Spring game returns to Pullman

Scrimmage comes to Martin Stadium for first time since 2010 with goal of raising mental health awareness



Graduate transfer quarterback Gage Gubrud looks downfield to make a pass during spring practice Thursday at Martin Stadium. Kickoff for the annual Crimson and Gray Game is set for 1 p.m. Saturday. Students can get in for free with CougarCard.

JOHN SPELLMAN, Evergreen reporter

The wait is finally over. After 13 spring practices, WSU football will take the field Saturday to compete in the annual Crimson and Gray Game.

After taking place in Spokane for the past eight seasons, the game returns to Pullman in the hope to bring some more excitement and fans to the game at Martin Stadium. Even though it’s only the spring game, WSU Head Coach Mike Leach has high expectations for his team.

“I want to see them compete,” Leach said. “We want to get everyone as good as possible so they can take their skills into the offseason, and continue to develop so hopefully they are at a higher level when we start [fall] camp.”

The game returns to Pullman as part of Gameday for Mental Health with all proceeds from the event going to the ASWSU Coug Health Fund.

Following a record-setting 11-2 season for the Cougars led by former quarterback Gardner Minshew II, Leach is tasked with finding Minshew’s replacement.

On Saturday, all eyes will turn to the candidates for the starting quarterback job in the fall, with four quarterbacks in the mix to lead the team this season.

Redshirt seniors Anthony Gordon and Trey Tinsley look to be at the head of the group thanks to a strong spring camp and look to use the spring game as a way to impress the coaching staff.

“I think Tinsley and Gordon are at the top right now,” Leach said.

Redshirt freshman quarterback, and former highly-touted recruit, Cammon Cooper has been a pleasant surprise this spring. Cooper has come a long in way in his second season in Pullman and has a chance to battle for the starting spot.

Maybe the most compelling option for the starting quarterback spot is former Eastern Washington quarterback Gage Gubrud.

Gubrud is coming off a left ankle injury earlier this spring. However, he has fully participated in the last four practices, and it is unclear if he will take part in the spring game.

Whoever the quarterback ends up being will be the recipient of bolstered depth at wide receiver as only one graduated last season.

The receiving group is led by senior Dezmon Patmon, who is coming off a big 2018 season. Redshirt senior wide receiver Easop Winston Jr. and junior wide receiver Tay Martin also look to play key roles in the WSU offense this Saturday.

Another position up for grabs is the left tackle spot. Former Cougar Andre Dillard held down the position last season and looks destined to be a first-round pick in next week’s NFL Draft. Redshirt junior Liam Ryan seems to be the top candidate to replace Dillard.

Defensively, the Cougars looks improved heading into the 2019 season. Some new faces to keep an eye out for in the Cougars secondary are redshirt junior defensive back Daniel Isom and sophomore cornerback Derrick Langford, who have turned a lot of heads in spring camp so far and are both junior-college transfers.

On the defensive line, Saturday will be the much-anticipated debut of redshirt sophomore Lamonte McDougle. The former freshman All-American at West Virginia University sat out last season due to transfer rules.

Redshirt sophomore rush linebacker Willie Taylor III said the Cougars are ready to showcase their talent in front of fans this weekend.

“I am excited,” Taylor said. “We have been practicing all spring, and I’m finally excited to go out there in a real game-type deal.”

The game is set to start 1 p.m. Saturday at Martin Stadium and will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.

Tickets are free for students with a CougarCard, $5 for general admission and $15 for club seating. Fans can enter through Gate A and Gate I and lower bowl seating will be on the north side of the field. Parking in all campus lots is free Saturday.