ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here

SportsLink

Posts tagged: WSU cougars

Monday fast forward: Cal

(Sorry today's installment is a little late in the day. I'm out of town and don't always have the best internet access. – Jacob)

There is something pure about a 0-12 record in college football. Well, purely pathetic. There are so many opportunities for a major college team to pick up a win or two over glorified NAIA teams that most of the worst teams skate by and are merely remembered as appallingly bad, if they are remembered at all.

But to reach true infamy, a team needs to catch all the bad breaks. Key players need to be injured, questionable flags need to be thrown, a schedule can't have any games that are too easy and at the end of it the coach probably wishes he could have a few calls back.

Achieving an “imperfect season” puts a major conference team in rarified air, truly. Recently, it probably means you're the Duke Blue Devils, a program that managed to do it in 1996, 2000, 2001, 2005 and 2006.  Prior to that, South Carolina pulled it off in 1999, Illinois went winless in 1997 and Kansas State didn't win a game in 1987 or '88.

Don't forget – as if any of you could – that the purple people eaters from the wet side of the state had 12 long bus rides home in 2008.

So when looking ahead to Washington State's game against California next season, remember that the Golden Bears were just a 37-30 home victory over Portland State from entering the Pantheon of Pitiful.

Follow the jump for our Cal preview.

D.J. Shelton will get his shot

D.J. Shelton's willingness to rebound and ability to hit the occasional 3-pointer made him a valuable player for Washington State during his three years in Pullman. While the Cougars did not find much success while Shelton was in school, he still has a chance to be remembered among a select group of former players who found success in the pros.

While Shelton went unselected in last week's NBA draft, he will have a shot to impress professional teams while playing for Atlanta in the NBA summer league. The league's regular season runs from July 11-15 with playoffs running from July 16-21. If you have NBA TV, or sign up here for $15, you can likely watch Shelton play alongside fellow Atlanta rookie Adreian Payne, who the Hawks made the 15th pick in the draft after watching him score 41 points against Delaware in Spokane.

In other WSU news …

— CBS takes a look at which Cougars have NFL prospects.

— Deone Bucannon is already impressing in Arizona.

— SLAM magazine has a profile of incoming WSU basketball player Trevor Dunbar.

— The ESPN Pac-12 blog has a Q&A with special teams coordinator and assistant head coach Eric Russell.

Leach lands seventh commit

Adam Gorney reported on Twitter that Darrien Molton, a cornerback from Temecula, California has decided to play football at Washington State. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound cornerback plays for Chapparal High. Rivals.com rates him as a three-star cornerback and he claims scholarship offers from California, Colorado, Duke and Utah.

Below is a video of Molton's defensive highlights.

 

Monday fast forward: Utah

Monday fast forward: Utah

In Mike Leach's two full seasons as the Washington State football coach, no Pac-12 opponent has been as consistently memorable as Utah. In Leach's first season the Cougars were embarrassed 49-6 in Rice-Eccles Stadium, the sixth loss in an eventual eight-game losing streak. Leach was so unhappy with the Cougars' effort in the game that he made the unusual move of sending the entire offensive and defensive lines to speak to the media as units after the game.

The postgame setting following last year's win over the Utes in Pullman could not have provided a starker juxtaposition as fans stormed the field when the Cougars attained bowl eligibility for the first time since 2006.

In Leach's third year the Utah game likely won't have such an immediate reaction due to it being just the fifth game of the season, but it is a winnable game on the road against a well-coached opponent and should prove to be very important in the long term.

Kent lands first 2015 recruit

Ernie Kent has yet to coach a basketball game for Washington State but he's already made headway among recruits who won't be on campus until the season after next, receiving a verbal commitment from forward Jeff Pollard, a member of the class of 2015 who announced his decision with the above tweet. 

Braulio Perez of Cougfan.com spoke with Pollard ($), and the 6-8, 215 pound forward from Bountiful, Utah seems to value defense, telling Perez that it is the strongest part of his game. Southern Utah had reportedly also offered Pollard a scholarship and he told Perez that he was also being recruit by Weber State and the University of Portland.

