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Archive for August 2012

Cougs bounce back with brief, spirited practice

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — There is no rest for the weary, or for Washington State, which might have fit that description last night in Provo. But Friday? The Cougars seemed relatively upbeat in their brief, evening practice tonight. Read on for some more notes.

Cougar fans a little flat this morning

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There is a scene near the end of “Animal House” in which Kevin Bacon stands in front of a stampeding horde of Faber citizens, fleeing the mayhem unleashed at the climatic parade by the Delta Tau Chi House. He has both hands up, and is yelling “all is well.” It doesn't work. He gets flattened by the mob. Why would I bring up that cinematic masterpiece this morning? Because I'm going to play the Kevin Bacon role this morning. And we all know who is filling the role of the rampaging mob. Read on.

Mourning links

COUGARS

FROM PROVO, UTAH — Washington State wasn't the only Pac-12 football team in action yesterday, so we have a few links for you to help the recovery process after yesterday's loss. Read on.

WSU, BYU quotes

COUGARS

FROM PROVO, UTAH — They're limited, but we do have some postgame quotes from both teams to pass along for you. Read on.

A rough night in Provo

COUGARS

FROM PROVO, UTAH — Players and coaches made their way out of the visiting locker room at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Thursday night, bags of Chick-fil-A in tow, family members awaiting conversation.

Two younger fans wore Texas Tech jerseys. A reminder of days better than the 30-6 shellacking Mike Leach's Washington State team absorbed against BYU here tonight.

The first game of the Leach era came and went without much offensive gusto. And without a touchdown, for the first time in a WSU season opener since 1971.

“We definitely squandered too many plays,” Leach said after the clock had struck midnight in the Mountain time zone.

“We vascillated between playing frantic and overly conscientious where we’re trying to not make a mistake. At some point we’ve got to get the happy medium where each play’s separate and you’ve just got  to do your job on each play.”

Eastern dominates Idaho in opener

This wasn't close, and it could have been worse. Eastern Washington was that good. Idaho was that bad. Our game story is below.

Pregame thoughts from Provo

COUGARS

FROM PROVO, UTAH — It's the calm before the storm here at LaVell Edwards Stadium. As we parked across the street, attendants were blocking off roads and barricading parking lots in preparation for the 60,000-plus who are expected here today to watch Brigham Young and Washington State begin their seasons. We've written just about as much pre-game content about this matchup as most folks can handle, but we do have a few more thoughts after the jump.

Greater Spokane League poll

It's been so long since I've regularly posted here at Sportslink that I had some difficulty posting the first poll question of the 2012-2013 school year. But blogmeister Ryan Pitts came to my rescue.

So which GSL football team do you think will capture the conference title? Vote here.

 

The long journey to football season finally ends

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I have been awake a long time. And I haven't done this much reading in a short span since my senior year in college. OK, I'll admit it. I read more this morning than I ever did in college. And today's subject matter (college football, high school football, baseball) was a heck of lot more interesting than “Paradise Lost” or “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” Well, the latter was really good, but not as interesting as Christian Caple's feature on WSU coach Mike Leach. Read on.

S-R football special section

We've got all the area college and high school football teams covered in our annual football special section. Check out all the stories here.

EWU Game Day

As I write this, the Eastern players are probably still alseep in their beds in Moscow. I'll be heading down in a few hours myself, very excited to cover my first college football game in 29 years. Tonight, while correspondent Josh Wright writes the main game story, I'll cover the EWU perspective, with postgame reaction from Eastern players and coaches. I also plan to send frequent updates via Twitter. In the meantime, here are a few notes about tonight's contest, including quotes from head coach Beau Baldwin that didn't run in this morning's paper:

It’s finally here

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN -- Yes, game day finally here. And unlike most days, I will actually be awake when this post publishes, en route to the Spokane airport, then en route to Provo. First, we have a prediction for you, as well as a number of links, including content from our football preview section as well as our standard game advance information. Read  on.

Pac-12 power rankings

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — With the season kicking off today, it's probably a good time to debut our weekly Pac-12 power rankings. Read on.

Game day in Moscow is here

We have so much on Idaho football and its home opener tonight vs. Eastern Washington that we're going to get right to it. Check out our Vandal season preview and primer at tonight's matchup after the jump.

Pac-12 releases men’s basketball TV schedule

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — For the first time, you won't have to worry about hunting down grainy live-feeds of Washington State basketball games that aren't broadcast on television. The Cougars will have at least 12 non-conference games and all 18 conference games televised this season, mostly on the Pac-12 Networks.

Nine of WSU's non-conference games will be on the Pac-12 Network, with the Cougars' game against Gonzaga broadcast on ESPNU and their two games in Kansas City carried on ESPN2. As of now, WSU's game at Pepperdine is the only one not scheduled for television.

Here's the complete conference TV schedule.

Pac 12 Hoops Sked

5 questions: WSU at BYU

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — To get a better idea of what Washington State will be facing tomorrow in Provo, we're joined today by Brandon Gurney, who covers BYU athletics for the Deseret News. He was nice enough to answer five questions for us about the game. You can read them below.

Prep football aplenty

Our 2012 prep football preview tab will be published Thursday. Every league in our readership area will be represented for a second straight year. (Pictured above is Mead running back Davian Barlow.)

Prep football starts with a flourish this week. Thursday, Shadle Park and Rogers face off in a key 3A Greater Spokane League matchup at Joe Albi Stadium. Kickoff is at 6:15.

Then on Friday, North Central and Mt. Spokane face off along with Gonzaga Prep and Lewis and Clark in a doubleheader at Albi. In an outside game, Mead visits University.

Action continues Saturday. The annual WIAA kickoff quadruple header is at Eastern Washington University's Roos Field.

