Well, summer is almost over. What's that you say? It's still as hot as a feverish St. Bernard outside and the kids won't be out of your hair for another month? Sure, I guess it's still summer for those of you who base your seasons on the public school calendar, the life cycles of various flora or the proximity of the sun to the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
But over here we like to align our seasons to the thumping of pads and the dribbling of basketballs. So with Washington State's fall camp set to begin on Saturday, let's consider that summer is coming to a close. I hope it was a good one.
We'll get ready for camp after the jump.
*Note: We will have a live chat on the blog tomorrow at 11 a.m. to preview camp. These chats will continue every Wednesday until the end of the season.
Where we left off: The last we saw of the Cougars, they had just won (and lost) the Spring Game. Some young players emerged in that game and over the course of spring, but by and large the position battles from April will carry over into August.
What you might have missed: You might have missed this earlier post, in which we took a look at the things you might have missed this offseason.
Areas to watch in the fall:
-- Secondary. Daquawn Brown had a solid freshman campaign last season and should lock up one of the cornerback spots, the other could go to Charleston White, Marcellus Pippins or Tracy Clark, the only upperclassman in the bunch. On the back end Taylor Taliulu is going to be the old man, as a junior, and sophomore Isaac Dotson will probably start at strong safety.
It's a very, very young group and the deep group of wide receivers often exposed that inexperience, taking advantage of miscommunication to get deep downfield. The upside is that the secondary improved quite a bit over the course of the spring. If they can make a similar improvement this fall it will take a lot of stress off the rest of the defense.
-- Offensive line. The left side of the line is set with Joe Dahl at left tackle and Gunnar Eklund at left guard (yes, this is the reverse of how it was last season). Center is still a battle between Riley Sorenson, who is more athletic, and Sam Flor, who might be little ahead in the mental game. Cole Madison did a lot of work in the weight room and appears to have been rewarded with the right tackle spot, while Jacob Seydel seems poised to receive most of the reps at right guard.
However, everything to the right of Eklund appears fluid, and guys like Eduardo Middleton, Cody O'Connell or Carlos Freeman could put themselves in the mix with a strong camp. Like the secondary this will be a young unit, but should be much bigger and more athletic than last season's group.
-- Running back. Marcus Mason is the incumbent starter and played well last season, but senior Theron West broke out in the bowl game and appeared to have the best spring of all the running backs. Keep an eye on talented freshman Jamal Morrow, who should have plenty of opportunities to contribute after teasing the coaches with his talent during a redshirt year.