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WSU football chat (transcript)

Oct 5 2016, 10:13 AM

srchat: Now taking questions for our 10 a.m. WSU football chat.

Oct 5 2016, 11:01 AM

srchat: Thanks for joining our chat, everybody. We'll get started now.

Oct 5 2016, 11:01 AM

GoBuschGoCougs (guest): Have their been any changes in the kicking game? I feel like we have to give someone else a shot.

Oct 5 2016, 11:02 AM

srchat: Well, part of WSU's problem is that Erik Powell locked down the starting job so securely with his 2015 performance and subsequent offseason that it scared away the other kickers. Matt Abramo and Quentin Breshears are no longer on the roster. So while Powell is struggling, there are not other good options.

Oct 5 2016, 11:03 AM

Guest5682 (guest): Any update on Barber and the Appeal ? with Shalom playing some nickel last week who did he replace and who was the other safety other than Jalen ?

Oct 5 2016, 11:03 AM

CougSchroed (guest): As of this time, Barber for sure will get to play in Stanford game as conduct board decision will most likely come next week?

Oct 5 2016, 11:04 AM

srchat: I do think the Barber appeal will be decided after the Stanford game, so he should be able to play in that one. When Shalom moved to nickel he took Parker Henry's spot, and Robert Taylor replaced him at free safety.

Oct 5 2016, 11:04 AM

CougSchroed (guest): The Luani move to Nickel seem permanent? Or will we play Henry there more against the more run heavy teams?

Oct 5 2016, 11:05 AM

srchat: Alex Grinch implied the move was personnel-based, most likely meant to counter Oregon's speed. I would not be shocked if they did the same thing this week since Christian McCaffery will be such a focal point, and then moved Luani back to safety against other teams.

Oct 5 2016, 11:07 AM

Guest8264 (guest): Should WSU go on the road for a non home and home series game to collect a bigger check from a power 5 school rather than paying EWU, Idaho and PSU to come to Pullman to offset its deficit and not burden students?

Oct 5 2016, 11:07 AM

srchat: The school makes more money from home games than it does from away games, even against Power Five opponents.

Oct 5 2016, 11:08 AM

cubsfan7331: Was at the game. Crowd was really into it. Loved the offense pre snap looks, now if we just run a play out of it, perhaps Martin under center to Marks pass.

Oct 5 2016, 11:09 AM

Guest5682 (guest): Mitchell seen any playing time this year ?..Harrington RS is gone, correct ?..like to see him get in the games somehow.someway !

Oct 5 2016, 11:10 AM

srchat: Harrington has already redshirted. I think he will see the field this year, maybe even against Stanford.

Oct 5 2016, 11:10 AM

Guest8870 (guest): If the Cougs bottle up McCaffrey the way they did Freeman, they should win.

Oct 5 2016, 11:11 AM

srchat: The WSU defense basically bottled up McCaffrey last year. But I do think Kevin Hogan was considerably better than the current Stanford quarterbacks. As usual, it will ultimately come down to line play.

Oct 5 2016, 11:12 AM

Guest6691 (guest): It we don't have good D line depth especially at NT why not move Jeremiah Mitchell to NT, he is supposedly good at stopping the run?

Oct 5 2016, 11:13 AM

srchat: In two years now under Alex Grinch, Mitchell has been unable to find a spot on the field. Grinch has proved to be pretty willing to move guys around and make the pieces fit, so if he can't get on the field despite the depth issues than the coaches must feel pretty strongly that he would not be successful.

Oct 5 2016, 11:13 AM

Guest6788 (guest): Was all the motion on Saturday a tool to offset what Yost would have shared with the defense or a permanent fixture on the offense?

Oct 5 2016, 11:14 AM

srchat: Mike Leach has added an offensive wrinkle in each of the past couple years. The pre-snap Wishbone look seems to be this year's addition to the offense, and I think it's here to stay.

Oct 5 2016, 11:14 AM

Guest2664 (guest): Do you know UW shutting down McCaffery solely based on how tough their defense is? Or was there a lot of specific scheming that the Cougs might be able to follow to try and get the same result? Thanks

Oct 5 2016, 11:15 AM

srchat: It's going to be tough to replicate what UW was able to do because their surplus of quality defensive linemen allowed them to dominate without having to do much scheming. Adam Jude of the Seattle Times reported that the Huskies did not blitz a single time against Stanford, just trusted their d-line to dominate Stanford's o-line and let the linebackers do the rest.

Oct 5 2016, 11:16 AM

CougSchroed (guest): I know you are limited to talk about practice, but has there been a few more minutes spent on field goals (all year) and kick coverage this week?