In the first game, Tekoa-Oakesdale/Rosalia faces Reardan at 10 a.m.; in the second game, Coville takes on Freeman at 1; in the third game, Cheney meets East Valley of Yakima at 4; and in the nightcap at 7, Central Valley and Ferris square off.

I will be posting some notes and a GSL poll on Wednesday.

QUESTION: Your thoughts on the upcoming season?

I'll be doing my Pick 6 weekly prep football picks, beginning Thursday. I'll also be participating with KHQ/SWX sports anchor Michelle Dapper and VarsityCdA.com owner/editor Ryan Collingwood each week predicting North Idaho games. Here's a link to our picks for this week.

Pac-12 football pick ‘em contest

Since we're all about interaction here at Sportslink, I decided it'd be fun to let you, the readers, pick Pac-12 games this year — both straight-up and against the spread — for the duration of the season, and see who ends up on top.

I'll be publishing my weekly picks in Thursday's paper, and I'll pass them along on the blog once they're available. But anyone who wants to join in can simply leave their predictions — with score, please — in a comment on this post. We'll do one of these each week.

Since it's short notice with the season only a day away, we'll simply stipulate that you have to participate in at least 10 weeks to be eligible for the grand prize (which is … wait for it … an acknowledgement of your achievement at the end of the season).

Here are this week's games, with betting lines (for entertainment purposes only, as they say) courtesy of VegasInsider.com.

THURSDAY

Northern Colorado at Utah (no line), 4:15 p.m.

Rice vs. UCLA (-16), 4:30 p.m.

WASHINGTON STATE at BYU (-12.5), 7:15 p.m.

Northern Arizona at Arizona State (no line), 7:30 p.m.

FRIDAY

San Jose State at Stanford (-26), 7 p.m.

SATURDAY

Nevada at California (-11), 12 p.m.

Nicholls State at Oregon State (no line), 12 p.m.

Colorado State vs. Colorado (-6.5), 1 p.m.

Hawaii at USC (-40), 4:30 p.m.

Toledo at Arizona (-10), 7:30 p.m.

San Diego State at Washington (-14.5), 7:30 p.m.

Arkansas State at Oregon (no line), 7:30 p.m.

Patience is appreciated

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The college football season is less than 48 hours away. Which, of course, means I want to talk baseball. Read on.

EWU football and the Big Sky

As I write this,it's only 35 hours until kickoff of Eastern's season opener at Idaho. Until then, here's a transcript from our live chat yesterday. Thanks, everyone, for participating, and we'll do it again next Thursday, two days before the WSU game. Also, tomorrow's paper will include our annual football preview section. Watch for it! Meanwhile, potentially big news out of Moscow, where the Vandals may be changing quarterbacks on the eve of the game.

Live chat on eve of kickoff, plus links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — In about six hours, the Washington State football team will board a charter flight to Utah, where they begin the Mike Leach era on Thursday night. First, we have links to hold you over until then, plus a live chat coming up this afternoon.

Practice is in the past for WSU

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — The next time Washington State players pull on their pads, they'll be inside LaVell Edwards Stadium, preparing for the most-anticipated season-opener of the modern era at WSU. On Tuesday, they went through final on-field preparations in Pullman. Some notes after the jump.

 

Report: Blackman won’t start for Idaho

Dominique Blackman, Idaho's newly minted first-string quarterback, will not start Thursday's season opener with Eastern Washington, the Idaho student newspaper reported Tuesday. However, Vandals coach Robb Akey told a Boise radio station Tuesday that Blackman was UI's starter, and he referred to Blackman as such to the media on Monday.

We have more below.

Vandals unveil men’s hoops schedule

Games at Washington State, New Mexico and UTEP — and a neutral-site game with Boise State — highlight the Idaho men's basketball schedule, announced this evening. “It’s the best schedule we’ve had since I’ve been here, bar none,” coach Don Verlin said. More after the jump.

EWU volleyball coach Kydd resigns

Four matches into his fifth season, Eastern Washington volleyball coach Miles Kydd has resigned, the school announced Tuesday afternoon.

Kydd, the Big Sky Conference coach of the year in his first season in 2008, is leaving for personal reasons, athletic director Bill Chaves said in a statement

Mike Leach on Pac-12 coaches call

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Mike Leach made his first appearance on the weekly Pac-12 coaches call today. We have a summary of his comments below. Read on.

It’s easy to be excited this week

A GRIP ON SPORTS

You know what? I'm excited about the next few days. There are a lot of reasons. Should I share them? Why the heck not. Read on.

EWU football and a Live Chat

Don't forget: Live Chat at noon today on Eastern football, right here on SportsLink, focusing on the season opener Thursday at Idaho. In the meantime, here's my story on the EWU starting lineup and a feature on EWU senior safety Jeff Minnerly of Spokane.

Two days ‘til kickoff

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — It's crunch time. And I'm not just talking about the cheesy gordita crunch I ordered at Taco Bell last night. OK, I am. Mmm. Taco Bell. Anyway, keep reading for more words.

Cougars waiting for Thursday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — It was another hectic day for yours truly in terms of trying to do a bunch of things at once. But we did see most of practice, from one angle or another, and have some notes for you.

Que Johnson is partial qualifier, ineligible this season

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Prized Washington State freshman Que Johnson has been ruled a partial qualifier by the NCAA, a WSU spokesman confirmed, which means he will receive athletics aid and attend classes this year but is ineligible to play in the 2012-13 season.

Johnson enrolled in classes at the beginning of fall semester, an indication that WSU expected him to be around this season. With a reputation as a pure, volume scorer, Johnson likely would have competed for a spot in the starting lineup right away. Instead, he'll attend classes and work to become eligible for the 2013-14 season.

All for now. We'll update as more information becomes available.

UPDATE: A WSU spokesperson confirmed that Johnson will not be allowed to practice with the team this season. His scholarship still counts toward the limit of 13 per team.

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

Here it is — WSU’s official depth chart

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — And yes, we know. Official is a relative term here. Anyway, the first depth chart of the season is listed after the jump.

