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Fresno State awaits Cougars


FROM PULLMAN — It's another gameday in Pullman, though this one doesn't bring as much hype as the last. Nevertheless, the Cougars will play a basketball game against Fresno State today at noon, and we'll be there. First, links.

Report: Choate to UTEP as defensive coordinator


FROM PULLMAN — It appears as if Washington State may have to find a new linebackers coach. The website CoachingSearch.com, along with the El Paso Times, reported Saturday that Jeff Choate will join new UTEP coach Sean Kugler as that team's defensive coordinator.

As of this writing, a WSU has neither confirmed nor denied the report.

If you'll recall, we profiled each of Mike Leach's new assistant coaches during the first few months of the year. Choate was very direct about why he left Boise State for WSU — he felt that he'd been pigeon-holed into a special-teams role, and found it difficult to move up the ladder because of that.

“I had interviewed for head (coaching) jobs and that was one of the things that came up – you haven’t been an offensive coordinator, you haven’t been a defensive coordinator,” Choate said at the time, “which quite honestly I think is ridiculous, because as a special-teams coordinator you address the entire team. It’s probably the best training ground for being a head coach.”

So he took the linebackers coaching job at WSU, obviously with the hope that it would lead to bigger things in a way his job at Boise State wasn't going to. Choate also reportedly talked with Idaho about its head coaching job in November.

Choate was given quite a bit of responsibility coaching WSU's linebackers, and also helped coach special teams, too. He talked about having players over to his house for dinner every now and then, and was instrumental in bringing together a linebacker corps that showed pretty well this season considering how many question-marks surrounded that group after the dismissal of C.J. Mizell and Sekope Kaufusi.

(And in an odd bit of WSU connectivity, the UTEP job was open because former WSU coach Mike Price retired at the end of the season.)

We'll update if more information becomes available.

Christian Caple can be reached at christianc@spokesman.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple

Choate on LBs, practice notes


FROM PULLMAN — Thursday means light work for Washington State, and that was the case again this afternoon. Not a whole lot to report on the practice front, though we did speak with linebackers coach Jeff Choate afterward, and have his comments below. Read on.

Choate: UI Should Quit Playing LSUs

In an Q-and-A interview with Ryan Collingwood/VarsityCDA, Jeff Choate, a former Post Falls High football coach who now coaches linebackers at Washington State, said:

I think Idaho prep football has really improved, and a lot of that has carried over from Boise State’s success. As for North Idaho, when I was growing up, it had a reputation of having tough, hard-working kids.  But I think that’s shifted over the years. I mean, how do you preach toughness to a bunch of kids from Dalton Gardens? Just the name itself sounds (fancy). …Last year Coeur d’Alene was as good as any team in the western Untied States. And (former CdA quarterback Chad) Chalich is a solid player. We had a lot of conversations on what we should do with him at Boise State, but we ended up getting another commit and Chalich ended up at Idaho. When Idaho does what it should and play at the FCS level (Big Sky Conference) I think Chalich will be an all-American player and Walter Payton Award candidate. …It’s really not right what (Idaho) is doing to its players in letting them get beat so they can get a paycheck. More here.

Question: Do you follow Washington State football?

Cyrus Coen will get his chance


FROM PULLMAN — It was the typical Thursday practice in terms of the workload — special teams, then a whole lot of scout work on both ends of the field followed by the standard "Thursday Night Football" team session for the scout-teamers at Martin Stadium. But today's practice also brought news of a change to the starting defensive lineup. Read on. Or watch the video above. Or both.

Coaches w/St. Maries Ties Leave BSU

Boise State defensive backs coach Marcel Yates (Texas A&M) and special teams coach Jeff Choate (Washington State) will leave the Broncos for jobs in Bowl Championship Series conferences, a source told the Idaho Statesman. Their exact titles are unknown, but Yates is expected to coach defensive backs for new Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin in the Southeastern Conference and Choate is expected to coach a defensive position for new Cougars coach Mike Leach in the Pac-12. Washington State already has hired special teams coach Eric Russell, who like Choate attended St. Maries High in North Idaho. The two departures will cost the Broncos experience and recruiting ties/Chadd Cripe, Idaho Statesman. More here. (SR file photo: Choate as the Post Falls Trojans coach in the 1990s)

Question: Will Boise State be able to continue its Top 10 performances of the past three years, with the exodus of its offensive coordinator and other assistant football coaches?

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/01/12/1949563/source-broncos-lose-2-more-coaches.html#storylink=latest#storylink=cpy

AM: 2 BSU Coaches Move Elsewhere

Boise State assistant coach Brent Pease calls plays for the White team during the annual Blue-Orange Spring college football game in Boise. Florida has hired Pease as its offensive coordinator. Story here. Also, Washington State has hired BSU special teams coach Jeff Choate to be an assistant. Story here. (AP Photo/Idaho Statesman, Shawn Raecke, file)