According to MaxPreps.com, Pollard averaged about nine points and eight rebounds per game as a junior for Bountiful High. Here is a good profile of the newest WSU recruit from Utah's Deseret News.

Fast forward: Oregon

​(Our series previewing the 2014 WSU football schedule continues with Oregon)

A game against Oregon, the fastest, most efficient bully in college football, can quickly get out of hand. Washington State learned that last year when a commendable 34-24 halftime deficit turned into a 24-point blowout in less than six minutes. The Cougars scored the game's final two touchdowns in the 62-38 loss, which really upset UO defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti for about a day.

Still, it would be a mistake to write-off the Cougars in their Pac-12 opener against the Ducks. For some reason, UO has had some motivation problems lately and struggles to give its best in games that are not being played on the biggest of stages.

Its Rose Bowl hopes were dashed last season after a pretty pedestrian Arizona team dominated the Ducks offensively and defensively. They lost 42-16! So there really is no reason WSU – or anyone else – should feel like they can't beat the Ducks at home. Because for whatever reason the Pac-12's best team just can't always seem to stay focused.

Follow the jump for the rest of our look at WSU's fourth opponent.

Cougars add a late piece

“Do not pay attention to recruiting, for that way madness lies.” Williams Shakespeare spoke those words, or ought to have, anyways, because the twists and turns involved with populating a college football roster are enough to drive Poor Tom sane. Britton Ransford of WazzuWatch.com reported ($) last night that Chandler Leniu is headed to Pullman to enroll at Washington State. Leniu had declared his intentions to join the Cougars last year but ended up signing a letter of intent with California.

Bruce Feldman confirmed Ransford's report and added that Leniu will be eligible to play immediately, if that's what the WSU coaches want. Leniu appears to be around 6-foot, 220 pounds or so and is expected to play linebacker at WSU. He was pretty highly regarded out of high school, in fact he's WSU's best recruit in the 2014 class according to the recruiting sites. 

Here are his profiles from ESPNRivals, and Scout.

Friday Flashback: Southern Utah

Where to start with this one? When Washington State upended USC a week before the Southern Utah game, it effectively guaranteed a 3-1 start to the season. Following tough road games at Auburn and USC, the Cougars finished out the first third of their schedule with gimmes against Southern Utah and Idaho.

The Cougars were expected to win this one, their home opener, and win big. So they did, pretty easily. The offense piled up some impressive statistics, but it was the defense that turned some heads, allowing just one touchdown for the second consecutive week.

Follow the jump to find out what happened.

… 

WSU’s Ivan McLennan arrested

Washington State linebacker Ivan McLennan was arrested on Sunday for unlawful handling of weapons capable of producing bodily harm after pointing a nonlethal Airsoft pellet gun at a student.

We have more information on his arrest after the jump.

Monday fast forward: Portland State

Many fans agree that in today's college football world that the “A-B-C” tiered method is the best way to handle the out of conference schedule. The idea is that a team should schedule one “A” game against a marquee opponent, preferably one it can beat but enough of a challenge to give the fans a memorable win over a respected team they rarely get to see.

The “B” team should be winnable – two losses out of conference is a pretty bad start to the season – but interesting enough to make season tickets a little more enticing. A “C” is a body bag game — some small school gets a large down payment for its season expenses in exchange for getting butchered by a bigger school that gets to let its backups shine for one game.

While its debatable which team is the “A” and which is the “B” in Washington State's 2014 schedule – Nevada and Rutgers are honestly both B's – there is no question that Portland State is the “C.”

Yes, teams like Appalachian State and Eastern Washington have beaten bigger, badder schools recently, but those schools were among the best in the FCS and had some legitimate NFL talent fall into their laps. Even then, they needed almost everything to break their way to pull off the upsets.

Sure, if the Cougars come out half asleep and completely dismissive of their opponent than the Vikings might get in the end zone a few too many times for comfort.

But don't stress, WSU will win this game.