Wilson is more than fans’ choice

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The people have spoken. But more importantly, so has Pete Carroll. Sure, more than three-quarters of those who participated in our web poll (left) on whether Russell Wilson should start as the Seahawks quarterback answered in the affirmative. Impressive, yet immaterial. There is only one vote that matters and that's Carroll's. He voted for Wilson yesterday, so the Hawks will take the field in Phoenix on Sept. 2 with a rookie quarterback. Read on.

Andrew Furney, and game-week links on a Monday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Washington State will practice twice more here before departing for Provo on Wednesday. That means only three more morning posts for you to read before we hop on an airplane ourselves and matriculate down to Utah. Read on.

Projecting WSU’s depth chart

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — The school is expected to release its first official depth chart of the season today. First, let's take our best guess at what it will look like.

Cougars preparing for Cougars

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Washington State practiced for a little more than two hours today, continuing preparations for Brigham Young. They spent the entire session on Rogers Field for the first time in a few days. We watched and have some notes.

What will happen this fall in Pullman?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

This is it. The final Sunday before college football begins. The end of summer, in a sense. I'm going into mourning. Read on.

Game week starts today

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Going by Mike Leach Time, it's actually Tuesday morning. And with Washington State returning to the practice field this afternoon to continue its preparation for Brigham Young, we can safely say that game week is upon us. Read on.

Some video inside Martin Stadium renovations

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We passed along some still photos from the renovations of Martin Stadium on Friday, but there are also a few videos to post, as well.

This first one is a view inside the club level, looking out at the loge boxes. That's associate athletic director John Johnson talking in the background.

This next one gives a better look at the loge boxes, which are outdoor but under cover.

And lastly, we have a quick look inside the president's suite, which holds 72 people and has a private conference room built in.

Mike Leach discusses starting QB, other things

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — As promised, here's the second half of the transcript from Mike Leach's Saturday press conference. He said again that if the season started today, Jeff Tuel would be the starting quarterback, which should not come as any kind of surprise. He also expanded quite a bit on how former BYU coach LaVell Edwards influenced him.

Mike Leach speaks

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Mike Leach spoke about a wide array of topics this afternoon during the first of his weekly conference calls. It went for about 33 minutes, so we'll post the first half of his transcript now and pass the rest along later.

An interesting day

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Well, that was interesting. Read on.

What day is it again?

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We have plenty of links for your Saturday after a pretty full Friday. Read on.

Notes from an evening practice

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — It might be Friday in the real world, but it's Sunday for the Washington Statae football team. That meant a light, slightly-more-than-an-hour practice at Martin Stadium. And for the first time since practice began, I wore jeans instead of shorts. That and other pressing matters after the jump.

Photos from inside Martin Stadium renovation

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We're back from a tour of the almost-completed Southside project at Martin Stadium. Below are photos from the club room, loge boxes, coaches club and press box. Click on each photo to read a description of what it is.

Hope the suspension is in good order

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Remember how I told you yesterday morning to take a breather, rest a bit, recharge the batteries? I hope you listened to the advice because you'll need the energy today. Not like there's a lot going on. The Mariners take an eight-game winning streak and their .500 hopes into Chicago. The Seahawks start rookie Russell Wilson under center at Kansas City. And college football is less than a week away. Strap in because the ride is about to get bumpy. Read on.

A touring Friday, preceded by links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Later this afternoon, we're joining a media contingent on a tour of the renovated press box/premium seating structure at Martin Stadium you may have heard something about. We'll pass along plenty from that, but first, there are links to read.

Vandals enter final week of preseason

Idaho has five practices left before Thursday's opener with Eastern Washington at the Kibbie Dome. And we have notes and a few position updates — as well as a look at the young Vandals' offensive line — below after talking to Robb Akey.

Notes from first day of Chiefs camp

After three scrimmages between a total of 63 players on fresh Arena ice, the first day of training camp is in the books for the Spokane Chiefs.

There are 17 veterans playing (and two others who are healing from minor injuries - more on that later), and two first-timers: Evan Fiala (first-round pick in 2012) and Mikulas Rimmel, the Chiefs' pick in this summer's CHL import draft. Rimmel replaces Dominik Uher, who has moved on to the American Hockey League.

Here's the story I filed for tomorrow's paper. We'll be at camp each day, with another story coming on Sunday. I'll have more notes here tomorrow night.

Cougars get some players back

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — It was a bit of a hectic afternoon for yours truly. A meeting with athletic director Bill Moos took my attention away from practice for 15 minutes or so, but we do have some notes from the rest of it. Read on.

Take the time to relax today

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It is about time. About time for a breather. After all the news this week, from the Seahawks' quarterback battle to the Mariners' winning streak, it's time for a day without too much news. And today's the day. Read on.

EWU - one week to go

When the Eastern players close practice, the chant is always the same: “8/30” That's the date of the season opener at Idaho, now just a week away. But this is 8/23 (happy birthday to my wife and son!), so everyone is still getting ready for the season, including the Vandals - here's a short report on the Vandals' running game.

No sleep ‘til Provo

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — That's right. In just a week's time, the Washington State football team will wake up in a hotel in Utah, board a bus to LaVell Edwards Stadium and play its first football game of the 2012 season. But there is work to do before then. Read on.

All quiet on the Pullman front

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — There won't be a practice report today for a couple of reasons.

The first is that the Washington State football team simply didn't do much on Wednesday, conducting a brief walk-through — similar to what they will do each Friday during a typical game week.

The second reason is, simply, we missed it. The walk-through occurred an hour prior to the time listed on the practice schedule, and due to some miscommunication, media was not notified. But rest assured that there wasn't a whole lot to see, anyway.

