A whole different culture under head coach Jake Dickert

Coaching style more effective, impactful on team



WSU head coach Jake Dickert talks to his players during practice, Aug. 17, at Martin Stadium.

TREVOR JUNT, Evergreen deputy sports editor

Dickert has come into a WSU football team and has changed the entire culture.

In the past, during the Mike Leach era, players viewed themselves as just soldiers for Leach to place wherever he desired. In the Nick Rolovich era many players did not have full trust in the coach and he lost control of the locker room and fans incredibly fast.

Dickert however has the respect and love from his players, his staff and the fans. There is almost an aura around him and he is an authentic coach.

Wide receiver Lincoln Victor explained what made Dickert different from other coaches. Victor explained that authenticity and honesty sets him apart.

“He’s just a man of his word,” Victor said. “When he says stuff, people listen. I think he’s done a great job of telling the guys of what we need to fix. Just being honest with people: you don’t want to play for a coach who is one person one day and another person the other day.”

Although he will be honest with the players, he will encourage them at the same time and give them confidence, Victor said.

It is easy to tell there is a difference in this year’s training camp compared to last year, the energy levels are through the roof. Pumped-up music on loudspeakers, coaches yelling from all over the field, extreme player competition and action are common sites of camp.

Dickert is trying to bring success to a WSU team that has had a rough couple of decades, only being ranked three times in the past 20 years. The most success came under Leach in 2018 when they went 11-2 and finished 10th overall in the AP Poll. Dickert is looking to bring top AP finishes back to the WSU football program.

To create success this season Dickert explained that consistency is key. During the grueling parts of practice is where the team needs to create good habits. He said that those habits will determine if the team trusts each other during the fourth quarter on Gesa Field. He said this is the way that they will win football games.

WSU held a scrimmage on Saturday featuring the offense versus the defense. A few players were standouts.

Quarterback Cameron Ward showed poise in the pocket and demonstrated that he can slide up well and deliver the ball. De’Zhaun Stribling made some grabs right over the cornerback looking to be a great X-receiver. Jaylen Jenkins, a true freshman running back earned over 100 yards as he exploded through the line to gash the defense. He has worked his way into the running back rotation and could earn the starting job.

The defensive line looks improved with more depth too, they were able to get sacks and pressures. The big worry for this upcoming season is the offensive line, with so much change and players advancing to the NFL they only have one returning starter meaning four of the five starters will be new.

Grant Stephens, a transfer from Colorado State is playing right tackle and is finding success in pass blocking, and is truly a violent run-blocker. But the other players on the offensive line seem much less trustworthy. With a mobile quarterback who extends plays, the offensive line will need to be much improved before the season starts.

Dickert controlled the scrimmage well and let his coaches do what he hired them to do. This was effective in training the players to be difference makers and getting their bodies ready for the upcoming season of big hits.

Dickert explained how he built his program and who he somewhat modeled his program after. He mentioned Craig Bohl the head coach at Wyoming, where Dickert was before WSU.

“I always say I’m shaped by Craig Bohl. That toughness and mentality. I wouldn’t be here without Craig Bohl and I think that’s point blank,” Dickert said.

He also said that Tim Polasek, the offensive coordinator at Wyoming helped shape him as a coach.

“Tim was in my wedding. He coached me at University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. I’m only standing here because of Tim Polasek, he got me my first [Graduate Assistant] job up at North Dakota State,” Dickert said. “He’s a special person in my life and I wouldn’t be here without him.”

There is a different energy around this WSU team and they are a much more cohesive community. This is different from what has been in Pullman before. Dickert has completely changed the culture, in a way that he hopes will bring success to the program.