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Video: Leach, Monroe, highlights

Video courtesy of WSU Athletics.

Day 2: WSU offense gets going a bit

COUGARS

FROM LEWISTON — Another day of camp is in the books for Washington State. There were a few more highlights on the offensive side of the ball this time. Details follow.

Video: Leach, Halliday, Bucannon

Videos courtesy of WSU Athletics.

Looking back at Day 1 as camp churns on

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — It's that time again. Time for our daily morning post with links and fodder for your enjoyment. Here we go.

Video: Some WSU practice footage

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Decided I'd try to provide a feel for what one of Washington State's practices looks like. Or what one minute looks like. Anyway, here's some video of WSU's 7-on-7 session today.

Day 1: WSU adjusting to Lewiston locale

COUGARS

FROM LEWISTON — The first day of 10 in Lewiston is over for the Washington State football team, which is probably wrapping up meetings right about now back at the Lewis-Clark State campus. We're back in our Pullman home office with some notes and quotes to pass along from the first day of camp.

Leach speaks about Day 1

COUGARS

FROM LEWISTON — Back in Pullman now, and with our newspaper story filed, we'll pass along some quotes from coach Mike Leach's media session after the Cougars opened camp earlier this afternoon.

Report: WSU lands OL commitment

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Reports rolled in last night that Braden Eggert, a 6-foot-7, 310-pound offensive lineman from Napa, Calif., has committed to play football for the Cougars. Rivals.com and Scout.com each reported the news.

Eggert is rated a 3-star recruit by Scout.com, and is currently rated as the No. 89 offensive tackle prospect in the nation. He's WSU's 10th known commitment of the 2014 class, and the first offensive lineman.

Here's his bio from Scout.com. CougCenter has some more analysis.

5 storylines as WSU begins camp

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — In anticipation of Washington State's 2013 preseason camp debut tomorrow, we've assembled five storylines for you to chew on — or just read — before things get underway tomorrow in Lewiston.

1. QUARTERBACK: Might as well start here and get it over with. It seems safe to say now that this is Connor Halliday’s job to lose, since Mike Leach has said repeatedly that Halliday would be the starter if the season started today. As it stands now, “today” isn’t all that far away from “August 31,” which is when the Cougars do have to play a game. And Halliday’s experience seems to give him an edge over Austin Apodaca, who has received plenty of adulation from Leach for his performance in the spring.

For that reason, it’s perfectly reasonable to think Apodaca will see the field at some point this season, especially if Halliday doesn’t shake the over-aggressive inconsistencies that plagued him last season. But that’s an area in which Leach believes Halliday has progressed, so camp will be his chance to prove it.

It will also be interesting to see how incoming freshman Tyler Bruggman is used in camp, and whether he gets any real, meaningful reps.

2. THE O-LINE: So, there have been some issues here the past few seasons. This is no secret. But the Cougars at least appear to have more depth now than they did at any point last season, and that’s something coach Mike Leach has touted since spring. Now it’s a matter of establishing a top eight, then a top five to form the starting o-line.

Elliott Bosch is the starting center. There’s no question about that. But there will likely be a good deal of experimentation and competition at each of the other spots – Gunnar Eklund vs. Eduardo Middleton at left tackle, or Joe Dahl vs. John Fullington vs. Matt Goetz for the two guard spots, to name a couple. Even with the offseason departure of former starter Jake Rodgers, the Cougars are in OK shape here from a pure numbers standpoint. Developing those numbers into players who can protect the quarterback and block in the running game will be key.

3. VINCE MAYLE: The 6-foot-3, 240-pound receiver might be the most intriguing recruit of Leach’s short tenure at WSU, if only because of how excited coaches are about his presence. Leach said during Thursday’s teleconference that Mayle checks in somewhere around 13 percent body fat, so there doesn’t appear to be any concern about that eye-popping 240 number. The Cougars are already pretty deep at receiver, but Mayle’s arrival will only breed more competition at the outside receiver position. If he’s the kind of strong, physical player the coaches envision, he could open up a lot more options within Leach’s offense.

So it begins: notes from Leach’s pre-camp teleconference

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We are back on the Palouse, enjoying the comforting reliability of the nightly flight from Seattle zooming overhead around 11 p.m. each night, and we have some notes from Mike Leach's pre-camp teleconference to pass along.

A couple quick WSU links

COUGARS

Still a few days before fall camp (summer camp, preseason camp, whatever) commences in Lewiston, but we do have a few newsworthy items to send your way …

— Former WSU linebacker/defensive end Travis Long, who went undrafted after tearing his ACL late in the season, was signed as a free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday. The folks at CougCenter were rather pleased about this news.

