After a beautiful day yesterday, we’re greeted with Eugene-like weather today in Pullman, low clouds and a soaking rain. Maybe it will clear before practice today. If not, this afternoon will be an exercise in trying to keep the notebook and tape recorder dry. But that’s for later. For now, we have notes and links.
• Washington State: We took a look at Oregon in our story for today’s S-R. The Ducks fly into Pullman this week averaging 56.6 points per game – not the 60-plus someone mentioned on a comment earlier – with an offense that is hitting on all cylinders and a defense that is giving up a tad more than two touchdowns a game. They also lead the nation in turnover margin, in part because the offense is taking care of the ball but mainly due to a defense that is not afraid to gamble, as Paul Wulff pointed out this week. You can find more on the Ducks here. … Today we’re working on a couple stories about the WSU defense and the challenges facing it with the Oregon offense (and another basketball Q&A, this one with Reggie Moore). A big part of that deals with the transition at linebacker – the nuts and bolts of said transition covered in our notes last night. The linebacker play hasn’t been all that stout this year (you can examine it in more depth in this post from CougCenter) and, with a couple nicked up starters, youth is being served this week. The goal is to get more size and speed on the field, though there’s a pretty good chance that may be blunted by inexperience. … There has been a question about Darren Markle asked a couple times. Markle, a 6-foot-1, 224-pound redshirt freshman, is still playing a reserve role on the outside. His speed isn’t at the same level yet as C.J. Mizell or Sekope Kaufusi. … Before we move on to the rest of the conference, I want to point out the most interesting story of the morning. It’s from the Register-Guard’s Ron Bellamy and it details in great depth Bill Moos’ relationship with Oregon and what he wants to do at WSU. It’s worth the time. There is also a sidebar about his deal with the Ducks, the resolution of which sounds like it will probably have to be decided in court.
• Around the Pac-10: The Pac-12 athletic directors had their first day of meetings in San Francisco yesterday and the Arizona Daily Star’s Bruce Pascoe was there. He filed this report which advances the planning some. … It seems as if the conference is getting better TV exposure – at a better time. … ESPN.com’s Ted Miller has his picks for the week and what to watch this weekend. … Washington: How have the Huskies done thus far? Here’s one view. … Kicker Erik Folk is the best thing a kicker can be: clutch. … Oregon State: Speaking of kickers, the Beavers’ thought he was out of a job at one time. … The Beavers have made a defensive position change as well, and it’s paid off. … Oregon: Spencer Paysinger should run for student body president. He knows everyone in Eugene. … Cal: Nothing today. … Stanford: A quick practice report. … USC: What if you held a competition for kicker and nobody made one? … UCLA: The Bruins will be looking to disguise their defense more. … Arizona State: This tackle breathes life into the Sun Devil defense. … Arizona: When you’re 5-9 and quick as, well, as a bug, I guess Bug Wright’s first name is apt.
• That’s all for this morning. We’ll be back throughout the day today. Until then …