Football coaches usually tire of questions focused on quarterback competitions.
But for Washington State coach Nick Rolovich, it’s likely a welcome respite.
Rolovich hasn’t yet named the Cougars’ starter for Saturday night’s season opener against Utah State in Pullman, Wash. — incumbent Jayden de Laura and Tennessee transfer Jarrett Guarantano are the candidates — but that question has at least taken some of the focus away from Rolovich’s decision to not receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Rolovich has said he plans to follow Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s mandate that all state employees receive their shots.
As for who will start at QB?
“We want to make sure we make the right decision, and we want to make sure that guys continue to get reps and improve if they are not the starter because I believe they will be counted on,” Rolovich said.
The Cougars went 1-3 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Running back Max Borghi, a Doak Walker Award preseason nominee, played in just one game last year because of injuries, rushing for 96 yards against Utah.
“There were times when I thought we had a lot of fight in us, and I thought there were times when we folded,” Rolovich said of his first season with the Cougars. “… I know the mindset is much better than it was going into last fall, and you would think that would translate into wins. But this is a funny game with a funny shaped ball, and there will be highs and lows.”
Utah State mostly experienced the latter last season, firing coach Gary Andersen after an 0-3 start and finishing 1-5.
The Aggies hired Blake Anderson away from Arkansas State to revive their program.
Like Rolovich, Anderson hasn’t named a starting QB. The competition is between a pair of juniors, returnee Andrew Peasley and transfer Logan Bonner, who followed Anderson from Arkansas State.
Thus far, Anderson said his focus has been inward.
“To be honest with you, you’re gonna think I’m crazy, but I have not spent all that time worried about Washington State,” Anderson said. “I’m worried about us. I want to make sure we have our best team ready to go try to fix our issues. In every first game of the season, every bit of opponent work you put in is guesswork.”
–Field Level Media