We do have a bit of news to pass along. WSU added the names of four walk-ons to its roster, including: WR Tyler Baker (Bullard, Texas/Ole Miss), DB Beau Glover (Gig Harbor, Wash.), LB David Johnson (Lakewood, Wash.) and WR Michael Newman (Cle Elum, Wash.).

That's all for now.

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

EWU, Big Sky roundup

As the Eagles prepare for the final two-a-day of fall camp, here's a quick look back at yesterday's stories in the S-R, including my practice roundup featuring punter Jake Miller, and my blog post from last night, which includes a couple of videos. Meanwhile, there plenty happening outside Cheney, including …

A fun night at Safeco

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Safeco Field was rocking last night as Felix Hernandez knocked down another baseball truism: Pitchers coming off perfect games are less than successful. King Felix was at least princely Tuesday night as the M's moved within four games of .500 with their seventh consecutive victory. Yep, the M's are almost at the break-even point and it is late August. Read on.

Live chat, links on a Wednesday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — It's Wednesday, which means we're holding another live chat at 1 p.m. on this here blog. Join us then, and join us now for your daily dose of links.

Kingma good to go, Johnson still waiting

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Washington State officially confirmed the transfer of Brett Kingma from Oregon to play for the Cougars men's basketball team this season. He's enrolled in classes and is part of the team going forward.

The big news: Kingma, a sought-after guard from Mill Creek, Wash., who held multiple Pac-12 offers as a high-school senior in 2011, will be a walk-on at WSU.

As far as I know, it's unclear if Kingma's walk-on status will matter in regards to the NCAA transfer rule — he should still have to sit out this season, though there has been no official word from WSU in that regard.

WSU is still waiting for the NCAA to rule on the eligibility of freshman Que Johnson, who is in Pullman and is taking classes. A decision is expected relatively soon.

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

It’s Thursday on Tuesday for WSU

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — It's Tuesday night, but Washington State conducted its football practice as if it were a Thursday. That meant plenty of reps for the younger players. Read on.

EWU football camp, Day 16

I'm back from football practice. Obviously, this has been a difficult couple of days for the football program and the Athletic Department, given the allegations of sexual assault against wide receiver Dalis Bruce. I've written a story for tomorrow's paper, but, in short, Bruce, a true freshman from the Los Angeles area, faces arraignment on Aug. 28 on charges of second-degree sexual assault and residential burglary stemming from alleged incident on Saturday night or early Sunday morning on the EWU campus. Given the nature of the charges, officials cannot comment. …Tuesday's practice which focused on more situational drills and preparation for the upcoming Idaho game as well as Thursday's scrimmage.   

Mariners are booming

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Earlier this month, while on vacation in Northern Arizona, we experienced some thunderstorms that were impressive in their intensity. The lightning strikes seemed to stretch for miles, fingers illuminating the sky, while the accompanying rain made it impossible to walk, let alone drive anywhere. But in one way those storms had nothing on the boomers that awakened the household early this morning. The lightning was nowhere near as impressive, the rain nearly non-existent (except for one gutter cleaner). But the thunder. Wow. Loud, explosive thunder that rolled on and on and on, rattling the windows and scaring the bejesus out of the cat. Read on.

EWU and Big Sky football

It was a dark and stormy morning, but my computer isn't fried yet, so here goes with a quick look at links to EWU opponents: First, in Pullman, Christian Caple reports that the starting WSU quarterback is almost certain to be Jeff Tuel. Furthermore. …

Links for a Tuesday morning

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Nine days remain until Washington State travels to Provo for its season opener. The Cougars continue practice today at 3:45 p.m., and we will again be there. But first, you know the drill.

WSU bounces back from sloppiness

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — The practices are getting shorter now for Washington State, as coach Mike Leach said they would once they start wrapping up camp. Read on for a few notes.

EWU practice, Day 15

I'm just got home from practice; greeting me was an email from EWU Public Relations that true freshman wide receiver Dalis Bruce was arrested early Sunday morning for third-degree sexual assault. Bruce has been suspended indefinitely from the team pending the disposition of his case in Spokane County courts. I will attempt to learn more in the morning, but police and court records are unavailable at this time. Bruce had just been cleared to practice by the NCAA clearinghouse on grades.

Monday morning blues

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It's sort of difficult to decide what to write about today. There are some choices, from the Seahawks to the Cougars to the Mariners. But no clear-cut favorite. Read on.

EWU and the Big Sky

The Eastern Washington football players got a day off Sunday after Saturday's scrimmage (here's my story and blog post from that event). … Practice resumes today with two-a-days at 10:30 and 3 p.m., and I'll be at the afternoon session. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @srjimallen 

Until then, here are some links to stories on future opponents:

School starts, football continues

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — For the first time this preseason, the Cougars have some classes to attend before they can head over to Rogers Field for football practice. Yes, it's the first day of classes at WSU, which means practices will start at 3:30 this week. Read on.

Mike Leach not pleased with effort on Day 16

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Washington State's practices are officially closed to spectators and media, though we are still able to watch from the library above Rogers Field. And Sunday's practice had a frustrating feel to it, as far as Mike Leach was concerned. Read on.

A team divided cannot stand

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There is one quote about quarterbacks I have seen attributed to many, many coaches. “A team with two quarterbacks,” the quote goes, “has no quarterbacks.” Or something like that. The meaning is clear. Football teams need to know who the starting quarterback is. The leader of the team. The loyalties cannot be divided. Well, they may just be in Seattle this season. Read on.

Sunday links as WSU gets back to practice

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Washington State continues practicing this afternoon after a rare day off. We have some links for you in the meantime.

EWU scrimmage report

I've just returned home from the Eagles' scrimmage at Roos Field, and have never been so thankful for my air conditining. As I write this, I'm picturing the players battling for position in the ice baths. … The heat was stifling, 98 in the shade for the scrimmage, but there was no shade, and no place for the players to hide as coaches turned up the heat in what can best be described as a situational scrimmage….

