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Archive for August 2008

More Big Sky

Before we fly around the Big Sky, let’s keep that interesting thread going on the Eastern Washington schedule.

Video: Arena Cup postgame interviews and highlights


Here’s what Adam Shackleford, Raul Vijil, Rico Ochoa and Tennessee Valley Vipers coach Dean Cokinos had to say after the Spokane Shock lost the Arena Cup championship game in overtime.

Get the Flash Player to see this video.

GSL Football Day 5: EV, Rogers, Prep

New Gonzaga Prep football coach Dave McKenna is now on the offensive side of the Bullpups ball, but Monday he couldn’t resist returning to his defensive roots during tackling practice where he was coordinator before becoming head man. This is day five of practice. The players are into two-a-days and padded for contact. I started out at East Valley, then hit the corridor to watch Rogers and Prep.

Vandals to a bowl game?

One sportswriter picks the Idaho football team to finish 6-6 and go to a bowl game. Check it out here.

Idaho announces hoops schedule

The University of Idaho men’s basketball team has announced its schedule for the 2008-09 season.

Click the tab below to read more from an Idaho news release and see the schedule.

GSL Football Day 3: Mead

Went up to take a look at Mead, but because of a conflict for some of the coaches it was a special teams practice. Still, Sean Carty displayed a pretty good punting leg once he got the hang of it.


Some stories out of Stillwater and the laundry room


With no practice today, it’s our day to catch up on laundry, bills and Oklahoma State. We do it all down here in the Palouse. However, we’re only going to share the OSU stuff with you, unless you want to pay the bills. For more on the Cowboys, read on.

White tops Red in Chiefs’ annual scrimmage

Another training camp for the Spokane Chiefs has come and gone.

Camp wrapped up on Sunday with the annual Red-White scrimmage at the Arena. White won 3-1 thanks to goals from veterans Dustin Donaghy, Justin Falk and Seth Compton.

You can read about the game, and camp, in my unedited story below.

It’s a gold-medal week for WSU


The first day of game week means one thing: Lots of stories to read about of the Cougars - and even something out of Oklahoma. Read on. By the way, I’m watching the DVR of the gold medal basketball game and the USA is trailing early.

Video: Shock Arena Cup Preview


The Spokane Shock had a media day out at their practice facility today. Jessica and I went down to talk to some of the players and coaches about their upcoming championship game and what it’s been like being on the Shock this season. Here’s my video:

Get the Flash Player to see this video.

Vipers bring hard-hitting defense to town

Curious about what the Spokane Shock are up against on Monday night? The Shock and Tennessee Valley Vipers will go head-to-head Monday at the Arena for the arenafootball2 league’s ArenaCup championship.

Jim Meehan has this look at what the Vipers are all about.

It’s decision time for WSU


A week from today Washington State will open the 2008 season. In the four practices and one walk-through the Cougars have left, there are a lot of decisions left to be made, and Saturday’s scrimmage probably didn’t make them any easier. Read on.

Final scrimmage wasn’t as sharp as WSU wanted


If you were in Martin Stadium on Friday afternoon, you were part of a surprisingly small crowd, considering the students are back – the all-campus picnic was held earlier just a few hundred yards away and the line stretched for a block or more. If you weren’t there, you might have been better off. Read on.

Four Eags named ot TSN’s pre-season All-America teams

The Sports Network has released its 2008 pre-season Football Championship Subdivision All-America team, and four players from Eastern Washington University — more than any other FCS school in the country — have been honored.

I have attached a story issued by EWU sports information director Dave Cook below. In addition, I have included this link to a story that centers on the Big Sky Conference’s dominance of the teams and includes a list of all TSN’s All-America teams.

Big Sky roundup

Some reading material for Eastern fans before heading to this afternoon’s scrimage at Gonzaga Prep.

The Sports Network All-America team is dominated by the Big Sky Conference with 18 players on its three-team list, including four Eagles.

Prep football Day 2: CV

Central Valley practice had ended as a squall passed through sending assistant coaches scurrying to the gym (thank goodness this wasn’t the ark-necessitating gully washer that followed later – I beat it to my car).
Though his assistants bolted, Rick Giampietri remained, standing Moses-like atop the mountain watching the players run hills below him. It was day two of high school football as I went out and about watching a team that last year was the best 8-2 squad to not make the state playoffs.
My observances:

Saying goodbye to two-a-days


With a little more than a week left until the season opener against Oklahoma State, WSU will hold it’s last day of two practices today, though the second one will be a scrimmage. The first? That starts at 9 a.m., so we better get this post up.

