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Archive for October 2013

WSU loses to Arizona State 55-21

S-R photojournalist Tyler Tjomsland covered the Cougars' home game against Arizona State.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

ASU pregame chat


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Eastern Sports chat, noon (Oct. 31)

 

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Eastern and Big Sky links

Sorry this is so late, but I had to catch up on sleep after two straight nights of high school district soccer. I also wrote an Eastern and Big Sky notebook, and I'm looking forward today's live chat at noon on Eastern football. I also have two more features coming up in the next two days, so keep watching. … Eastern's next opponent, Idaho State, is looking to improve its offensive focus, according to this story in the Idaho State Journal. … The Billings Gazette has a feature on MSU defensive end Brad Daly, who had some big shoes to fill this season. …… Injury may force another quarterback change at Cal Poly. … No football news out of Flagstaff, but the NAU basketball team just lost an exhibition game to a team called Arizona Christian.

Long suffering shouldn’t mean forever

A GRIP ON SPORTS

That's it. The baseball season is finally over. And the Boston Red Sox have won again. This is getting old. Read on.

Hallow’s Eve links

From Pullman — Happy Halloween and game day all rolled into one. Washington State's football team will take on Arizona State tonight …  But what can the Cougars do to ensure a victory? … Our predictions for that and the rest of the Pac-12 games this weekend can be found here … Tyler Lockman of Fox Sports Arizona asked me five questions about the game. So I gave him five answers … Deone Bucannon's WSU career is ending with a bang … The Sun Devils are out to prove they can win away from home.

More links after the jump.

Mt. Spokane defeats University High 2-0

S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the University High vs. Mt. Spokane girls soccer game.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

Chiefs maintain No. 3 ranking

Despite dropping two of their last three games, the Spokane Chiefs held on to the No. 3 spot in the Canadian Hockey League's weekly Top 10 rankings. Read story

WSU basketball to take on CWU in exhibition

From Pullman — The Washington State men's basketball season doesn't officially tip off until November 8, but you can get a sneak peek of the Cougars this Friday at 8 p.m. when the team takes on Central Washington University in Beasley Coliseum for an exhibition game that is free to the public. The Wildcats were picked by coaches to finish fourth in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and are led by senior Mark McLaughlin who pledged to play for WSU once upon a time.

Oct. 30 WSU Football Chat


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The weekend starts tonight … well, sort of

A GRIP ON SPORTS

You know what? The next few days are going to be fun. Real fun. Read on.

Eastern and Big Sky links

The Eastern Washington football team is making some adjustments in the secondary. Here's my story from Tuesday's practice, along with previews of Saturday's game from EWU and from ISU. The Idaho State Journal has a recap of the Bengals' narrow last week to Southern Utah. The school has a feature on current ISU (and former EWU) coach Mike Kramer. … Montana is trying to regroup after last week's loss to Eastern. … After two straight losses, Cal Poly needs a win to stay in the play off hunt.

Wednesday Morning Links

From Pullman — The Cougars had their Thursday Night Football scrimmage on Tuesday, due to the accelerated schedule caused by Thursday's Halloween football game … Washington State will get a little help from the weather … There weren't any surprises in the Pac-12 last weekend, and our Power Rankings didn't change much.

More links after the jump.

Moose Jaw parts ways with Fiddler

Todd Fiddler had a breakout season with the Spokane Chiefs last season, but one year later his time in the Western Hockey League has apparently come to a halt. Read story:

Idaho’s prep for Texas State begins

The Idaho football team had its first full practice in preparation for Texas State, and we've got notes to share with you after the jump. The Vandals (1-7) host the Bobcats (5-3) on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Kibbie Dome. Texas State, a Sun Belt team that easily handled Idaho last year in San Marcos, is a 10-point favorite.

The Hawks are giving us a real ride

A GRIP ON SPORTS

You like rollercoasters? Then you'll love this season's Seahawks. They are an E ticket ride every week. Read on.

Tuesday Morning Links

From Pullman — Finally some semblance of order as the Pac-12 coaches teleconference will take place on Tuesday, today, just like always. We'll also have our weekly Wednesday WSU football chat tomorrow at 11 a.m., so keep an eye out for that. The Cougars are just two short days away from taking on Arizona State and, like Simba, they'll need to put the past behind them … Safety Deone Bucannon is a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe award … Their opponent is impressed by the Cougars' character …The Sun Devils are led by an assistant coach who is no stranger to WSU.

More links after the jump.

Davis likely to start again for Idaho

Idaho is preparing to host Texas State on Saturday afternoon, and it's building its game plan around senior Taylor Davis at quarterback, Vandals coach Paul Petrino said Monday. Davis, the Vandals' third-string QB to open the year, started for the first time last week in a 59-14 loss at Ole Miss after Chad Chalich and Josh McCain were sidelined with shoulder injuries. Petrino said there's been no change to Chalich or McCain's status. McCain has missed the last two games, while Chalich — who started the first six games — was hurt on the second series of Idaho's Oct. 12 loss at Arkansas State.

Monday practice report and an award finalist

From Pullman — The Cougars had a Monday practice today because of the skewed schedule stemming from a Thursday night football game this week. Things got a bit chippy during the session when freshman Emmitt Su'a-Kalio appeared to good-naturedly hold down running back Theron West during a special teams drill. West took exception to Su'a-Kalio not letting him up, and took a swing at the freshman when he rose. The players were quickly separated and neither seemed the worse for wear.

Coach Mike Leach said he doesn't mind such skirmishes, with a caveat: “As long as they don't waste too much time,” Leach said. “If they waste time then I'll roll them, but they better not take too much time.”

The first team defense struggled again as scout team quarterbacks Tyler Bruggman and Lucas Falk continually completed passes to Cougars downfield. The defense has struggled against he pass all week, and the scout team was able to find success in the ground game as well.

Also, a WSU football player is in the hunt for one of college football's most prestigious awards. Find out who after the jump.

Busy day/night on GU beat

I put together a short feature earlier on Gonzaga freshman center Ryan Edwards, who is making the adjustment from high school to NCAA basketball.

You can my article, which will run in Tuesday's S-R, here.

I spent most of the evening gathering information on 2014 guard Bryan Alberts, who committed to the Bulldogs today. I spoke with Bryan and his father Rob for a few minutes. My article will run in Tuesday's S-R, but you can read an unedited version below.

A few tidbits on Alberts: He said he's a 3.4-3.5 student. He received widespread recruiting interest, including Boston College, Wisconsin (which was calling Rob on the other line during our conversation!), Oregon State, Creighton and Arizona State, but his finalists were Gonzaga and Stanford.

Alberts is anxious for the beginning of his senior season at Village Christian, a private school in the San Fernando Valley.

“I’m always still hungry to play,” he said. “I’m very still hungry to improve myself.”

Another weekend in the books

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It's not bad to be a little sore on a Monday, is it? It means you've made it through another jam-packed weekend safe, secure and not-quite sound. Read on.

Monday Morning Links

From Pullman — The Cougars had their typical Monday press conference on Thursday of last week, so there won't be any new news or video from today … We've got a story in the S-R about how the Washington State basketball team is already feeling the impact of the NCAA's new rules … As well as a first look at the ASU-WSU football game … The Cougars may have been off last weekend but their flag wasn't … WSU will face a Top-25 opponent on Thursday, although just barely … The Sun Devils took a recruit from USC last weekend.

Links from around the conference will be your everlasting reward if you continue reading.

Sunday practice report

From Pullman — The Washington State football team took Saturday off, but was back at it for a full practice on Sunday. The first team defense struggled, as scout team quarterbacks Tyler Bruggman and Luke Falk found a number of receivers behind the secondary, drawing the ire of defensive coordinator Mike Breske. The defense got one back, however, when Falk led receiver Robert Lewis right into safety Anthony Carpenter, who blew up the diminutive receiver with a forearm shot.

The first team offense had some success as well. Both Connor Halliday and backup quarterback Austin Apodaca missed only a pair of passes and WSU's receivers made some nice catches and were consistently running crisp routes.

After practice we talked to coach Mike Leach and linebackers coach Ken Wilson. Highlights from those interviews after the jump.

Book signing with co-author of The System

Released in mid-September, “The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football” is the latest vignette-styled, behind-the-action look at college football. The 386-page book offers insight and access into the recruiting, game planning, struggles and successes of the college football season.

WSU fans will be interested in a number of chapters related to coach Mike Leach and athletic director Bill Moos,Oct and even a look at President Elson Floyd's administration. For example:

Every athletic director has to have a trusted confidant, someone on staff capable of handling sensitive situations that arise behind the scenes when running the most visible department on campus. In Bill Moos' case, he turned to Mike Marlow, a gregarious fellow who spent thirteen years toiling away in the athletic department at Oregon. That's how Moos knew him. Marlow used to work for Moos in Eugene. But Marlow was a graduate of WSU, and when Moos offered him a job at his alma mater, he didn't hesitate.

