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Posts tagged: Washington state

Washington State’s focus will be tested

The schemes may vary and the personnel is obviously never the same but for all other intents and purposes the Washington State football team considers all opponents to be one in the same.

If the Cougars can maintain that inward focus and block out the fastest, flashiest, highest-ranked team in the west all week then they can do it against anybody. No. 2 Oregon comes to Pullman on Saturday with ESPN in tow. Whether or not the Cougars like it this is a big game, and a big win or even a good performance this weekend could propel the team to some badly-needed wins against Utah and California in the following weeks. But it would be tough to recover from a bad loss or some critical injuries.

Yesterday the Cougars addressed Oregon during their weekly press conference and there were even a few basketball items throughout the day. All that and more is after the jump.

Cougars prepare for Pac-12 play

Washington State begins Pac-12 play this week against No. 2 Oregon. That means that the Cougars will have their weekly press conference today to discuss the Ducks and we'll have some coverage from that in the early afternoon.

In the meantime, we follow Saturday's win with a story today's paper and a report from last night night's practice, which featured a sneak peak at WSU's white helmets.

More links are after the jump.

WSU wins in a blowout

Last night was fun for just about everybody. It was fun for the Washington State players because they got to pile up stats and pick up that first win of the season. It was fun for the fans because the Cougars won and the stadium looked great. And it was fun for me because my duties actually ended before midnight and the Cougars finally had a home game, meaning I got to hang with Grippi in the press box and listen to old-man stories about the days when practices were open and players and sportswriters conversed as they pleased. Sure, Vince, like that ever happened.

Just about the only people it wasn't fun for were the Portland State Vikings, who not only had to suffer through a game they never really had a chance in, but then boarded a bus for a five-hour return trip to Portland. That's a rough travel day.

But there was a lot of good stuff that came out of yesterday so let's get to those links, which are right after the jump.

Pullman, populated

The is gridlock on Grand Ave, crowds at Cougar Country and I'll thank all you people to kindly get the heck out of My Office! Yes, Cougar football weekends must have returned to Pullman and if the sheer number of people that seem to be milling around my normally quiet college town are any indication, there should be a sizable crowd at the game today.

Because Washington State only offers night classes in football 101 these days the game won't kick off until 5 p.m. We'll get started early with a live chat an hour before kickoff, but until then the links will have to do.

Links are after the jump.

Friday morning Pac-12 links

College football returns to Pullman tomorrow and the Cougars will finally be able to show off their new digs. Their opponent, Portland State, is the subject of our story in today's paper.

We have more WSU and Pac-12 links after the jump.

Unlocking the WSU running game

There's no rule that says the Air Raid offense can't have very productive running backs. In fact, for the pass-heavy scheme to work, the quarterback's backfield mate ought to be one of the offense's most productive players.

When Mike Leach was at Texas Tech the Red Raiders had productive backs such as Baron Batch, Shannon Woods and Taurean Henderson collecting All-Conference honors.

The Cougars have a trio of running backs the coaches are excited about right now, but they haven't been much of a factor through WSU's first two games. That's the topic of our story in today's paper, more links are after the jump.

The Pac-12 is still a mystery

Two weeks into the college football season and we still don't know much about the Pac-12 conference. Oh sure, Oregon's awesome while USC and Stanford look really good, but what do we make of this California squad? Can teams like Utah and Arizona keep winning and is Oregon State going to shake off this early-season rust or is are the Beavers headed for a downswing?

It's a confusing time, and the Pac-12 Power Rankings in the paper today could look very different as soon as next week. Also, our Pac-12 notebook leads off with two teams that haven't met expectations so far, but remain undefeated.

Follow the jump for more links.

Preparing for Portland State

For the first time this season the Cougars are on a normal game week schedule and that means the press conference finally held on a Monday. If this keeps up we'll actually have Thursday Night Football on the day for which it's named.

There was a lot of news yesterday, such as the fact that two former starting receivers will redshirt this season, some new faces on an updated depth chart and the fact that the Cougars are offering standing-room only tickets to the sold-out Oregon game. Furthermore, we have a video and transcription of coach Mike Leach's press conference, a First Look at Portland State and our story for today's paper. We also have our unit grades for the Nevada game.

Whew.

Various links from around the conference are after the jump.

