Armed with QB Cameron Ward, what are expectations for WSU Cougars?

Aug 19, 2022, 12:26 PM
WSU Cougars Cameron Ward...
Washington State Cougars QB Cameron Ward runs with the ball the spring game on April 23, 2022, at Martin Stadium. (Oliver McKenna/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Oliver McKenna/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

For the first time since 2012, the WSU Cougars won the Apple Cup in 2021, which came after a season filled with plenty of drama as head coach Nick Rolovich was fired due to him not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Pac-12 Commissioner Kliavkoff jabs Big 12, touts future after USC, UCLA

But the team rallied around interim head coach Jake Dickert, finishing the regular season with a 7-5 record an Apple Cup victory, which earned Dickert the full-time head coaching job.

So what do the WSU Cougars look like heading into Dickert’s first full season as head coach in 2022?

Noted college football analyst Phil Steele joined Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Bump and Stacy on Thursday to discuss what he thinks of the Cougs.

Steele thinks WSU is one of the hardest teams in the country to forecast, saying the Cougars could win as few as three games or as many as nine.

What Steele is optimistic about is the offense, which has a new quarterback in Cameron Ward.

Ward transferred to WSU from FCS Incarnate Word after throwing 47 touchdowns, and Steele thinks the Cougars could take a big leap forward with Ward, similar to last year when Western Kentucky shined with quarterback Bailey Zappe under center. Zappe set an FBS record with 62 passing touchdowns and 5,967 passing yards in his lone season with the Hilltoppers after starring at FCS Houston Baptist and he was a fourth-round pick of the New England Patriots in this April’s draft.

Additionally, Ward’s head coach at Incarnate Word, Eric Morris, has joined the WSU coaching staff as offensive coordinator.

“So (Ward) knows the system extremely well,” Steele said. “They’ve got solid receivers like Renard Bell, Lincoln Victor, (De’Zhaun) Stribling (who are) all solid.”

The offensive line, Steele said, is the WSU Cougars’ biggest question mark.

“No doubt about it,” he said. ” …Can they protect (Ward)?”

Dickert’s background is on the defensive side of the ball, so how does that unit look heading into 2022?

“Defensively when you look at them, I like Brennan Jackson at defensive end,” Steele said. “I think (Daiyan) Henley at linebacker coming over from Nevada, he’s actually an NFL-caliber linebacker, so he’s a big pickup there. And then I like the secondary with (Armani) Marsh and (Derrick) Langford.”

But WSU has a tough schedule, especially compared to rival Washington.

“They draw a tougher schedule than does Washington. They play both Utah and USC, who I have near the top of the charts,” Steele said. “… It’s a tough team for me to forecast. Only 10 returning starters. But the possibility is there for them to surprise, especially if Ward plays like he did at Incarnate Word.”

Listen to the full conversation at this link or in the player below.

Bumpus: WSU Cougars, other small schools ‘going to suffer’ after Pac-12 shakeup

Bump & Stacy Show

Bump and Stacy

Seahawks Tyler Lockett...
Stacy Rost

What to know about Seahawks and their Week 4 clash with Detroit

What should you know ahead of the Seahawks' matchup with Detroit? Stacy Rost breaks down what stood our from The Huddle this week.
2 days ago
Seahawks Noah Fant...
Brent Stecker

Bump’s Breakdown: Why Seahawks’ TEs need to play big role in offense

The Seahawks' offense showed improvement in Week 3. What's the next step? Michael Bumpus breaks down the importance of Seattle's tight ends.
4 days ago
Mariners Eugenio Suárez Julio Rodríguez...
Brent Stecker

Mariners Notebook: Eugenio Suárez returns to DH; Julio’s awards start

Eugenio Suárez will rejoin the Mariners from the injured list on Tuesday night. Details on that and the first season award going to rookie phenom Julio Rodríguez.
5 days ago
Seahawks Geno Smith...
Brent Stecker

Bump: Who has been Seahawks’ best offensive player so far

The Seahawks have talent on offense, but the answer to who has been the best player on that side of the ball may be a surprise.
5 days ago
Seahawks Falcons...
Stacy Rost

Rost: Pressure mounting for Seahawks’ defense to show improvement

The Seahawks made the strides they needed on offense, but if that improvement doesn’t stretch to the defense, there won’t be much winning.
6 days ago
UW Huskies Ja'Lynn Polk Jalen McMillan...
Brandon Gustafson

Yogi Roth: Why UW Huskies look like a Pac-12 favorite moving forward

After a big win over Michigan State, Pac-12 Network's Yogi Roth thinks the UW Huskies may be the favorite to win the conference in 2022.
8 days ago
Armed with QB Cameron Ward, what are expectations for WSU Cougars?