EWU changes scrimmage site, time

Eastern Washington has changed both the time and location of the football scrimmage it plans to stage today.

The scrimmage, the second of fall camp, will be held at Gonzaga Prep High School instead of Woodward Field and will start at 2:30 p.m. instead of 10:30 a.m.

You can get more details, along with some quotes from head coach Beau Baldwin, here, and be to check back Friday evening for a post-scrimmage story.

Eagles change scrimmage

The rumors are true, Eastern Washington is moving its football scrimmage on Friday to the afternoon at Gonzaga Prep. And for those interested, the volleyball team faces the alumni on Saturday.

For some notes about the Big Sky Conference, and an outsider’s look at the league, keep reading.

A cool down in WSU news


Sorry folks, but I’ve been cruising around the net for a while now and couldn’t find anything concerning WSU outside of the S-R available to link you to for free. Ah well, I did find a Mike Gundy story.

High School football begins: I see Ferris-LC

Today was the first day of high school grid practice so I took a tour of defending 4A state champion Lewis and Clark and defending Greater Spokane League champ and 4A semifinalist Ferris.
First day always offers little indication since, for safety reasons, schools are relegated to non-contact sessions. But quick observances:

Baldwin plans “situational” scrimmage on Friday

Eastern Washington will stage its second football scrimmage of fall camp on Friday morning at approximately 10:30.

Head coach Beau Baldwin said the scrimmage will be highly controlled and situational.

First look at Texas Tech

Prior to heading out to Eastern’s practice Tuesday afternoon, I stopped by the sports information office and picked up the stack of opponents’ media guides Dave Cook has sitting on his desk.

When I got home, I took a quick look at the 208-page tome published by the Eagles’ first opponent, Texas Tech, a team that is expected to contend for a Big 12 Conference title.

Vandals’ final scrimmage

The University of Idaho football team held its final scrimmage with good results.

You can link to my story here.

BSU NAMES QUARTERBACK: Click the tab below to read a release from Boise State about its starting quarterback.

Eagles eager for season opener

Tuesday afternoon’s football practice at Eastern Washington was conducted in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts, and didn’t give much in the way of an insight into what EWU fans might expect in the Eagles’ Aug. 30 season opener at Texas Tech, a team that is expected to be a Big 12 Conference title contender and one of the top 10 teams in the country.

Still, I had a chance to talk to first-year head coach Beau Baldwin and several of his players after the workout and have transcribed some of their comments below.

And Baldwin also told me that freshman recruit Jamar Smith, a highly touted running back out of Berkeley (Calif.) High School is no longer in Eastern’s immediate plans after having been arrested last month on suspicion of burglary and receiving stolen property.

“We’re not going anything with him this year,” Baldwin said of Smith, a 5-foot-11, 180-pounder, who rushed for 1,170 yards and seven touchdowns last fall despite missing three games because of an injury. “He’s a good player, and we thought he was a good person, too, We had him in for a visit and everything seemed fine, but if anything else happens, it’s going to be a next-year deal.”

Spirited practices between the raindrops


Rain drops, and an occasional boom of thunder, interrupted two spirited practice sessions Tuesday. For the unedited versions of my practice summary and the daily story on the defensive backs, read on.

Eagles ranked 7th in first Sports Network poll

The Sports Network has released its first Football Championship Subdivision top-25 poll, and Eastern Washington University is ranked 7th, on spot ahead of Big Sky Conference rival Montana.

You can read the story here and check out the complete rankings here.

Linebackers have a senior moment


It’s after 5, so here’s the unedited version of tomorrow’s S-R story on the linebackers, the most experienced of the WSU positions. Read on.

Wulff takes issue with the length of WSU’s injury list


Paul Wulff wasn’t a happy man after Sunday’s second practice. There is less than two weeks left until WSU opens with Oklahoma State in Seattle and that looming first test might have something to do with Wulff’s mood. He knows WSU has work to do and he feels there is one thing limiting the Cougars preparation. Read on.

Next up for the Shock: ArenaCup

On a night when the conference title was on the line, he scored the first and the last touchdown.

In a season where the second league championship is on the line, Raul Vijil and the Spokane Shock have just one goal left this season.

If the Spokane Shock can do once more what they’ve done 18 times already this season, they’ll be ArenaCup champions. They earned to right to host the arenafootball2 league’s ninth championship game with a 79-49 National Conference championship victory over the upset-minded Amarillo Dusters on Saturday night at the Arena.