Tyler Hilinski signs with WSU

With the above tweet the Washington State football program made official the financial aid agreement signed today by prep quarterback Tyler Hilinski. The NCAA allows student athletes that are able to graduate high school early to sign with schools well before national signing day in February, and to enroll in time for spring football. 

Last spring Calvin Green and Sean Krepsz took advantage of this rule and participated in spring football after finishing up their high school careers ahead of schedule.

More on Hilinski after the jump.

 

Fleet Dominic Davis says he’ll go to WSU

Update: Greg Biggins of Scout.com has more from Davis.

Today wasn't Washington State's turn to speak to the print writers at Pac-12 media day but still a bit of WSU news came out. Dominic Davis, a speedy athlete from California's Bishop Alemany high school, told Scout's Barry Bolton that he will sign with the Cougars over scholarship offers from schools like UCLA, USC and Washington.

The 5-10, 175 pound Davis plays running back in high school but could make the switch to receiver at WSU much like former running backs Rickey Galvin and Calvin Green.

As always, there are the caveats that Davis' announcement isn't binding and according to Scout.com's Greg Biggin's the kid still hasn't visited the school. Still, it looks like another piece has been added to what at present looks like a very good recruiting class.

Here is his Scout.com recruiting profile.

Kameron Powell to join four-star teammate at WSU

 Braulio Perez of Scout.com reported on Twitter that four-star safety Kameron Powell out of Upland High School in Upland, California has committed to playing football at Washington State. Powell's high school teammate, quarterback Tyler Hilinski, also says he will spend his college days in Pullman.

Recruiting websites think highly of Powell. Scout.com rates him a four-star prospect and the 25th best safety prospect in his class. While Rivals.com only gives Powell three stars, it considers the him the 22nd best player at his position. According to Powell schools such as Colorado, Oregon State and Washington also offered scholarships to the 5-foot-11, 192 pound safety.

He adds to what is already shaping up to be the school's best class in some time. Both Scout and Rivals rate three of the four players who have publicly joined WSU's 2015 class as four-star players. No player signed by WSU in 2014 was ranked four-stars or above by the websites and Gabe Marks and Tyler Bruggman are the only four-star prospects to have signed with WSU in the Mike Leach coaching era. 

Friday lunchtime Pac-12 links

Not very much WSU news or really any college football and basketball news since the Pac-12 schools wrapped up their spring practices but we've cobbled together a few links. In yesterday's paper we had a story on the Cougars' offseason plans and on the blog we took a look at three things we learned from spring. Bud Withers has a story on the end of spring as well. SportsOnEarth's Michael Weinreb had a nice profile of Mike Leach. Here is a scouting report of former WSU safety Deone Bucannon, who hopes to be selected early in next week's NFL Draft.

In other Pac-12 news … Washington has a slick new basketball court … Cal has parted ways with a basketball signee … Lots of wrap-ups and the like over on the Pac-12 Blog … Will UCLA's backfield hold up this season without more help from the linebackers?

Wednesday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — Well, the 2013-14 Washington State football season is in the books. Or maybe we've just finished the first chapter of the 2014-15 one. The “chicken or the egg” of college football.

The Cougars had practice No. 15 yesterday, kicking off the offseason. Here is our practice report and our story on Graham Harrell, the newest member of the coaching staff. We've also got a baseball notebook.

A look at some Oregon State salaries … Which Pac-12 players might go in the NFL Draft's first round … Former Cal quarterback Zach Kline won't be heading to Oregon State after all … Next year the Pac-12 Networks show The Drive will feature UCLA.

Ernie Kent lands another commitment

We're about to start the spring game here in Spokane but I wanted to pass along the news that Ernie Kent appears to have secured another recruit for the men's basketball team. Jackie Davis has passed on scholarship offers from Tulsa and Penn State according to Josh  Gershon of Scout.com.

ESPN rates Davis the No. 92 point guard in the class of 2014 and a two-star player. A scouting report on the ESPN site says that:

Davis is physical point guard with a Chauncey Billups type of frame. Due to his strength and solid handle, he can carry defenders on his hip and make plays with his head up. He is best in the open court where he separate from pressure…

 

Aaron Cheatum makes it official

From Pullman — After verbally declaring his intentions to sign with Washington State earlier this week, Aaron Cheatum made it official today, sending in his National Letter of Intent and becoming new coach Ernie Kent's first recruit at WSU. The 6-foot-7, 240 pound forward hails from Moreno, Calif. via East Los Angeles Community College where he was named the South Coast Conference Player of the Year after leading his team to a 20-9 record while averaging 15.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

“We are very fortunate to get Aaron so late in the year,” Kent said in a press release. “Aaron is a very good basketball player with an excellent skill set and will fit into how we want to play and our system very well. He has the ability to not only shoot the 3, but also post up and score inside. We are getting not only a very versatile basketball player in Aaron, but also an excellent young man.”