More from the excerpt — and information on book signings — after the jump.

A new way to end a game

A GRIP ON SPORTS

You never know what type of weird glitches you may find after changing an operating system on your computer. I installed Maverick on my MacBook Pro yesterday and everything seemed to go just fine. But when I opened this file today, it looked as if it was written in Chinese. (Insert your own joke about my writing style here.) It seems some of my fonts – I've always used the easy-to-read Verdana as my go-to font in Word – don't want to translate to the new OS. Oh well. There could be worse details to deal with. Just ask the Red Sox. Read on.

Sunday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — The Cougars took Saturday off from practice while the rest of the conference took the field. Continue reading for the fallout from another Saturday full of Pac-12 football.

Ole Miss pulls away to trounce idaho

There were promising moments here and there Saturday night for the Idaho football team, which briefly made its game at Ole Miss interesting in the second quarter before bowing out, 59-14. The Vandals fell to 1-7 and lost their 27th consecutive game to traditional BCS schools, a streak that stretches back to 2000. 

Down 17-7 midway through the second quarter, Idaho drove to the Rebels' 8-yard line with third-string quarterback Taylor Davis under center and had a 27-yard field goal attempt to draw within a touchdown. But Austin Rehkow's kick bounced off the right upright and Ole Miss rattled off 21 unanswered points to pull away.

Davis was 12-of-30 passing for 166 yards in his first start this season. He completed just 36 percent of his passes two weeks ago after replacing Chad Chalich (shoulder) against Arkansas State.

There is one thing missing this Saturday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

When you wake up on a crisp fall Saturday morning and look out the window, does the yellow and orange color scheme just scream football to you? It does to me. Maybe it's because of all the football movies ever made feature, at some point, the palette of fall. There always seemed to be the obligatory montage of fall colors, even if the movie was in black and white. Which bring us to this morning. A football Saturday if I ever saw one. Read on.

Eastern and Big Sky links

MISSOULA - I'll admit it: I'm jealous.I just walked to the hotel lobby and picked up the local newspaper - in this case the Missoulian. Tucked inside is a 24-page special tabloid section devoted solely to today's big Eastern Washington-Montana game. Sure, I wrote this story from Friday's Eastern walk-through, but that's nothing compared with the local product. Sure, this town is all-Montana, all the time, but I'm impressed. Here's a link to all the stories in the Missoulian section. The Great Falls Tribune weighs in with this feature on Eagle QB Vernon Adams, and the Billings Gazette has a game preview.

Idaho in SEC country to take on Ole Miss

After a bye week, the Vandals are back in the South. They played at Arkansas State two weeks ago, and now they're taking on a significantly better team from a significantly better conference.

Read on for our Idaho-Ole Miss preview.

Saturday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman—Fans of the Washington State football team can enjoy a stress-free Saturday for the first time this season, as the Cougars rest up with a bye. But outside of Pullman the world maintains its busy schedule, an infinite story lines will play out in Pac-12 stadiums just a few short hours from now.

Zags roll in exhibition opener

The Gonzaga Bulldogs got an easy win in their exhibition opener and Mark Few picked up some nice reading material.

All in all, a good opening night for the Zags, who routed Simon Fraser 103-68.

My unedited game story is below.

Shadle Park defeats Central Valley 47-28

S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the Shadle Park vs. Central Valley game.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

WSU men’s basketball to host free clinic

Boys and girls in kindergarten through sixth grade can participate in a free basketball clinic presented by the Washington State men's basketball team on Sunday from 4-5 p.m. in the basketball practice gym, PEB 146, at WSU. Check-in for the clinic will be held in PEB 144, starting at 3:30.

Coach Ken Bone and the team will be providing instruction, and will be available for autographs after the clinic.

Registration is available online only and all participants must register in advance, by Saturday, Oct. 26 at noon. To register go to www.wsucougars.com.

WSU Athletics is directing questions to Mike Simonson, who can be reached at 509-335-7693 or msimonson@wsu.edu.

 

WSU Friday football practice

From Pullman — Because next week's game against Arizona State is being played on a Thursday, the Washington State football team has moved its weekly schedule ahead three days. That mean's tonight's practice was treated as a Sunday practice, and the Cougars won't practice on Saturday (Monday). Don't worry, you're not the only one who's confused.

The team ran through various drills for just over an hour before ending practice. No players were limited other than long snapper Ryan Saparto and offensive lineman Jacob Seydel.Receiver Kristoff Williams is back with the team and caught a couple passes from quarterback Connor Halliday.

After practice we spoke to defensive line coach Joe Salave'a. Read the highlights from the Q&A after the jump.

A brief update on WSU’s suspended basketball players

From Pullman — We had a chance to speak today with Washington State men's basketball coach Ken Bone, who provided an update on the statuses of Jordan Railey and Danny Lawhorn, who were each suspended indefinitely by Bone for violating team rules. Lawhorn has since left the team but Railey has returned and is practicing with the Cougars.

Bone said that Railey has done “everything we've asked of him,” although he wouldn't yet say whether or not the center will be available to play in WSU's season-opening exhibition game against Central Washington University on November 1. Railey — who transferred to WSU from Iowa State — is known for his shot-blocking ability on defense, and provides crucial frontcourt depth for the Cougars.

Bone said that Lawhorn is back with his family in Connecticut. The WSU coach is fielding calls and emails from other coaches inquiring about the point guard, and Bone hopes to help him find another school to play for.

Non-breaking news: Zags favored

The WCC held its annual tip-off event in Los Angeles on Thursday and to the surprise of no one Gonzaga was picked to win the conference title in the preseason poll. Perhaps the only surprise was the margin — Gonzaga received eight of 10 first-place votes, BYU and Saint Mary's one apiece. I thought BYU, with a strong backcourt, would have pulled down at least another first-place vote or two.

Here's my article that ran in today's S-R. I wrote the WCC previews for Athlon roughly three months ago and my WCC picks nearly mirrored the coaches' poll (Gonzaga, BYU, Saint Mary's, San Francisco, San Diego, Loyola Marymount, Pacific, Santa Clara, Portland and Pepperdine). The only difference is I picked Santa Clara 7th and newcomer Pacific 8th.

GU entertains Simon Fraser tonight in an exhibition game. Follow along tonight on Twitter (@SRjimm). More on the visitors from Burnaby, B.C. here.

A change of seasons?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

After watching the second game of the World Series last night, did you think, “It's a good time for college basketball to start?” Well, if you did, you are in luck. Read on.

Eastern and Big Sky links

Odds are, Eastern Washington receiver Cooper Kupp will score a touchdown Saturday at Montana; after all, he's done it every game so far this season. Here's my feature on Kupp, along with the replay of Thursday's live chat. Before I pack my bags for the drive to Missoula, here are a few more links to the big game, including the release from Eastern and from Montana. The Missoulian has a feature on QB Vernon Adams and a report on a big injury for the Grizzlies. From the Great Falls Tribune, here's a notebook, and from the Billings Gazette, well, another notebook. Meanwhile, the Big Sky honors two former Eastern stars.

Friday Morning Links

No pressure for the Washington State football team this weekend, but the rest of the Pac-12 is gearing up for Saturday's games. Here are some links from around the conference.

Idaho vs. BCS teams: 1-28 since 2000

When the Idaho Vandals meet Ole Miss on Saturday (4:30 p.m. PDT, ESPN3), it will be their second trip to face an SEC team in the last two seasons — and their 30th game against a traditional BCS conference team since 2000. They've won just one of those matchups (vs. Washington State in 2000). And since beating the Cougars 38-34 at Martin Stadium in Tom Cable's first year, Idaho has dropped 26 straight games against BCS teams. That equates to a 1-28 record over the last 14 seasons.

We've got a season-by-season look at UI's games against major conference competition since 2000 after the jump.

Update: As several readers have mentioned, Temple, a team Idaho beat earlier this year, is now a BCS AQ team. But this analysis still stands for traditional BCS conference teams.

Shadle Park defeats Central Valley 3-0

S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the Central Valley vs. Shadle Park volleyball match.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

Thursday Night Lights

While the Cougars have adjusted their practice schedule this week to accommodate next week's Thursday night game, Washington State still held its weekly Thursday Night Football practice at the regular time. The event, which follows a normal practice, is a full-contact scrimmage for the team's younger players.

Linebacker Nathan Hundeby was the night's most impressive player. The freshman from Spokane had seven tackles to go with an interception of Tyler Bruggman and a sack of Connor Ennis. It was a rough day for Bruggman, who finished the day 7-of-14 with two interceptions. The first-year player out of Arizona did have a touchdown pass to Jamal Morrow, but most of the work was done by the freshman running back.

After practice we spoke with offensive line coach Clay McGuire who gave us the lowdown on the practice from a coach's perspective.

