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WSU Football chat (transcript)

Aug 17 2016, 11:07 AM

srchat: Thanks for joining our live chat, everybody. Let's get started.

Aug 17 2016, 11:07 AM

Guest4927 (guest): How are the freshman defensive ends look (bender & bartley)? Any chance either plays this year

Aug 17 2016, 11:07 AM

srchat: I don't expect either to play this year, and neither have done enough in team situations for me to give you an honest evaluation, but I can tell you they definitely look the part in pads.

Aug 17 2016, 11:08 AM

BKRansford: Hurry up, Jacob.

Aug 17 2016, 11:08 AM

srchat: Typing as fast as I can, Britton.

Aug 17 2016, 11:08 AM

jonthecoug: Sounds like the O has really established itself the past week. Is that great news for the offense or a cause for concern for the D?

Aug 17 2016, 11:10 AM

srchat: You're just watching the natural order of things play out, Jon. It's a beautiful thing to watch. The defense is usually going to start off a little ahead of the offense after a break, for a few reasons, the most important of which is that offense is more timing-based. So at the start of camp, the defense was winning the team period pretty regularly. The O establishing itself isn't really concerning for the defense, it's to be expected, especially when the offense has a returning, highly capable quarterback.

Aug 17 2016, 11:12 AM

Guest6706 (guest): Who do you think wins the battle at corner between Broughton and Taylor? Any chance Pippins works his way back in there?

Aug 17 2016, 11:14 AM

srchat: That's a good question, guest, and my answer could definitely be wrong. My read is that Robert Taylor is just a little better due to superior quickness, and that as he gets more reps he eventually wins out. But I can certainly see Broughton, who is more physical right now and probably gives WRs more headaches winning the job. I can also see the coaches deciding it's a better use of resources to have Taylor at safety. It's been a really good battle between two talented Juco guys who don't have time to sit on

Aug 17 2016, 11:14 AM

srchat: the bench.

Aug 17 2016, 11:15 AM

Hillyard Coug (guest): What's the story with Nick Begg. Looks like he keeps getting sacks during the scrums dating back to crimson & gray game. He gonna be able to get into the mix as the season goes on?

Aug 17 2016, 11:18 AM

srchat: It's definitely true that Begg has managed to be productive in his new role on defense during those scrimmages, and that's got to have made the transition easier. Honestly, I don't think he's fast enough to go out and play in Pac-12 games barring an emergency, and I suspect some of his productivity in scrimmages is a function of being older than the freshmen he's playing against. He is one of the team's most popular players and it's awesome to watch the team celebrate when he makes a play though.

Aug 17 2016, 11:18 AM

Rasmus (guest): Yesterday's scrimmage: encouraging for O-line or concern for D-line?

Aug 17 2016, 11:18 AM

Guest2428 (guest): Hey Jacob thanks again for doing a fantastic job covering these guys this year. Can you give us the inside scoop on how both our lines are doing from what you seen so far in practice? I know you reported that our QB's have been getting sacked quite a bit and also our running backs get pretty good runs. Any concerns there?

Aug 17 2016, 11:21 AM

srchat: So here's the thing, guys: Scrimmage sacks are one of the most pernicious lies we tell in sports journalism. Coaches hate when quarterbacks get hit. Hate it. So any time a defensive player so much as scrapes a finger across a quarterback's jersey the play is dead. Even if you cut the number of sacks in half, it would probably still be too many in terms of trying to judge the offensive line. So with that in mind, I think the offensive line has looked really good for the most part. Maybe even better than last

Aug 17 2016, 11:21 AM

srchat: year. The defensive line has had its moments, but I don't think Robert Barber has been quite the destructive force he was in the spring and I'd expected to see a little more from Hercules Mata'afa, who I was projecting to have a first team All-Conference type season. Obviously that's still on the table, but so far the offensive line has been better I think.

Aug 17 2016, 11:22 AM

Gowazzu02 (guest): Ahhh the smell of football is back in the air! Fair or not? this is the most excited for a season since Jason Gessers sr year in 02/03 season.

Aug 17 2016, 11:23 AM

srchat: I've certainly smelt a lot more grass and sweat i the last two weeks than I smelt in the previous three months. Wait, what were we talking about?

Aug 17 2016, 11:23 AM

srchat: I think that's definitely fair to say. Season ticket says right now are at about 13,500, which is the highest they've been at this point in a good long time.

Aug 17 2016, 11:23 AM

Sid (guest): Who improved the most at camp?

