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WSU gets a kicker, announces fall practice dates

The Washington State football team didn't just get a football operations building out of all that construction going on by Rogers Field last year. The Cougars also found a new August home in Lewiston, Idaho. Because WSU's practice fields were temporarily unavailable the Cougars spent part of fall camp at Sacajawea Middle School and the coaches liked the experience so much they'll be there even longer this season, from Aug. 2-13, before returning to Pullman to get ready for the season-opener against Rutgers.

Last year the Cougars went 6-7 and played in their first bowl game since 2003.

Washington State also appears to have found their kicker of the future in Petaluma, California's Matt Abramo, who announced his intentions to become a Cougar last night. Abrama told Britton Ransford of WazzuWatch.com (pay article) that he also holds scholarship offers from Air Force and San Jose State, and says he can punt if needed.

If that's not enough WSU news from yesterday for you, how about this? Pullman finally got another Taco Bell yesterday, and she's a beaut.

 

Flashback: Stanford

Merrily, the 2013 Cougars rolled through their first four games, emerging from the season's first chunk of games 3-1 with a surprising win over. Mike Leach's offense had started to match the hype, putting up 90 points in wins over Southern Utah and Idaho after some early hiccups.

But Washington State fans expected to score points – Leach had had been received in Pullman as an offensive rainmaker, and not a cheap one. The welcome surprise was the Cougars defense that had given up just 17 total points in the previous three games, including a single touchdown on the road at No. 25 USC.

The WSU Football team was rolling, on a three-game winning streak and with one of its tougher conference games already happily in the rearview mirror. Not even running into the wall of muscle and discipline that is the Stanford football team could put a damper Cougar fans' spirits, or so they thought.

No shirt, no helmet, no problem

Washington State football coach Mike Leach likes to exercise. He walks to work every day, and can often be spotted on one of his various constitutionals around Pullman.

So it makes sense why he spends his downtime in the offseason in Florida's Key West. Not only can he bike wherever he pleases, but with a dress code is apparently a little looser than that of a starched-collar town like Pullman, it's easy to show off the results of that hard work.

Halliday has a chance to be special

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The Pac-12 media days are done. All that's left before the start of the upcoming football season are those pesky preseason practices. What a bore. I'm joking, of course, but the rest of this post won't be humorous, I promise. It's about the Cougars' quarterback situation, sure, but it's mainly about the one guy who really matters on the depth chart, senior Connor Halliday. Read on.

Cougars land Bigge lineman

Dominic Davis wasn't the only recruit to declare his intentions to play in the crimson and gray yesterday. According to Britton Ransford of Wazzuwatch.com, 6-foot-6, 307 pound offensive lineman Cedric Bigge-Duren also plans to play his college ball at Washington State.

Despite his size, Bigge-Duren appears to be flying a bit under the radar. Unrated by Rivals.com and ESPN, the Oceanside, California lineman says he was offered scholarships by Nevada and San Jose State in addition to WSU. He'll be the second Oceanside High product on the Cougars offensive line, joining redshirt sophomore Eduardo Middleton.

Fleet Dominic Davis says he’ll go to WSU

Update: Greg Biggins of Scout.com has more from Davis.

Today wasn't Washington State's turn to speak to the print writers at Pac-12 media day but still a bit of WSU news came out. Dominic Davis, a speedy athlete from California's Bishop Alemany high school, told Scout's Barry Bolton that he will sign with the Cougars over scholarship offers from schools like UCLA, USC and Washington.

The 5-10, 175 pound Davis plays running back in high school but could make the switch to receiver at WSU much like former running backs Rickey Galvin and Calvin Green.

As always, there are the caveats that Davis' announcement isn't binding and according to Scout.com's Greg Biggin's the kid still hasn't visited the school. Still, it looks like another piece has been added to what at present looks like a very good recruiting class.

Here is his Scout.com recruiting profile.

Shock want to keep momentum rolling

Spokane is trying to finish the regular season on a five-game winning streak, but it also wants to be healthy for the playoffs.

Read more here about Spokane's approach to the regular-season finale at Portland on Saturday.

Tyler Bruggman to Louisville

Tyler Bruggman will be transferring to Kentucky's Louisville University to play for coach Bobby Petrino, as first reported by Mike Hughes of InsideTheVille.com (reading this article requires a 24/7 Network subscription). Bruggman redshirted last year after signing with Washington State in 2012 as coach Mike Leach's most highly-anticipated recruit to date.

Bruggman ran the scout team during his redshirt season and drew praise from coaches and was widely considered to be the next logical choice at quarterback after senior starter Connor Halliday graduates, but struggled to hold of walk-on quarterback Luke Falk during spring football. He surprised teammates and coaches with his recent decision to leave the program.

Leach addressed Bruggman's transfer at media day on Wednesday, acknowledging that the Cougars do not have much depth at the position (backup quarterback Austin Apodaca also transferred this offseason) but said that the extra practice reps will be good for Falk.

If Bruggman transferred in search of playing time than his choice of destinations is curious. Louisville already has eight quarterbacks on the roster fighting to replace Teddy Bridgewater. Bruggman will almost certainly have to sit out this season, and will compete in 2015 as a redshirt sophomore with three years to play.

