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The West Coast is out in front again

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The Pac-12 has always been on the forefront of change in college athletics. Even when it was the Pacific Coast Conference, the folks back East felt there was something a little off about the sports out here. Heck, when Stanford initiated the “T” formation, it revolutionized college football. And where do you think the one-handed basketball shot originated? Yep, out west. So it should come as no surprise the conference is once again trying to inject something new into college athletics. Read on.

Eastern football links

It's Hall of Fame weekend at Eastern Washington, but for one player, it's Homecoming - and he doesn't even play for the Eagles. Here's our story on former Ferris High star Cody Sorensen, now with the Idaho State Bengals. .. I also wrote a story on sportscasters that includes his father Paul as well as Mike Peterson, who calls Whitworth games for SWX. .. Today, look for our weekly live chat, which begins at noon. … Want more on the game? Here's a preview from Eastern and one from ISU. … The hometown Idaho State Journal offers this story on an improving Bengal defense. … Next week's EWU opponent, Southern Utah, is hoping to build some momentum this week. …Northern Colorado has a banged-up quarterback.

Ewu sports chat Oct. 2 (noon)

 

Try Relay: the free SMS and picture text app for iPhone.

 

Pac-12 proposes pay for play

Yesterday the Pac-12 announced that it has notified the NCAA of its intention to provide new benefits for student athletes, including an increased stipend with some extra spending money included.

Washington State's Mike Leach says he's in favor of the idea, saying,” I think it's good, I think it's definitely a positive move and so I'm happy for our players.”

There is one proposed reform he's not in favor of, however. Find out what that is in our story for today's paper.

More links are after the jump.

Offensive line backups impress

Throughout most practices this fall offensive line coach Clay McGuire has had to endure the excitement of Joe Salave'a, his coaching counterpart on the defensive line, yelling encouragement to his players after winning yet another drill against WSU's less experienced offensive linemen.

This week, however, it's been Salave'a having to make stoic corrections and chide his players while McGuire has all the fun.

“It always feels good. That's a good thing when your guys are playing well with high energy and high tempo, there's a lot of stuff you can build on,” McGuire said. “The guys actually came out pretty excited about practice this week and haven't played with any hesitation and have played pretty fast. It's been pretty decent practices.”

More from practice after the jump.

WSU football live chat

 

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Morning links and a live chat to come

It's Wednesday and that means we'll be holding a live WSU football chat at 11 a.m. In the meantime we have some links to help you catch up on all the action in Pac-12 football.

Those are after the jump.

WHL notes: Paddock breaks through

It's time for the first installment of our weekly Western Hockey League notebook. This edition leads with new Regina Pats coach John Paddock, a head coaching veteran of the NHL and AHL. Read story

Defending option Idaho’s next challenge

While he continues to exhort his Vandals to keep grinding and do the little things that should, in time, allow them to pull the program out of its losing spiral, Idaho coach Paul Petrino also has to develop some game-changers. He's found one in Austin Rehkow. Problem is, he doesn't play a marquee position like quarterback or linebacker. He's the punter — the live-to-fight-another-day position. 

Still, the sophomore from Central Valley kept matters from getting a lot worse in a hurry during last Saturday's 34-10 loss to South Alabama when the Vandals' offense decided to go south for the first time this year. Yes, he missed a couple of field goals that could have kept things closer, too, but field goals weren't going to save Idaho on this day — and the field position Rehkow's punts provided at least allowed the Vandals to hang in there, whether it was false hope or not.

For more on Rehkow and the Vandals, follow the link.

 

 

 

Defense rebounds from a slow start

The Washington State defense faces an explosive offense this week in California, and one that presents a different challenge given that the Cougars have faced exclusively running quarterbacks since the season opener.

The Cougars spent Tuesday implementing this week's defensive game plan and there were some struggles.

“We're short on time to get ready for this game and the next one so we've got to get these guys going fast,” said linebackers coach Ken Wilson.

More on practice after the jump.

Robert Franks joins WSU 2015 recruiting class

Yesterday Scout.com's Josh Gershon reported that Robert Franks, a 6-foot-7 forward from Evergreen High in Vancouver has given a verbal commitment to play basketball for Ernie Kent at Washington State. The above video shows Franks making what was certainly one of the most incredible shots in Washington high school basketball last season.

The All-State forward averaged 19 points and eight rebounds last season and was also believed to have a scholarship offer to play for Portland. According to this premium article by Braulio Perez, Franks is expected to be a face-up forward in Kent's system and will guard posts on defense.

