Check out the entire replay of the live chat on Washington State football with beat writer Jacob Thorpe.
Jacob Thorpe: Alright, it's a little early but let's go ahead and get started. Enter your questions and I'll do my best to answer them.
StephonThomas2: Who is Jacob Thorpe?
JT: That's me, the new beat writer covering Washington State University sports for the Spokesman-Review.
StephonThomas2: tell us about yourself
JT: Sure. I grew up outside Olympia in rural Thurston County. Played for the Cougars of Capital High School, and spent this past season covering the Mariners for MLB.com.
JT: What are everyone's predictions for the Cal game this weekend?
Hal Peterson: college?
JT: I went to that school on the other side of the state. And it won't affect my coverage any more than it affected Christian Caple's coverage of WSU, Bob Condotta (WSU)'s coverage of the Huskies, or Adam Jude (UO)'s current coverage of the UW.
Hal Peterson: I liked the Huskies new helmets ... that's about it, though.
JT: Would you want the Cougars to try chrome helmets? What color?
RG84: Great to have you JACOB no matter where you went to school.
Hal Peterson: Sure ... silver might be nice.
JT: That would be a mirror.
StephonThomas2: Is Halladay moving well at practice/
JT: How to put this in a way that won't get me kicked out of practice? ... He's doing the same drills as the other QBs.
putt4doe: Welcome aboard! Mid-season change on the beat is kinda tough - How has the first week on the job been? Hitting the ground running? And what are your thoughts on Pullman.
JT: It's been a hectic week. I covered the Mariners game on Saturday, drove to Spokane on Sunday to watch HR videos about toxic workplace chemicals I'll NEVER encounter, and made it to Pullman just in time for practice yesterday. I'm going to try and move as much stuff in as possible before flying down to Berkeley on Friday. I've always enjoyed Pullman, particularly my 21st birthday here.
RG84: How is Brown doing I heard he was limping after the game?
JT: Brown is fine, they're happy to have him.
Hal Peterson: Have you met the coach?
JT: Yes. I was introduced to Mike Leach after the Stanford game and interviewed him yesterday.
RG84: Do you think the DBs will be exploited again against Cal or was last week more of a surprise that Stanford was throwing against the game plan the cougs had?
JT: It's a good question, and one that will likely determine whether WSU wins or loses on Saturday. Cal has a freshman QB and the top two WRs are sophomores. I think WSU's defense, which already has seven interceptions, will be ready for Cal.
atarisataris: Have you had the opportunity to watch all of the Coug game this season and what is your impression of them?
JT: I have. While the Cougs are by no means a finished product, and Leach will likely need another year or so to get his guys/system in place, you can tell that their execution is light years ahead of the past few years.
NPCoug: After covering the Mariners, who has a better 3 year outlook? I need one of my teams to have some success
JT: Definitely WSU. There's a good chance WSU finishes above .500 and makes a bowl game this season. The Mariners? Well they just had their manager quit rather return for another season ...
JT: That being said, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker are going to make the M's worth watching over the next three years.
cougzz06: How do you think Cal compares to Auburn? I feel like if we play Cal how we played Auburn (minus the interceptions) we can win this one with some room to spare.
JT: It's a very different challenge. While Auburn had a mobile QB struggled to throw the ball in his first game at Auburn, Cal loves to air it out. You're right though in that if Halliday can eliminate the turnovers the Cougs should have a great chance to win.
JT: Any more questions? Keep it clean and I can pretty much guarantee it'll get through...
putt4doe: Supposed to be hot down here in the Bay Area this weekend. Bring sunscreen.
JT: Sage advice for all traveling WSU fans. Here's the forecast: http://www.weather.com/weather/weekend/Berkeley+CA+USCA0087:1:US
putt4doe: are you a heavy user of social media (twitter)?
JT: Indeed I am, and I'm going to try and ramp it up on this new beat. You can follow me @JacobThorpeSR
707Coug: Any changes on D this week with who is running with the first team (Brown vs. Washington)
JT: While WSU really frowns upon the reporting of X's and O's, I'll say that the CBs have all looked particularly fired up.
NPCoug: What kind of atmosphere does Memorial Stadium bring?
JT: While it can get rocking when Cal is rolling, I would say it's generally more subdued than most.
cougzz06: Will Chris McCain's absence (getting booted) from Cal make a noticeable difference on their D?
JT: It should. McCain was a talented player who had an unusual combination of size and speed. That being said, the Bears have recruited especially well along the defensive line the past few years, and should have the depth to sustain the loss.
SFCoug: Welcome aboard Jacob. Drops were a big problem against Stanford. How have the receivers look this week and was there any extra work done to remedy the situation?
JT: Thanks, SFCoug, welcome to the chat! Kristoff Williams had a money one-handed catch in practice yesterday, but drops were still an issue. (It was raining)
707Coug: Do you expect Raley or Lawhorn to miss any games while they are suspended?
JT: Hard to say as WSU has given no indication of when they'll return. With some cupcake games early, Bone could certainly keep them out of a couple without much of a hit if WSU takes care of business on on the court.
NPCoug: I don't think you are allowed to talk to players during the week but it would be interesting to hear what he think about returning to Berkley where he went to high school
JT: NPCoug is referring to Rickey Galvin, and he's right that we can't talk to him during the week. But if we have a chance to talk to him postgame I'll certainly ask him about it.
707Coug: Will you be doing positional grades after each game?
JT: That's something I'd like to get started on the blog. Look for them on Sunday.
putt4doe: what sport are you personally more dialed-in on for the beat?
JT: Football will be the priority during the fall, but as soon as the season ends I'll be all-in for basketball.
SFCoug: The defense has come a long way since last year, but it still seems like we lack above average lateral speed at linebacker. In watching the rest of the conference, how do you think we compare speed-wise at LB?
JT: I think the Cougars are a little more athletic than you think, especially if you include the BUCK position at linebacker (rather than DE). While it's true that -- in an effort to combat spread offenses -- teams like UW and Utah have gone with smaller, quicker linebackers, I don't think WSU is noticeable behind most teams.
cougzz06: Do you think our DB's will have trouble stopping Cal's pass attack? We looked weak against Stanford (granted it's Stanford), but Deone Bucannon can't cover for everyone's mistakes all the time...
JT: Cal has a lot of talent on offense but it is young talent. WSU's experience (Horton and Bucannon) and talent (Brown) should be able to hang.
putt4doe: i meant what sport do you have more experience in covering &/or playing
JT: I played two years of varsity basketball in high school and I have covered college football and basketball for three years each.
JT: Cal quarterbacks have been sacked 15 times -- more than any other team in the conference. While this is in part due to the number of drop backs in the Bears' pass-happy offense, WSU should be able to put some pressure on the QB.
SFCoug: I think part of the reason Stanford was able to get explosive plays in the pass game is because we weren't able to get home when we blitzed. What do you know about Cal's offensive line and do you think we'll have a little more success getting to the quarterback?
JT: Sorry, the question and answer were flipped in that last one.
JT: It's noon everybody. Go grab some lunch and I'll see you for our next live chat on Saturday at noon, an hour before the Cal game starts.