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Looking back at the spring game, plus links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Had a rather lengthy post written — taking a look back at Saturday's scrimmage, tons of notes, tons of links. Then my computer froze and I lost the whole thing, because I'm an idiot, mainly, and didn't save anything, and also because the universe hates me. Or it does today, anyway. Sigh. Read on.


Here's our main story from the scrimmage that appeared in today's newspaper, focusing on Marquess Wilson's big day. John Blanchette wrote this column about the buzz surrounding the big day, and I posted some quotes from Wilson and Mike Leach on the blog with some stats afterward. … Now for the scrimmage details. We chose to focus on Wilson not only because of the spectacular catches he made, but also because it's really the first time he's had a performance like that this spring. And as Leach noted afterward, the bar's been set — they know what Wilson can do, so he's going to be expected to put in a similar effort in practices from now on. His effort had been called into question previously this spring, so this was probably the response coaches were hoping for out of him (and also out of Dominique Williams, who Leach praised afterward while also saying he'd like to see the young receiver work a little harder). Bottom line is this — Leach wouldn't talk so much about the differential between good receivers and great receivers if he didn't believe Wilson has the potential to make it to that latter group. For more quotes from both he and Leach on the matter, you can read the blog post linked above. … As noted in our story, Wilson didn't actually start the game. Williams and Isiah Myers were the starting receivers on the outside, with Bennett Bontemps and Andrei Lintz starting on the inside. But Wilson, Drew Loftus, Bobby Ratliff and Gino Simone all saw time with the first unit. Leach says he wants to play eight guys during games, with a backup at each position splitting time with the starter pretty much equally. Unless, of course, the starter separates himself as being “really overpowering.” … The starting offensive line was the same we've seen for much of the spring, consisting, from left to right, of John Fullington, Zack Johnson, Elliott Bosch, Dan Spitz and Rico Forbes. Marcus Mason took the first snap of the game at running back, though Rickey Galvin, Leon Brooks and Carl Winston all saw time, as well. And the Cougars used two-back sets a handful of times. … The first-team o-line also played some in front of David Gilbertson, with Taylor Meighen taking over at center, Bosch sliding to left guard, Spitz moving to tackle and Jake Rodgers taking over at right guard. … The starting defense was: DE Matthew Bock, DT Anthony Laurenzi, DE Xavier  Cooper, OLB Travis Long, LB Corey Laufasa, LB Darren Markle, OLB Eric Oertel, CB Daniel Simmons, CB Horton, S Deone Bucannon, S Anthony Carpenter. … Alex Den Bleyker was the long-snapper on the first field-goal try, with Gilbertson holding.

The first-team offense faced the first-team defense on its first-two possessions, then squared off against the No. 2 defense on its third series. That's when Logan Mayes really took over, racking up 4.5 sacks from his buck linebacker position. Leach praised Mayes afterward for his effort, saying he was one of a handful of players who didn't show any hesitation. … The second-team defense consisted of Mayes, Toni Pole and Steven Hoffart on the defensive line; Cyrus Coen, Phillip Brandt, Jared Byers and Ian Knight at linebacker; Horton and Tracy Clark at corner; and Kyle McCartney and Mitch Peterson at safety. … Tyrone Duckett stood out the most among the third-team defenders, making several tackles and always seeming to find the football. … As for players who missed out, here you go: linebackers Chester Su'a, Darryl Monroe, Tana Pritchard, defensive linemen Lenard Williams, Justin Clayton, Darryl Paulo, David Davis, Adam Coerper, safeties Tyree Toomer, Casey Locker, Max Gama, cornerbacks Brandon Golden, Nolan Washington, receivers Kristoff Williams, Henry Eaddy, running backs Teondray Caldwell, Kruger Story, offensive linemen Wade Jacobson, Matt Goetz, Chas Sampson, Joe Dahl. … Though it was billed as a “game,” the numbers displayed on the scoreboard didn’t truly reflect the action on the field, as the defensive total seemed to fluctuate somewhat arbitrarily throughout the scrimmage. For what it’s worth, the board read Defense 28, Offense 27 when the 80-play scrimmage concluded. … As for the sacks (there were nine of them): Fullington said the offensive line is still a work in progress, and needs to do a better job of rallying when it makes a mistake. That, and they need to get in better shape. … Jeff Tuel was obviously very efficient, completing 19 of 21 passes. He said afterward that it helped to be in a game setting — it ratcheted everyone's focus up a couple of notches, and made it easier to lock in to what they were supposed to do.

As for the rest of our WSU links … Howie Stalwick recapped the scrimmage here. CougCenter did so here. … Bud Withers has an interesting look at the secretive courtship between Leach and Bill Moos, and how to hire a head coach. … More on Bobo Brayton's hall of fame induction. … The WSU baseball team beat No. 6 Oregon yesterday.

Around the Pac-12 … An Arizona basketball player might be in some legal trouble. … Arizona State's quarterbacks impressed in ASU's spring game. Excitement abounds in Tempe. … California's spring game was highlighted by the play of a freshman quarterback. … Washington's new look defense was on display for fans at an open scrimmage. The Huskies may have found a new short-yardage back. … UCLA's quarterback situation is still just as muddled as ever. Jim Mora turns up the practice intensity. The Bruins' biggest basketball commit has good genes. … Mike Riley speaks out against marijuana. A fullback stole the show at the Beavers' practice yesterday. … A freshman is making an impact at Utah. Another quarterback is avoiding injury by staying out of piles. The Utes aren't giving up on fundraising just because they're getting more money from the Pac-12's TV deal.

All for now. Going to go destroy my laptop now, then beg for forgiveness around the same time tomorrow.

Christian Caple can be reached at christianc@spokesman.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple


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