Follow the jump for more on WSU's third opponent.

Martin Stadium will get new FieldTurf

Photo courtesy of Washington State Athletics

Washington State finally announced that new FieldTurf will be installed at Martin Stadium, including crimson end zones that some fans have been hoping for. The school also released the above image of what the field is expected to look like when it is completed in late July.

“What began in 2011 with the construction of the premium seating addition at Martin Stadium, to the recently completed Cougar Football Complex, the football facilities at Washington State University have experienced a major facelift,” athletic director Bill Moos said in a statement. “The final touches to this three-year transformation are new playing surfaces on both Martin Stadium and the Rogers Practice Field, which is now in full swing.”

Moos has previously hinted that any unused funds from the Football Operations Building project would be put toward aesthetic upgrades to Martin Stadium. In the press release it sounds like they have enough money left over to make a couple other changes, although it remains to be seen what those are.

“With the new FieldTurf installed, and some additional cosmetic improvements, alumni, fans, recruits, coaches and student-athletes will be watching and playing college football in a first class venue in one of the most unique settings in the country.”

Pac-12 announces reforms following summer meetings

The presidents and chancellors from Pac-12 schools have concluded their summer meetings and released a statement today emphasizing their push for NCAA reforms, which they outlined in this earlier letter, expanded the Student-Athlete Health Initiative and announced an 11 a.m. television window for the Pac-12 Networks.

The press release from the Pac-12 is after the jump.

Friday Flashback: Auburn

It was the first game of Washington State's best season in a decade, it was nearly the Cougars' most improbable upset, in hindsight, in at least that long. Auburn played in the BCS championship game last season, but its breathtaking run was almost undone from the start at home by an upstart team from the country's northwestern corner.

The muggy affair was a game of superlatives. Jeremiah Laufasa – since transferred to UTEP for want of a scholarship – scored two touchdowns. Auburn's Corey Grant rushed for 146 yards – twice as much as teammate Tre Mason, who was drafted 75th overall in the NFL draft.

Instead, Mason's impact was felt on a 100-yard second quarter kickoff return for a touchdown.

The WSU defense held Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall to 99 passing yards and just 10 completions in 19 attempts. Cougar counterpart Connor Halliday said afterward that, “If (Auburn) had a quarterback they'd be a top five team. They just don't have a guy that can throw it.”

They were bold words coming from Halliday, who threw three interceptions in the 31-24 loss, but they were prescient. Marshall was better after that first game and Auburn finished second in the AP rankings after a close loss to Florida State in the last championship game of the BCS era.

Follow the jump for more on WSU's 2013 season opener.

Deone Bucannon signs with Arizona

All-American, first round NFL draft pick, now Deone Bucannon is also a multi-millionaire after signing a four-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals that is worth $7,709,200 according to Ross Jones of FOX Sports. Nearly all of it, $6,237,946, is guaranteed.

Bucannon became the first player out of Washington State to be drafted in the NFL draft's first round in a decade when Arizona took him with the 27th overall pick. He was a four-year starter for the Cougars, leading the team in tackles and interceptions his senior year as WSU made its first bowl game since 2003. 

Monday fast forward: Rutgers

(The young WSU offensive line will have a tough first test to stop Darius Hamilton. Photo: Rich Kane/Icon SMI)

We have not yet entered the dog days of summer but we're getting close with only a few Washington State athletes competing in the last remaining NCAA championships. To stave off the summer boredom – and supplement the yeoman's work Vince is doing to find something worth writing about every day – I'm going to start some new series on the blog to prepare for the upcoming football season.

We'll begin today with a Monday Preview, a weekly series of previews of WSU's upcoming opponents in the 2014 football season. Also keep an eye out for some Friday Flashbacks that use the supreme intelligence granted by hindsight to contextualize the 2013 season.

Without further ado, our Monday Preview of WSU's first opponent, Rutgers University, is after the jump.