Aug 17 2016, 11:25 AM

srchat: The most honest answer is going to be one of the true freshmen, who came in with saucer plate eyes and was making plays by the end of camp. I'll say Dezmon Patmon. But the important (and maybe surprising) answer is Tyler Hilinski. He'd always been a bit streaky, mixing great days with bad, and he had some interception happy days early in Lewiston. He's playing great now, though.

Aug 17 2016, 11:25 AM

Guest9288 (guest): Do you think the defense will be better then it was last year?

Aug 17 2016, 11:26 AM

srchat: If the defensive line can hold up, it should be much better. At least much better than it was at the start of last year. The secondary will be better and the linebackers should be as well. The defensive line lost two All-Conference players, and the starting two Rush linebackers. So if there's a big dropoff in the pass rush, then the defense could be worse even if it improves at many positions.

Aug 17 2016, 11:27 AM

Corazon (guest): Do you expect any projected starters to miss week one or any significant amount of time based on practice thus far?

Aug 17 2016, 11:27 AM

srchat: No.

Aug 17 2016, 11:27 AM

WazzusJobu: Hey srchat, first time long time here. I know Leach doesn't like to compare teams, but who do you think had more weapons on offense his '08 Tech team or this years team?

Aug 17 2016, 11:30 AM

srchat: That would be an easier question to answer for this year, Jobu, since the Texas legislature just passed a law making it legal to carry firearms on university campuses. So TTU should have way more weapons this year.

Aug 17 2016, 11:31 AM

srchat: As far as a team comparison, that TTU team was probably a little more stocked. Besides Michael Crabtree, who was All-Everything, the top two running backs got All-Conference recognition, Graham Harrell won the Johny Unitas Award, and all five offensive linemen garnered some sort of All-Conference recognition.

Aug 17 2016, 11:31 AM

WazzusJobu: Rude

Aug 17 2016, 11:32 AM

srchat: Sorry

Aug 17 2016, 11:32 AM

Sid (guest): That is good to hear about Tyler. My guess is he is needed sometime this season.

Aug 17 2016, 11:32 AM

srchat: History indicates you're correct. I can't think of many starting Pac-12 quarterbacks who didn't miss at least a few important snaps last year.

Aug 17 2016, 11:33 AM

Guest8168 (guest): Any updates on Calvin Green? Last I remember, he was suspended from team activities. We haven't heard much from him out of Fall camp and it appears he is no longer listed on the roster.

Aug 17 2016, 11:34 AM

srchat: Green and the team have parted ways.

Aug 17 2016, 11:34 AM

Guest7802 (guest): So absolutely no news on Marks Siting?

Aug 17 2016, 11:34 AM

srchat: I expect Gabe Marks will have some good practices later in the week, maybe even a productive one today, and will start against Eastern.

Aug 17 2016, 11:34 AM

jonthecoug: Is the second team DLine still a concern? Tapa looking like he contribute more this year?

Aug 17 2016, 11:34 AM

Rob Ellsworth: McBroom that good to run with 2s already or we that thin?

Aug 17 2016, 11:35 AM

srchat: Combination of seeing where he's at in his conditioning and probably knowing he's going to get there eventually. Defensive line depth is definitely a concern. Tapa was always going to contribute, and he can make plays, but needs to be more consistent.

Aug 17 2016, 11:36 AM

Hillyard Coug (guest): How has T.J. Fehoko looked. I know coming out of HS he had a quick burst, but got injured in an All-State game and red shirted. You see him in the mix at DT ?

Aug 17 2016, 11:36 AM

srchat: He probably needs another year, or at least a few more months, before he can contribute. I have not seen him take many snaps with the regulars yet.

Aug 17 2016, 11:38 AM

Coug_Jeff: What seems to be the biggest difference this year in the big running lane holes? Different scheme?

Aug 17 2016, 11:39 AM

srchat: I think the offensive line is a little more suited to run blocking this year. Cody O'Connell is stronger and can move better than Gunnar Eklund and that's made a difference.

Aug 17 2016, 11:39 AM

Guest9009 (guest): whats your take on recruiting so far?

Aug 17 2016, 11:40 AM

srchat: Seems to be going fine. The last two classes have definitely brought in bigger, better athletes than the Cougars had been getting for a long time, and there's no reason that trend shouldn't continue.

Aug 17 2016, 11:40 AM

cubsfan7331: During the scrimmage how many plays were the QB's under center, if any?

Aug 17 2016, 11:40 AM

srchat: I don't really remember seeing any, but I also wasn't really looking for that. Mostly I was running around, trying to stay 15 yards ahead of the line of scrimmage so I could see how many yards a play went, to be honest.

