Beau Talks Football: Playing in a Spring Game

Beau Braden talks about his expirenece playing in the WSU Spring Game



WSU wide receiver Tsion Nunnally (89) catches a walk-off touchdown pass during the 2022 Spring Game, April 23, at Martin Stadium.

BEAU BRADEN, Evergreen reporter

College football spring games are upon us. During this part of the football calendar, many teams play with spring game formats and fan activities to build off-season excitement. 

In this iteration of the Crimson and Gray Game, the WSU football team, barring any Twitter announcements, will pit its offense against its defense as it did in the year prior

Fans may wonder what it’s like to play in a spring game, to play a game against your teammates. Here’s what it was like for me:

April 20, 2019, marked WSU’s spring game return to Pullman and its final spring with the late Mike Leach.

The Thursday before our Saturday spring game, coach Leach told us the format: the coaches would divide the team into two squads, while the quarterbacks and running backs would trade off drives. 

Coach Leach also added a “Fifth quarter” where the underclassmen would get more opportunities to compete.

It wasn’t until hours before the game that we learned our teams by what color of uniform was in our lockers. 

And let me tell you, those anthracites feel as good as they look. 

The spring game was a big day for me. It was my first spring with the team, and I was coming off a redshirt season where I missed fall camp due to a shoulder injury and half of the season from a torn meniscus.

Little did I know how big of a day it would be. 

Former WSU defensive line coach Jeffrey Phelps told us he would be on the crimson sideline and that our groups would rotate every three plays. 

It was not until after my first set of plays that Phelps told me I would continue that three-play rotation for both teams because half of the defensive ends were injured. So for five quarters, I played every other three snaps. 

I played both ways in high school, so I thought I’d be fine.


For reference, in WSU’s 2019 opener against New Mexico State, the Cougs threw the ball 49 times. 

The Air Raid kept a similar pace on the day of our lord, meaning the clock stopped … a lot.

I don’t have an exact snap count for myself on that day, but I’ll ballpark it around 1.2 million. 

You’re probably thinking, “Beau, you were a walk-on that ESPN gifted one tackle on your college career. Why are you complaining about playing too much?”

To which I would reply, “You try rushing Abe Lucas after running 26.2 miles.”

In all seriousness, the spring game is the last thing I would complain about regarding my road to glory. 

The spring game was among my most fun experiences as a WSU football player. My parents got to see me play in Martin Stadium, my recruiting class balled out against the starters and my friends back home got to see me get a sack on TV while I was wearing the same uniform as Anthony Gordon’s offensive line, which ended up being the last play of the broadcast before Pac-12 Networks Main cut to Oregon’s spring game. 

The spring game won’t give Coug fans much regarding what this fall will look like, so use the spring game to experience another Cougar Football Saturday, find a new favorite player or just enjoy watching kids like me get a shot to compete.