Christian Caple’s live chat on SportsLink gives readers more insight on the WSU football team and progress under new coach Mike Leach.
Caple, The Spokesman- Review beat writer living in Pullman, conducts the live chats every Wednesday from noon until 1. You can go to spokesman.com/sportslink to read the entire chat. Below is an excerpt from Wednesday’s chat.
Bryce: Leach’s comments in interviews have been rather tame compared to some of the YouTube videos of him from Tech. When (if ever) do you think we’ll see that side of him?
Caple: He only seemed to get real animated at Tech after losses or games in which his team performed poorly. So I guess I’d say there just hasn’t been much recently to get really worked up about. Those kind of comments come with frustration, as is the case with most coaches.
Shawn: What position group do you feel will be the weakest link in the Cougar defense this season?
Caple: Hard to say this early. but I think there are still some pretty serious concerns at linebacker. The No. 1 unit has performed well in drills, but they’re struggling to develop backups there.
Tim: What do you think of the offensive line? I feel after 12 sacks from our own defense we might be in trouble coming this fall.
Caple: They’re a work in progress, and keep in mind they’ve got a lot of guys out right now – Wade Jacobson, Matt Goetz, Jake Rodgers. Elliott Bosch is playing center on a consistent basis for the first time in his career. They only have three tackles available and one of them, Dan Spitz, is playing guard. Gunnar Eklund and Zach Johnson are being shuffled around. There’s just a lot going on right now and guys are still picking things up.
Rob: What is the general attitude of the team on the field with the new systems and new coaches? Is there a different collective attitude being shown?
Caple: There does seem to be more of that nastiness on the defensive side of the ball. The linebackers love playing for Jeff Choate, and he kind of brings that energy to practice that makes his guys want to play well for him. Chester Su’a and Eric Oertel come to mind in that regard.
BcougD: If the season started today, who would be No. 2 QB and has that person surprised you with their play?
Caple: With Connor Halliday still nursing that liver deal, no question it would be David Gilbertson. That might be one of the more underlooked aspect of this spring – with Halliday so limited, Gilbertson has really emerged as a guy who could be trusted as a backup if it came to that. He’s thrown the ball well.
ECoug01: Give us the guys on defense and offense in your opinion that have played well so far and to watch out for in 2012 that was not a starter/major contributor last year.
Caple: Defensively, Eric Oertel and Chester Su’a. Offensively, Bobby Ratliff and maybe Drew Loftus, a walk-on transfer who’s looked pretty good at outside receiver.