SPOKANE, Wash. — Football returns to the Inland Northwest on Friday as all three of our collegiate football programs start fall camp.
The main subject of Nick Rolovich's pre-camp interview on Thursday was the same that it’s been for the past few years around the Cougs: The ensuing quarterback battle.
"Not many secrets in this program. They’ll see each other’s films, they’ll see each other’s grade sheets, they’ll see who did good, who did bad," said Rolovich of how they intend to conduct fall camp with their quarterbacks.
Sophomore Jayden de Laura, who started last year for the Cougs, is back, but WSU has also brought in grad transfer Jarrett Guarantano to compete the starting job.
Coach Rolovich is very clear on the criteria that will determine who will be under center come September.
"Establish belief from his teammates and trust. Combine that with who is able to move the ball down the field consistently and who does the little things right. The little details. There are some intricacies that pop up in the run game and just how they find themselves in the offense. I think that’ll be interesting to see," said Rolovich.
For the public, there haven’t been a lot of opportunities yet for comparison.
Guarantano only had one series under center in the spring game before a helmet smashed into his hand, and he was pulled for the game. He also threw an interception on that play.
"Jarrett’s the type of kid that he really works at it. Not that anybody doesn’t, but he’s a mature kid that’s been through this, so I think he understands the consistency and prep," said Rolovich.
De Laura didn’t compete in spring camp after being charged with suspicion of DUI in February. He has since been found not guilty.
"I want to see how he does tomorrow. Probably a real freeing feeling after everything he’s been through," said Rolovich of de Laura's return to the field.
Rolovich noted he hasn’t watched de Laura throw much this off season, so the only information we have as a public is four games of film from last year for de Laura. He accounted for seven touchdowns in total and four interceptions in 2020.
However, Rolovich did mention the main area he wants to see improvement from de Laura in camp.
"He can make a lot of plays outside the structure of the play design. We just want to make sure that a higher percentage of those off-script plays are successful. Hopefully, it’s a weapon when he breaks the pocket or has to adjust on the run and not make it a detriment. Don’t make a bad situation worse as we like to say," said Rolovich.