Aug 17 2016, 11:40 AM

Gowazzu02 (guest): You see they're gonna sell beer throughout Martin Stadium now? Expect 1Million dollar boost. Do you know how much the school made from beer/booze sales in the suite section since they were built? Seems like a no brainer for AD that needs cash.

Aug 17 2016, 11:43 AM

srchat: Sorry, no idea how much money the booze has brought in. Frankly, I think if they sell beer then it will cost at least $1 million just to subdue the inebriated proles.

Aug 17 2016, 11:43 AM

Guest6706 (guest): Will Harrington still be a factor in the screen game or will those reps go to Williams now?

Aug 17 2016, 11:43 AM

srchat: Harrington has been so far. He's actually gotten a lot of reps during camp.

Aug 17 2016, 11:43 AM

slothclan (guest): sup brother?

Aug 17 2016, 11:43 AM

srchat: How you doin my dude?

Aug 17 2016, 11:44 AM

Guest7802 (guest): How bout, do you think the defense will give up less big plays this year?

Aug 17 2016, 11:45 AM

srchat: Yes, definitely. Although toward the end of last season they were not giving up many explosive plays and that was a big reason for the defense's improvement. But the biggest improvement this year will be the secondary, in my opinion, and those are the guys who keep 15 yard plays from turning into 45 yard ones.

Aug 17 2016, 11:47 AM

Rasmus (guest): Looking toward the opening game, what's the word on the EWU defense? Looks like they replace a couple D-line guys, and maybe have some steady secondary guys coming back?

Aug 17 2016, 11:48 AM

srchat: Well, the Eagles gave up 50 or more points four times last season. I don't expect the defense to be remotely as good as what the Cougars will face every week in the Pac-12. Although my colleague, Jim Allen, who covers EWU for us could give you a better answer.

Aug 17 2016, 11:48 AM

Corazon (guest): How's the battle and KR and PR looking so far?

Aug 17 2016, 11:49 AM

srchat: So far we've seen more real action at KR than PR and Robert Taylor has emerged as a pretty impressive return man alongside Tavares Martin. James Williams is also getting a long look. At PR I expect Gabe Marks, River Cracraft and Kaleb Fossum to continue being the guys, with Taylor maybe getting a look there as well.

Aug 17 2016, 11:49 AM

Guest9288 (guest): Is Carlos Freeman and Paulo Lepua still on the team?

Aug 17 2016, 11:50 AM

srchat: Carlos Freeman is. Paulo Lepua has not been for a while.

Aug 17 2016, 11:50 AM

Guest8744 (guest): Based off what you are seeing with the team chemistry and such, do you think there is anyway in hell that this team overlooks EWU? Their QB and WRs are pretty legit.

Aug 17 2016, 11:50 AM

srchat: I don't think so. In fact, I remember overhearing players talk about how good Cooper Kupp is last spring after practices, so they're aware of him.

Aug 17 2016, 11:51 AM

Hillyard Coug (guest): The Kick Return game has been pretty much dormant since #3 Sammy Moore was back there doing work. Any chance Taylor or Harrington can be that explosive Water Bug to hit a seam and taker to pay-dirt?

Aug 17 2016, 11:52 AM

srchat: I still think Tavares Martin is the most likely to return one -- he had a couple last year where he might have if he hadn't stuttered when he saw a big seam open up.

Aug 17 2016, 11:52 AM

Guest7802 (guest): Other than Mcaffrey, some other really good backs in the PAC 12? PAC12 out of the championship mix this year?

Aug 17 2016, 11:54 AM

srchat: Well, Royce Freeman is one of the best running backs in the country and it's not that hard to see a world where Oregon's QB is a little better than expected and they make a run at it. Stanford could certainly make the playoffs if things break right. Heck, UW's running back ran for over 1,000 as a true freshman last year and Sports Illustrated has the Huskies No. 7 nationally, although I have yet to meet someone who doesn't think that's silly.

Aug 17 2016, 11:54 AM

Guest8168 (guest): We don’t see many different names in the 2-deep at O-line. We see some starters being shifted around and then we see Salmonson and maybe Bigge-Duran and Norvell’s names pop up once in a while. Why is that? Young guys not developing? Can’t recall too many names off the top of my head but what happened to Carlos Freeman? Osur-Myers? Sakaria? Anyone else look ready to contribute?

Aug 17 2016, 11:57 AM

srchat: Offensive line and quarterback are the only positions that do not substitute, so you're not really going to hear much about the backups until they're needed. The young guys are developing, they're just off on the other side of the field doing exactly that. They also mix positions a lot, unlike the starters, so it's harder to get a read from just watching practice what exactly their futures hold. Freeman fell down a bit last year when he didn't have a good fall camp, but the other guys are just young

Aug 17 2016, 11:57 AM

srchat: players waiting their turn behind established starters. That's how you want it to work.

