New Washington State football coach Mike Leach declined to reveal Tuesday whether veteran Jeff Tuel or sophomore Connor Halliday will start in Thursday night’s season opener at BYU.
“Both are playing really well,” Leach said. “They both are very similar in how they play.”
The depth chart for the game lists either Tuel or Halliday starting.
Leach said Saturday that if the game were to be played that day, Tuel would start. Tuel also took the majority of reps with the first team during training camp.
Tuel threw for 2,780 yards with 18 touchdowns as a sophomore, the one season he stayed healthy. He missed most of last season with a shoulder injury. Halliday stood out as his replacement until a lacerated liver ended his season.
Leach won’t be rotating both quarterbacks.
“I can’t think of very many people who have done a good job of that,” Leach said. “With rare exceptions, I can’t think of many teams that were very good at it.”
Quarterbacks need to get into the rhythm of a game, and they see and evaluate the field better as a game goes on, he said.
Leach sat out the past two seasons after he was fired at Texas Tech, and the game at BYU, which is his alma mater, marks a return to the sidelines. He has admitted being a bit nervous about being rusty.
Leach called plays from the sidelines during practices to simulate game situations. Leach said he has seen plenty of film of BYU.
“We’ve watched 13 games’ worth, to the point where we’re really not interested in seeing blue Cougars,” Leach said. “We’re only interested in seeing red Cougars.”