FROM PULLMAN — Our spring position previews continue with a look at WSU's running backs. Read on.
The players: senior Carl Winston, redshirt junior Leon Brooks, junior Eric Oertel, redshirt sophomore Rickey Galvin, sophomore Marcus Mason, redshirt freshmen Kruger Story, Lawrence Tuioti, Manuel Lamson, Kyle Lappano, freshman Teondray Caldwell (note: we're only listing players who are expected to be with the team for spring practice)
The outlook: The Cougars return their three leading rushers from 2011 — Galvin, Winston and Mason. The only other scholarship players who will participate in spring drills are Brooks and true freshman Caldwell, who enrolled in January. Galvin and Winston carried most of the load last season, essentially splitting playing time, though Galvin finished with 602 yards to Winston's 442 despite Winston leading the team in carries. WSU finished just 111th in the nation in rushing but that's at least partially due to how often they threw the ball. Galvin caught 28 passes; Winston caught 11.
The gist: Running backs in Mike Leach's system are going to have to catch passes — for example, in Leach's final season at Texas Tech, the team's leading rusher also caught 57 passes — so perhaps it bodes well that Galvin caught 17 more passes than any other WSU running back last season. He's also the fastest of the group. Expect he and Winston to see most of the reps with the first-team offense this spring.