Around the Big Sky

Before I head out to Cheney, here are a few links to goings-on around the Big Sky Conference was well as upcoming opponents UI and WSU. We'll start with the latter. While Vandal Nation is preoccupied with the whole “go it alone” story, the team is trying to stay focused … In Pullman, our own Christian Caple is marching through the Cougar units with today's story on the linebackers. …

It’s not too long now

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Let's look into the future 14 days. Two Saturday's hence, Cougar football fans should be over their hangover after the Thursday night opener with BYU, either good or bad. Eastern fans should be as well, though Idaho fans will be thinking one of two things depending on the outcome vs. the Eagles: We should change leagues now, because we could dominate the Big Sky or wow, it's going to be a long year. Read on.

A Saturday off, but not from links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Today marks the second off-day for the Washington State football team so far this preseason. But, as usual, there are stories for the reading. Read on, and such.

Cougars loose, energetic under the lights

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Here's how you know everyone is in a good mood at a football practice: when it ends with offensive and defense linemen catching punts. Washington State practiced for roughly an hour on Friday night in Martin Stadium, its final open practice of the season.

UI given green light to go independent

UPDATED 6:17 p.m.

The Idaho State Board of Education today approved the University of Idaho's request to become an FBS independent in football and “negotiate and accept” an invite to the Big Sky.

We have more below.

This week turned out pretty perfect

A GRIP ON SPORTS

When the workweek began, it seemed as if it would be a real bummer. The Olympics were over, college football was still a ways away and pro football? It was in exhibition mode and who likes that? Then lightning struck Wednesday in the form of Felix Hernandez perfection and the week was so much better. Now Hisashi Iwakuma will try to put the Mariners in the record books again, throwing his own perfect game and marking the first time there have been two thrown in back-to-back games by one franchise. Stop laughing. Iwakuma and the Mariners are the only ones that have that opportunity, right? And if there is an opportunity, it could happen, right?  Read on.

Privacy awaits Cougars

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Tonight's practice, which begins at 8:15 p.m., will be the last of camp that will include player interviews. As of Sunday, practices will be closed — to fans and to the media. We'll be there, as usual, but first, here are some words.

Vandals scrimmage for final time

Two weeks ago, the Vandals started fall camp. And two weeks from Thursday, they’ll be opening the season at the Kibbie Dome against Eastern Washington. Where are the Vandals halfway through the preseason? The third scrimmage of fall camp gave some answers. Read more after the jump.

EWU football camp, Day 11

I'll start with a tease: team captains were named late Thursday, and I'll have that info with my story that will show up soon at spokesman,com.  … Speaking of which, if you missed today's online chat, you can go there to see the full transcript on our SportsLink site. … Baldwin liked the enthusiasm of Thursday's practice, but isn't happy with poor ball exchanges. …. “I like to create competition.  A lot of times as a player, you can feel sorry for yourself because of the heat, but the guys respond to those drills, and say ‘Hey coach, can we do that again tomorrow?’ “ … Regarding the poor exchanges (from center to QB and from QB to RB). “We’re too good to be making what I call unforced errors.” … Baldwin said he’s hopeful that freshman wide receiver Dalis Bruce will soon clear the NCAA academic clearinghouse and join the team.

Cougs scrimmage for a bit on Day 14

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Washington State held its 14th practice of camp in Martin Stadium on Thursday. The reason? A scrimmage of about 36 or so plays, complete with officials and some pumped-in crowd music. Read on for some details.

Idaho opts for FBS independence

UPDATED: 6:20 p.m.

The University of Idaho will seek approval Friday from the Idaho State Board of Education to go independent in football and move to the Big Sky Conference in all other sports. According to the Idaho Statesman, UI presented to the board Wednesday in an executive session.

Friday's meeting will be public, and UI's conference reshuffling is the only agenda item. More after the jump.

A tour of the Greater Spokane League

Wow, it's been next to forever since I posted something here. It must mean it's time to launch another school year.

Wednesday was the first day of high school football practice in Washington so I decided to challenge myself. I went to all 10 Greater Spokane League practices. Here's a link to my story. Pictured above is Mead coach Sean Carty.

I'll be back in the coming days. Meanwhile, I'm buried trying to get stories, schedules and glances finished for our Football Tab, which will be published Aug. 30.

QUESTION: What do you see happening among area football teams this fall?

A perfect ending to a perfect effort

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Yesterday was definitely not perfect. I did not win any sort of lottery. However it was perfect in one special way. And you already know what I'm talking about, because everybody (in this area at least) is talking about it. Read on.

EWU morning report and live chat

Don't forget: live chat here at NOON TODAY with EWU football beat writer Jim Allen (That would be me.)  LAter this morning, just go the the Spokesman home page, then to “Topics” in the upper left of the page, and then to “SportsLink.” The chat will appear; hopefully you can post questions ahead of time.  Meanwhile, here's a link to my report from Wednesday's morning practice.

Thursday links aren’t perfect, but Felix was

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We'll start today's morning post with a personal thank you to whatever it was that influenced Mike Leach to hold a morning practice yesterday. Because of the 9:15 a.m. start, we were able to watch Felix Hernandez do what only 22 others have done before him — and none of them Mariners. Read on for links and such.

More of the same on Day 13

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We've written before about routine, and how that kind of feeling starts to set in during preseason camp. Well, that's how Wednesday's practice felt, with the exception being that it was held at 9:15 a.m. We were there, and have notes.

Pac-12 Network launches tonight

A GRIP ON SPORTS

If you are a Pac-12 sports fan (and it doesn't matter what sport we are talking about here), today is a big day for you. Read on.

