Nick Rolovich only got to coach four games with the Washington State Cougars last season, which is obviously not where he wanted to be. So before he's had the opportunity to gather any momentum, he is swept into a couple of controversies that are of the bizarre type.
BetOnline customers may not be all that familiar with Blake Anderson, but he was a big hit in the Sun Belt before taking the coaching reins of the Utah State Aggies.
These two teams who lock horns at Gesa Field in Pullman, WA at 11 PM ET on Saturday night.
In the college football odds, Wazzu is a big favorite:
Washington State Cougars -17
Utah State Aggies +17
Over 66.5 points -110
Under 66.5 points -110
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A former player named Kassidy Woods claims he was kicked off the team because, among other things, he complained about being in danger of exposure to COVID-19. And he's filed a lawsuit against the program and coach Nick Rolovich. “Rolovich’s acts were racist, intentional, malicious, willful, wanton, and in gross and reckless disregard of Woods’ constitutional rights,” says the lawsuit.
Rolovich was also in the middle of a controversy about his reticence to be vaccinated. On July 21 he announced that he was not going to be receiving the vaccine. The university of urging him to get it.They have also issued an order to all students to get it, unless they have a legitimate medical or religious exemption. So it's kind of crazy, and maybe the type of thing that could divide a football team.
It's also just been announced (literally this afternoon) that the starting QB for the Cougars is not going to be redshirt freshman Jayden de Laura, who started four games last season, but instead Tennessee transfer Jarret Guarantano, who was something of a disappointment with the Vols. Plus, whereas de Laura has played in Rolovich's version of the run-and-shoot offense, that has proven to be an adjustment for Guarantano. But Rolovich preferred to go with the experience factor, and Guarantano, who is a grad transfer.
Don't confuse Rolovich's scheme with the Air Raid attack of Mike Leach. This one is less potent, and indeed averaged ten points per game less in 2020 than it did the year before, albeit in an abbreviated schedule.
Utah State's first-year coach, Blake Anderson, comes from Arkansas State and brought quarterback Logan Bonner with him. But that doesn't mean that Bonner was going to be handed the job. Like it is at WSU, this has been a competition, with Andrew Peasley (a 54% passer last season) in the running. And Anderson had not made up his mind as of Friday night.
The good news for Utah State is that all the starters return on offense, including the skill position players. The bad news is that this unit averaged only 15.5 ppg, a far cry from the 47.5 ppg under Matt Wells in 2018. At least the Aggies have almost an entire defense back, and have added three Power 5 conference transfers to it, plus All-Sun Belt linebacker Justin Rice.
Anderson is a capable mentor, having led Arkansas State to six bowl games in seven seasons. We wouldn't want to be laying the points here.
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