October 10, 1997 in Sports

Cougars Take Scrimmage To New Level

By The Spokesman-Review

This might have been the first time an entire coaching staff was offsides.

It had to be the first time a defensive coordinator was seen gyrating on the sideline as the Pointer Sisters’ “I’m So Excited” blared over the public-address system. And let’s hope it was the only time a fourth-string cornerback ever sauntered off the field like an overcaffeinated Deion Sanders.

In a twist that seemed like fun for everyone, Washington State held a football scrimmage Thursday in which the players coached, the real coach served as Martin Stadium’s announcer and only the backups were allowed into the lineup. Call it the luxury of being 5-0 heading into a bye week.

One thing’s for certain: You have not witnessed coaching chaos until you’ve seen the defensive line coach shuttling instructions into the huddle between plays, as senior Leon Bender kept doing.

Of course, if defense wins championships, it also wins scrimmages. Kenny Moore, one of a handful of seniors left in charge of the defense, helped see to that.

“Get somebody in there for Raonall Smith!” Moore ordered, fully intoxicated by his new-found power.

As Smith, a freshman linebacker, jogged off the field somewhat lazily, Moore made like Mike Ditka: “Get your feet going!”

Dorian Boose, the Cougars’ standout defensive end, was the unofficial defensive coordinator. He was flanked by a phalanx of arm-chair quarterbacks that included Bender, Moore, Brandon Moore, Duane Stewart and Ray Jackson.

Wherever the plays originated, most of them worked. The defense gave up only one touchdown, a quarterback keeper by freshman Paul Mencke that sent the defensive coaches into a momentary meltdown.

“Hey, who’s coaching the defense?” heckled Mike Walker, the Cougars’ real D-line coach, keeping a safe distance.

Somebody must have been, because the defense dominated from that point forward.

During one sequence, lineman James Agnew and linebackers Serign Merong, Ryan Pickering and Stephen Strand made consecutive tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

A few plays later, the scrimmage concluded with junior defensive back Anthony Smith intercepting freshman Bill Graffis.

Senior Ryan McShane, one of the offensive assistants, was left shaking his head.

“We’re going to hit the chalks (run) real hard this weekend and hopefully the next scrimmage they’ll get their act together,” the Cougars’ starting right tackle deadpanned.

In actuality, McShane and the 12th-ranked Cougars will have the weekend off. They’ll return to practice Monday.

, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Bye week After taking Saturday off, WSU plays host to California on Oct. 18 at 2 p.m.

This sidebar appeared with the story: Bye week After taking Saturday off, WSU plays host to California on Oct. 18 at 2 p.m.

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