Oct 5 2016, 11:17 AM

srchat: I have not noticed much more field goal work, but from the beginning of preseason camp on I've noticed a little more time dedicated to kick/punt coverage work than in the past.

Oct 5 2016, 11:17 AM

Guest2664 (guest): You mentioned Harrington might finally see the field. Would it be at receiver then?

Oct 5 2016, 11:17 AM

srchat: Yes, as an inside receiver.

Oct 5 2016, 11:18 AM

SeaStorm24: In-game stadium music has really fallen off since the glory days of jock jams. There really hasn't been anyone to fill the void of 69 Boyz. Thoughts?

Oct 5 2016, 11:19 AM

srchat: Taylor Taliulu's doing his best, man. He even came up with an Oregon-specific remix of the "Wah-Zzu" song. But I, too, yearn for some Warren Zevon.

Oct 5 2016, 11:19 AM

Jeremy Brown: Which one of our young receivers is going to step up and start to break out? The amazing ground raid should be creating some room for these guys to get open!

Oct 5 2016, 11:20 AM

srchat: Isaiah Johnson-Mack seems to be getting more comfortable playing through contact. I could see him having a breakout game at some point.

Oct 5 2016, 11:20 AM

Guest5682 (guest): Priester, Bender gone for good ?..Toki playing JC ?

Oct 5 2016, 11:21 AM

srchat: I don't expect either to be back with WSU. Toki is playing at a JC and the Cougars are apparently recruiting him again.

Oct 5 2016, 11:22 AM

Guest6788 (guest): The team had a different level of fire starting the game against Oregon than they've shown all season. Would you expect that to continue?

Oct 5 2016, 11:22 AM

srchat: The players seem pretty aware that their energy was up for Oregon and the need to replicate it going forward. So, I'm sure they'll try.

Oct 5 2016, 11:23 AM

Guest8628 (guest): Would Toki have to graduate from JC before he would be eligible?

Oct 5 2016, 11:23 AM

srchat: Yes, but this is his second year so as long as his grades are in order he should get his AA degree.

Oct 5 2016, 11:23 AM

jonthecoug: Do you see any of the young D linemen (Mattox, TJ, etc) contributing this year? Could be thin inside if we lose Barber.

Oct 5 2016, 11:24 AM

srchat: Other than Derek Moore, I think they will redshirt the young defensive linemen. If they were going to burn a redshirt to make up for Barber's loss, I think they would have tried to get that player some snaps already. Fehoko has already red shirted, but I don't think it's likely he sees many snaps.

Oct 5 2016, 11:24 AM

Guest6788 (guest): Does the same group review Barber's appeal that made the ruling? Also, getting any feel or word for how that will shake out?

Oct 5 2016, 11:25 AM

srchat: It is a different committee. I don't have any more insight.

Oct 5 2016, 11:25 AM

Guest8770 (guest): Thanks for all your hard work covering the cougs! Which players do you like interviewing the most?

Oct 5 2016, 11:26 AM

srchat: Thanks! There are lots of great interviews on the team, but Jamal Morrow and Shalom Luani are two players I've always enjoyed speaking to.

Oct 5 2016, 11:27 AM

Guest2664 (guest): I know Gabe is getting double and triple teamed constantly, but do you think the coaches might try some different things on offense to try and get the ball in his hands since he's such a difference maker?

Oct 5 2016, 11:27 AM

srchat: I think they've been trying. He does still lead the team in receptions. I think the blocking needs to improve on those quick hitch/smokescreen type routes they have him run, but they're definitely getting him the ball.

Oct 5 2016, 11:27 AM

Guest5682 (guest): Had did McBroom look ?..just one sack, did not see any pressures,

Oct 5 2016, 11:28 AM

srchat: I think McBroom has played well when he's in.

Oct 5 2016, 11:28 AM

CougSchroed (guest): Is Stanford Stadium the worst atmosphere in the Pac-12? Petros Papadakis says he loves the Stanford program but hates that place because they take snoody to a whole new level. Can you confirm or deny this?

Oct 5 2016, 11:29 AM

srchat: It's certainly the worst atmosphere of the winning teams. The sub-.500 teams always have the worst atmospheres because people stop showing up, but for a ranked team Stanford's atmosphere is quite bad.

Oct 5 2016, 11:29 AM

Guest7265 (guest): Does it feel to you like this game feels like it has a bit of "trap" potential? Stanford is going to be angry coming off that bad loss, WSU was really high emotionally vs. Oregon. Stanford is beat up, but they're still a solid team that will make you pay for not being disciplined.