A brief update on WSU’s suspended basketball players

From Pullman — We had a chance to speak today with Washington State men's basketball coach Ken Bone, who provided an update on the statuses of Jordan Railey and Danny Lawhorn, who were each suspended indefinitely by Bone for violating team rules. Lawhorn has since left the team but Railey has returned and is practicing with the Cougars.

Bone said that Railey has done “everything we've asked of him,” although he wouldn't yet say whether or not the center will be available to play in WSU's season-opening exhibition game against Central Washington University on November 1.

Bone said that Lawhorn is back with his family in Connecticut. The WSU coach is fielding calls and emails from other coaches inquiring about the point guard, and Bone hopes to help him find another school to play for.

Karma can be a pitch away

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Not too long ago, I was stuck behind a Subaru Outback over by the Unitarian church. On the bumper was a sticker that includes some sort of star-like symbol and a saying, karma is a witch or a stitch or a niche or something like that. Now, it's not often I put my faith in the power of the bumper sticker but last night, watching the opening game of the World Series, I became a believer. Read on.

Eastern and Big Sky links

Here's my feature story on the comeback by Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson, and in case you missed it, the Eagles' preparation for playing at Montana. … We can discuss that and more in today's live chat, starting at noon here at SportsLink.  Want more on Saturday's game? Here's the official release from Eastern and from Montana, plus a feature on Eastern QB Vernon Adams, written by the Missoulian.

Morning links, and a new recruit

From Pullman—Kind of a hectic day for Washington State football recruiting. While one committed player may no longer have the option of enrolling at WSU, the Cougars also received a commitment from a defensive lineman on Wednesday as reported by Scout.com. The player, Sacramento's Feaomoengalu Tapa,becomes the 15th known player to verbally indicate their intent to sign with WSU in February.

Elsewhere around the conference …

Idaho practice notes: QBs a no-go

Idaho quarterbacks Chad Chalich and Josh McCain were observers at practice on Wednesday, both out with shoulder injuries and watching from the sideline in shorts and their jerseys. In their absence, Taylor Davis took the first-team reps, with true freshman Matt Linehan behind him. And if those two healthy QBs were to go down, the Vandals would apparently be out of options for a full-time QB who could run the offense. Coach Paul Petrino said UI doesn't have a third-string QB on its depth chart as it prepares to play at Mississippi on Saturday (4:30 p.m. PDT, ESPN3).

We have more Idaho practice notes after the jump, and short Q&As with Petrino and defensive coordinator Ronnie Lee.

Spokane O-lineman no longer has WSU offer

Multiple recruiting websites are reporting that Cougars commit Jordan Rose no longer has a scholarship offer from coach Mike Leach following an undisclosed incident off the field. Rose, who attends 1A Freeman High School outside of Spokane, has been a verbal commit to Washington State since August. The 6-foot-6 senior was all-league on both the offensive and defensive lines last season, and was expected to play offensive tackle for the Cougars.

Live WSU Football Chat: Bye Week

We're going to experiment with a 3 p.m. chat this week to see if a time that's later in the day works better for people. Feel free to submit questions or comments in advance.

 


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Pac-12 power rankings: Week 9

Chaos and disarray reign supreme in the “Conference of Champions.” Utah beats Stanford, Arizona beats Utah. Cats and birds living together in perfect harmony. Is nothing sacred? For those of us who bristle at the idea of change and want our porridge to taste exactly the same every morning there is always old reliable Oregon to take solace in. Actually, Cal is pretty reliable as well. Everything in between, however, is a lawless anarchy. Bring order to your universe with our power rankings for week 9.

Some changes in the past 24 hours

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Not much has changed around here in the past 24 hours, though our thoughts about the Seahawks may have and, lest we forget, the NCAA stuck it to USC once again. Read on.

Wednesday Morning Links

The Pac-12 conference is having a very good year … But who is best? More importantly, who is the second best? Third? … There's going to be fancy, new hotel soon in Pullman … WSU Athletics has a spotlight on kicker Andrew Furney … The effects of ASU's controversial win over Wisconsin are still being felt … A Sun Devil specialist received an honor for his work against Washington.

More from around the conference after the jump.

Mike Leach teleconference transcription

From Pullman—The Pac-12 coaches had their Tuesday teleconference today. Since the Cougars are taking a bye-week break this was our only opportunity to speak with coach Mike Leach until Thursday's practice. Continue reading for a transcript of what Leach had to say:

Idaho to play SDSU, moves Fresno game

Idaho has replaced one Mountain West team for another in its 2014 football schedule, moving its return trip to Fresno State to 2018 and picking up a game at San Diego State, athletic director Rob Spear confirmed this morning. “San Diego State needed a home game and Fresno was willing to move, so we made the change,” Spear said in an e-mail.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Monday that Idaho will play at San Diego State on Nov. 8, 2014. The Vandals hosted Fresno State this season in the first part of a home-and-home series.

Idaho, which will rejoin the Sun Belt next year after one year of being an FBS independent, is slated to open 2014 at Florida. Other announced games include a home game with Western Michigan and a trip to Ohio.

A short one for Tuesday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

We know your Tuesdays are always crammed full of work-related items, so we'll be a big help today and keep it short. Read on.

Tuesday morning links

From Pullman—Following a hectic week both in the Pac-12 and around the country, the Pac-12 has made a clear case for the arugment that it is the nation's deepest conference. However, according a Las Vegas insider says that its the toughest at the top as well.

The saga of Oregon assistant Nick Aliotti — who made disparaging remarks about WSU coach Mike Leach following UO's 62-38 victory — continues. Aliotti made a public apology, to which Leach responded. WSU athletic director Bill Moos had some remarks as well. In the end, Aliotti was fined by the conference despite the apology. Was Aliotti's greatest strength his downfall?

The Cougars won't practice until Thursday with a bye game this weekend … Norman Chad has a third installment of his Couch Slouch series … Has Vince Mayle become a real weapon for Leach's offense? 

Davis likely to start at QB for Idaho

After bye week full of practices that Idaho football coach Paul Petrino equated to a “little three-day spring ball,” the Vandals are back to the regular routine and preparing for SEC foe Mississippi. And it appears senior Taylor Davis, who was third on the depth two weeks ago, will get his first start of the season. 

Read on for more on that, and for a few other notes.

WSU at Oregon: Unit Grades

From Pullman — Things certainly could have gone worse against the Ducks. The Cougars put up more first-half points on Oregon than any other team this year, and the defense made quarterback Marcus Mariota look human, if only briefly. Still, only a pair of late-game touchdowns kept the Ducks from winning by nearly 40 and WSU's turnover problem isn't getting any better. Follow the jump for this week's unit grades.

Monday Morning Links

From Pullman—Well, the Cougars have finally made it to the bye week and with just four games left they need to make the most of it … The Oregon assistant  who blasted WSU coach Mike Leach yesterday has apologized for his remarks … While the team was in Eugene, the tower crane above the developing football operations building was removed. This reporter, for one, will miss it … Interestingly, teams that break passing records — as WSU did on Saturday — often lose — as WSU did on Saturday.

Also of note was the passing of legendary Washington coach Don James. The College Football Hall of Fame coach was fondly remembered by Jim Walden, who was often his rival.

Links from around the conference after the jump.

Sometimes a ‘sorry’ is needed

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There was an awful, awful movie in the 1970s (based on an equally melodramatic book) from which the catchphrase “love means never having to say you're sorry” became part of the lexicon. What a bunch of hogwash. Read on.

Postgame links

 

From The Heavens — David's shot missed its mark last night and Goliath, Oregon, pummeled the Cougs in a 62-38 victory. It was a dishonorable defeat for WSU, according to an Oregon assistant, who was apparently miffed at the insubordination the Cougars showed by not spending the fourth quarter having quarterback Connor Halliday kneel down to run out the clock while the rest of the team applauded the Ducks in awestruck wonder. The nerve.

Granted, WSU kept its pedal to the metal throughout the game, even though not much went right when they did. It was a sloppy game for both teams, and Oregon QB Marcus Mariota coughed up his first two turnovers of the year.

Leach, Halliday go down throwing

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Jeez, without a Seahawk game, what do we write about on a Sunday morning? Maybe a few NCAA passing records and what they mean? Read on.

Chiefs’ winning streak, perfect home mark end

All good things must come to an end. Two good things ended for the Spokane Chiefs after Saturday's 4-1 loss to the Victoria Royals: their four-game winning streak and their perfect home record, which had been 4-0. A couple of good things didn't end, however. Western Hockey League scoring leader Mitch Holmberg assisted on Spokane's only goal, giving him at least one point in all 13 Chiefs games. Also, the Chiefs (10-3-0-0) continued to lead the WHL in points (20) and winning percentage (.769). Read story

EWU defeats Southern Utah 34-10 (Oct. 19)

S-R photojournalist Tyler Tjomsland covered the EWU home game against Southern Utah. Check out this big picture gallery of his photos. 

