Mike Leach says Cougars' roster revamp is almost complete. Also, why were Coug fans on Good Morning America Tuesday?
Five true freshmen and four redshirt freshmen have played for the Cougars this season, while their opponent this week, Wyoming, played 18 true and redshirt freshmen in its season opener.
The Cougs and Cowboys aren’t the only ones calling upon their freshmen to contribute right away. This seems to be a trend around the country, in part because, as Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez pointed out on the Pac-12 conference call Tuesday morning, players who come out of high school today are better prepared for college action than ever before.
In Mike Leach’s tenure at WSU, the Cougars have had to rely heavily on young players. WSU had 17 freshmen in action in 2012, 10 in 2013 and 20 last season. The nine they’ve had on the field this season marks the fewest so far per year in the Leach era, and is perhaps a sign that the roster overhaul is almost complete.
Leach says the Cougars have played a lot of freshmen over the years “out of necessity.”
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“What’s happened in our case, we’ll get freshmen in because each of our recruiting classes has improved,” Leach said. “In our case, we were pretty down in terms of the talent level of our team. … Our freshmen will often be more talented than the guys who are here.
“We’ve kinda been playing leapfrog one freshman class after the next, just trying to fill the talent void that’s been here, and I think we’re starting to level out, but we’re not there yet.”
Thirteen freshmen, including seven true freshmen, are listed on the Cougs’ depth chart against Wyoming.
Now, some links:
— The Cougs got some love on ABC’s Good Morning America this morning when a bunch of Coug fans were shown in New York City, holding up WSU banners. Apparently they are fans who were in town for the Rutgers game last week.
— Wyoming’s backup QB Josh Allen is out for the season after having shoulder surgery this week. The Cowboys have five new starters listed on the depth chart released this week. Notably:
Coffman is expected to return to action at quarterback; sophomore Brian Hill moved ahead of senior Shaun Wick at running back; junior D.J. May, returning from a one-game suspension, is tabbed to start at the nickel/strong-side linebacker spot; senior Tyran Finley will start at cornerback instead of redshirt freshman Anthony Makransky; and freshman Zach Wallace will replace injured sophomore Taylor Knestis, who is out this week, at right tackle.
— WSU kicker Erik Powell has been named one of the three Lou Groza Award stars of the week. He’s up against Minnesota’s Ryan Santoso and Western Kentucky’s Garrett Schwettman this week. (You can vote here) Powell nailed field goals of 47, 46 and 47 yards in the win over Rutgers.
— In case you missed it, quarterback Luke Falk is the Pac-12’s offensive player of the week. It’s Falk’s second career player of the week award.
— Falk impressed the guys at ESPN.com so much that he’s No. 3 in David Lombardi’s Pac-12 quarterback rankings this week. Behind Cal’s Jared Goff and USC’s Cody Kessler. In front of Arizona’s Anu Solomon and Stanford’s Kevin Hogan.