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.
• Yep, we're going to drive to Pullman today and spend some time at Washington State's training camp. Not only do I want to see how the Cougars look under new coach Mike Leach, I want to stand on the sidelines and tell everyone "In my day ..." Yes sir, I want to try out the role of retired curmudgeon. I used to be an employed curmudgeon, so now I want to see if the view is any different from this side of my pension. Enough of that. Actually, I want to experience first hand how this team is coming together. The most interesting question I have concerns some areas that lack depth, the defensive and offensive lines and the linebacking corps. I want to see if the newest Cougars will be able to fill the holes left by injury, defections and dismissals. If they can, then WSU may actually be able to post a winning season, something that hasn't happened in a long, long time.
• Usain Bolt was supposed to be hurt or something, wasn't he? All I read all spring and summer was how the defending Olympic 100 meter champion had ailments that were slowing him down. He didn't win the Jamaican trials because he was hurt. He wasn't running well because he was dinged up. That type of stuff. Then he plows through the fastest group of sprinters ever assembled to win the gold in 9.63. His name should not be Usain. It should be Insane, because he is insanely fast. What a sprinter.
• Washington State: After a couple of stories about newcomers, Christian Caple touches base with the Cougars most talented returning player, wide receiver Marquess Wilson (above). Wilson may be a bit camera-shy, but his incandescent smile shines bright in one-on-one interviews when cameras aren't present. ... Christian also has coverage of yesterday's practice in this blog post and links and such in this morning's post. ... The Oregonian has poached an Oregon beat writer from the Register-Guard and Adam Jude wants everyone to know what not to do at Autzen Stadium. I have one: How about you not hit visiting beat writers in the head with a football, huh? You know who you are, Oregon fan. (And if enough people ask, I'll tell you the whole story; it involves a football, the Times' Bud Withers, a tape recorder and Paul Wulff saying a bad word.)
• Eastern Washington: Speaking of Wulff, one of his former WSU assistants went from out-of-work to head coach at Weber State in just a few weeks. Jody Sears and his team are looking forward to starting practice today.
• Idaho: Former Vandal quarterback Doug Nussmeier is in the fire, after jumping to Alabama's coaching staff from the frying pan that is UW.
• Indians: The Indians have done just about everything this season except win an extra-inning game. They are 0-6 after losing 10-9 in 11 innings Sunday. Jess Brown has the story.
• Mariners: Throughout this trying season, the one thing the Mariners could count on is solid defense. Win or lose (the latter happening more often of course), the M's usually haven't beaten themselves. But Sunday was different. They didn't make plays they needed to and lost, 6-2, in the series finale with the Yankees. ... Maybe part of the problem was Brendan Ryan, who can pick it a bit at shortstop, was unavailable after being nailed with a pitch Saturday (photo above). Damn Yankees. ... Former M's shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt is available. Not that the Mariners should sign him or anything, I just thought the reasons behind his dismissal by the Royals were interesting.
• Seahawks: For all of you folks out there wondering who will be the starting quarterback (and are into reading tea leaves), the Hawks ran an 80-play mock game yesterday and Tavaris Jackson led the first team. ... The Seattle receiving corps might be a lot different this week with the team cutting Antonio Bryant and talking with Terrell Owens.
• Sounders: Seattle has won a lot of games the past couple years, but none were as impressive a shellacking as the one the Sounders put on the Los Angeles Galaxy yesterday. The 4-0 win was a result of domination on both sides of the field.
• We'll be back tomorrow morning with our thoughts on WSU, though I will tell you right now they won't be all that definitive. I used to hate guys who would parachute in one day and tell everyone exactly what was going on. It's not possible to know in a couple hours. So we'll pass along what we see but we won't tell you what to think. Until then ...