Your morning Eagle report

The Eagles are getting ready for their second two-a-day session of falll camp, with practice beginning at 9 a.m. today, although I have to say, it seems half the players are out there half an hour early. I will be there too, sending updates on Twitter (please follow me at @srjimallen). Also, we'll have a live chat Thursday at noon, and later today, I will give the details. In the meantime, here is my story from Tuesday's practice , focusing on the cornerbacks and coach Cherokee Valeria. Finally, here is some news from future opponents: 

Receivers, practice, hoops news and a live chat

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Washington State will be on the practice field early this morning, their first and only 9:15 a.m. practice of camp. We'll be there, but hurry up and read these links first because a lot happened yesterday.

Day 12 includes an overtime refresher for WSU

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Part of training camp under coach Mike Leach? A reminder of the rules. Tuesday, that meant an on-field run-down of college football overtime procedures, then a simulation of an overtime period. There were other highlights, too, so read on.

EWU football camp, Day 9

I will file a full story shortly, but here's a short report on the Eagles' practice on Tuesday: The intensity level and the heat made for a “choppy” practice said head coach Beau Baldwin, who added that “every team in the country is in the same boat” in mid-August.

Sarbaugh transfers to NIC

As you could probably tell by the absence of blog posts and tweets the last couple of weeks, I've been on vacation, with a little golf tab mixed in. We're back at it and we'll go ahead and round up all the GU happenings of the last few weeks, including today's news that Chris Sarbaugh is transferring to North Idaho College.

Sarbaugh was classified as a walk-on at Gonzaga, but he received a tuition waiver because his late father, Tim, was a GU professor. He was well liked by teammates and coaches and at least one assistant last year suggested that Sarbaugh had a good shot at playing time down the road. Sarbaugh wants to play now and that certainly wasn't a guarantee at GU. When he decided to look elsewhere, he asked assistant coach Tommy Lloyd to call NIC and things progressed from there. More below on Sarbaugh's transfer, first reported by varsitycda.com.

While I was gone, Gonzaga released its non-conference schedule, which includes an ESPN College GameDay date with Butler, and its WCC schedule. Assistant coach Tommy Lloyd is GU's latest coach-in-waiting. That's happened twice in the Mark Few era and Billy Grier and Leon Rice opted to take jobs at other schools.

Brett Kingma announces transfer to WSU via Twitter

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — With the Washington State basketball team still in Australia, it might be awhile before this is officially confirmed. But former Oregon guard Brett Kingma announced on his Twitter page this afternoon that he will be transferring to WSU.

Kingma was granted his release by Oregon in early June. He will have to sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules — though intra-conference transfers are sometimes forced to sit two seasons, that rule is rarely enforced and my assumption would be that it won't be here — and should be available to play as a redshirt sophomore in the 2013-14 season.

Kingma, who is from Mill Creek, Wash., was rated as a 3-star prospect by Scout.com and held offers from Washington and Arizona State, among others. He averaged 3.1 points per game for Oregon last season as a lightly-used reserve, averaging 9.1 minutes per game.

Kingma told the Seattle Times after leaving Oregon that “I need a new system where I can reach my full potential.”

We will pass along more information as it becomes available.

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

One of those days

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Some days everything clicks. Some days it doesn't. And on other days, like today, nothing wants to work. Read on.

EWU opponents are busy

While the Eagles opened their first two-a-day practice on Monday (here is my story and blog post), the Eagles have been nusy as well. Here is the latest from the Palouse and the Big Sky Conference:

A look at WSU’s running backs, plus links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We begin our WSU position previews this morning with a look at WSU's running backs. Want to know who's starting? Join the club. You won't find that after the jump, but you'll find plenty of other words to read.

Day 11 at WSU

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Another day, another practice for Washington State. We were there, as usual, to observe and pass along some notes. They are below.

Blackman named Idaho starter

What was evident Saturday in the Vandals’ scrimmage became reality today. Idaho coach Robb Akey said Dominique Blackman will start the season opener vs. Eastern Washington. Blackman beat out Taylor Davis, who started three games last year but is now in a battle for the No. 2 job with senior Logan Bushnell.

Read more below.

EWU practice report, Day 8

Yes, this really is Day 8, since the conditioning and orientation sessions last Monday and Tuesday count toward the NCAA-mandated maximum of 29 practices. Actually, two-a-days count as two practices and there are five of them, so the Eagles have 25 practice days before Idaho. … The Eagles had a great practice Monday morning, especially if your name is Kyle Padron or Demetrius Bronson.

So long to London

A GRIP ON SPORTS

For the past two weeks or so, the Olympics have not only held our attention spans in sway, but have given me something to write about – if need be – each morning. But that is over now. London 2012 is done, Rio 2016 is the next stop. Read on.

EWU two a days … and then some

The Eastern Washington University football team begins two-a-days this morning, and in that spirit, we'll try to step it up as well, with a morning blog on SportsLInk, a practice report and an evening blog, also on SportsLink. And follow me on Twitter at @srjimallen for up-to-the-second updates continuing this morning. And in case you missed it, here was my last report on practice and my post-practice blog Friday afternoon:

Meanwhile, future Eagle opponents have been busy as well …

Pac-12 links before WSU gets back at it

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Washington State resumes training camp with its 11th practice later this afternoon. And while there's not a whole lot out there in the Cougar department with the team having yesterday off, there's plenty of reading to do around the conference.

Watching and writing

A GRIP ON SPORTS • UPDATED: 9:05 A.M.

My attention is split right now. No, I haven't developed a second persona. I am trying to watch the gold medal basketball game while I write. Thus part of me is a writer, part of me a fan. As a writer I have some serious questions about the Olympics I want answered. As a fan I just wonder two things: Who is that homeless guy Spain has playing guard and why can't Kobe guard him. Read on.

Links for a day off

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Washington State won't be on the practice field this afternoon for the first time since beginning camp. But we're on the blog again to pass along some links from yesterday's scrimmage, as well as our usual stroll around the Pac-12. Read on.

Notes from a WSU scrimmage

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Big plays dominated Washington State's scrimmage. Big plays that involved a few different receivers and both of the Cougars' competitors for the starting quarterback job. Read on for more.

