounds) at right guard and junior Cole Madison (6-5, 318 pounds) at right tackle. Dillard’s athleticism is pretty impressive. He moves nimbly and has very quick feet for a 6-foot-5, 295-pound man.
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— The second team, however, is clearly a work in progress. WSU has experimented with at least four different configurations through the first two days of camp. O’Connell and redshirt freshman Cedric Bigge-Duren (6-6, 322 pounds) have both gotten reps at left tackle, while Bigge-Duren and redshirt freshman Drew Norvell (6-4, 307 pounds) are both also working at left guard. Redshirt junior Carlos Freeman (6-3, 308 pounds) and redshirt freshman Noah Osur-Myers (6-4, 312 pounds) appear to be competing for the backup center job. Redshirt freshman Amosa Sakaria (6-2, 313 pounds) and redshirt junior B.J. Salmonson (6-4, 296 pounds) are taking turns at right guard and right tackle.
— This group is so deep and so talented that the Cougs will be stocked for years to come. At this point, WSU’s top four looks like this: Z – Gabe Marks, Y – River Cracraft, H – Kyle Sweet, X – Tavares Martin.
— There’s some lively competition going on at X receiver, with fifth-year senior C.J. Dimry and freshman Dezmon Patmon hoping to challenge Martin. Kaleb Fossum and Isaiah Johnson take reps behind Marks at Z, while John Thompson and Robert Lewis work the inside receiver positions.
— It’s still a four-horse race, but it currently looks as if Gerard Wicks and Jamal Morrow start out with the first team, while Keith Harrington and James Williams start with the second team in practice. There’s some mixing back and forth though, so there really isn’t much of a pecking order at this point.
— Luke Falk, Tyler Hilinski and then Anthony Gordon. In that order. Hilinski has made strides with his command of the offense and his understanding of the offense, coaches say. Gordon is still learning everything.
— Bellevue’s Justus Rogers is still practicing as a quarterback. But the Cougs are clearly trying to get him on the field in as many ways as they can because he’s also part of the punt team now, which is very unusual for a quarterback. My sense is that the coaches want to give Rogers a shot at quarterback, but since there are now seven quarterbacks in camp, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s playing a different position by the time the season begins in September.
— The Cougs have switched up their configurations on the D-Line. Big Robert Barber (6-5, 305 pounds) appears to have switched from nose tackle to defensive end — and let me tell you, that’s a scary, scary sight to see his giant frame barreling around the edge to try to pancake the QB. Dan Ekuale (6-3, 290 pounds) has moved inside from end, and is now repping with the first team defense at nose tackle.
— It almost looks as if the Cougs are going for speed with the first team D-line, and hammer power with the second. Currently on the first team: Hercules Mata’afa (6-2, 252 pounds) and Nnamdi Oguayo (6-3, 227 pounds) at end, with Ekuale in the middle. The second team consists of Ngalu Tapa (6-2, 319 pounds) at nose tackle, with Barber and Kingston Fernandez (6-2 271 pounds) as the ends. Junior college transfer Garrett McBroom might also be a factor once he gets to camp. He hasn’t been at practice the last couple of days because he’s dealing with a personal family matter, WSU coach Mike Leach said.
— First team: MLB Peyton Pelluer, WLB Frankie Luvu, Nickelback Parker Henry and Rush LB Dylan Hanser. Second team: MLB Paris Taylor, WLB Isaac Dotson, Nickelback Kirkland Parker and Rush LB Logan Tago. So far both squads have been fairly consistent, with not much variation through the first two days.
— It’s been pretty interesting to watch the cornerbacks and safeties because there are a lot of new bodies here, and even the veterans seem to have been shuffled around a little.
— Free safety Shalom Luani and left cornerback Darrien Molton have played pretty much every snap with the first team so far in camp. Freshman Jalen Thompson has been running with the ones at strong safety, but even though Marcellus Pippins ended 2014 as the starting right cornerback, he’s now with the second team defense and Treshon Broughton has started this fall camp with the first team at right cornerback. Broughton doesn’t have a lock on the position though. He gave up a touchdown in one-on-ones against the receivers on Tuesday, and Alex Grinch was not happy about it. The defensive coordinator marched right over and informed Broughton that if he didn’t raise his level of play, this would be his last day with the first team.
— It looks like safety Robert Taylor will play this season. The transfer from City College of San Francisco — the same school Luani came from — has seen a lot of time with the second team defense. Safeties Hunter Dale and Willie Roach are also in the mix with the second team.
— Redshirt freshman cornerback Deion Singleton has gotten most of the work with the second team at left cornerback, but freshman Marcus Strong is also getting a look at that position. Of course, they will likely have to contend with junior Charleston White for playing time. White hasn’t been in camp the last two days, but is expected to join the team soon.