Washington State offense can rally around a rapidly developing quarterback in Laura’s Jayden
PULLMAN – Hours after it became known that football coach Nick Rolovich had been dismissed from his post in Washington state, the young team quarterback made a mature statement.
Laura’s Sophomore Jayden didn’t have to talk about the situation so soon, and he probably didn’t want to at the time.
De Laura sees Rolovich as a mentor, and he made it clear. Now he should do without one of his daily guides.
He was undoubtedly devastated by the news. But de Laura seems to have grasped the responsibilities that come with his position, and he understands the importance of a reassuring voice from a quarterback.
He therefore took the opportunity to direct.
The Hawaii sophomore starter wrote a post and posted it through his attorney before posting it later to Twitter on the same night as the program’s workout reshuffle.
It has been well received within the WSU community and well written. He was speaking to school, former Cougars coaches, fans and Laura’s teammates.
He began with a line about the team’s “deep sadness and disappointment” over the dismissal of Rolovich and four WSU assistants, all of whom have not met the requirements for a COVID vaccination warrant. 19 in the state and were fired around 5 p.m. on October 10. 18.
De Laura, writing both from her individual perspective and using ‘we’ and ‘our’, called it an honor to play for Rolovich. He thanked his coach for his confidence and guidance as de Laura developed personally and athletically.
He said the team “strongly disagreed” with the outcome.
Then he took the note in a different direction and led by example, calling on the Cougars to come together.
âWe also understand that Cougar Football has always been taller than any person,â he wrote. âWe’re a bunch of brothers who play and sacrifice for each other, no matter who the head coach is. We have never been about a person or a name on the back of the jersey. We have been and always will be about the logo and the pride we all share in being part of the Cougar family. “
De Laura asked WSU loyalists to continue supporting the team after concluding her thoughts by reminding that change is difficult and that the Cougars are going through a particularly difficult time.
De Laura’s balance and her ever-expanding leadership qualities will be crucial if WSU plans to pocket a few more wins, advance to the playoffs, and keep this program in a positive direction despite all of the recent upheaval.
“I just wanted to do something to show our team that we still have to go out there and play,” said de Laura of her letter on Tuesday, during her first media availability since Rolovich left. âYes, something sad happened when we lost our coaches. But at the end of the day, we still have to go and finish the season. “
De Laura becomes somewhat of a folk hero during a season that began with him as second fiddler for Tennessee transfer Jarrett Guarantano, who won a preseason QB competition before injuring himself during week 1.
De Laura took over the starting role and never looked back, quickly proving to Rolovich that he was mentally ready to lead WSU’s run and shot offense. Rolovich said he was unsure of Laura’s maturity until then.
Since Game 1, de Laura has started all but one of the games, missing the Sept. 25 road game against Utah with a leg injury.
He is first in the Pac-12 in touchdown passes with 15 – against six picks – and second in yards (1,733). There have been some of the typical hiccups and mental mistakes of an underclassman, but the pros far outweighed the cons.
De Laura was solid at Cal, outstanding in a shootout against Oregon State and courageous in a rocking thriller against Stanford – three straight WSU wins.
It’s obvious the Cougars are following the fiery field general and getting an emotional boost when de Laura is in tune with this unique offensive system – as it most often is.
âAt the start of the season, we were looking for that guy, that leader,â new interim coach Jake Dickert said on his coach’s WSU show last week. âNow, without a doubt, these guys are rallying around Jayden. They like it. They will fight for him, they will fight. They just believe in him.
Asked Tuesday about her burgeoning leadership traits, de Laura credited Rolovich and former QB offensive coordinator / coach Craig Stutzmann for “giving me the chance to grow up all spring, even though I was away.” did he declare. De Laura was suspended throughout the Spring Prom after being charged with impaired driving in February, of which he was ultimately found not guilty.
âAs a person off the pitch they gave me that opportunity so when I came back it was easier for me to be a leader on the pitch,â said de Laura. “I appreciate them.”