Oregon Pregame Chat


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Pac-12 gameday links

From Eugene—Lots of good college  football today and what better way to prepare yourself than by reading the advances from all the Pac-12 beat writers? What's that? You have three TVs, a keg of ginger ale and those amazing chips that are scientifically engineered for optimal scoop capacity? Ok, that does sound better.

Here are some links, anyways.

Another Saturday of football

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Saturdays come and go during the fall, each blending into the next until, before you realize it, the college football season is almost over. And the leaves are so high in your back yard, the beagle disappeared yesterday. Read on.

Holmberg, Chiefs continue torrid pace

Things are going so well for the Spokane Chiefs that it's hard to come up with “yeah, buts” to counterbalance the excitement of their 10-2 start to the Western Hockey League season. The top candidate for the Debbie Downers of the world is that it's hard to believe that Mitch Holmberg (16 goals, 31 points) and Mike Aviani (11 goals, 21 points) can keep up their red-hot paces. True, but it's important to remember that the Chiefs' veteran defense and 20-year-old goalie Eric Williams have helped to make Spokane anything but one- (or two-) dimensional. Williams leads the league in goals-against average and the Chiefs are allowing just more than two goals per game. Throw out a bad first period against Portland and a bad third period against Edmonton and the Chiefs have allowed 18 goals in 34 periods (plus two games that went into overtime). Read story

Lewis and Clark vs. Ferris

S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the Lewis and Clark vs. Ferris game in the the Friday night GSL doubleheader.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

Mt. Spokane defeats University 42-10

S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the Mt. Spokane vs. University High game in the Friday night GSL doubleheader at Joe Albi.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

Eastern faces Southern Utah in sold-out Homecoming game

Unlike their fans, football coaches don’t dwell on the past. There’s just no time.

Last year, Eastern Washington was toppled from the top spot in the FCS rankings by an upset loss to  struggling Southern Utah. It stung at the time, but that was 12 months ago.

 “That team is gone, and their team is gone,” said Eastern coach Beau Baldwin, shaking his head at the question. “That was last year.”

The other difference: both teams have something to play for in today’s sold-out Homecoming game at Roos Field. Fourth-ranked Eastern needs to keep its momentum heading into next week’s showdown at Montana, while the Thunderbirds are trying to win their sixth game and stay in contention for a spot in the FCS playoffs.

The Hawks may just drive us crazy

A GRIP ON SPORTS

What's the best word or phrase to describe the Seahawks right now? Dominating, sure. Winners, OK. Maddening? I'm pretty sure that works too. Read on.

Eastern and Big Sky links

The college basketball season is closer than you think. On Wednesday, the Big Sky Conference released its men's preseason basketball poll. Here's my story with quotes from Eagle head coach Jim Hayford. On the football front, here's my feature on versatile tight end Zack Gehring, along with a partial transcript from our live chat. … This week it's homecoming at  sold-out Roos Field, the Eagles face Southern Utah's rugged defense.  …  Montana's offense is clicking thanks largely because of the return of quarterback Jordan Johnso, according to the Missoulilan. Speaking of the Griz - Eastern's opponent next week - their defense is very tough in the red zone lately; Here's the story from the Billings Gazette…. Montana State is at Weber State this weekend.

Friday Morning Links

From San Francisco — It's that time again. The coffee is brewing, the birds are chirping and there's a new set of links for you to peruse. The kids are still asleep, and this solitary hour is for you to treasure. I won't keep you. 

Yesterday was Pac-12's Basketball media day. The conference is expected to be much improved, even if the Cougars aren't … The football team is traveling down to Eugene to face the juggernaut that is Oregon … The Ducks have found a way to introduce a new helmet that isn't obnoxious … Oregon's coach isn't overlooking WSU … Nobody panic, the Ducks have another budding superstar … A penchant for interceptions may not be WSU quarterback Connor Halliday's biggest problem.

How was that? Getting settled in? Immerse yourself, after the jump.

Gonzaga 14th in USA Today preseason poll

Gonzaga is ranked No. 14 in USA Today's preseason poll. The Bulldogs finished 14th in the USA Today rankings last season.

Kentucky is rated No. 1. Memphis, Gonzaga's opponent Feb. 8 in Memphis, is ranked 13th. Syracuse, a possible GU opponent in Maui, is No. 7. Baylor, also a potential opponent in Maui, just missed the Top 25 (102 votes, 26th). Kansas State, GU's opponent on Dec. 21 in Wichita, received three votes.

No other WCC teams received a vote. Wichita State, which eliminated Gonzaga in last year's NCAA Tournament, is No. 16.

More from USA Today here and here's the Top 25.

East Valley defeats Colville volleyball 3-1

S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered East Valley's GNL matchup against Colville.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

Shadle Park defeats North Central 49-0

S-R photojournalist Dan Pelle covered Shadle Park's game against North Central.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott

From San Francisco— After the players and coaches were done, Pac-12 commissioner took the stageat the2013 Pac-12 basketballmedia day to address topics such as scheduling, DIRECTV and basketball players leaving school early. You can watch the video or read the transcript below.

 

Larry Scott Transcription

Cougars at media day

From San Francisco — Coach Ken Bone and guard DaVonte Lacy led off a busy Pac-12 Basketball Media day. Below is the video provided by the Pac-12 and continue reading for a transcription.

Eastern Sports chat, noon (Oct. 17)

Here's the replay of Thursday's on Eastern Washington football.

Pac-12 picks for week 8

From San  Francisco —Well, we came back down to earth a little bit this week. But really, if you’re a Utah fan, you don’t mind losing a little money for a victory like that. Lots of big games in the conference this week and at least a couple of them will have major implications for the conference standings. UCLA and Stanford will battle for the right to be second best, and Washington will look to prove it’s ready for primetime against ASU.

USC and Notre Dame are each having subpar seasons but can turn it around with a rivalry win. Here’s how I think things will shake out:

The playoff folks missed an opportunity

A GRIP ON SPORTS

At the end of next college football season there will be a mini-playoff of sorts to determine a national champion. One of the biggest steps toward that mini-playoff occurred yesterday, when the names of the selection committee were officially released. I can't lie. I'm a little disappointed. Read on.

Eastern and Big Sky links

Suddenly, Eastern Washington is winning the turnover battle, but nothing like upcoming opponent Southern Utah. We'll discuss that and much more at today's Live Chat, but until then, here are some more links on a very slow day for media coverage, including a preview from EWU and another from Southern Utah … The biggest game of the week in the Big Sky may be at Montana, which awaits Cal Poly's unique offense. On the flip side, Cal Poly hasn't fared well in previous trips to Missoula. … Idaho State feels it's better than its record shows, according to this story from Pocatello.

Thursday Morning Links

From San Francisco — The city by the bay has been taken over by Pac-12 basketball players, coaches and scribes. Back in Pullman, the football team is getting ready to face the No. 2 Ducks, and here is a nice summary of today's practice … Oregon is hoping the Cougars make plenty of mistakes in the passing game … But WSU is going to win, obviously … The NFL is starting to notice Oregon's stellar quarterback.

Continue reading for more links.

Chiefs’ veterans lead team to top

The question put to Spokane Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur was: “How long can Mitch Holmberg, Mike Aviani and Eric Williams play at this level?” The Chiefs' 20-year-olds are Western Hockey League statistical leaders as the season reaches the one-month mark. “All year,” Nachbaur said, which should bode well for a Chiefs team ranked No. 3 in this week's Canadian Hockey League Top 10 poll. Read story

Baseball needs to makes some changes

A GRIP ON SPORTS

As you age, you are supposed to get more set in your ways. That doesn't seem to be true as it relates to my relationship with baseball. Read on.

Eastern and Big Sky links

I was at Eastern football practice yesterday, and have this story on six true freshmen who are seeing action this season. The Eagles will put their No. 4 ranking on the line Saturday against Southern Utah. Here are the official releases from Eastern and from the T-Birds. The Eagles' next opponent, Montana, must confront Cal Poly's triple option offense. The Grizzlies have been a strong first-quarter team, notes the Billings Gazette. ….Here's a nice story on a Montana State player fighting through pain, courtesy of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

Wednesday Morning Links

From Pullman—By the time you read this, I'll be pulling into SeaTac airport, en route to San Francisco for Pac-12 Basketball Media Day. While that means no more practice reports this week, it will also mean a flurry of basketball news, so stay tuned for that.

As for yesterday's practice, coach Mike Leach announced after practice that freshman cornerback Alex Jackson has been suspended indefinitely. Jackson has played sparingly this year, although he did return a pair of kickoffs against Stanford.

Also absent from practice was wide receiver Kristoff Williams, although Leach said that he remains in good standing with the team. Linebacker Feddie Davey was limited in practice, and linebackers coach Ken Wilson confirmed that he is nursing some minor injuries. Wilson also said that he expects the injured Peyton Pelluer back at practice this week.

On scout team the Cougars had receiver Drew Loftus taking snaps at quarterback, presumably an attempt to replicate the speed of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. 