— Passed this along on Twitter the other day, but if you missed it, Brock Motum announced on his Facebook page over the weekend that he has signed with Virtus Bologna, an Italian professional team. The Tacoma News Tribune caught up with Motum and wrote this story.

— Scout.com reported Sunday that Joe Turner, a 6-foot-2 cornerback from the College of San Mateo, gave a verbal commitment to play for the Cougars. Here's Turner's bio from Scout.

Here's a writeup from CougCenter about a 5-star running back's plans to visit Pullman, if you're into wishful thinking.

— Auburn hasn't started practicing yet, but WSU's week-one opponent is already thinking about the Air Raid.

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

Wrapping up media day

COUGARS

We're back in the state of Washington, which means media day is over and the next time we see Washington State's players will be the first day of camp on Aug. 2.

But before the day ends (OK, it actually ended about 30 minutes ago, but I'm still awake) we figured we'd pass along all of our coverage wrapping up the goings-on at Sony Pictures Studios.

— Here's our main story for the paper, focusing on the relative anonymity of WSU's presence at media day

— Here's a notebook leading with some of the new safety protocol in the Pac-12, as well as more talk about the new targeting rules.

— On the blog, we had an updated WSU depth chart, along with a transcription of WSU's time on the podium and the results of the preseason media poll. And here's a post with the Pac-12 release about its new safety protocol.

— If you're interested in reading what all the other coaches and players had to say, here are the transcriptions from ASAP Sports.

— And here's a pretty all-inclusive roundup from Bryan Fischer of the Pac-12 Network

Mike Leach: Geronimo!

CULVER CITY, Calif. – Mike Leach expanded Friday on comments made earlier this week about his disdain for college football’s new targeting rules.

The Washington State coach, speaking at the podium during his session at Pac-12 media day at Sony Pictures Studios, said he doesn’t believe a rule can be effective if it is difficult to enforce. And that’s how he sees the new rules, which dictate that a player can be ejected for a hit that results in any contact to another player’s head, regardless of whether the defensive player actually targeted the head. More here. Christian Caple, SR

The article goes on to say Leach spent the summer writing a book about Geronimo with WSU prof Buddy Levy.

Two questions: Could you write a book if you had the summer off? And what do you think of college football's new targeting rules?

Transcript of WSU at media day

COUGARS

Thanks to the folks at ASAP Sports, we have a full transcription of WSU's time at the podium today.

Q.  Good morning, Coach, you've been vocal in your criticism over the new targeting rule.  Can you give us the specifics on what exactly is chapping your hide?  And to follow that up, if you were in charge of creating a rule that limits or deters head trauma, what would be the criteria for you in establishing the rule and what would the penalty be? 

COACH LEACH:  “I'm not the only one against this rule, rules in order to be effective have to be enforceable and you've got to be able to see it.  If I get these guys across the room and I have them run full speed at each other and I ask you in a split second to tell me which one lowered their head first, I betcha you can't do it. 

“So I think that is a huge problem.  The other thing is, you know, in one of the plays that's getting criticized, is the Clowney hit.  That is why they have football and it's why football was invented and it's one of the greatest American games there is.  Everything that can be done to prevent head trauma and prevent student‑athletes, that needs to be done and it goes along with technology, along with teaching people to tackle properly, and things like that. 

“If somebody is running at you and you're going to button up to take the hit and then it becomes a guessing game of who loader their head first, which, you know, we're back to the Halo Rule where you can't sort it out and you can't discern it.  I think that's a gigantic issue.”

New Pac-12 safety initiative

As expected, the Pac-12 announced its new football contact policy at its media day this morning.

The full release is below, but the gist is this: teams are now allowed no more than two full-contact practices per week during the regular season, and if a team holds two-a-days during the preseason, only one practice per day can be full-contact. Also, in the spring, of the eight full-contact practices allowed, no more than two can occur in a given week.

Here's the release:

Updated WSU depth chart

COUGARS

Here's a look at WSU's updated depth chart, as printed in the media guide being distributed here today …