Oct 5 2016, 11:31 AM

srchat: To me "trap game" means a game that the team in question is going to overlook, and I certainly do not think the Cougars are taking Stanford lightly. I think the things you mentioned could be factors, but there is no chance WSU thinks this will be an easy game or something.

Oct 5 2016, 11:31 AM

GoBuschGoCougs (guest): Has anyone else been taking field goals during practice or are the banking on Powell to increase that percentage from 0. As you can tell I am concerned

Oct 5 2016, 11:32 AM

srchat: We touched on this a bit earlier, but I still expect Powell to be the field goal kicker going forward.

Oct 5 2016, 11:32 AM

Guest6788 (guest): Lesser mentioned that we ran a lot Saturday when the read in the box would have dictated to pass. Has Falk said why he went with runs in those situations?

Oct 5 2016, 11:33 AM

srchat: Falk still maintains that he only checks into runs when that's what the defense presents him. But maybe that means something different against the Ducks, who they knew were susceptible on the ground, than it does against other teams?

Oct 5 2016, 11:33 AM

Guest6691 (guest): Would you say that the coaching staff's primary recruiting focus in D lineman right now, if so not looking good.

Oct 5 2016, 11:34 AM

srchat: No, I think they take a more holistic view than that. It's not like they're going to just spend 12 scholarships on defensive linemen and hope that a couple are stars as freshmen. The depth issues might cause them to take a look at a JC guy they otherwise would not have, but it's not going to change their priorities that much.

Oct 5 2016, 11:34 AM

Guest8628 (guest): Is leach still pressing his thumb down pretty hard on the team?

Oct 5 2016, 11:34 AM

srchat: I would think so, considering how well that approach worked leading up to the Idaho and Oregon games.

Oct 5 2016, 11:35 AM

Guest5682 (guest): Adam Jude did say that however if you read Shaws comments he felt the crowd noise and no hearing snap counts contributed to the pressure/sacks..

Oct 5 2016, 11:36 AM

srchat: I'm sure the crowd played a small part, but that was clearly a case of one team clearly physically dominating another. That's not something Shaw can really say, however, so the snap counts make a nice scapegoat.

Oct 5 2016, 11:36 AM

jonthecoug: Anybody sticking out to you in Thursday Night Football?

Oct 5 2016, 11:36 AM

srchat: Some of the young defensive players such as Jahad Woods, Marcus Strong and D'Jimon Jones.

Oct 5 2016, 11:36 AM

Guest6788 (guest): Thanks for all your coverage, doing these chats and overall job you've done on Cougar Football. There's always some cold Pacifico's and smoked try-tip for you in the RV lot, just stop by!

Oct 5 2016, 11:37 AM

srchat: Really appreciate that, guest. I assume your RV license plate is WSU-6788?

Oct 5 2016, 11:37 AM

Guest1159 (guest): hOW DI NOBODY SEE THE uw-sTANFORD SPANKING?

Oct 5 2016, 11:37 AM

Guest6265 (guest): Do u think not having that loud home crowd advantage for stanford will actually help the coug football team or is it negligible that it won't matter much?

Oct 5 2016, 11:38 AM

srchat: Honestly, I could see it hurt the Cougars a little bit. Think of WSU's big road wins the last couple years -- Oregon, UCLA, Utah -- all were played in front of pretty solid crowds. I think the Cougars legitimately do feed off the hate from opposing crowds a little bit, and it may be tougher to play in a dead stadium than a hostile one for this team.

Oct 5 2016, 11:38 AM

Guest8770 (guest): Do you see any of the running backs playing on Sundays?

Oct 5 2016, 11:39 AM

srchat: James Williams has NFL athleticism and instincts.

Oct 5 2016, 11:39 AM

Guest6691 (guest): Do the Huskies lose a game this year, unfortunately I can see them running the table?

Oct 5 2016, 11:40 AM

srchat: They picked a great year to have everything come together, because the rest of the conference slate suddenly seems pretty easy. The game @ Utah could be trouble for them, and Oregon, Cal and WSU all have the ability to knock them off. But I can see them running the table. Of course, I then would expect them to be heavy, heavy underdogs in the semifinal.

Oct 5 2016, 11:40 AM

Guest8628 (guest): I remember you mentioning Falk being more decisive in the bye week. Seems like he had more of a clock in his head this week and when the clock went off he looked for a running lane? Is this just me? Is this part of what he was working on?

Oct 5 2016, 11:41 AM

srchat: I don't remember him specifically working on running more, but I think those are his natural instincts -- it's what he did that first year after Halliday got hurt. So I think him getting back to those basics is an indicator that he's thinking less and playing by feel, which works well for him.