Now let's get to those links:

Hitmen take notice of Holmberg

This week's Western Hockey League notebook leads with reaction by the Calgary Hitmen after their 3-2 shootout loss to the visiting Spokane Chiefs on Sunday. Mitch Holmberg had one goal and one assist to continue his torrid scoring pace for Spokane. Sunday's game ended the Chiefs' three-games-in-three-nights swing through Eastern Conference teams in Alberta. Spokane went 2-1 on the trip to improve to 6-2 on the road and 8-2 overall this season. The schedule finally starts to swing in Spokane's direction Wednesday night, with the first of five consecutive games at the Arena. Swift Current, with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference, is the first rival. Read story

Pac-12 Power Rankings, week 8

 

From Pullman –After laying dormant the past few weeks, the Pac-12’s depth asserted itself this week. One of the conference’s made men was iced by an underling, and some middle tier teams emphasized their superiority over the bottom feeders. It’s pretty obvious who the king of the hill is, and who is destined to remain at the bottom of the heap. But there are a number of teams scrambling over each other to get to the top, and it’s anyone’s guess how they stack up. What is clear: The Pac-12 is an exceptionally deep conference.

Mead defeats University 3-1

S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the Mead vs. University High volleyball game.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

Bigger isn’t always better, but sometimes it is important

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Far be it for me to bite the hand that feeds me, but what the heck. After all, they sprung a new blog-writing format on me today without as much as a how-do-you-do. Read on.

Eastern and Big Sky links

for some reason, this new format isn’t letting me capitalize anything, but i will forge ahead anyway. it’s homecoming week in cheney, where the fourth-ranked eagles face southern utah. i’ll check out practice later today, but in the meantime, here’s the early scoop from dave cook of the eastern sports information department. suu also has a release. from the billings gazette, an appreciation of msu quarterback denarius mcghee. … the bobcats also got a big game from kicker rory perez , who had been struggling.

Tuesday Morning Pac-12 Links

The Washington State football team has quite a challenge  this week, traveling to face Oregon in unfriendly Autzen Stadium. The Ducks lead the conference in both passing and rushing, and have a fearsome defense. That means the Cougars won’t have any time to sulk  over their disheartening loss to OSU on Saturday. But CougCenter gives us a look back  at that game. Here’s our first look at that game. 

In case you missed it, we tried out a new feature  on the blog yesterday … And Ken Goe had a controversial column  about Cougar coach Mike Leach … De’Anthony Thomas may not have practiced  on Monday, but still hopes to play against WSU … Marcus Mariota is getting a lot of well-deserved praise, and handling it well  … Greg Bishop of the New York Times has a good read  on the Ducks.

Continue reading for more links from around the conference.

Unit Grades: OSU

Having now watched the Pac-12 Network’s replay of the game (and having attended, of course) I’d like to introduce this new feature to the blog. The hope is that by analyzing individual position groups we can get a better idea of what this WSU team really looks like. What are the team’s strengths, who is getting better and who is mired in a slump?

Without further adieu, grades after the jump.


Mike Leach Monday press conference

There are some technical issues on WSU's side embedding the Mike Leach video, but you can find it here.

It’s a rank column today … no, that doesn’t sound right

A GRIP ON SPORTS

We are starting a new feature this morning in this space. It's a look back at the weekend around these here parts. And, because the Internet would not exist if not for lists, we use numbers. Read on.

Sunday night WSU practice

Washington State postponed its Sunday night football practice until 9 p.m., but didn't officially get started until 10 p.m. That was when the coaches and a number of starting players arrived at Martin Stadium. Most of the team arrived at 9 p.m. and participated in drills that were overseen by graduate assistants. Once everyone was accounted for the practice lasted around 40 minutes.

Unofficially, the players that arrived at 10 were:

Offense: Quarterback Connor Halliday, receiver Gabe Marks, running back Marcus Mason, center Elliott Bosch, offensive tackle John Fullington, offensive lineman Joe Dahl, offensive tackle Gunnar Eklund and receiver Kristoff Williams.

Defense: Linebacker Darryl Monroe, linebacker Justin Sagote, safety Deone Bucannon, cornerback Damante Horton, defensive linemen Xavier Cooper, Toni Pole and Ioane Gauta.

Practicing at cornerback was Nolan Washington, who warmed up with the wide receivers before Saturday's game.

After practice we had our first chance to speak with defensive coordinator Mike Breske since the OSU game. More on that after the jump.

Zag roundup

We're not going to spend much time reviewing Gonzaga's 15-minute scrimmage during Kraziness in the Kennel on Saturday but we do have a few observations and notes below.

Here's a link to my article in Sunday's S-R. Read on.

Anger an appropriate response

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Mike Leach was angry. That was obvious. The Cougars' fourth-quarter meltdown in a 52-24 loss to Oregon State had ticked him off. Rightfully so. It had probably ticked off every Cougar fan in America. Read on.

Morning after links

Oregon State used a 35-0 run to put the Cougars to bed last night, here's our story from the game … And here's the notebook … Josh Wright joined us in the press box and has an excellent sidebar on OSU receiver Brandin Cooks … 

But there were other games played on Saturday, too. Read on for links from around the conference.

Oregon State defeats WSU 52-24. (Oct. 12)

S-R photojournalist Tyler Tjomsland covered the WSU home game against Oregon State. Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

GU puts on Krazy show

The Zags staged their version of Midnight Madness with their annual Kraziness in the Kennel, featuring a 3-point shooting contest (Pangos was on fire), another shooting contest involving ex-GU greats Dan Dickau, Blake Stepp, Cory Violette and David Pendergraft (nice addition to the Kraziness lineup), and finally a 15-minute scrimmage (a tad sloppy).

Here's my article on the day's events that will run in Sunday's S-R. I'll have a follow-up post in the morning.

Idaho’s rally fizzles at Arkansas State

The Idaho football team showed some second-half spunk, but a major special teams gaffe helped Arkansas State race past the Vandals 48-24 at Liberty Bank Stadium in Jonesboro, Ark.

The Vandals lost starting quarterback Chad Chalich in the first quarter to an apparent shoulder injury. Taylor Davis, who started the year as the third-string quarterback, played the rest of the game with Josh McCain (shoulder) also out. Coach Paul Petrino would not comment on Chalich's injury after the game.

Read on for a summary of the game. Idaho enters a bye week at 1-6.

OSU pregame chat


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As a wise man once said, it ain’t over until it’s over

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The best thing about baseball? There is no clock. You never know when a game will end. The worst thing about baseball, at least last night? There is no clock, and I just couldn't hold out until the end. Read on.

Idaho-Arkansas State preview

The Vandals play outside the Palouse for the first time in more than a month this afternoon. And this trip to Jonesboro, Ark., to play Arkansas State, will be one they'll get used to when they rejoin the Sun Belt next year.

We have a preview of the game below.

Gameday links

Saturday is finally here and the Cougars are about to take on Oregon State in a matchup between Pacific Northwest rivals. Don't forget to jump in to our live chat at 6:30 p.m.

Some grim news for the baskteball team as a key player has left the program … but the men's and women's teams still put on a show Friday night … WSU players and coaches won't admit it but Saturday's game is a pretty big deal …  What will WSU need to do to win? … Expect a lot of passes.

Eastern and Big Sky game day links

Will the Eagles finally unleash their pass rush in today's Homecoming game at North Dakota? Will quarterback Vernon Adams avoid cramping in the warmth of the Alerus Center? Will I ever get a better schnitzel than the one I ate last night at the Blue Moose Restaurant across the river in Minnesota? The first two questions should be answered today when the Eagles play their first game in the state of North Dakota. Here's my preview story, plus another from the local Grand Forks Herald on UND's struggles of late. Want more? Here's a game preview - and much more - from Dave Cook of the Eastern athletic department.

Central Valley defeats University 42-21

S-R photojournalist Tyler Tjomsland covered University's home game against Central Valley.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

LC defeats Rogers 44-9

S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the LC vs. Rogers game at Joe Albi.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

Ferris defeats Mt. Spokane 24-14

S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the Ferris vs. Mt. Spokane game at Joe Albi.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

Eastern hopes to keep momentum going at North Dakota

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – It’s Homecoming weekend here in the heartland, with all the trappings: alumni events, dinners, and the big game this weekend against … Vermont.

That happened Friday night at the Ralph Engelstad Arena drew 12,000 for North Dakota’s season-opening hockey match with the Vermont Catamounts.

Whatever a Catamount is, it’s one nickname more than what North Dakota has right now, which is another story.

A mile away, at the empty Alerus Center, the Eastern Washington football team was holding its walkthrough for today’s Big Sky Conference game against UND.

The Alerus will get several thousand fans for today’s game, which already means more to sixth-ranked Eastern than it will to a disappointing North Dakota team that is inconsistent on offense and struggling mightily on defense. That’s partly due to a tough schedule that’s left UND 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the Sky, as Eagle coach Beau Baldwin points out.