There was an adjustment period last week. The Cougars were running practice sessions at Rogers Field without half their coaching staff.
After meeting with the WSU captains, Dickert felt it would be wise to let his most trusted athletes set the pace during practices and use a player-led routine to restore normalcy. De Laura was one of the handful of Cougars to gain the upper hand.
âI would say last week made a few adjustments for us,â said de Laura. âOkay, those coaches aren’t here, but it took a bigger role for me and the older guys on the team to become more of the leaders and control the practices pretty much on our own.
âOur team kind of formed and we were like, ‘We have to move on. We have a game on Saturday and we still have half a season to finish. It was tough, but I think we’re back on track.
De Laura completed 26 of 37 passes for 257 yards in a 21-19 non-conference loss to BYU on Saturday. He led three methodical scoring practices and was precise on the shallow throws to the slotbacks, but missed a few long balls, was intercepted once and had another off target throw abandoned by a safety.
âI felt like it hurt us in the second half when we needed (a big game),â said de Laura. “So that’s it for me.”
De Laura isn’t fair to himself, as he was better than one might have predicted. The best man in the run-and-shoot was gone, as was his caller in Stutzmann, who was also fired on October 18.
Offensive coordinator Brian Smith took on the call-for-play duties for the first game in four weeks, and he was presumably still in the process of re-establishing himself in that role. While the offense has enjoyed fluid success, the Cougars’ pace of play has slowed considerably. Smith was replaced as the WSU’s game caller in late September after an inconsistent start to the year.
New QB coach Dan Morrison – a run and shoot veteran – had only been at Pullman for a few days.
De Laura had boosted her teammates throughout this season, and they returned the favor on Saturday by helping her through the coaching turnover.
âSomething that stayed the same was just the communication from the players’ point of view – the O line coming in to talk to me, the receivers coming in to talk to me, see what they see there,â said de Laura, then said. gave up his name. each QB. “Jarrett (Guarantano), Xavier Ward, Victor (Gabalis) and Cammon (Cooper), they all played a big part with Coach Stutz’s absence. Coach Dan is always trying to learn all of our rules of the game. They played a big role in helping me every time I left the field.
De Laura joined WSU in October 2019, about three months before Mike Leach left WSU for the position in the state of Mississippi.
When Rolovich was hired in January 2020, de Laura reaffirmed her commitment to the program. While at the helm of the Hawaii program (2016-19), the new Cougars boss had been recruiting the Honolulu product for years. The run-and-shoot was already familiar to Laura, who played as a preparatory QB in the system at St. Louis School – a 10-minute drive from the UH campus.
The two clicked almost instantly and Laura started every game of the truncated 2020 WSU season.
De Laura has been a strong supporter of Rolovich throughout the controversial tale surrounding the coach’s stance on the vaccine’s mandate.
âI love him to death,â de Laura said Oct. 9 after the WSU took over the state of Oregon. “I would do anything for him.”
Laura will now be asked to end this unnatural season with the same guidance and composure that he showed before the structure around him changed.
De Laura is in the process of establishing a relationship with Dickert’s new head coach, the Cougars second-year defensive coordinator.
âAt the start of the season we had never really crossed paths – he was with the defense,â said de Laura after practice on Tuesday. âI would say he’s really professional and just himself on the pitch, which I really like. He doesn’t try to be too nice.
De Laura’s family has a history with Morrison. QB’s uncle, Mel de Laura, has worked as a strength and conditioning trainer for the past few years alongside Morrison under the guidance of run-and-shoot guru June Jones in Hawaii and at SMU.
Laura’s Mel recently called her nephew, telling him that Morrison “is a good guy and I have to take any advice he gives me,” Laura’s Jayden said.
âIt’s tough,â he added of losing his coaching job, âbut it’s pretty good for me. I really love (Morrison) as a person. As a coach he doesn’t say too much but when he does it means a lot.