Oct 5 2016, 11:42 AM

Guest1159 (guest): Is the Powell making the kicks from the hashmarks in practice? With only 4 trys? this seems to be the ghost that haunts him.

Oct 5 2016, 11:42 AM

srchat: Powell has been really good in practice. It's what makes the kicking game's struggles so frustrating for the coaches.

Oct 5 2016, 11:42 AM

Guest6788 (guest): Not the plate number, but the RV is coug'd out and has a projection screen outside, can't miss it! See you next weekend!

Oct 5 2016, 11:42 AM

Guest5682 (guest): Disagree....sure the crowd played part in some of the sacks..when the mutts fill the place up its a tough place for a young qb..the Stanford /mutt game reminded me a bit of the uw/usc game years ago, usc was overated and Stanford w/o Hogan, 2 Ol now in the NFL, 2 very good lbs and then the injuries not the same team as last year..i want to see how the mutts do on the road against a good team and a very good qb, pretty sure their win steal streak has not included a game against a top notch qb..

Oct 5 2016, 11:45 AM

srchat: It's true UW has not faced many good QBs in the last year and a half or so. That said, it's the team I would least want to play if I was an elite quarterback. The pass rush is legit and they have three NFL DBs. A great QB is always a challenge, but I don't expect them to get shredded all of a sudden.

Oct 5 2016, 11:47 AM

Guest6691 (guest): How have our LB's looked so far, how's the depth there looking also?

Oct 5 2016, 11:47 AM

srchat: I think they've been OK, not great, although they showed a lot of improvement against Oregon. Frankie Luvu is starting to do some things, and Isaac Dotson is getting better as well.

Oct 5 2016, 11:47 AM

Guest1159 (guest): Kick coverage a priority this week with mcaffery?

Oct 5 2016, 11:48 AM

srchat: Definitely. One way Powell can make a big impact this week is by kicking the ball out of the end zone.

Oct 5 2016, 11:48 AM

CougSchroed (guest): what are stanfords OL ages? They are pretty young up front, ya?

Oct 5 2016, 11:49 AM

srchat: Yeah, they've got three first-year starters.

Oct 5 2016, 11:49 AM

srchat: But, they are all juniors and seniors.

Oct 5 2016, 11:49 AM

Guest5682 (guest): Yes James looks like the next great RB...Broussard, Mayes, Porter, Harrison, Grandberry, Jones, Doornik, miss anyone ? !

Oct 5 2016, 11:50 AM

srchat: Robert Burns, Roger Bannister...

Oct 5 2016, 11:51 AM

jonthecoug: Robert Taylor seems to be getting more comfortable. Love his speed at safety. I see him being a big factor as the season progresses. I also like Shalom at nickel.

Oct 5 2016, 11:51 AM

Guest1159 (guest): Freeman looked like a beast in the open field on tv, how bout in person? Db's didn't look to eager once he busted past LOS.

Oct 5 2016, 11:51 AM

srchat: Freeman is one of the most impressive, imposing football players I've ever seen in person. I think most of the WSU defense would agree.

Oct 5 2016, 11:53 AM

Guest8628 (guest): How do you see the battles playing out at the line of scrimmage this weekend?

Oct 5 2016, 11:53 AM

srchat: I think both offensive lines will have the advantage over the defensive lines. This could be a higher-scoring game than people realize.

Oct 5 2016, 11:53 AM

Guest1159 (guest): Running qb at Stanford going to cause problems?

Oct 5 2016, 11:53 AM

srchat: Not more than Hogan did, I would think.

Oct 5 2016, 11:53 AM

Guest6691 (guest): How many NFL players do you think we have on our team and if so who are they in your opinion?

Oct 5 2016, 11:55 AM

srchat: Hmmm, I'm going to shy away from projecting underclassmen because there are too many variables there, and I don't think it's reasonable to put those kinds of expectations on a teenager. But I think A. Dillard, C. O'Connell, G. Marks, L. Falk, and S. Luani all probably have some sorts of NFL futures.

Oct 5 2016, 11:56 AM

SchroedCoug (guest): UW put up 44 on Stanford but the other 3 opponents averaged 12 points against Stanford... How many points will WSU have to score to win?

Oct 5 2016, 11:56 AM

srchat: 37

Oct 5 2016, 11:56 AM

jonthecoug: Do you think the bball team will be improved this year? Ernie seems to have brought in some better athletes, though they look raw. Also, I think King has a big year.

Oct 5 2016, 11:57 AM

srchat: I'm going to write about this in a few days, but I think the team will be more cohesive and sharper in its play this year. I don't expect them to suddenly be a tournament or even an NIT team, but I think they'll be less frustrating and will find a few more Pac-12 wins.