Danny Lawhorn, WSU basketball part ways

Washington State University's basketball program announced today that junior college transfer Danny Lawhorn has left the team before ever suiting up for the Cougars. The athletic department issued a statement in which coach Ken Bone said:

“We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”

Lawhorn was suspended indefinitely by Bone in late September for reasons that were never made clear.

More after the jump.

Making the not-so-smart choice

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I'm sort of torn today. I'm not sure which way to go. Should I rip the Mariners for something that hasn't been proven, though sounds real, or should I keep it topical and write about college football? Read on.

Eastern and Big Sky links

College football is full of new experiences, like today's plane flight to Grand Forks, North Dakota, where Eastern Washington will play for the first time tomorrow against the University of North Dakota. Likewise, it's been a journey for Eastern center Ashton Miller. … We also had a live chat yesterday about Eagle football, and here's the transcript.  From Eastern SID Dave Cook, a release with everything you need to know about the game. UND also has a few things to say on the subject, and so does the Grand Forks Herald with this preview. … Elsewhere, Montana faces an improving UC David offense,.

Friday Morning Links

Happy Friday, everyone. USC's 38-31 victory over Arizona last night  was a fun start to what should be a great weekend of football in the Pac-12. Prepare yourself for your Saturday sports binge by scouring these links.

Here's my Pac-12 picks, so far I'm off to a decent start … WSU's Kalifitoni Pole is coming into his own … In case you missed it, here's our recap from Thursday Night Football … Expect OSU to use a lot of sub packages on defense … OSU's offensive line is almost back to normal.

Links from around the conference below.

Shadle Park defeats Mead 33-7, first time since 2004

S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the Mead vs. Shadle game.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

 

Thursday Night Lights

It was a forgettable day for WSU's young quarterbacks during their weekly scrimmage. The full-contact event is a chance young players to showcase their stuff, and after a very good showing last week, freshman QB Tyler Bruggman and co. were less than their best today.

Bruggman finished the day 7-of-14 and was picked off by redshirt freshman safety David Bucannon. Luke Falk fared little better, going 5-of-8 and suffering a sack that was sandwhiched by three incompletions. Connor Ennis scored the offense's lone touchdown on a 20-yard strike to Daniel Lilienthal, who took it in for the score.

But it was a banner day for the defense, which had a number of standout performers. Nate Derider sacked Ennis of the first play of the series, and followed it up with a nice pass breakup. Jeremiah Allison was active on defense, and the younger Bucannon showed great range. Jeff Waldner forced Bruggman into a bad throw with some immediate pressure, and Nathan Hundeby showed great reaction time to drop John Thompson behind the line of scrimmage on a quick pass.

After practice we spoke with defensive coordinator Mike Breske and offensive line coach Clay McGuire to get their thoughts on the scrimmage.

The seasons are slowly changing

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Can you feel it? Each morning, there is a tinge to the air. A little bit of a nip on your skin. The thermometer dial is only hitting numbers beginning with a 3. Yep, it's becoming basketball weather. Read on.

Eastern and Big Sky links

Don't forget about our live chat today right here at Sportslink, but until then, here's my Eastern and Big Sky Notebook, focusing on North Dakota wide receiver Greg Hardin. … Eastern has some pretty good ones too, including freshman Cooper Kupp, who is now on the watchlist for the Jerry Rice Award. … It's a big sports weekend at North Dakota, including Homecoming, football, and most important to the folks in Grand Forks, hockey. …Here are some game notes from North Dakota. … Southern Utah and Portland State are looking to bounce back this weekend. … The Montana defense is preparing for a tough UC Davis ground game, the Missoulian reports. … Montana State kicker Rory Perez is trying to get back on track, according to the BozemanDaily Chronicle. … Cal Poly is out of the FCS poll for the first time.

Thursday Morning Pac-12 Links

It's Must Win Week in the Pac-12. A number of teams are playing do-or-die games. WSU against OSU has the feeling of a game that will determine whether or not each teams season is good or mediocre. UW has it's best chance in years to knock off Oregon, and on College Gameday no less. Arizona needs a bounce back win against USC, but who knows how the Trojans will respond to the recent coaching change? Is Utah legit? They've got a chance to prove it against Stanford.

Here at the S-R, we've got a story on opposing quarterback Sean Mannion, and save yourself the trouble of scrolling down by clicking here for our Wednesday practice notes.

More links from around the conference after the jump.

Wednesday Practice Notes

Dominique Williams returned to practice on Wednesday, and you'd never know he left. That's good news for the Cougars, who regain the services of one of their most explosive wide receivers. The offense carried the day for WSU with starting quarterback Connor Halliday and backup Austin Apodaca looking sharp. We got a chance to catch up with coach Mike Leach and defensive line coach Joe Salave'a after practice, read on for the interview.

An early look at Idaho hoops

We've got a first look at the Idaho basketball team for tomorrow's paper, and you can get an even earlier look at our story after the jump — plus news about an addition to Don Verlin's coaching staff.

Oct. 9 WSU Football Chat


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Coleman preps for playing time

There's a ritual of sorts every fall at Gonzaga. It happens here, on blogs and message boards and just about anywhere Gonzaga basketball is discussed: Name GU's starting five.

At some point, probably in the next 2-3 weeks, coach Mark Few will be asked about it. His reply will likely be short, stressing that the starting five doesn't matter nearly as much to the coaching staff as the five on the floor when games are on the line and that it's more of a concern to folks outside the program. (I can't recall for sure, but I probably asked the question 5-6 years ago and Few's answer then and through the years hasn't changed).

That brings us to one of the contenders for a starting position: Gerard Coleman, who sat out last season after transferring from Providence. He's bidding for time at the '3', left open by starter Mike Hart's graduation, but he's not alone. I put together a short feature on Coleman that ran in today's S-R.

Below, a few thoughts on the starting lineup.

A tempest in a coaching box

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Let's just be honest. We like it when college football coaches show they are human, as Stanford's David Shaw yesterday. Read on.

Eastern and Big Sky links

The Eastern Washington running game is in mid-season stride. Here's my report from Tuesday's practice, along with the school's release for Saturday's game at North Dakota. UND (it's the school with no nickname, so get used to “UND”) is having some problems with penalties, according to this story in the Grand Forks Herald. … UND also has information on the game right here. … Eastern's next opponent, Southern Utah,  hopes to bounce back this week against Portland State. … UC Davis is on a two-game roll entering Saturday's Homecoming game against Montana, which is sticking with a game plan that's worked well this season.

Win gives Chiefs best record in WHL

Despite playing just two of their first seven at home, the Spokane Chiefs (6-1-0-0) have the best winning percentage (.857) in the Western Hockey League following Tuesday's 6-3 victory over Kelowna at the Arena.  Read story

Williams limited; other practice notes

Wide receiver Dominique Williams was limited in practice on Tuesday after missing much of the latter portion of the Cal game for undisclosed reasons. Williams has been one of WSU's most explosive players this season … Backup QB Austin Apodaca had an impressive practice. The redshirt freshman only missed two passes combined in the skeleton and team drills, and couldn't be blamed for his lone interception … Daquawn Brown continued to run with the first team at cornerback, and had a nice pick off fellow freshman Tyler Bruggman.

The offensive line was impressive on Saturday, giving up just one sack in 68 drop backs by quarterback Connor Halliday. After practice we had a chance to talk to offensive line coach Clay McGuire to get his thoughts from the game. 

Talking some Cougs

I joined SWX's Neil Stover on Monday to have a blustery chat about WSU football. Take a sip of water every time my jacket flies up, and you'll be perfectly hydrated for that marathon.

SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Chiefs defeat Kelowna 5-3

SR photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the Chiefs' game against Kelowna.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

It’s a big day

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There's an autographed plaque hanging in my office at home. A gift from my thoughtful older sister. It includes a photograph of the first pitch of the World Series game held on Oct. 8, 1956. The photo (on the link) is signed by the guy on the mound, Don Larsen. He went on to get that first batter – and the next 26, pitching the only perfect game in World Series history. A pretty big day for him. And for others. Read on.

Eastern and Big Sky links

The sixth-ranked Eagles are back at it again. Fresh off a big win over Weber State, Eastern is preparing for its first trip to North Dakota. In the meantime, I will be at practice later today. … Last week, North Dakota struggled past Idaho State, but got the win thanks partly to a big game from receiver/kick returner Greg Hardin. … Meanwhile, Southern Utah - the Eagles' Homecoming opponent on Oct. 19 - is trying to shake off a stunning home loss to UC  Davis. … Montana enjoyed a big win over Portland State, but the pass defense looked shaky, the Missoulian reports. … Here's Idaho State's “report card” from the Pocatello newspaper following the Bengals' near miss against North Dakota. … MSU running back Shawn Johnson won national honors following the Bobcats' win over NAU.

Tuesday Morning Pac-12 Links

From Pullman — If you're following the fallout of last week's Emmitt Su'a-Kalio arrest, Scout.com has named the alleged victim, while also disclosing his medical information. We shan't be following suit, but advise that nothing has been proven nor confirmed. 

