With Jeff Tuel abandoning his quest for a fifth year of eligibility, the starting quarterback job of the Washington State Cougars would appear to transition smoothly to Connor Halliday. However, nothing is a given in a Mike Leach offense, and Halliday has plenty of work to do this spring if he wants to be the starter next fall.
Halliday, however, does have the inside track to lead the Cougar offense next season. He started several games last season, and showed flashes of excellence. He threw for over 300 yards four times, and had four or more touchdown passes in three different games. However, for every shining moment, there was a thud to go with it and that inconsistency led to at least one interception in every start and eight of the nine games he appeared in.
That inconsistency led to a short leash from Leach when choosing between his two quarterbacks in 2012. The Palouse Pirate was visibly frustrated that neither Tuel nor Halliday could step up and assume take the reins of the position to lead the offense. If Halliday fails to accomplish that quickly this spring, expect the hook to come quickly from the sidelines to give some younger signal callers some reps.
That would benefit redshirt freshman Austin Apodaca the most, who Leach could turn to to really push Halliday this spring. If neither of those guys strikes Leach’s fancy, then you can be sure incoming freshman and prized recruit Tyler Bruggman will see plenty of action in fall camp. While neither has the experience of Halliday, they could push their way through to the starting job if the junior leaves any doubt.
Leach has shown no fear in throwing guys into the deep end to see if they swim, if he thinks they could provide a spark for his offense. Halliday may be next in line, but if he doesn’t take control of the job this spring with authority, he could find himself in another revolving-door situation under center next season.