More on the game below…

WSU’s offense doesn’t sizzle, but shows some fire in scrimmage


WSU passed the halfway point of fall camp with their first Martin Stadium scrimmage Saturday. Read on for the unedited version of my story and summary for tomorrow’s S-R. After I catch some dinner, I’ll add some more thoughts.

Pargo’s brother heading to Russia

Jannero Pargo, GU point guard Jeremy Pargo’s older brother, has signed with a Russian team, becoming part of a growing trend of ex-NBA players heading overseas. (Former Zag Dan Dickau previously accepted an offer to play with an Italian team).

More on Pargo here.

Olympics photos of the day for Saturday

Five photos show Michael Phelps hair-breadth victory for his Olympic-record-tying seventh gold medal. Pole vaulters propel themselves in track and field competition. And men’s and women’s U.S. rowers pull themselves to medals. View a slideshow of this Olympics action and more.

Click here to see the slideshow.

Olympics photos of the day

U.S. gymnast Nastia Liukin wins gold in the women’s all-around competition. Michael Phelps takes his sixth gold medal of the games. And the U.S. women’s soccer team beats Canada in extra-time play. View a slideshow of this and other action from the Olympics.

Click here to view the slideshow.

Like what you see? Here are slideshows for the other days this week:

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday

Shock prepare for Dusters

The Spokane Shock have been busy this week making sure they aren’t one of those teams that goes home upset by the Amarillo Dusters.

It’s already happened to two teams - the second-ranked Tulsa Talons (who were the defending ArenaCup champions) and the No. 3 Bossier-Shreveport Battlewings.

Here’s a Shock notebook that ran today and a story from on why the Dusters’ coach isn’t surprised his team has made it this far. There was also this story on the Dusters on

Olympics photos of the day

Chinese gymnast Yang Wei wins gold in the men’s all-around gymnastics competition. American James Blake upsets Roger Federer, the top-ranked men’s tennis player in the world. And Chinese national basketball team and Houston Rockets player Yao Ming goes high for a dunk against Angola.

Click here to view a slideshow of this and other Olympics action.

Warm day ahead for WSU


With another day of two practices scheduled, we’re going to get to the usual morning post with speed, something the WSU defenders will need to show today. Read on for the links we found.

Photos of the day from the Olympics

Michael Phelps scores his 11th gold medal in a the 4x200-meter freestyle relay. American cyclist and University of Idaho graduate Kristin Armstrong wins gold in the road race time trial. And China’s women gymnasts fly high in beating out the United States for gold in the team event.

Click here to see these images and other action from Beijing.

Warm weather, cold WSU links


As the temperature starts to warm up in Pullman – it’s expected to hit triple digits this weekend – so does the offensive execution. Fewer mistakes up front, fewer mishandled handoffs, fewer missed passes. Perfect? Far from it. Better? Yes. Want more? Read on.

EWU football update

The Eagles were in full pads for the first time Tuesday for a two-hour, 20-minute practice, but there was a key player on crutches on the sidelines. Cornerback Taiwan Jones suffered a fractured fibula Monday.

Read on below for an unedited article scheduled to run in Wednesday’s S-R that discusses Jones’ injury, EWU’s depth and some other notes.

WSU tight ends have a lifetime of experience


Time for our usual afternoon post, in which we give you our unedited versions of tomorrow’s S-R story – this one on the tight ends – and the practice summary. Read on.

Gesser watches WSU practice


Just a quick post about the morning practice, viewed by former WSU quarterback Jason Gesser.

Two practices today but a lot more stories than that


Good morning. I know it’s early, but I couldn’t wait to get at the links. Plus, I’ve got an answer to a question. Read on.

Defense dominates at Monday WSU practice


We’re going to have two posts this afternoon. The first – this one – contains the unedited summary of Monday’s practice that will appear in Tuesday’s S-R.

Catching up with some Cougar alumni


Let’s call this alumni day. We not only have links on the 2008 version of the WSU football team, but we also have news concerning some recent graduates and their quest to play in the NFL. And, oh yah, a couple Oklahoma State stories. Read on.

The hits just keep on coming at WSU


The first of two Sunday practices – and the only full-pad one today – is in the books and the hitting was surprisingly hot for a surprisingly cold day. We have a couple notes on the link.

Shock run over Coyotes

Remember the roadrunner? He always figured out a way to beat that darn coyote.