Aug 17 2016, 11:57 AM

Guest2428 (guest): You mentioned the offense being all about timing and I know some of our receivers are not as experienced as we would like them to be. Do you expect a drop off in production from last year?

Aug 17 2016, 11:58 AM

srchat: It really all depends on how ready Tavares Martin is to become a regular playmaker. He definitely has the tools, but the X position is the only one where you might see a drop off from where Dom Williams was at. The coaches have been pushing Martin in practice and I think he's responded well.

Aug 17 2016, 11:58 AM

Guest1918 (guest): Why does EWU scare me so much? Please talk me down.

Aug 17 2016, 11:59 AM

srchat: EWU scares you because Cooper Kupp is one of the best players WSU will face this year and because you're gun shy after the Portland State game. But WSU has 85ish guys who got offers from a Pac-12 school, EWU has almost none or none.

Aug 17 2016, 11:59 AM

Rob Ellsworth: Back to the beer issue...For a journalist, what's an acceptable beer to typo ratio? Is that an industry standard or does it vary by market size? Thanks for all your updates and stories. You've been great since taking over this beat, but this year you've really gone to another level. Contract year?

Aug 17 2016, 12:00 PM

srchat: As an IPA guy, my ratio is pretty low. Appreciate the kind words. I don't work on contract, rather I get a regular salary of beer money and peanuts.

Aug 17 2016, 12:00 PM

Guest9288 (guest): What is the biggest difference you see from this year's team compared to last year?

Aug 17 2016, 12:02 PM

srchat: Just the sheer number of good defensive backs. Also, more instant impact players in the recruiting class. Last year Shalom Luani and Tavares Martin were the impact players added to the roster. This year I can see Jalen Thompson, Isaiah Johnson, Robert Taylor, Dezmon Patmon and maybe more making meaningful contributions.

Aug 17 2016, 12:02 PM

Guest9288 (guest): Haven't heard much from Lyman Faoliu or Emmitt Su'a -Kalio, are they still on the team?

Aug 17 2016, 12:02 PM

srchat: They haven't been on the team in years.

Aug 17 2016, 12:04 PM

Guest9806 (guest): Can we expect red zone offense to be more efficient this season since we seem to have tall receiverso and good combination of rbs and oline?

Aug 17 2016, 12:04 PM

srchat: I think the tall receivers, improved running game and Luke Falk being more experienced will yield a more efficient red zone offense. It's definitely been more efficient in practice.

Aug 17 2016, 12:04 PM

Rob Ellsworth: Dimry still in the mix? Saw his name a lot early in camp, not as much recently

Aug 17 2016, 12:05 PM

srchat: Dimry made a lot of plays early in camp, has not made any plays in about a week but will hopefully return to making plays soon.

Aug 17 2016, 12:05 PM

Guest7802 (guest): Is there an extra week this year before the 1st game? 4 weeks seems long.

Aug 17 2016, 12:06 PM

srchat: Week one is a little later than the last couple seasons, although California is playing Hawaii in Australia on Aug. 27. I'm not sure if everybody was moved back to accommodate that game or anything, but it's the only game before Sept. 1.

Aug 17 2016, 12:07 PM

Hillyard Coug (guest): Kyle Sweet looking about the same or have you noticed him taking a step since last spring?

Aug 17 2016, 12:07 PM

srchat: Well, he was playing well early in camp and definitely seemed more comfortable. But he's had a case of the drops for about a week. It's just something he'll have to fight through, because normally his hands were pretty good.

Aug 17 2016, 12:07 PM

Guest3169 (guest): record prediction?

Aug 17 2016, 12:07 PM

srchat: stay tuned!

Aug 17 2016, 12:07 PM

Guest1918 (guest): So what you're saying in Dimry got himself a new bike as well.

Aug 17 2016, 12:08 PM

srchat: Why whatever do you mean?

Aug 17 2016, 12:08 PM

Guest7802 (guest): only 1 bye week that I see. Good or bad?

Aug 17 2016, 12:09 PM

srchat: The more bye weeks the better, as far as I'm concerned.

Aug 17 2016, 12:09 PM

srchat: Thanks everybody for joining our live chat this week! Same time, same place, for the rest of the season.

 

 




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Jacob Thorpe
Jacob Thorpe joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He currently is a reporter for the Sports Desk covering Washington State University athletics.

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