Franks is the third member of WSU's 2015 recruiting class, joining Derrien King and Jeff Pollard.

WSU game notes: California

Washington State sent out the game notes for the California game this morning. The starters are the same as the Utah game.

Wait, it’s what time?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I knew yesterday today was going to be a bad day. Even wrote it here. And I was right. Read on.

Grading the Utah game

Normally I try and have the unit grades ready on Monday morning, but I wasn't home in time to watch a replay of the game on Sunday so I apologize for getting these up a day late.

We don't want to keep you waiting any longer so let's get to those grades, which are after the jump.

… 

Overcoming a big win

The Cougars face a different sort of challenge this week, the challenge of putting a big win behind them and resisting the urge to dwell on a big win. The bookmakers are projecting a close game between WSU and California on Saturday; WSU is a 4.5 favorite but that would be a pretty slim margin in a game where the winning team may need to score 50 or more points.

Here at SportsLink we're totally focused on Cal and we've got a First Look at WSU's opponent as well a notebook that notes some differences between the Air Raid and the Bear Raid.

More links are after the jump.

Monday press conference: Mike Leach

Today's was not your typical Monday press conference at Washington State. Coach Mike Leach talked about the win at Utah and the challenge presented by Saturday's game against California, but he also gave quotes like this:

“I'm not really good with technology. All this button pushing and whatnot. I mean, you can just imagine based on what's happened in the last 15 years. Conversations won't happen 10 years from now. There aren't going to be people to talk to, it's going to be this (mimics pushing buttons). 'Do you want to go out on a date with me?' 'I don't know, what do you look like?' 'Well I look kind of like this.' 'OK, what are your interests?' 'Well, what do you think my interests are? Looking into this thing and typing into this just like yours are.' 'Yeah, no kidding, that's what everybody's doing.' 'Well, where do you want to go?' 'Well, what  difference does it make? Because all we're going to be doing is looking into machines anyways.' Well, that's true and in the end it's going to be tough to perpetuate the species. There's no question about that. So we're all going to look in this box and eventually be extinct. That's how it ends.”

More highlights from Leach's press conference are available after the jump.

Goodbye to the region’s Boys of Summer

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Tomorrow is the saddest day of the year. The first day since March, really, when you open the newspaper and there aren't 10 or so box scores to peruse. The day that officially ends summer as far as I'm concerned. But at least this summer was a bit more intoxicating, baseball-wise, than the most recent ones. Read on.

What is a ‘Bear Raid’ anyway?

This week the Cougars will prepare to face California, which is coached by one of Mike Leach's former assistants Sonny Dykes.  As the former co-offensive coordinator at Texas Tech under Leach, Dykes is a member of the same offensive school and runs a variation of the Air Raid called that is now known as the 'Bear Raid' for obvious reasons.

But just how similar are the two offenses? Well, not as similar as you'd think. For one, the Golden Bears have actually attempted more rushes than passes this year, not a bit of statistical trivia you'll ever find in a Mike Leach offense. That's not to say they don't chuck the football around as well – quarterback Jared Goff has 17 passing touchdowns in four games and is averaging 10.54 yards per attempt.

Today we'll speak to Leach and a few WSU athletes at the weekly Monday press conference so we'll have some more on the Golden Bears this afternoon.

For now, the links are after the jump.

Sunday practice and the sack that wasn’t

(Photo Credit: Rick Bowmer/WSU Athletics)

The Cougars “only” managed one sack on Saturday after piling up seven against Oregon's Marcus Mariota, but as the above photo indicates they should have been credited with at least one more.

The play pictured was ruled an incomplete pass when Utah quarterback Travis Wilson chucked the ball away, but the photo clearly shows that his knee was on the ground.

The sack should have gone to Ivan McLennan, a WSU defender who has really started to make an impact lately. McLennan was officially credited with two tackles against Utah and against the Ducks he had five tackles, 1.5 sacks and forced a fumble.

He's also played well in practice, and the Cougars have expanded his role, giving him looks at Buck linebacker and defensive end.

“He's a kid that needs to play and find a way to get on the field and I think part of that is earning his play,” defensive line coach Joe Salave'a said. “He's earned the reps and he's going to continue to play and that's something that we've always strived to get that air of competition and let the kids know that they'll be rewarded if those things show up in the practice field.”

We have more from WSU's Sunday night practice after the jump.

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Jim Allen (@srjimallen) Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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