That’s got to be the way the Central Valley Coyotes felt this season. Their Western Division nemesis – the Spokane Shock – are always finding a way to come out on top. Twice in the regular season just two points separated Central Valley (Fresno, Calif.) from the division champions.

It was no different on Saturday night when the Shock scored an 83-63 arenafootball2 playoff victory over the Coyotes (11-7) at the Arena. The Shock’s 83 points were a single-game franchise record.

More on the game below.

Offense, defense take turns shining


Saturday’s practice is over and the first one in pads featured some offensive fireworks – early. Then when it came time to scrimmage, the first-team offensive decided to be very free with the ball. For more, read on.

Shock set to take on Coyotes

Four points separated the Central Valley Coyotes and the Spokane Shock in their two regular-season contests.

The Western Division rivals will square off for a third time, and this time it’s a winner-take-all scenario.

The Shock and Coyotes kick off their second round arenafootball2 playoff matchup at 7 Saturday at the Arena. The winner moves on to the National Conference championship game and the loser goes home.

Sauter named Chiefs next bench boss

There was a bit of food for thought Hardy Sauter hadn’t chewed on prior to Friday afternoon.

The former Chiefs defenseman was traded to Spokane as a 20-year-old and wrapped up his Western Hockey League playing career during the 1991-92 season after the Chiefs won their first Memorial Cup championship in franchise history.
Now he’s officially been named Spokane’s next bench boss following last season when the franchise celebrated its second league and Memorial Cup trophies.

The Chiefs made the announcement – which was expected – at a press conference Friday at the Arena.

More below…

WSU’s offense fights back


Instead of waiting until I have my main story finished, I thought I would post the camp summary right away. Read on for the unedited version of what will appear in tomorrow’s S-R.

Oviatt decides to change priorities


We’re back with an afternoon post, this one featuring a feature story about former strength and conditioning coach Rob Oviatt, who left WSU last week after eight years of building Cougar athletes.

Read on for the unedited version of the story that will appear in tomorrow’s paper.

UPDATE: Sophomore wide receiver Jeshua Anderson will undergo hernia surgery Monday and miss an undetermined amount of time. Anderson, who spent his spring and summer excelling on the track, winning NCAA and junior world titles in the 400 hurdles, experienced discomfort Wednesday and was examined by a team doctor on Thursday, when surgery was determined to be the best course. If warranted, we’ll have more tomorrow.

Sauter to be named Chiefs new head coach

The defending Memorial Cup champion Spokane Chiefs will announce Hardy Sauter as their new head coach tomorrow, The Spokesman-Review learned Thursday.

More on Sauter below. Also, the Western Hockey League has released its schedule for the 2008-09 regular season. Here’s the link.

Excited Cougars ready to merge


Credit Greg Trent with an assist. No, not like the stat you get on tackles, though the four-year starting middle linebacker always gets a lot of those. Wednesday afternoon, the former captain – read on for a note about that – assisted the WSU coaching staff in getting the veteran players ready for practice. In a spontaneous act, at least a not-coached-up act, Trent explode in front of his teammates and got them fired up before practice.

For more on the first two days, a look ahead to today and, as always, links, read on.

Eagles open football practice Friday

Eastern Washington opens football practice on Friday under the weight of great expectations.

You can read an unedited version of the advance story that will appear in Thursday’s S-R — along with a story on the apparently season-ending knee injury suffered recently by senior defensive tackle Shawn Powell — by clicking on the extended entry line below.

In addition, you can access more details on the Eagles’ lofty preseason rankings and fall practice schedule here.

Chiefs trade Coyle to Medicine Hat; Rutherford signs with Checkers

The Spokane Chiefs traded defenseman Jace Coyle to the Medicine Hat Tigers for a fifth round selection in the 2009 WHL Bantam draft and third round selection in 2010.

“It is real tough moving a player of Jace’s caliber but at the same time we have the potential to return all eight defenseman next year as well as young list players who are ready to compete for a defensive spot,” Chiefs general manager Tim Speltz said in a release.

The 18-year-old appeared in 52 games as a rookie last year with one goal, nine points and was plus-8.

More Chiefs news below from Tuesday’s press release…

Looking back at WSU’s first day


Football practice gets going in about an hour, so we’ll peruse the net and give you the best of what’s out there following yesterday’s first day. And, as we always strive to do, we have a couple surprise links.

Vandals open fall practice

The University of Idaho football team began fall practice Tuesday.

Click the tab below to read an unedited notebook from practice.

