Two years after he was controversially fired from Texas Tech, Mike Leach will begin spring practice again as the head coach of Washington State today.
The coach told reporters during a conference call Wednesday that he expects it will take four days to install his high-powered spread offense. During that time, Leach will be closely evaluating the most important position for that offense — the quarterback position.
Leach may not have Graham Harrell in Pullman this time, but he does have returning starter Jeff Tuel — although Tuel was knocked out of the 2011 season early with injuries and never recovered — and sophomore-to-be Connor Halliday.
Of the two, one would think Tuel would have the upper hand in the battle, but Leach says he’ll split reps evenly between the pair.
“The most basic is, `Does the guy make good decisions?”‘ Leach said. “The second is, `Is he accurate?”‘
“Those two you can’t compromise.”
The “every position is open” routine is sometimes nothing more than coachspeak, but when a new coach comes in to a program, there can be a degree of truth to it. Given Leach’s history with quarterbacks and offense, Wazzu’s QB battle will be one to watch in the Pac-12 this year.
The most productive player on the defensive side of the ball during Western Michigan’s breakout 2016 season is moving on.
The football program announced via its official Twitter account that Robert Spillane has asked for and been granted a release from his scholarship. A rising true senior, it’s unclear if the linebacker will be leaving WMU as a graduate transfer.
If he is, he’ll be eligible to play at another FBS program in 2017. If not, he’d have to sit out the upcoming season before using his final season of eligibility in 2018.
Last season, Spillane led the Broncos in tackles with 111 — next closest was Asantay Brown‘s 95 — while he was second in tackles for loss with 10.5 and tied for third in sacks with three. His three interceptions were tied for second as well. The last of those three picks came at the end of the MAC championship game that helped seal WMU’s win over Ohio.
The past three seasons, Spillane started 28 games for the Broncos. He started all 14 games last season.
In early November, a right shoulder injury knocked Brent Stockstill out for the remainder of Middle Tennessee State’s season. Four months later, a procedure on the other side of the same area has sidelined the starting quarterback yet again.
MTSU announced Tuesday that Stockstill will miss the whole of spring practice, which is set to kick off March 15. The rising junior recently underwent surgery on his left (throwing) shoulder.
The procedure is not expected to have any impact on his availability for the upcoming season.
“The doctors just went in and cleaned some stuff up in his shoulder but he should be ready to go this summer,” Rick Stockstill, MTSU’s head coach and the player’s father, said in a statement. “He will be held out of spring drills.”
After just two seasons as the starter, Stockstill already owns school records in touchdown passes (61), 300-yard passing games (14), 400-yard passing games (2) and passing yards per game (303.3).
Idaho may be bolting for the FCS after this coming season but they’re still in the FBS for now, which makes them the latest to trigger a resetting of the “Days Without An Arrest” ticker to double zeroes.
According to the Spokane Spokesman-Review, redshirt freshman Charles Akanno was arrested Sunday on a charge of receiving/possessing stolen property. The charge stems from an alleged Feb. 20 shoplifting incident involving two other males, including a former Vandals football player.
As a result, the linebacker has been indefinitely suspended from the football program.
“We have high expectations for every member of our program,” head coach Paul Petrino said in a statement. “It is an honor and a privilege to represent the University of Idaho. Until this matter is resolved by the courts, Charles will be suspended from all team activities.”
A three-star 2016 signee, only three other members of that year’s class for the Vandals were rated higher.
Akanno took a redshirt as a true freshman. He has been expected to compete for a starting job in 2017.
Brian Bridgewater appears willing to attempt to become the latest student-athlete to make the transition from the hardwood to the gridiron.
A basketball player at LSU, Bridgewater (pictured, No. 20) confirmed Monday that he will look to make the transition to football for the Tigers this fall. While Bridgewater, who is scheduled to graduate in August, has spoken to unnamed LSU staffers about the transition, he has yet to speak to head coach Ed Orgeron regarding any move.
Based on his comments, it appears he might look to another football program if LSU falls through.
“That’s a possibility, if things go according to how they’re supposed to,” Bridgewater said of joining the Tigers football team. “Hopefully that’s an option. If not I’ll have to see what door opens for me.”
A 6-5, 282-pound power forward in basketball, Bridgewater would likely make his football hay as a tight end. He last played football in 2012 at the high school level.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune writes that “[d]espite only playing one season of high school ball, Bridgewater was ranked as the No. 27 tight end in the country by 247 Sports.”
Bridgewater is expected to finish out the 2016-17 college basketball season before turning his focus to football.