PULLMAN, Wash. — WSU's Crimson and Gray spring game is in the books. Now that the dust has settled, what did we learn about the team heading into fall camp?
We'll kick things off with an obvious one. Transfer quarterback Cameron Ward proved he is the guy, not that there was any question about that, but he put on a show Saturday.
Ward completed 21-of-30 passes for 246 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.
He looked poised and flashed his talent all day. A stellar showing for WSU fans to be plenty excited about.
It can't be overstated how huge it is for Jake Dickert and his staff to have a signal caller that knows the new offensive system like the back of his hand. This of course, because the Cougs new offensive coordinator Eric Morris was Ward's head coach at Incarnate Word.
While other quarterbacks are learning a new offense, Ward is perfecting it. He can share that wisdom with the QB's behind him on the depth chart, which gives the team time to develop younger quarterbacks and a chance to win right now.
Defense's nose for the ball
A tip of the cap to the defense is in order. WSU's defense had 4 interceptions and 6 sacks in the Crimson and Gray game.
This is a unit that led the Pac-12 in takeaways last season and it's looking like they'll be right back at it this season.
There's plenty of reason to think so with edge rushers like Pac-12 First Team defensive lineman Ron Stone Jr. and Pac-12 honorable mention Brennan Jackson both back along with Pac-12 honorable mention defensive back Armani Marsh.
This defense is going to be good.
The Victor and Ward connection
Our third "good" from Saturday is the Lincoln Victor and Cam Ward connection.
At spring practice it was evident the two are on the same page. So much so, I said to myself "man, those two seem to have chemistry going."
Fast forward to the spring game and wouldn't you know it!
Victor had 6 catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns. If he can stay healthy it could be a big season for the duo.
Now, what can improve? I don't necessarily want to call them "the bad" because it's a spring game and there's plenty of time to sure things up. So, we'll call them the "uh-oh's."
As stated earlier, Cam Ward knows the offense well. The backup quarterbacks, well, seemed new to it.
Which is normal at this point, but, if Ward gets hurt who's the next man up?
Xavier Ward or Emmett Brown would have been the case on Saturday and they combined for just 118 total passing yards and four interceptions. Now, this is against WSU's defense which played very well. But, doesn't exactly put fans at ease seeing that type of output.
However, last season's Sun Bowl hero Victor Gabalis was unable to go due to an injury. He will likely be in the mix for the backup spot.
The big question mark heading into this season is the offensive line.
A handful of starters from last year are no longer on the team. Names such as Abraham Lucas who will wind up being picked in the upcoming NFL Draft.
The Cougs gave up six sacks in the Crimson and Gray game. Not a great number.
It is worth acknowledging that in a real game some of the sacks could be avoided by throwing the ball away or a quarterback scrambling. Plus, it is spring ball. Guys aren't as crisp as they could be with the plays.
But, due to the questions surrounding the unit it is something to watch. However, after the game head coach Jake Dickert praised the guys up front, so, he didn't seem to be too worried about it.
Three players that also had nice spring games that weren't mentioned above:
- Junior linebacker Travion Brown had an interception and a sack.
- Redshirt freshman wide receiver Josh Meredith had 8 receptions for 66 yards.
- Mt. Spokane alum Kannon Katzer busted a few big runs finishing the day with 53 yards on four carries.