First day of Wulff era starts fast then slows


The first day is over and my left leg looks a little like a peppermint candy cane. I must have missed spots with the sunscreen. Anyhow, a couple of answers and then the unedited version of my Wednesday story and practice summary are on the link.

Former Shock DB a Soul man

Former Spokane Shock defensive back Rob Keefe re-signed with the ArenaBowl Philadelphia Soul of the AFL this week. Here’s the press release.

Also Shock veteran receiver Raul Vijil, who played on Spokane’s 2006 ArenaCup championship team with Keefe, earned Catch of the Week honors
after making a leaping 5-yard touchdown catch over defender Demetrie McCray in the third quarter of Spokane’s opening-round arenafootball2 playoff victory over the Austin Wranglers last Saturday.

It’s going to be a warm one in Pullman


There’s not a whole lot of links available for Cougar news, but we have one or two. Plus, a couple of other interesting places for you to go. Read on.

WCC reading material

The conference office has issued the men’s basketball summer prospectus. Here’s a link.

Some points of interest: Page 3 (percentage of teams in a conference to make NCAAs; percentage of scoring/rebounding returning for GU, San Diego and Saint Mary’s). However, no schedules are listed for those three teams and Santa Clara.

Gourde thriving overseas

Caught up last week with ex-Zag Zach Gourde, who leaves Tuesday for his sixth season of pro basketball in France.

Gourde was entertaining, as always. See for yourself below in extended entry for a cut-and-paste version of an unedited article that will run (with pictures) in Tuesday’s S-R.

Up next for Shock: Central Valley

The Central Valley Coyotes will travel to Spokane to take on the Shock in the National Conference semifinals of the arenafootball2 playoffs on Saturday at the Arena.

The fifth-seeded Coyotes scored an upset on Sunday when they upended Chris Siegfried and the host Arkansas Twisters 68-55. Siegried coached Spokane to an ArenaCup championship in 2006.

The Coyotes (11-6), a familiar opponent for the Shock (16-1), finished second behind Spokane this season in the Western Division standings. The teams met twice in the regular season with the Shock scoring two-point victories in both games.

Spokane beat CV 42-40 on April 26th in Fresno, Calif., and kicker Brian Jackson nailed a 34-yard field goal as time expired in Spokane’s 56-54 victory over Central Valley at the Arena on June 28 – a win that earned Spokane the Western Division title.

Tickets for Saturday’s game go on sale Monday at noon through TicketsWest.

Video: Shock playoff postgame interviews and highlights

Though they weren’t happy with their first-half performance, the Spokane Shock beat the Austin Wranglers 42-14 on Saturday. Here’s what coach Adam Shackleford, receiver Raul Vijil and quarterback Nick Davila had to say after the game, along with some highlights.

Get the Flash Player to see this video.

Starting Tuesday, WSU will be answering some questions

As I promised earlier this morning, here is the unedited version of the story that will run in tomorrow’s S-R. You know the drill; just click the link.

Sauter leading candidate for Chiefs coaching job

It’s the end of an era.

Bill Peters is gone, and with less than three weeks until training camp begins for the Spokane Chiefs, it’s time to move forward – quickly.

The search for the defending Western Hockey League and Memorial Cup champion Chiefs’ next bench boss began immediately upon Friday’s announcement that Peters accepted a job with the Chicago Blackhawks’ organization as the head coach of Chicago’s American Hockey League affiliate Rockford IceHogs.

General manager Tim Speltz made it clear on Friday morning that assistant coach Hardy Sauter is the leading candidate for the position.

Football not far off; chew on this

Someone on one of this summer’s baseball posts suggested it’s time to start talking about high school (make that Greater Spokane League) football.
The season begins with practices and two-a-days in “just” 20 days – enough time for me to get out of here for a two week vacation – so here is some food for you bloggers’ thoughts (again, keep things civil and to the point) while I’m gone.

Shock’s Vijil keeps niece close to his heart

Around town, the name Raul Vijil is a familiar one. He’s the popular Spokane Shock receiver - the face of the franchise.

He’s playing for someone very close to his heart these days - his niece Francis Rose Vijil Murguia, whose heart stopped beating on June 9. In this story Vijil and his sister Maria Shanna Vijil Murguia discussed the tragic loss with me.

Raul Vijil and his niece Francis Rose Vijil Murguia after a Shock home game. (Photo courtesy of Murguia family).

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

Recent work by Chris

Sean Kramer Sean Kramer is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

Recent work by Sean

Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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