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

Seattle Mariners...

Brent Stecker

ESPN’s Kurkjian expects Mariners to be ‘aggressive’ in trades, but there’s a catch

ESPN MLB insider Tim Kurkjian explained to Seattle Sports' Bump and Stacy what he expects the Seattle Mariners to encounter at the MLB trade deadline.

2 days ago

Seattle Mariners Teoscar Hernández...

Stacy Rost

Rost: Making sense of the Seattle Mariners’ strikeout problem

Entering the third month of the season, it’s now obvious the Seattle Mariners' strikeout problem isn’t a temporary issue. The reasons are less obvious.

3 days ago

Seattle Seahawks Tyler Lockett...

Stacy Rost

2 areas the Seahawks can take the biggest step forward in 2023

During Thursday's Bump & Stacy, the duo shared two areas where they think the Seattle Seahawks can take a step forward in 2023.

7 days ago

Seattle Mariners José Caballero...

Brent Stecker

Hitting coach explains ‘unique skill set’ Mariners’ José Caballero has at plate

José Caballero "has the ability to flip the switch with two strikes better than anyone I've ever been around," Seattle Mariners hitting coach Jarret DeHart said.

9 days ago

Seattle Kraken Yanni Gourde...

Brandon Gustafson

Hakstol shares insight into Kraken players Gourde, Burakovsky and Wright

Seattle Kraken HC Dave Hakstol shared some thoughts on Yanni Gourde's postseason, Andre Burakovsky and prospect Shane Wright.

9 days ago

Seattle Kraken Dave Hakstol...

Brandon Gustafson

HC Dave Hakstol talks Year 2 growth, what’s next for Kraken

Seattle Kraken HC Dave Hakstol joined Bump & Stacy to discuss the team's growth and playoff run in Year 2 and what's next after this season.

10 days ago

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