In lighter news, Mike Leach had reporters rolling at his weekly press conference, which highlighted topics such as the Cal game, the upcoming OSU game, and preferred dog breeds … here's our notebook following the presser … the Beavers know they've got something special in Brandin Cook … OSU is expecting a challenge from WSU's passing game.

More links after the jump.

Mondays with Mike

From Pullman —The Cougars had their weekly Monday press conference today, and there were a couple gems from head coahc Mike Leach. Follow the jump to head the WSU's head coach's thoughts on the Cal game, his offensive line, and dog breeds.

Preps chat Oct. 8 at noon with Sam Adams and Greg Lee

Live chat today at noon with The Spokesman-Review's Greg Lee and Sam Adams from SWX.

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Idaho notes: Petrino talks, Rehkow feted

Two days after his team absorbed the worst home loss in Idaho history, Vandals coach Paul Petrino reiterated his main postgame message on Saturday: “Just too many mistakes.”


But Petrino also made it clear that the Vandals have moved on from a 61-14 defeat to No. 23 Fresno State at the Kibbie Dome. He pointed to the team’s spirited scrimmage for underclassmen on Sunday night. “You walk off the field real excited about the future,” he said.

We’ve got more from Petrino, a note on Austin Rekhow and updates on the health of Josh McCain and Quinton Bradley.

An opportunity missed

A GRIP ON SPORTS

If you watch ESPN's College GameDay, the network's weekly football pregame show, you are probably well aware of a tradition going on in the background. The waving of the Cougar flag. But you may not know of a significant anniversary coming up. Read on.

Monday Morning Pac-12 Links

From Pullman — After a 44-22 win at Cal in which the teams combined to pass for over 1,000 yards, expect more of the same this week. Sean Mannion and the Beavers didn't play last week, but the talented quarterback still leads the conference with 2,018 passing yards. The Cougars were able to win on Saturday despite giving up a lot of passing yards, but that's an area where they need to improve.

There wasn't a lot of news on Sunday, but we have a few links from around the conference after the jump.

WSU football Sunday night practice

From Pullman — The big news out of practice tonight was the participation of freshman defensive lineman Emmitt Su'a-Kalio, who was arrested last week (scroll down after clicking the link for the story on Su'a-Kalio). The team is handling the matter internally, but apprently won't — or at least hasn't yet — suspended the freshman from team activities. 

Freshman cornerback Daquawn Brown was very active, deflecting two passes and intercepting another in the 50-minute practice. Nolan Washington ran with the second unit at cornerback, after practicing with the starters last week.

After practice we spoke with defensive coordinator Mike Breske, whose group gave up 585 yards but just 20 offensive points. Some highlights of that interview are after the jump.

Despite the late hour, some things were obvious

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I'm not much of a late-night guy anymore. But, like a lot of you, I stayed up through the end of the Stanford vs. Washington game last night and I'm glad I did. I learned a couple things. One is Washington is pretty darn good. The other is “indisputable video evidence” is different in different circumstances. Read on.

Morning after links

The Cougars improved to 2-1 in conference play on Saturday afternoon, and 4-2 overall. Connor Halliday bounced back from the Stanford game by throwing over halfway to 1,000-yards in a single game, 521 to be exact.

Here's our story on the game… a couple of defensive linemen who have been contributors for awhile still managed to have breakout performances … over on Sportslink we've got postgame  video … and here's a column on Halliday's performance from the indefatigable Bud Withers.

But that's not all that happened on Saturday afternoon. Follow the jump for links from around the conference.

WSU’s Historic Day

While we fight through some technical difficulties to bring you the postgame video interviews (don't worry, they're coming), let's look at some numbers to help put WSU's 44-22 victory over the Golden Bears in perspective. Quarterback Connor Halliday wasn't the only Cougar to put up big numbers, althoug his were certainly the biggest. Check out these statistics compiled by WSU's Bobby Alworth, after the jump.

Fresno hands UI its worst home loss ever

There have been plenty of lopsided Idaho losses on the road. But never one of this magnitude at home. Fresno State rolled to a 61-14 win on Saturday in front of a sparse crowd at the Kibbie Dome (generously listed at 14,747). It was the worst home loss, by margin of victory, in the Vandals' 119-year history.

You read my our game story here. We've got video of Paul Petrino's post-game news conference and more after the jump.

EWU defeats Weber State 41-19

S-R photojournalist Tyler Tjomsland  covered the Eagles' home game against Weber State.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

Pacific defeats Whitworth 31-21

S-R photojournalist Dan Pelle covered Whitworth's homecoming game against Pacific.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

Oct. 5 Pregame Chat


Try Relay: the free SMS and picture text app for iPhone.

Eastern and Big Sky links

The Eagles are back home today for the first time in four weeks. Here's my game preview from earlier this week, and a game capsule. Also, a preview from Eastern Washington, and Weber State. Oddly enough, today's game at Idaho State is the first road game of the year for North Dakota, which hosts the Eagles next week. Montana looks to bounce back today against Portland State. … The Bozeman Daily Chronicle has several stories on MSU football, all on this page.

Rypien’s performance was mind-boggling

A GRIP ON SPORTS

A day after Brett Rypien's incredible performance at Albi Stadium, when he passed for a state-record 613 yards, I was still intrigued. So I did some research. Read on.

Preview: Idaho hosts No. 23 Fresno State

Over the past few seasons, and even the last decade, home games for Idaho against ranked teams have been rare occurrences. This afternoon, Vandal fans will get to see 23rd-ranked Fresno State in action — and, something that's more common, they'll watch the UI defense go against another elite quarterback.

We have our game preview below.

WSU Gameday Links

From Berkeley, Calif. —Today at 1p.m. the Cougars will take on California in what could easily be WSU's most important game of the season. We detail what they'll need to do to win here … If Cal wins, blame the socks … Not helping matters is the revelation that a WSU football player was arrested this week … The San Francisco Chronicle has a video preview of the game … A Cal safety decided to turn in his mouth guard. More links from around the Pac-12 after the jump.

Gonzaga Prep defeats Mead 21-9

S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the Gonzaga Prep vs. Mead game.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

University defeats Rogers 44-6

S-R photojournalist Dan Pelle covered University's win against Rogers at Joe Albi stadium.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

Wade talks about committing to Gonzaga

I was able to visit with Jesse Wade by telephone for a few minutes tonight as he awaited a flight from Las Vegas to Salt Lake.

Below, you'll find my article that will run in Saturday's S-R. 

WSU freshman football player arrested

From Berkely — A Washington State University football player appeared in a Whitman County court on Friday at 3 p.m. after he was arrested by campus police on Thursday evening. Freshman defensive lineman Emmitt Su’a-Kalio faces charges of second-degree assault stemming from aTuesday morning altercation.

 WSU officials would not comment except to say that the matter would be handled internally by the team. Chief Deputy Prosecutor Bill Druffel now has until Tuesday afternoon to decide whether or not to keep the pretrial release conditions that were imposed by the judge on Friday afternoon.

2015 guard Wade commits to GU

Jesse Wade, a 6-foot, 170-pound point guard at Davis High in Kaysville, Utah, has orally committed to Gonzaga’s basketball program but it could be a while before he wears a GU uniform.

I just exchanged text messages with Wade, who is boarding a plane for home after visiting Gonzaga the last two days. I hope to talk with him in a couple hours.

For now, there's a bit more on Wade below, along with some articles from Utah papers.

No debating these calls

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There is a yearly debate on which conference in college football is the best. The SEC usually wins that one, though this season the Pac-12 has made some strides and is considered a strong second. There is also a debate on which conference has the weakest officiating. In that one, the Pac-12 has held a huge lead lately. But the Big 12 made up some ground last night. Read on.

Eastern and Big Sky links

After two straight losses, the Eastern Washington players can't wait for Saturday's game against Weber State. That goes double for defensive lineman Will Katoa, who grew up in Salt Lake City. We also had a live chat yesterday, but we have a new chat provider,  andI can't access the entire transcript. I'm on it, and in the meantime, here's most of the scintillating conversation.. As always, Eastern sports information director Dave Cook has a comprehensive preview of the game, as does Weber State. … Today's Grand Forks Herald has three stories on North Dakota hockey, but none on football, so here's a preview of the UND-Idaho State game from the school web site, and a preview from the Idaho State Journal in Poacatello. … Montana is looking to get its “swagger” back against Portland State, according to the Missoulian. … The Billings Gazette has a feature on UM right guard Danny Kistler, plus a another on MSU defensive end Brad Daly. … The Bobcats are confident in their runnning game, according to this article in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

Friday Morning Links

In case you missed it, Utah and UCLA kicked off this week's Pac-12 play last night. Entering the game, Travis Wilson and Brett Hundley had similar stats. That certainly wasn't the case during the game, as Hundley found three different ways to score a touchdown while Wilson found six different occasions to throw interceptions.

