Our 2019 Washington State Cougars Preview 2019 wonders if this team will stay in the top 25? Our Washington State Cougars preview finds one issue against that occurring is the competition. Then again, of the five teams in the Pac-12 that have made the Coaches Top 25, the Cougars do have the easiest schedule. Last season, the 7-5 Cougars were 7-2 in conference play and 10-2 for the regular season. Their two losses were to USC 36-39 early in the season and then they suffered a huge 15-28 loss in their final game to Washington. That loss cost the Cougars the division title. WSU played Iowa State in the Alamo Bowl, winning 28-26.
In 2018, the Cougars put the top-ranked pass attack on the field, as they threw for 373.8 YPG. However, this teams rushing game was abysmal, as they ran for just 77.7 YPG (128th). Total yardage per game came in at 451.5 PG (27th). In terms of scoring, Washington State ranked 15th with 37.5 PPG.
Washington State Cougars Preview 2019 – Offense
Two major losses, QB Gardner Minshew and RB James Williams, bring this offense down a few notches. Minshew led the country in passing, throwing for over 4,700 yards and tossing 38 TD passes. Williams rushed for 560 yards and a dozen scores. He also caught 83 passes and scored four times as a receiver. Three candidates battle for QB, Eastern Washington transfer Gage Gubrud, a senior, will most likely start. Grubrud, who’s been a Walter Peyton finalist two times, missed 2018 with a foot injury. The good news is the receiving unit is experienced and deep, as eight of 10 top performers come back. The trio of Dezmon Patmon, Tay Martin, and Easop Winston caught 21 TD passes and totaled 182 receptions and over 2,100 yards. Sophomore RB Max Borghi (366 YDs, 5.1 AVG, 8 TDs) will anchor the ground game. The O-line is in great shape.
Defense and Special Teams
Our Washington State Cougars Preview 2019 find that this team should field a sound defense. Six-of-nine top tacklers return. The frontline loses two-of-three starters but talented West Virginia transfer Lamonte McDougle, a sophomore nose tackle, should provide a boost. The LB unit loses top performer Peyton Pelluer (98 TKLs, 4.5 SCKs, 6 TFL), but they still have four return with solid starting experience. Jahad Woods (82 TKLs, 3 SCKs, 1.5 TFL) and Skyler Thomas (76 TKLs, 3 PBU, 2 INTs) are both quality defenders. The D-backs include senior right corner Marcus Strong (41 TKLs, 6 PBU, 3 INTs) and senior strong safety Jalen Thompson (67 TKLs, 8 PBU, 2 INTs). The two possess fine skills and are experienced.
On special teams punter Oscar Draguicevich (46 Punts, 45.7 AVG, 15 In20), who is exceptionally solid, is back, as is PK Blake Mazza (60-62 XP, 10-15 FG). In 2018, his freshman season, Mazza put up fine numbers, including going 1-2 from 50-plus. Travell Harris (25 RT, 27.6 AVG, 1 TD) is a dangerous kick returned. Punt returner Kyle Sweet needs to be replaced.
Coaching and Recruitment
Mike Leach (48-40 WSU, 133-83 Overall) has been a college head coach for 17 years with seven of them being at Washington State. The former Texas Tech head coach, had guided the Cougars through four-straight winning seasons and to four consecutive bowl appearances. Last season, he was the Pac-12 Coach of the Year. Leach calls all of the plays on offense. Tracy Claeys, former Minnesota HC, came in last year as DC and did a fine job. The WSU recruiting class is ranked 11th in the Pac-12 and includes 19 all of whom are three-star recruits.
Our Washington State Cougars Preview 2019 – Final Word
Our Washington State Cougars Preview 2019 notes that with the change at quarterback our Washington State Cougars preview finds that it will be tough for this team to match what they did in 2018. Their toughest out-of-conference opponent will be Houston on September 13. In conference, the Cougars have to play Utah, Oregon, Stanford, and, of course, Washington. Can they take down at least two of those teams? If not, they will end up somewhere around third or fourth in the North.