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Ten reactions to Washington State’s week one depth chart against Wyoming

UPDATED: Mon., Aug. 27, 2018, 8:35 p.m.

WSU graduate transfer quarterback Gardner Minshew (16), center, looks to throw with the rest of the quarterbacks vying for the starting position this fall during practice on Friday, August 3, 2018, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
WSU graduate transfer quarterback Gardner Minshew (16), center, looks to throw with the rest of the quarterbacks vying for the starting position this fall during practice on Friday, August 3, 2018, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

PULLMAN – Washington State has unveiled its week-one depth chart for Saturday’s game against Wyoming. We browse through the two-, but sometimes three- and occasionally four-deep, giving you nine OR 10 reactions to what we’re seeing on the depth chart.

For reference, the depth chart can be found here.

1. The big “OR”

Mike Leach has indicated time and time again he wouldn’t be publicly revealing his starting quarterback. Just in case you needed further affirmation, the depth chart lists four quarterbacks, with the “OR” designation between each. If you’re somebody who reads into things, though, this is the order in which the QBs are listed: Gardner Minshew, Anthony Gordon, Trey Tinsley, Cammon Cooper. Gordon and Tinsley might be interchangeable at the No. 2 spot, but that’s what I’d expect the pecking order to look like anyway – “ORs” or no “ORs.”

2. Who’s in and who’s out?

Explosive junior defensive end Nnamdi Oguayo missed a good chunk of preseason camp, but Leach said a few weeks back we should “expect to see him soon.” And poof, Oguayo appears as the No. 1 D-end on the depth chart. That’s telling because a few of Oguayo’s defensive counterparts who’d also been inactive are not listed – namely defensive end Derek Moore and Rush linebacker Chima Onyeukwu.

3. Got “ORs?”

Similar to last year, the Cougars will take a running back-by-committee approach to the ground game. James Williams OR Max Borghi OR Keith Harrington will be getting the carries this year, but in all likelihood it’ll be some blend of all three. Each of the three tailbacks bring something different to the table and coaches will look at matchups – and who’s hot at a given time – to determine how they’ll divvy up the reps.

4. Liam on the left

Three redshirt sophomores had been contending for Cody O’Connell’s left guard job throughout spring and fall camp. Had you taken a stab at the depth chart in April, you likely would’ve chosen Josh Watson. Through the first week of fall camp? Maybe Christian Haangana. And now with one week left until the season opener? Probably Liam Ryan. As coaches have mixed and matched players on the O-line, Ryan now appears to be the frontrunner at LG. If anything, it’s a sign the Cougars may finally have some depth up front.

5. More “OR”

Both specialist positions are evidently still up for grabs. At punter, it’s redshirt sophomore Oscar Draguicevich III OR redshirt junior Oliver Graybar. At kicker, redshirt freshman Blake Mazza OR redshirt sophomore Jack Crane.

6. Easop (Wins)ton (and another OR)

“Z” receiver has been an intriguing position to follow during preseason camp, because three players each feel they deserve one of the two spots – and they probably aren’t wrong. The depth chart tells us Easop Winston Jr. will have one of them, while Dezmon Patmon OR Calvin Jackson Jr. will have the other. Chances are, Patmon AND Jackson Jr. will both get playing time as Patmon’s height is advantageous in the red zone and Jackson’s speed is helpful when the field gets longer.

7. Fantastic freshmen

We count five true freshmen on the offensive and defensive sides of the depth chart: “X” receiver Rodrick Fisher, running back Max Borghi, quarterback Cammon Cooper, Nickel Patrick Nunn and strong safety Tyrese Ross. Fisher, a backup to Tay Martin, and Borghi, one of three RBs in the rotation, are essentially offensive starters while Nunn and Ross should mix in plenty as the backups to Hunter Dale and Jalen Thompson. And with the NCAA’s new redshirt rule, it won’t be a surprise if Cooper gets a game or four under his belt at some point.

8. Either “OR”

Dominick Silvels OR Willie Taylor III will replace the tag team of Frankie Luvu and Dylan Hanser at Rush linebacker. Taylor III had seemed to be getting most of the looks with the first team defense, but Silvels has been steady all camp. The Cougars rotate their Rush LBs plenty, so both of the underclassmen will get plenty of opportunity to prove themselves.

9. First time f“OR” everything

The Cougars have 11 first-year starters on offense, defense and special teams. They are: Ryan/Haangana (LG), Valencia/Watson (RG), Lucas (RT), Winston Jr. (“Z” WR), Minshew/Tinsley/Gordon (QB), Taylor Comfort/Misiona Aiolupotea-Pei (NT), Nick Begg (T), Silvels/Taylor III (Rush), Skyler Thomas (FS), Crane/Mazza (K) and Draguicevich/Grabyar (P).

10. A new rec“OR”d?

The week-one depth chart features the word “OR” 19 times. We’ll check with Spokesman Stats & Info to see if that’s a WSU record.


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