As the Cougars open fall camp, Mike Leach says there’s no glaring weakness on his team — but here’s which position battles to watch throughout camp.
Going into his final fall camp, Washington State’s starting quarterback Luke Falk epitomizes the makeup of the team he leads, says Cougars’ coach Mike Leach.
More precisely, Falk, like the Cougars, will open camp in Pullman on Wednesday with a well-balanced skillset and no discernible Achilles heel.
“He’s kinda like our team,” Leach said on a conference call with reporters Tuesday afternoon. “He’s a great presence as far as focus and achievement, and I don’t see that he’s got any glaring weaknesses, as far as he’s steadily improved at everything.”
That’s how Leach views the Cougars too. Now entering his sixth season as head coach, and coming off back-to-back bowl appearances, Leach has rebuilt WSU to the point where there’s a plethora of experienced talent returning at every position.
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“I don’t have a position that I think is a real weak position,” Leach said. “Everybody is trying to get better and improve. It’s not one position, you have to improve all of them. I don’t see an area where we have a glaring weakness.”
This season, the Cougars will be the Pac-12’s most experienced team, with 18 returning starters – seven on offense, nine on defense and two on special teams – including Falk, their third-year starter at quarterback.
However, even though the Cougars don’t have any “glaring weakness” among their position groupings, some are deeper than others.
Here are the three position groups that will likely feature the fiercest position battles through fall camp:
1. Wide receiver
This is a no-brainer. With the dependable River Cracraft and the prolific Gabe Marks gone, WSU will have to fill some holes at both inside and outside receiver.
“We do have some tall, fast guys who showed promise in spring,” Leach said. “We’re looking forward to seeing what unfolds there. If they’re as good as they were in the spring, we’re going to be decent. If they improve at all – and I will wear them out to improve – we have a chance to be even better.”
On the outside, sophomore Isaiah Johnson-Mack is “getting better and better,” Leach said, adding that Dezmon Patmon, another sophomore, “had a great spring and his improvement was very sudden.”