The smoke has cleared – literally and figuratively – around the Washington State football program after last night’s final scrimmage of the fall. What have the Cougars learned? And what have we learned about the Cougars? Read on.
• Washington State: To be honest, I’m not really sure. We know the big questions (for example, how much improvement has been made?) can’t be answered until the games start. But I’m pretty sure of a few things. … The offensive group is pretty well set. Sophomore Jeff Tuel is the quarterback, with junior Marshall Lobbestael as the backup. Senior James Montgomery starts at running back but there will be as many as five guys playing. The receivers are deep, but could use sophomore Gino Simone and freshman Kristoff Williams to return from injuries and contribute. The offensive line is still a work in progress, though four of the five starters are set, with only senior right tackle Micah Hannam under pressure from freshman John Fullington. The defensive front, if it can stay healthy, will be productive. The linebackers, the group we preview in tomorrow’s paper, have found their niches, though depth is still a question. The secondary, which we previewed this morning, is talented but really, really young. The punt game is great (but really, Reid Forrest for the Heisman? Isn’t that an insult to the Vic Janowiczs and Jay Berwangers of the world? Oh, now I get it. He does fit in.), the kicker battle even and the return games up in the air. … We had our story about the scrimmage in this morning’s paper. … There’s more from freelancer Howie Stalwick on Cougfan and in other papers. … Christian Caple of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News had some coverage on his blog. … From Oklahoma, coach Mike Gundy still hasn’t said whether defensive end Jamie Blatnick, facing felony assault charges, will be suspended for the WSU game. … The Cowboys are expected to release a depth chart today, and linebacker Tyler Johnson, another guy who spent years in minor league baseball, has moved up it quickly. … Here’s another linebacker candidate.
• UPDATE: ESPN.com’s Ted Miller has a Q&A with coach Paul Wulff up on his blog.
• Around the Pac-10: Mel Kiper’s big board has reserved the top two spots for conference quarterbacks and five Pac-10 players are in the top 25. … The FWAA pulled USC’s 2004 national title yesterday and that’s the subject of this George Schroeder column. … Washington: The Huskies are using a well-traveled left tackle, though he’s never left Seattle. … Coach Steve Sarkisian believes his team is much better in year two. … Oregon State: Beaver fans can breathe again. James Rodgers’ shoulder is just bruised. … This left tackle had to wait to play. … Oregon: So who is the starting quarterback? Only Chip Kelly knows. And he’s not saying just yet. … Cal and Stanford: The Bears’ depth chart is out. There is one true freshman starting, wide receiver Keenan Allen. … USC: How good are the Trojans? Thanks to the setup of their final scrimmage, Gary Klein has no idea. … UCLA: It’s looking more and more like Kevin Prince won’t be available at Kansas State. … Arizona State: Kyle Middlebrooks is the Sun Devils’ do-it-all player. … A practice report and a funny short. … Arizona: Receiver Juron Criner returns to practice.
• That’s all for this morning. We’ll be back this afternoon with our practice report and linebackers preview. We’ll also have answers for your questions. Until then …