CULVER CITY, Calif. – Washington State’s first road trip this season will take only 30 or 40 minutes, but will last about 10 days.
Mike Leach must have heard Lewiston is nice this time of year.
As reported earlier this week, that’s where the Cougars will spend the first 10 or so practices of their preseason training camp, staying in the dormitories at Lewis-Clark State College and practicing on the grass field at Sacajawea Junior High School.
Leach said Friday at Pac-12 media day that, as most assumed, the move was necessitated by the ongoing construction on the new football operations building at Martin Stadium. With only half of Rogers Field available, a more open space was desired.
So off the Cougars will go, away from campus and into a climate that will be less distraction but also a bit warmer. Weather.com’s 10-day forecast predicts temperatures in the low-90s during WSU’s first weekend of camp, which begins Aug. 2.
No matter. Players seem excited for the change, saying it should contribute to stronger team bonds.
“I’m kind of looking forward to it,” said senior center Elliott Bosch. “It’ll be nice to have a change of pace, and I think more than anything it’ll bring the team closer together because we’ll be staying together.”
Senior safety Deone Bucannon compared the trip to “an NFL feel.” That’s not news to residents of the greater Spokane area. Before the construction of the Seattle Seahawks’ fancy new Virginia Mason Athletic Center, they used to set up camp in Cheney each offseason.
“NFL teams go off to other small colleges and do their camp, and I feel this is a good way to get us closer,” Bucannon said.
Leach said none of his Texas Tech teams ever began camp away from campus, partially because summer school was still in session.
But the coach seems OK with the idea, given the circumstances.
“I don’t mind it. It’s all right,” Leach said.