Aug. 16—On the same day Washington State’s current quarterback was named to another preseason watch list, its most famous QB learned he’ll be an NFL backup this season.
WSU quarterback Cam Ward was selected to the Manning Award watch list Tuesday, an award named in honor the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning.
Also on Tuesday, WSU great Gardner Minshew learned he will be the backup to rookie Anthony Richardson on the Indianapolis Colts roster.
Here’s a look at the QB news and more from WSU’s Tuesday football practice.
Richardson beats out Minshew
After just one quarter of an NFL preseason game, the Colts decided they’d seen enough from rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson.
The Colts on Tuesday named the Florida draft pick their starting QB, meaning Minshew will be back in a backup role this season.
Richardson went 7-of-12 for 67 yards and an interception in one quarter of action in a Saturday NFL preseason game, while Minshew went 6-of-6 for 72 yards in the 23-19 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
The move is not a major surprise considering Richardson was the No. 4 pick in the 2023 NFL draft, but there was some thought Minshew might be the starter to start the season.
Minshew last season was the backup to Jalen Hurts on the Super Bowl-losing Philadelphia Eagles.
“This is his franchise,” Minshew said of Richardson. “That’s the reason they picked him where he is. He’s going to be really special. So I’m excited to work, continue to get better and figure out how to win some games around here.”
Ward tabbed to Manning watch list
WSU’s junior quarterback was on the watch list when the Allstate Sugar Bowl announced its 2023 Manning Award announced its nominees Tuesday.
It’s the second major watch list for Ward, who was also named to the Maxwell Award watch list, presented annually to the outstanding player in college football.
The Manning Award is the only quarterback award that includes the candidates’ bowl performances in its balloting.
Ward was an All-Pac-12 Conference honorable mention last season after starting all 13 games and throwing for 3,231 yards, 23 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
WR Victor away for “personal matter”
WSU’s most-veteran wideout, Lincoln Victor, is “away from the team right now with a personal matter,” WSU coach Jake Dickert said.
The 5-foot-9 senior slot receiver is the vocal leader of the position group and most-experienced returner. He had 26 catches for 245 yards last season.
A reason for his absence and a timetable for his return were not given.
WR Williams’ consistency paying off
In a position group full of transfers and newcomers, wide receiver Kyle Williams’ consistency in practice is starting to pay off.
The junior UNLV transfer was tabbed a Juice Player of the day, along with defensive back Warren Smith.
Dickert said Williams has probably had the highest rep volume of any receiver so far in fall camp and had “a really great red zone day.”
“I think Kyle Williams has been ultra consistent,” Dickert said. “I don’t think you saw that at all in the spring.”
‘Throwin’ Samoan’ sighting
WSU legendary quarterback Jack Thompson, also known as the “Throwin’ Samoan,” was on hand to talk to the team and offer words of wisdom.
A Wazzu Hall of Famer and six-year NFL pro with the Bengals and Buccaneers, Thompson set countless Cougar and Pac-8/10 records in the 1970s.
“One of only two truly retired numbers in Washington State football history,” Dickert said of Thompson’s No. 14. “The respect that his name carries in Pullman is huge and important and (he’s) a guy that wants to give back every step of the way.”
Heat wave not a problem
WSU is switching to evening practices during the hottest time of the year.
A day after temperatures reached a record 109 degrees in Lewiston and an unusual 101 degrees in Pullman, the Cougars will coincidentally begin conducting practices in the evening instead of the morning.
WSU will hold practice at 7:20 p.m. today, 4:45 p.m. Thursday and hold a 6:15 p.m. scrimmage Saturday in preparation for the several evening and night games it expects to play this season (times for all Pac-12 games have not yet been set).
But Dickert doesn’t expect the heat to be a major factor for a team that features more than 50 players from California and Texas.
“Our guys from the South, they laugh at this,” Dickert said. “This is nothing, it’s all mindset. … In late October, there’s going to be snow on that field and we’re going to be wishing it was 98 degrees, so there can’t be a single situation that allows you to affect your focus and not be in the now.”
Wiebe may be contacted at (208) 848-2277, [email protected] or on Twitter @StephanSports.