Spreading the word about football season isn’t new

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I kept up with the first day of the Pac-12 media event the old-fashioned way: by reading tweets. None of this new-fangled video streaming for me. No sir. Words – and an occasional picture – are what it is about. Read on.

Pac-12 media day one roundup

From Hollywood — Bronzed from the sun and with A-list actors and actresses (depending on your preference) hanging from both arms, the Pac-12 media members emerged victorious from the first of the Pac-12's twain media days armed with a season's worth of sumptuous story lines and juicy anecdotes.

OK, so most of us are simply hot, whiny and secure in the knowledge that this was not the first college football offseason ever in which the players shrank. But there were some good stories to come out of Wednesday's session and I've collected a number of them here, starting with my own, after the jump.

 

Notes, quotes and stories from media day

On Wednesday, Washington State coach Mike Leach, quarterback Connor Halliday and linebacker Darryl Monroe had lots of time to speak to reporters without side distractions such as preparing for football games. In the relaxed atmosphere at Paramount Studios the Cougars opened up about a variety of topics once they were done with TV interviews.

Follow the jump for notes, quotes and stories from Pac-12 media day.

(Transcript) Mike Leach at media day

Mike Leach addressed the media here in Hollywood this afternoon. The format has been changed from previous seasons, where the coaches and players simply came up for their “podium session” group by group, and were asked inane, “off the wall” questions that nobody used in their actual stories. This year the coach and each player were available at separate podiums for 40 minutes. The verdict seems to be that the questions were a little better (we still got most of the good stuff at lunch with the players and coaches afterwards) but that there were many repeat questions as reporters moved around the room. The Pac-12 was good enough to transcribe the interviews with the coaches for us, and we've passed along Leach's after the jump.

… 

(Video) Mike Leach at media day

Follow the jump for videos, courtesy of the Pac-12, of Mike Leach at Pac-12 media day.

Bronze may be Sherman’s favorite color

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I always thought statues were reserved for ancient heroes. You know, David, Hercules or Caesar (the Roman ones, not from movies about apes) and the like. But turns out I may have been wrong. Football players – and key plays – seem to be all the rage these days. Read on.

Pac-12 Media Day (live stream)

Pac-12 Media Day begins today at 9 a.m. when commissioner Larry Scott will address the media. The rest of the schedule, and a live stream of the proceedings, is after the jump.

Petrino, Idaho at Sun Belt media day

Paul Petrino got a taste of the Sun Belt football media day last summer after Idaho accepted an invite to the New Orleans-based conference. But on Tuesday, with the Vandals an official football-only member of the Sun Belt, Petrino and the rest of the UI contingent traveled to the Superdome for a more full-fledged media day experience. 

Petrino was joined by center Mike Marboe and defensive end Maxx Forde in New Orleans to talk to the media. Check out below for some comments from Petrino on the dismissed Dezmon Epps, what he expects in 2014 and more. You can also watch an interview with Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson here. Benson referenced the addition of Idaho and New Mexico State — two of the four new teams in the conference — as a way to get to 12 teams so the SBC could have a conference title game. But it fell short of that goal and wound up with 11 football-playing members for 2014.

Read on for quotes from Petrino.

College football is just around the corner

The Pac-12 is holding its annual gathering of coaches, players and reporters tomorrow and Thursday. Media Day (or Media Days, in this case) is a nice chance of us reporters to speak with coaches and players from different schools and send back a few stories and notebooks for you all to peruse.

More importantly, however, it signals the end of the offseason. You will start to see a lot more Washington State football news around here, and not all of it recruiting. We'll get back in the swing of things with our morning links, and keep an eye out for some live chats.

While the offseason was slow, there were some NCAA and WSU developments that will have an impact on the upcoming months. In case you have been hibernating since the end of last football season and are just now leaving your man, woman or bear-cave, follow the jump to see what you missed.

It’s not too long now

A GRIP ON SPORTS

As July winds down, the summer doldrums in the sports world begin to ease up. The wind beneath our sails? College football season. Read on.

Three Vandals on preseason all-Sun Belt teams

Center Mike Marboe and punter Austin Rehkow were named to the Sun Belt's first-team preseason all-conference team, while defensive end Maxx Forde was a second-round selection. The three Vandals were named Monday, the day before the Sun Belt's media day in New Orleans.

Marboe and Forde are seniors. Rehkow, a Spokane product, is a true sophomore who led the nation in punting average last year.

Sun Belt coaches picked Idaho to finish ninth in the 11-team conference over the weekend. Unanimous league favorite UL Lafayette had five players named to the first-team offense, including preseason offensive player of the year Terrance Broadway, the Rajun Cajuns' quarterback.

Arkansas State, picked second, put four players on the first-team defense, headlined by preseason defensive player of the year Qushaun Lee.

New Mexico State — voted last in the coaches' poll — had no all-conference selections.

Indians go wire-to-wire in first half

The Spokane Indians remained in first place in the Northwest League's North Division for the entire first half. Technically speaking, Vancouver sneaked ahead of Spokane by one-half game for 6 hours on Monday by defeating Tri-City in an afternoon game. But the Indians, knowing they had to beat Everett at night to keep Vancouver from winning the title, got the job done with great pitching by Derek Thompson and Shane McCain, solid defense and just enough timely hitting. Read story

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Jim Allen 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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Jacob Thorpe Sports reporter Jacob Thorpe covers Washington State University athletics. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jim Meehan Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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