In WSU news, here's our story for tomorrow's paper, as well as our report on Thursday Night Football … The story that wouldn't die has made its way to Mashable of all places … Mark Sandritter asks how confident WSU fans are. Why don't you go tell him? … Will Cal's running back break out against the Cougs? … Links from around the conference after the jump (don't actually jump).

… 

Shadle Park defeats Mt. Spokane 63-42

S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered Shadle's win over Mt. Spokane.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

Thursday Night Football

From Pullman — There was a shakeup along the offensive line for much of Thursday's practice, with Matt Goetz taking over the right guard position and John Fullington sliding over to right tackle. Rico Forbes — who has been the starter at right tackle but struggled against Stanford last Saturday — worked with the second unit. After practice offensive line coach Clay McGuire admitted that “it's a good possiblity” this is the unit we'll see this weekend.

The Cougars had a light practice session on Thursday followed by Thursday Night Football. This weekly scrimmage is for the younger, scout-team guys who may not make the trip to Berkeley with the team, as well as special team players and guys that could use a few more reps. Follow the link for some highlights from the session, as well as some thoughts from McGuire:

Shock busy with roster moves

The Spokane Shock announced several roster moves, including a trade and the departure of a standout receiver Kamar Jorden to Calgary of the Canadian Football League.

More below.

Rivalries reveal themselves in a myriad of ways

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There is little better in sports than a good, heated, Hatfields-vs.-McCoys rivalry. A couple occurrences yesterday reinforced that. Read on.

Eastern and Big Sky links

It's been a tough season for Weber State, but head coach (and former Eastern assistant) Jody Sears is trying to keep a sense of humor. … We keep it lighthearted as well at today's live chat at noon right here at spokesman.com/blogs/sportslink. …All you want to know about Weber State is right here, from the school web site. … North Dakota is trying to improve its running game, the Grand Forks Herald reports. … For the first time in 16 years, Southern Utah is 4-1; the Cedar City Spectrum has all the details. … With good cause, Montana is wary of Portland State running back D.J. Adams, according to the Missoulian. … Speaking of running backs, two good ones will be on display Saturday when NAU visits Montana State.

Thursday Morning Links

Good morning! The Cougars had a fine practice yesterday. Connor Halliday highlighted the evening with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Gabe Marks. The team had a mixed special teams session, as Feddie Davey ran into punter Wes Concepcion and Alex Jackson fumbled while running back a kickoff. 

In other WSU news here's our story on the relationship between WSU head coach Mike Leach and Sonny Dykes of Cal … In case you missed it, here's our Pac-12 Power Rankings … Basketball is just around the corner and we've got a first lookHere's more on WSU basketball from The Daily Evergreen … The San Francisco Chronicle has an interview with some idiot reporter … Samuel Becker says the Cougars needed an attitude adjustment … Some good stuff here from Golden Bear Lair … 

More links from around the conference below.

Portland hands Chiefs first loss

The final 52 minutes of Wednesday's showdown between the Spokane Chiefs and host Portland Winterhawks favored the Chiefs 3-2. The problem was the first 8 minutes, when the Winterhawks unleashed four goals during a 5-minute span to ignite a 6-4 Western Hockey League victory. Spokane (4-1) lost a chance at the first 5-0 start in franchise history . Read story

Replay of WSU Football Chat

Check out the entire replay of the live chat on Washington State football with beat writer Jacob Thorpe. 

Pac-12 Power Rankings

 

From Pullman — As this is the first iteration of my Pac-12 power rankings, there has been no movement from the previous week. I promise it won’t happen again. Keep in mind that these are merely snapshot of how these teams matchup on Wednesday morning, not a predicted order of finish. They take into account injuries, recent firings, and anything else that could affect on the field performance in Week 6. With that, the rankings:

Eastern and Big Sky links

The Eagle football team is home this weekend, but meanwhile the basketball team opened practice at Reese Court. Here's my story from practice, along with interviews with forward Venky Jois and guard Parker Kelly. The Eagles open their season on Nov. 10 against Division III Pacific of Oregon.

The overlap between seasons gets longer and longer

A GRIP ON SPORTS

At the risk of sounding like the older fellow in “Pickles,” something happened yesterday that seemed a little strange – and never occurred back in the “good ol' days.” Read on.

Wednesday Morning Pac-12 Links

From Pullman — As you wrack your brain in search pertinent of questions for the live chat we'll be holding on SportsLink at 11 a.m., why not prep by reading our Pac-12 notes? … The basketball team got some bad news with the suspension of a post player … The San Francisco Chronicle has a First Glance at the Cougs.

Read on for links from around the conference.

Idaho’s revamped O-line takes big step

Idaho offensive line coach Jon Carvin was asked after Tuesday's practice if he was “a little bit scared” to start true freshman Steven Matlock at guard last week. Carvin talked about Matlock's impressive practices. He talked about his toughness and learning the offense. He talked about all the extra work he's put in. Then he finished his answer with this: “Nervous? Nah. It was great.”

Pretty much everything about last week was great for the Vandals' revamped O-line in a 26-24 win over Temple, especially compared to UI's ragged play up front the first four weeks of the season.

We were at Idaho's first open practice since its first win of the season, and we've got lots more on the team's offensive line.

Morden leaves unbeaten Raiders

This week's WHL notebook leads with 20-year-old defenseman Evan Morden pondering his hockey future with the undefeated Prince Albert Raiders. Read story

WSU basketball player Jordan Railey suspended

From Pullman — Due to an unspecified violation of team rules, junior center Jordan Railey of the Washington State University men's basketball has been indefinitely suspended from team activities. According to a release from the school, “The coaches have and will continue to take appropriate action and it will remain a team matter.”

Tuesday practice notes and quotes

From Pullman — The Cougar football team had a cold, wet practice at Martin Stadium on Tuesday afternoon. There were some highlights, such as a beautifully lofted throw from Austin Apodaca that fell into Dominique Williams' breadbasket and a stunning, one-handed catch by Kristoff Williams. There were also lowlights, such as Connor Halliday's interception during the team period. The defense looks eager to face Cal's Bear Raid offense, with cornerback Anthony Carpenter blowing up a pass and Kalafitoni Pole batting another down at the line of scrimmage. Read on for some thoughts from defensive coordinator Mike Breske, but before you do, remember to mark your calendars for tomorrow's 11 a.m. live chat on this very blog.

Dower’s time arrives

It was just about this time a year ago that a national college basketball writer picked Sam Dower as his breakout player of the year. As it turned out, Dower's teammate and good friend Kelly Olynyk had the breakout season.

Dower now seems primed for a big senior year, maybe even his own breakout season. (Side note: Dower's stats from his freshman-junior year are actually better than Olynyk's first two seasons as a Zag). The Bulldogs held their first media day of the season and the last media opportunity until Kraziness in the Kennel on Oct. 12, so I checked in with Dower on his preparation for his last season in a Zag uniform.

There's also a note on Ryan Edwards, the 7-foot-1 freshman from Montana. It's way too early for decisions on redshirts, but the guess here is Edwards gets some time this season — in the 8-12 minute range — filling in at center behind Przemek Karnowski.

Here's a link to my article that will run in Wednesday's S-R.

Also, a few more notes below.

Parker Kelly interview

Eastern Washington guard Parker Kelly of Spokane talks about the upcoming basketball season after the Eages' first practice of the year, Oct. 1 at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.

Venky Jois interview

Eastern Washington forward Venky Jois discusses the upcoming season following the Eagles' first practice, on Tuesday at Reese Court.

Another Tuesday looms

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It's only Tuesday but our eyes turn to the Seahawks, who don't play again until Sunday. But, really, can it ever be too early to talk about a 4-0 team? Read on.

Eastern and Big Sky links

Finally, the Eagles are getting into the Big Sky Conference portion of their season, starting with Saturday's home game against Weber State. I'll be at practice later today, but in the meantime, here's an early look at the game from Eastern sports information director Dave Cook. Predictably, the Eagles dropped in the polls after Saturday's loss at Sam Houston, which took Eastern's No. 2 spot and sent the Eagles to No. 6 in The Sports Network media poll. Eastern is eighth in the coaches' poll. … Elsewhere, Montana State RB Cody Kirk is the Big Sky Conference offensive player of the week. … In Ogden, Jim Burton of the Standard-Examiner examines Weber State's struggles on the football field this season, as well as a story looking at the rest of a very difficult schedule for the Wildcats.

I come bearing links

From Spokane — Hello there, Coug fans! You may have noticed that at the top of the page it doesn't say, “Christian Caple.” That's because I am not, in fact, Christian Caple. I'm his replacement, the guy who will take over his beat covering WSU football, basketball, etc. His loss. I've taken a pit stop on the road to Pullman to immerse myself in one of life's great treasures: New Hire Paperwork. But that doesn't mean I don't have time to pass along the daily links from around the Pac-12, and introduce myself, I suppose.

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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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