… 

Trevor Dunbar is headed to WSU

Braulio Perez is reporting that Trevor Dunbar out of St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco has committed to play basketball for Ernie Kent at Washington State. The 5-foot-10 point guard looks pretty crafty in the above video and chose WSU over scholarship offers from Cal Poly, Montana State and others.

Dunbar told Perez that he was planning to visit St. John's as well but has decided to end his recruitment. The diminutive guard scored 40 points against Serra earlier this year. Here is a good article on WSU's newest guard.

The school hasn't acknowledged receiving a signed financial aid agreement from Dunbar yet, but we'll expect a comment from coach Kent when they do. The Cougars still have one more scholarship left to offer, but I would expect them to save it unless they find a big man who can contribute.

(Update: This blog was updated on Monday to reflect that, because the spring signing period is over, Dunbar won't sign a letter of intent with the Cougars, but instead a financial aid agreement. Thanks to Twitter user 7lCoug for catching that.)

Former Bruin heading to WSU?

The news that former Bruin Aaron Porter appears to be transferring to Washington State has been out for awhile but I'm just now getting to it after helping out with some preps coverage elsewhere. But in case you missed it this afternoon, WazzuWatch's Britton Ransford is reporting ($) that the former UCLA football player plans to enroll at WSU after attending Cerritos Community College this fall.

If and when Porter does enroll at WSU he will have two years of eligibility remaining.

We've got more on the alleged newest Cougar below the fold.

Pac-12 announces early television selections

Did you, like many Coug fans (and reporters), complain last season about the seemingly endless parade of Washington State football game on odd days or at odd times that made it nigh impossible to cross the Cascades or hit a deadline? Do you still imagine college football as a Saturday afternoon pastime? Is paying for an extra night at a Pullman hotel on a game day weekend an inconvenience?

Good news! The Pac-12 announced its early television selections and commissioner Larry Scott has heard those Cougar cries, allowing young Cougar fans to catch the first half of the September 13 game against Portland State, which kicks off at 5 p.m., before heading to bed.

After that, it's going to get a little funky. WSU kicks off the season on August 28 with a “home game” against Rutgers at Seattle's CenturyLink Field. That's going to be played on a Thursday at 7 p.m. and televised on Fox Sports 1. The following Friday the Cougars will take on Nevada in Reno, at 7:30 p.m. to accommodate an ESPN broadcast.

The only other WSU game time that has been announced is the Cougars October 10 game at Stanford, also on a Friday, which kicks off at 6 p.m.

All other game times for the 2014 season will be announced six or 12 days in advance. Keep your nights open.

Cougars have a prime time game on ESPN

 

Washington State's football game at Nevada on Friday, September 5 at 7:30 p.m. will be televised on ESPN. The game was originally scheduled for the following Saturday, but was moved up one day to accommodate a nationally televised broadcast. 

The game is WSU's second of the season and its first scheduled national broadcast. The Cougars played three games on ESPN last season, including the New Mexico Bowl, and two more on ESPNU. 

Wayne Phipps to lead WSU track and field

Wayne Phipps will take over as the director of the cross country and track and field programs at Washington State. He comes to WSU after 19 years of coaching at Idaho, including four years as the director of cross country and track and field. He takes over for Rick Sloan, who is retiring after leading the Cougars for 32 years.

Phipps was named the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year this past season in men's indoor and outdoor track, as well as women's outdoor track. The Vandals have brought home nine WAC championships since 2010 In men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and men's and women's cross country.

“I am most happy to welcome Wayne to the Cougar family,” WSU athletic director Bill Moos said. “I have watched his good work from afar and have been impressed with not only his success in regards to competition but also how he has managed his program. I believe he is a great fit and I am excited for the future of our Cougar Track and Field programs.”

More on WSU's new coach after the jump.
 

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

SportsLink is your portal into sports news around the Inland Northwest and beyond. You'll find updates, notes and opinions, and plenty of reader feedback.

Filter










Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on SportsLink.

Contributors

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.

Recent work by Jim

Jim Meehan Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

Recent work by Jim

Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

Recent work by Chris

Josh Wright Josh Wright is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

Recent work by Josh

Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here