Is Vandals’ QB race coming to end?

After two scrimmages and 10 days of fall camp, things are coming into focus for the Idaho Vandals. Most notably, the quarterback competition — which heated up in the spring — seems to have titled in Dominique Blackman's favor. That was abundantly clear today at the Kibbie Dome. More after the jump.

Why rant on a day like this?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I really don't have anything to rant about today. Sorry. Though I did notice the stars of the Arena Bowl seemed to be all former Shock players. And Tiger Woods is in position to win another major. And the Mariners threw away what should have been a sure win last night. And … ah, you get the picture. Read on.

A scrimmage awaits WSU

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — A better practice on Friday preceded the first scrimmage of camp for Mike Leach's Washington State football team. Here are some links to supplement such information.

The kid’s still shining at WSU camp

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — If you polled observers of Washington State's training camp and asked who has impressed the most on the offensive side of the ball thus far, the answer would probably be the same across the board. And Gabe Marks continued his tear on Friday. Read on.

EWU football camp, Day 3

I've just filed my story (on the increased role of the tight ends) from this morning's practice, which will be posted later this afternoon. In the meantime here are a few more observations, starting with the resurgence of running back Demetrius Bronson, whose hamstring injury last spring is farther back in the rear-view mirrow than his would-be tacklers. OK, that's a slight exaggeration, but Bronson has looked like more than a third-down back so far …

Still the world’s greatest athlete?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The names rolled off the tongue like a rap song – though rap hadn't been invented yet. Names like Jim Thorpe, Rafer Johnson, Bob Mathias, Bill Toomey, Bruce Jenner. They were the winners of the Olympic decathlon and they were considered the world's greatest athlete. Read on.

Cougs look to bounce back on Day 9

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Though it was a typical practice for much of the day, Washington State started to feel the effects of playing tired toward the end of Thursday's practice. We'll see if they can correct their mistakes today. But first … links.

EWU and Big Sky football

As you read this, the Eastern players are prepping for the third day of camp. Practice begins at 9 a.m., which should be a bit cooler than Thursday's practice. Other teams are busy too, including Washington State, where things got a bit heated 

EWU football camp, Day 2

I've just filed my story from Day 2 of camp, which is mostly a look at some of the incoming freshmen. Look for it online shortly and on your doorstep tomorrow morning. … Thursday's two-hour session was definitely ramped up in tempo; throw in some high humidity and shoulder pads, and the sweat was pouring and the drinking water running …

Cougs a little frustrated on Day 8

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Washington State's offense struggled a bit toward the end of today's practice. Then they heard about it. Then heard about it again. Read on.

Time Warner to launch Pac-12 Networks on Aug. 15

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Was just  passed along an official release from Time Warner with a few details about the launch of the Pac-12 Networks on Aug. 15. Read on for full details.

EWU and Big Sky football

As the Eagles prepare for Day 2 of fall camp with the season opener exactly three weeks away, here's a roundup of what's happening around the Big Sky and with upcoming opponents Idaho and Washington State: First of all, here's our own Christian Caple's feature on WSU's Logan Mayes

Learning some perspective

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Yesterday was a good day. With some time on my hands, I was able to spend a bit of time watching the Olympic men basketball semifinals. And I discovered a group of officials who make the Pac-12's look incredibly talented. Read on.

Mayes getting bigger, Cougs getting feisty

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Some days, we write a lot of words. Others, we write even more than a lot of words. Yesterday was one of those days. Read on for some more words about Washington State, its football team, and the practices of its football team.

Day 7 brings energy to Coug camp

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — You could hear Darryl Monroe leading Washington State's defense in chant from just about anywhere on campus Wednesday. It was that kind of day for the Cougars during team session, and it was that kind of day for the defense, too. Read on.

Eagles fly into fall camp

I'm back with a few reflections on the Eagles' first day of fall camp, which was held Wednesday on the grass fields behind the athletic facilities: Head coach Beau Baldwin said he was pleased with the overall pace of the practice, especially the mental aspect of everyone being on the same page. As I overhead safeties coach Jeff Schmedding say it, “doing the reps in your head and not standing around.” …  .

M’s losses fly under the radar

A GRIP ON SPORTS

With the Olympics going on, it's been a bit harder to stay in touch with the Mariners. But last night, thanks to a rare meltdown by the bullpen, we were all given multiple chances to check in with the M's. Fourteen chances actually. Read on.

Ready for some EWU football?

The Eagles kick off fall camp this afternoon at 3 p.m., and I will be there with a full report. Until then, here's a roundup of what's happening elsewhere in the Big Sky and other future opponents:

First, here's a blog post by our Idaho correspondent Josh Wright on the Vandals' passing game …. here's a piece in the Idaho Press-Tibune of Nampa on how former WSU QB Jason Gesser is faring as offensive coordinator at Idaho. … our own Christian Caple on transfer linebacker Justin Sagote's bid for playing time wih the Cougs …

A week nearly gone for WSU

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — At about 5:45 p.m. today, Washington State will have a full week — seven days, that is — of football practices behind them. What better way to celebrate the occasion than with links?

QBs, offense roll in Idaho scrimmage

For the last couple of years, the Idaho defense has typically been the dominant unit during scrimmages. Not so this afternoon in the Kibbie Dome. The offense rolled up nine touchdowns and four field goals, and UI's group of quarterbacks had eight TDs with one interception.

Read more below.

Day 6 over for Cougs

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — As temperatures hovered in the 90s — prompting the question: can a temperature really hover? — the Cougars practiced for about an hour and a half before moving over to Martin Stadium for some special teams drills and a brief, sort-of-scrimmage. Details after the jump.

Football practice is tiring

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Man I forgot how tiring it is to watch college football practice in 90-degree heat. Almost as tiring as it is to actually practice, I'm sure. Read on.

