FROM PULLMAN -- It's that time of year again. The time when we head to the top of an elevator tower to watch a "closed" football practice. Before then, we have links to stories with words and whatnot.
--- Our position previews continue today with a look at Washington State's defensive backfield.
--- A Washington linebacker provides some needed depth.
--- Ka'Deem Carey finally broke his silence at Arizona yesterday.
--- Arizona State has an important duo from Dallas.
--- UCLA will replace Johnathan Franklin by committee, with a pretty good junior at the top of the heap.
--- California has begun preparations to play Northwestern.
--- John Canzano says Oregon State needs to name a starting quarterback soon.
--- Oregon needs to find consistency at inside linebacker.
--- Colorado isn't ready to name a starting quarterback yet, either.
--- Utah's quarterback is becoming a team leader.
Here are some additional quotes that didn't make it into our linebackers preview from LBs coach Ken Wilson:
(On battle between Cyrus Coen and Eric Oertel for playing time) "They’re neck and neck. We’re going to give them this whole week to compete, we’ll probably go all the way to Thursday and then the whole staff will meet with coach (Mike) Leach and we’ll kind of make those decisions and make a plan. Those two have both had good camps and that’s a toss up right now."
(On how many players he wants to use) "As linebacker coach I tell them playing time isn’t really up to me. I will watch them and if they earn playing time they’ll play. If I have three players that I trust, I’m going to play three players. If I have eight players I trust, I’m going to play eight. When we have our first meeting, I tell those guys the depth chart isn’t my job. Depth is my job. I have no favorites when they come in. Beating somebody out should be their focus. My job is to make them as good as I can make them so we can have the depth we need to get through a football season. Whenever we play, whoever we line up is giving us the best chance to win at that minute."
(When did your teammates begin viewing you as one of the defense's leaders?) "I’d probably say last year, between the BYU game, because that was my first start as a freshman, and then all the way to the Colorado game, because I played well in that game. It became really apparent when Travis (Long) got hurt. That’s when it became real apparent that I had to step up into a leader role."
(How well did you think the defense adapted last season?) "I felt like we adapted to an extent, but I wasn’t pleased with the way we adapted. I definitely feel there’s a lot of things that we could have done differently as a young group, coming into a new system. A lot of teams like to make that excuse – “oh, we’re young, new system,” this and that, blah blah blah – but I just feel like the game is mental and this game really shows how mentally tough you are. I don’t want that to be our excuse – “new system, we were young” and all that because I feel like that’s a cop-out, and I don’t want that to be our image that we’re cop-outs and making excuses. So I was definitely not satisfied with the way that we adapted to the change and being young and all that."
(On battle with Coen for sam linebacker spot) "Honestly with me and Cyrus, there’s no starting spot in my opinion. Week in and week out, we complement each other. The things that he’s real good at, I’m willing to sit on the sideline because he’s willing to do the same. I think we complement each other. The defense that we run, I think having both of us in there really helps the team."
(On knowing the defense in Year 2) "I feel like we’re to that point now where all the learning stuff is out and just play fast. That’s what it’s going to take, especially against an Auburn team that likes to go tempo and if you think out there, it’s going to be bad. Every time you think out on that field, it’s going to be six."
(On leadership role of LBs) "We have in my opinion one of the best D-lines in the nation, but as you look back behind them, you see the leadership. There’s a reason why linebackers are in between the secondary and those front guys down there. They’re the center of the defense. Without any one position group, our defense isn’t going to be good. I just think we bring a lot of leadership to the defense and that’s what we strive for. The first day we came in as a unit, they told the linebackers we have to lead. That’s what I hope you can see on Saturdays is the linebackers out there leading stuff. You’ve got Darryl Monroe, he’s the quarterback of the defense, so I think that speaks for itself. You watch us on TV, you watch us in Martin Stadium, you see the linebackers running stuff, and that’s how it should be if you want a successful defense."