Oct 5 2016, 11:57 AM

Guest5682 (guest): Agree on their db's Jones is very good, I still think they are vunerable in the short passing game..like to see how they would fare against Falk, Rosen, Webb...

Oct 5 2016, 11:57 AM

Guest1159 (guest): Weakness #1 and Weakness #2 on Stanford D?

Oct 5 2016, 11:57 AM

srchat: Weakness No. 1: Starting cornerbacks are injured. Weakness No. 2: Defensive line is not as good as usual.

Oct 5 2016, 11:57 AM

Guest8628 (guest): Does Falk come back next year?

Oct 5 2016, 11:58 AM

srchat: He would need to have a pretty remarkable season to not come back, I think. For him to get a first round guarantee he is going to have to tear through the Pac-12, which would probably make it worth it to lose him.

Oct 5 2016, 11:58 AM

Guest63 (guest): Do you think Falk will switch to run plays against "unfavorable" boxes against Stanford, like he did against Oregon, or was that a one-time thing due to Oregon's run defense?

Oct 5 2016, 11:59 AM

srchat: It will depend on how successful they are running the ball. From the very first play it was apparent that Oregon could not stop WSU's run game, so they went back to it.

Oct 5 2016, 11:59 AM

Guest5682 (guest): Burns and Bannister..very funny !..I did forget Bernard Jackson and who can forget dexter tisby, Harold Gillum, vern chamberlin and of course

Oct 5 2016, 11:59 AM

SchroedCoug (guest): Do you think Grinch will game plan specifically for McCaffrey or do you think we will give him the Cooper Kupp treatment?

Oct 5 2016, 12:00 PM

srchat: My recollection is that McCaffrey was the one player the Cougars actually did focus their defense on last year. It seemed to work, so I don't see a reason for them to try something different this yera.

Oct 5 2016, 12:00 PM

Guest2664 (guest): Breakout player on Saturday?

Oct 5 2016, 12:00 PM

srchat: Dylan Hanser.

Oct 5 2016, 12:00 PM

wsucougarbill: I hear that you are leaning towards picking Oregon this weekend, congratulations on not being pushed around by "conventional wisdom"

Oct 5 2016, 12:01 PM

srchat: Here's a preview of my Pac-12 picks: At -9, WSU fan or no, you have a fiduciary responsibility to bet on the Huskies against Oregon this week.

Oct 5 2016, 12:01 PM

Guest1159 (guest): What happened that Oregon had 4 redshirt freshman on Oline? Injuries or poor planning on recruiting?

Oct 5 2016, 12:02 PM

srchat: A little of column A (starting left tackle is out for the season) and a little of column B.

Oct 5 2016, 12:02 PM

Guest8770 (guest): Will the Oregon freshman QB get eaten alive this week?

Oct 5 2016, 12:02 PM

srchat: If he plays. I still think it's a feint.

Oct 5 2016, 12:03 PM

srchat: Here's a crazy stat that just came up in my research: Six rushing touchdowns is NOT the most ever by a Jim Mastro-coached ground game. Not even close. He's had seven three times, eight twice and once even had NINE rushing touchdowns. Crazy.

Oct 5 2016, 12:04 PM

Guest6691 (guest): Coug basketball will be bad this year unless Kent starts beating out other pac 12 schools for recruits or teaches them how to play defense a whole lot better!

Oct 5 2016, 12:04 PM

srchat: I mean, yeah. But it will be really good if he beats out Pac-12 schools for recruits and they play better defense and offense.

Oct 5 2016, 12:05 PM

CougSchroed (guest): I don't know who this "SchroedCoug" guy is but I don't like it. Anyway, with Owusu out who is Stanford's 2nd best option as a big play threat other than McCaffrey?

Oct 5 2016, 12:06 PM

srchat: What if we call him/her "BizzaroCougSchroed" or "EvilCougSchroed"? Michael Rector of Tacoma's Bellarmine High is one of the conference's best home-run hitters. He can score from anywhere.

Oct 5 2016, 12:06 PM

Guest2664 (guest): Prediction?

Oct 5 2016, 12:06 PM

srchat: Will be online shortly!

Oct 5 2016, 12:07 PM

Guest8628 (guest): Insane, seems like it took 5 years to feel the Jim Mastro touch on the run game

Oct 5 2016, 12:07 PM

srchat: Oh, there have been some other breakout rushing performances. But now he's finally got a trio of his running backs, and a good run-blocking offensive line.

Oct 5 2016, 12:08 PM

srchat: Alright, everybody. We gave extra time for good behavior but now I've got to call it. Great chat this week, I'll see you all back here next Wednesday.




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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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