Routine sets in as Day 6 approaches

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — After five practices, the routine of camp is starting to set in a bit. For me, anyway. Wake up, eat, go to practice, watch practice, write about practice, write about other things, play Xbox, yell at the television, go to sleep. Oh, and links. Read on.

Video: Taylor Taliulu

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Standing on the practice field the other day, I was lamenting the fact that trusty ol' iPhone decided to eat my video of freshman safety Taylor Taliulu. Then, as if by magic, it reappeared. It's from the second day of camp, so some of the questions are a little old. But there's still some good stuff in there about his decision to come to WSU, among other things.

Cougs mix things up on Day 5

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — That headline is what we call a double entendre. Read on.

It’s time to see WSU in action

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It's going to be a warm one today, which is typical for the early part of August in these parts. What is untypical, this year at least, is I'll be out in the heat. Read on.

Almost halfway through the first part

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Today is Day 5 of a 10-day stretch during which Washington State will practice each day. Then they have a day off and a whole bunch of practices after that. We'll be at all of them, as we were yesterday. Links resulted. Read on.

DAY 5 FORECAST — High: 92 degrees, 32 percent humidity (Weather.com)

Another day, another WSU practice

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Another scorcher on the Palouse this afternoon, with Washington State going through its fourth practice of camp — and its final practice before putting on full pads. We were there, as usual, and have some notes and observations after the jump.

Doesn’t everybody want to be a Yankee?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Larry Larue, the Tacoma News Tribune Mariners' beat reporter, had fun with Twitter yesterday. He kept re-tweeting Yankee fans' tweets about Felix Hernandez. The basis of the fans' tweets? Why was Felix still with the M's and not a Yankee? He is so good, he should be in New York. Never, ever let anyone tell you Yankee fans aren't arrogant. Read on.

Sale, links and Day 4

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Just think: a few more weeks, and you'll be waking up on a Sunday morning like this to watch NFL games on CBS. For now, our WSU links are going to have to do. Read on.

Heat, hits highlight Day 3 of Cougs camp

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Washington State added shoulder pads to the mix on Saturday, and went for another three hours under the scorching Pullman sun. Read on for some highlights.

The greatest of all time?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The Olympics are dominating the world's sporting consciousness – as they should – even though the main element of the Games, track and field, has just gotten underway. During the first week new faces in gymnastics, cycling and swimming commandeered  the world stage, though there is one familiar fellow we want to talk about. Read on.

High Marks on Day 2

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN -- The second day of Washington State's preseason training camp brought some personnel news, as well as the story of a highly touted freshman who's already turning heads. We have links to all of the above after the jump.

DAY 3 FORECAST — High of 89 degrees, 28 percent humidity (Weather.com)

Day 2 in the books at WSU camp

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Another day, another practice in the books on Rogers Field, though this one was a bit warmer than Thursday's camp opener. It was also a big day for one of WSU's incoming freshmen. Read on.

Idaho hoops hires former EWU coach

Idaho men's basketball coach Don Verlin filled his coaching staff Friday with the hiring of Kirk Earlywine, the former head coach at Eastern Washington. Earlywine will serve as UI's director of player development after going 42-78 at EWU from 2007-2011.

Earlywine fills the role of Chris Helbling, who was promoted to assistant coach after Ray Lopes departed for Washington State.

Read more below.

Win or win, Olympics draw big ratings

A GRIP ON SPORTS

When it came time to watch television last night, I already knew Michael Phelps had defeated Ryan Lochte, Gabby Douglas was an all-around champion and the U.S. women had won the gold in rowing. But that didn't stop Kim and me from watching the Olympics for four hours. And we were not alone. It seems the tape-delay strategy is paying off (in a whole bunch of moola) for NBC. Read on.

Day 2 awaits Cougars

COUGARS

DAY 2, FROM PULLMAN — We turn our focus today toward Washington State's second practice of the preseason, which is also the second of a 10-day stretch of practices before the team's first day off. We'll be there. But first, links.

FORECAST: 81 degrees, 32 percent humidity (Weather.com)

Video: Wade Jacobson

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We'll try to do one of these each day while we still can, and start today with senior offensive lineman Wade Jacobson.

New helmets, players at Idaho camp

So I've seen the Vandals' new gold-speckled black helmets up close now, and I can tell you they look good. They'll look even better with a decal on the side (which apparently will be the I-Vandals' logo). That's all for today's fashion report. Let's talk football.

WSU finishes Day 1 of practice

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — It was a very business-like day at Rogers Field, with the Cougars getting back into practice mode after a summer of workouts some described as the hardest of their lives. We have some notes for you after the jump.

A better type of question about the M’s

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Our poll question today gets away from the London Olympics and brings us back to the Pacific Northwest, where the Mariners haven't lost in a week. Is it real or an illusion? Read on.

It begins — fall or not

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — So, fall camp is upon us. Even if it's still summer, and won't actually be fall until the Cougars take the field for their fourth game of the season. Oh, well. We have links, regardless.

WSU announces practice schedule

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — With camp beginning in roughly 17 hours, Washington State released its practice schedule leading up to the season opener. Here it is.

Mike Leach discusses fall camp, among other things

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Mike Leach met with media for about 24 minutes this afternoon, previewing fall camp while also getting a little philosophical about a number of topics. We have a full transcript for you below.

Badminton scandal can wait for NBC’s coverage

A GRIP ON SPORTS

What is the basic mission of a newspaper and its website? To report the news in a timely fashion, right? Well even doing that can lead to some criticism. Read on.

WSU camp position previews, plus links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We're back on the east side after a quicker-than-usual drive from Seattle yesterday afternoon, gearing up to cover Washington State's first fall camp under coach Mike Leach. He'll meet with the media today at about 1 p.m., but first, we have a quick look at each position heading into camp, along with some other stories you should read.

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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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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.

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