 

Curtis Allen to remain at WSU

From Pullman — The third and final member of men's basketball coach Ernie Kent's staff is a familiar face. Curtis Allen came to WSU as an assistant under former coach Ken Bone and will remain in the same capacity under Kent. Allen was named the team's interim coach by athletic director Bill Moos during the coaching search and has been on the road with Kent recruiting for the past week.

More after the jump.

WSU lands four-star quarterback

From Pullman — As we noted in our practice report, prep quarterback Tyler Hilinski attended Washington State's football practice on Thursday and evidently he liked what he saw, making a verbal commitment to play for WSU according to a Rivals.com report($). Hilinski is rated the nation's 14th best quarterback by Rivals and is a four-star prospect, the second four star QB landed by Mike Leach at WSU, along with Tyler Bruggman in 2013.

Hilinski is WSU's third recruit in the class of 2015, along with defensive tackle Thomas Toki, who is also currently on campus, and cornerback Austin Joyner. 

The 6-foot-3, 187 pound quarterback plays for Upland High School in Upland, Calif., and also held a scholarship offer from Utah State. He will likely be the only quarterback recruit in the class. The Cougars have taken one scholarship quarterback in each class under Mike Leach, starting with Austin Apodaca in 2012, who has since transferred, and then Bruggman in 2013 and Peyton Bender in last year's class.

Thursday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — The Cougars won't be in pads when they take the field today for their final tune-up before Saturday's spring game at 1 p.m. in Spokane's Joe Albi Stadium. The Tuesday practice following that scrimmage will officially mark the end of spring football and will mean our Cougars coverage is going to really start winding down, sans the occasional baseball story.

But the Washington State football team is still making news, such as yesterday's announcement of a 2018 game against Eastern Washington. In case you missed it we have a profile of Mitch Peterson, a former walk-on safety turned scholarship linebacker. When I was in Spokane for the NCAA tournament I met ESPN's newest contributor to the Pac-12 blog, Chantel Jennings and she has her first WSU story up, a look at Vince Mayle.

That old so-and-so Christian Caple takes a look at where Washington is with spring practice in the books … The Pac-12's new coaches have been the story of spring … In its spring game Oregon will finally have to try and stop itself … The Beavers are seeing some movement in the running back depth.

Tuesday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — It's Spokane Week for the Washington State athletic department and here in Pullman the Cougars have just one week left of spring football. We began the week yesterday with a lunchtime chat. We also had a blog post on Gabe Marks' successful surgery as well as an off day Five Questions segment with Toni Pole. Cougar fans seemed pretty happy yesterday with the news that Bill Moos is no longer looking to make games in Seattle a priority. Last night the news came out that men's basketball coach Ernie Kent landed his first recruit at WSU.

Oregon still doesn't know who its backup quarterback will be … Arizona recruit Stanley Johnson was named California's Mr. Basketball … It was a Bruin who won the Boston Marathon … Cal's new coach has named two assistants.

WSU picks up a cornerback recruit

From Pullman — Austin Joyner of Marysville-Pilchuck high school has decided to play football at Washington State, according to his Twitter account. Joyner becomes the second known member of the class of 2015 to verbally declare their intentions to play for Mike Leach and the Cougars.

Rivals.com rates Joyner as a four-star player and ranks him the 27th best running back in the class, but he will player cornerback at WSU, according to Ransford. Last year Joyner said that he would accept a football scholarship from Washington under previous coach Steve Sarkisian.

In addition to WSU, Joyner currently claims football scholarship offers from Arkansas, Colorado, Oregon State and Washington.

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Jim Allen (@srjimallen) 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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Jacob Thorpe (@JacobThorpe) Sports reporter Jacob Thorpe covers Washington State University athletics. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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John Blanchette (@SRjblanchette) John Blanchette is a freelance writer who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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