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Cougars trying to create culture of competition

halladay center
Junior Connor Halladay is expected to battle with freshman Austin Apodaca for Washington State’s starting quarterback job. (AP)

By staff

With Washington State’s spring football practice in progress, the program’s attention is firmly aimed at battles at the quarterback and offensive line positions.

Cougars coach Mike Leach joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Afternoons with the Go 2 Guy” Monday and said his staff is focused on creating a culture of competition, which will help at both spots.

Under center, rising junior Connor Halladay is the front-runner after playing in nine of WSU’s 12 games in 2012. But don’t count out redshirt freshman Austin Apodaca.

“We’ve got two guys (back) that I think their ability level is similar,” Leach said. “Connor’s a little more experienced, so i think that he’s a little ahead on the mental aspect of things, but Austin Apodaca’s been doing some good things as well.”

The Cougars will also have four-star recruit Tyler Bruggman incoming as a signal caller.

On the line, depth is a big plus compared to last year for WSU.

“We’ve got more bodies out there than we’ve had. I think they do provide some depth, and they also provide some competition,” said Leach. “Both are desperately needed as far as improvement goes, and we’re a little stronger, which I’m happy about too.”

Depth is a point of emphasis for the Cougars in Leach’s second year.

“Once a guy’s got something wrapped up or it becomes obvious that the only guy that’s going to play is him, then maybe there’s not the sense of urgency that exists if somebody’s breathing down your neck, so we’re trying to create that as much as possible,” Leach said.