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Posts tagged: WSU football

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.

Friday flashback: USC

(Cornerback Damante Horton had a pair of picks in WSU's 10-7 upset of USC)

The Cougars may have played better than expected in their season-opening loss at Auburn, but they were still 0-1 as most analysts had predicted they would be. As if Washington State's foray into SEC country wasn't daunting enough, the next test for the Cougars was No. 25 USC at Memorial Coliseum, a venue they had not won in since 2000 against a team they last beat in 2002.

But there were signs that Troy was ready to tumble. Los Angeles partisans were growing weary of coach Lane Kiffin's style over substance approach and the coach faced enormous pressure to produce despite heading into the season with two mediocre options at quarterback (spoiler alert: he didn't).

Injuries had necessitated that true freshman cornerback Daquawn Brown play with the No. 1 defense the week leading up to the game and he had played well enough to give them confidence he would succeed in his hometown return (he did).

And WSU's passing defense had just held Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall to 99 passing yards on the road. If the defensive backs could summon another monster performance against quarterbacks Cody Kessler and Max Wittek, then maybe they could keep the score close enough to stay in reach of the upset (yep).

More on WSU's game at USC is after the jump.

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.”

Monday fast forward: Nevada

Monday fast forward: Nevada

This is the second installment of a series of weekly previews I'll be doing this summer on the Washington State football team's 2014 opponents.

Our Nevada preview 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. 

Jalen Canty will not enroll at WSU

Jalen Canty was one of the more intriguing players in Washington State's 2014 football class, but the 6-foot-8 defensive end announced on Twitter late Wednesday evening that he will not enroll at WSU. He apparently then told Britton Ransford of WazzuWatch.com that he intends to head to Casper College in Wyoming to play basketball, and is giving up football entirely.

Canty claimed to have been offered football scholarships by schools such was Oregon, Washington and Vanderbilt, and listed a basketball scholarship offer from California. When he signed with WSU in February he said he was going to try and play both sports in college.

On signing day coach Mike Leach said of Canty, “What was real impressive about Canty, he hadn't played a ton of football. The end of the year was really on fire, the end of the season was like 20-something sacks.” 

Canty's departure leaves the Cougars with just Hercules Mata'afa at defensive end in the 2014 class, with Kingston Fernandez expected to play BUCK linebacker. But the Cougars are deep along the defensive line and are not expected to need help from true freshmen at defensive end, although Canty might have been able to carve out a role thanks to his unique size and athleticism.

FOB media tour highlights

Bill Moos gave the WSU athletics press corps a personal tour of Washington State's nearly completed football operations building today. Its grandeur was enough to make me wish I'd learned how to whistle. You can check out our story in tomorrow's paper for all the details (rumor is it will make the front page) but I thought I'd share some highlights after the jump.

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.

… 

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. 

Highlights from Mike Leach’s Reddit appearance

Mike Leach recently wrapped up a chat with fans, commonly known as an “Ask Me Anything” or “AMA” on Reddit.com. Here is the transcript if you'd like to read through it. Missed it or didn't get your question asked? Don't worry, it looks like you'll have another chance soon.

We've got a few highlights from the session, after the jump.

… 

WSU announces CAF staff changes

Washington State athletics just announced some staff changes to the Cougar Athletics Fund, including the hiring of former WSU quarterback Jason Gesser as assistant director of athletics. Gesser also recently joined the IMG broadcast team for WSU football.

The release is after the jump.

Ask Mike Leach anything

Have you ever had a question you wanted to ask Washington State football coach Mike Leach but haven't had the chance? Maybe you live too far from Pullman, maybe you were too nervous. Maybe you just had so many questions that sports information director Bobby Alworth chased you away from the coach/author/hunter — he can't spend too much time away from the recruiting trail, you know.

Well at 3 p.m. today you'll have a chance to ask Leach anything, literally anything. With his new book on Geronimo publishing recently, the WSU coach is hosting his second AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit.com. Here is a link to the page and here is a link to his previous AMA. We should also note that some of the language on the site may not be suitable for minors, work places, or readers with delicate eyeballs.

 

Pac-12 announces a new championship game site, also links

For the next three years the Pac-12 football championship game will be held at an ostensibly neutral site: Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. While fans are sure to point out that the location is a lot less neutral for some schools than others, it's a change from the prior practice of having one of the participants host.

The change was doubtlessly spurred by the desire to guarantee that the game will take place in a large, modern stadium. If UCLA hosts in the Rose Bowl that's fine, but when Oregon State or Washington State win the North, the conference could have had real logistical problems (read: not enough money) staging the event.

It should be quite a venue. Levi's is the new home of the San Francisco 49ers and is scheduled to host the 2016 Super Bowl, and the Fight Hunger Bowl starting this season. It seats 68,500 including luxury suites and club seats.

The conference issues a press release that said things like:

“Pac-12 football is among the deepest and best football conferences in the country,” said Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott. “Our Football Championship Game is important for selecting a team for the Rose Bowl and possibly the College Football Playoff, and we are thrilled to offer student-athletes and their fans the ultimate venue to culminate a successful season.”
And:
“This is a positive move for our institutions and fan bases,” said Scott. The neutral site location will allow us to showcase the Conference, our member institutions and important initiatives on a big stage, as well as treat fans to multiple events during championship week, concluded Scott.”

The Cougars have been in the news again lately so follow the jump for some links.

Updated: How WSU fared in the APR report

Today, the NCAA released its Academic Progress Rates, a metric for calculating a team's academic performance. Teams are recognized for high APR achievement but also punished for low scores, including potential ineligibility from postseason play.

The APR rates used to determine academic consequences are based on a four-year rolling average. The current scores are the average calculated from the end of the 2012-13 academic year.

The Washington State women's volleyball team faces a Level One penalty after receiving a multi-year APR of 929. That score would be enough to declare the Cougars ineligible from postseason play, but because the team has shown significant academic progress they were granted a lesser penalty. According to the NCAA, “Level One penalties focus on practice restrictions, allowing teams to use that time to focus on academics. Teams facing this penalty lose four hours and one day of practice time per week in season, replaced with academic activities. This year, 42 teams face this level of penalty.”

In this case the Cougars are still paying for the performance of the team under the previous coaching staff, which scored and 837 in 2010-11, their final year. The volleyball team posted a perfect score of 1,000 in the 2012-13 academic year  under coach Jen Greeny. In fact, nine WSU programs posted perfect scores of 1,000 this year, although only women's basketball has a perfect 1,000 four-year average.

They were followed closely by women's cross country (991), men's golf (986) and women's golf (981).

““I am very appreciative and proud of our student-athletes, coaches and staff for their continued dedication and efforts in reaching for academic success, and the most recent NCAA data fully supports their hard work,” WSU athletic director Bill Moos said in a press release. “They place their academic pursuits on par with their athletic endeavors and I continue to be pleased at what they are able to accomplish and how well they represent this fine university.”

More on WSU's APR performance after the jump.

Kicker Andrew Furney tweets he’ll attend Seahawks mini camp

Andrew Furney going to kick for an NFL team and he won't have to travel far. Furney announced on Twitter Saturday night that he will attend Seahawks mini camp and compete for an invitation to attend the team's training camp in July and August. Making the team will be a long shot — NFL teams carry only one kicker on their 53 man roster and the Seahawks extended kicker Steve Hauschka through 2016 earlier this offseason.

Seattle showed legitimate interest in Furney, inviting him one one of their 30 allowed visits.

Kickers often try out for many teams before eventually landing somewhere, due to the fact that spots are rarely relinquished and more talented legs graduate every year. To have a shot at playing in the NFL a kicker must be one of the top couple players at his position in a graduating class.

But you could certainly argue that Furney meets the standard, having set a school record in field goal percentage as a sophomore, connecting on 14 of 16 kicks. He finished his career at WSU 5 of 7 on field goals of 50 or more yards, including a 60-yard kick that ranks as the second longest in Pac-12 history. He was 18 of 22 from 40-49 yards.

Furney also kicked off 89 times, a skill that gives him additional value to NFL teams.

John Fullington signs with Green Bay

John Fullington will get a shot in the NFL after playing every position but center during four years as a starter on the Washington State offensive line. His agent, the Seattle-based Collin Roberts, broke the news on Twitter shortly after the conclusion of the NFL Draft. The 6-foot-5, 301 pound lineman is projected to play guard at the next level.

More after the jump.

Quotes and reaction to Bucannon’s selection

Late this evening the Arizona Cardinals drafted Deone Bucannon out of Washington State with the 27th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. We've got a blog post up and a story coming shortly but follow the jump for some quotes and reaction to WSU's first first-rounder since 2003.

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