OFFENSE

QB — Connor Halliday / Austin Apodaca

RB — Teondray Caldwell / Marcus Mason

WRX — Dominique Williams / Kristoff Williams / Vince Mayle

WRY — Bobby Ratliff / Robert Lewis

LT — Gunnar Eklund / Eduardo Middleton

LG — Joe Dahl / John Fullington

C — Elliott Bosch / Zach Brevick

RG — Matt Goetz / John Fullington

RT — Rico Forbes / Jacob Seydel

WRH — Brett Bartolone / Rickey Galvin

WRZ — Gabe Marks / Isiah Myers / Vince Mayle

DEFENSE

DT — Xavier Cooper / Robert Barber

NT — Ioane Gauta / Toni Pole / Moritz Christ

DE — Matthew Bock OR Logan Mayes OR Destiny Vaeao / Lyman Faoliu

BUCK — Kache Palacio OR Ivan McLennan / Max Hersey

SAM — Cyrus Coen / Eric Oertel / Feddie Davey

MIKE — Darryl Monroe / Jared Byers / Chester Su'a

WILL — Justin Sagote / Tana Pritchard / Jeremiah Allison

FCB — Damante Horton / Rahmel Dockery / Alex Jackson

FS — Deone Bucannon / Paris Taylor / Mitchell Peterson

SS — Casey Locker / Taylor Taliulu / David Bucannon

BCB — Nolan Washington / Anthony Carpenter / Tracy Clark

SPECIALISTS

P — Mike Bowlin / Wes Concepcion

PK — Andrew Furney / Mike Bowlin OR Wes Concepcion

KO — Mike Bowlin OR Andrew Furney

LS — Alex Den Bleyker / Zach Brevick / Jerred Sonneborn

H — Mike Bowlin / Austin Apodaca OR Brett Bartolone

PR — Brett Bartolone OR Leon Brooks OR Rickey Galvin

KOR — Teondray Caldwell OR Rickey Galvin OR Kristoff Williams

Media Day open thread

COUGARS

This will serve as our open thread for the day, which begins at around 9 a.m. with an appearance from Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott. Expect an announcement at that time about the conference's new contact policy.

Mike Leach, Elliott Bosch and Deone Bucannon take the stage at 9:15 to answer questions from reporters, and we'll pass along news and notes from that session, as well as anything of interest from the representatives of the remaining teams. But keep in mind that we'll be in and out as we conduct one-on-one interviews elsewhere on the Sony Pictures Studio lot.

Stay tuned …

UPDATE, 9:45 a.m. — The WSU contingent is off the podium, and we have a few notes to pass along …

— Leach was asked about his comments the other day in regards to the new targeting rules for defensive players. He said that “one of the plays that's getting criticized is the (Jadeveon) Clowney hit. The Clowney hit is why they have football. That's why football was invented.”

To illustrate his point, Leach said that if two people lined up across the room and ran full-speed at each other, it's not likely that a human being could determine if one of them lowered their head immediately before contact. For that reason, he doesn't think it's effective to ask an official to try to make that decision on the fly.

— As he's said a few times before, Leach reiterated that if the season started today, Connor Halliday would start at quarterback. Makes sense, because he's listed atop the most updated depth chart.

— Leach said he just filed the first draft of the book he's authoring about Geronimo with WSU professor Buddy Levy. He added that the process of writing a book — deciding where to place certain sentences, etc. — is like marriage, except “there's no divorcing a book.”

“Books are funny things. They’re very satisfying ultimately, but then there’s a point where it gets kind of tedious and you get tired of the same stuff over and over.”

— Leach was asked whether he's cleared up the “zombie” and “empty corpse” problem he had last season. He said that if there remain any zombies on the team, it's his own fault because he's the head coach. But he also said he thought WSU had a strong offseason, referring to Bosch and Bucannon as “specimens.”

— Bucannon was asked about the new targeting rules, and gave a pretty basic answer about simply making the proper adjustments in order to be in accordance with the contact guidelines.

UPDATE, 9:25 a.m. — Scott reiterated during his time at the podium that the Pac-12 Network is no closer to a deal with DirecTV than it was one year ago, and he doesn't expect a deal to get done during this school year. He also urged Pac-12 fans to drop DirecTV if they want to view what he described as “must-see programming” with “unprecedented access.”

The commissioner also touched on a number of talking points in regards to the NCAA and its policies, saying he is pleased that president Mark Emmert has called a summit in January to discuss some possible changes. Among them: enforcement, governance and financing.

Oregon picked to win Pac-12

COUGARS

Here are the results of this year's preseason media poll. As expected, Oregon has been tabbed to win the conference title, with UCLA selected as the South division champion.

Washington State was picked to finish sixth in the North.

Here's the poll (first-place votes in parentheses):

NORTH

1. Oregon (14) — 139

2. Stanford (11) — 134

3. Oregon State — 91

4. Washington — 81

5. California — 45

6. Washington State — 32

SOUTH

1. UCLA (12) — 130

2. Arizona State (9) — 124

3. USC (4) — 113

4. Arizona — 73

5. Utah — 58

6. Colorado — 27

Pac-12 media day schedule

COUGARS

Here's the schedule for Pac-12 media day on Friday. As you can see, Washington State's contingent will lead things off.

You can watch it all live here.

9:00 a.m.   Welcome- Larry Scott, Pac-12 Commissioner    
9:15 a.m.   Washington State - Coach Mike Leach, Elliott Bosch (OL), Deone Bucannon (DB)    
9:30 a.m.   California - Coach Sonny Dykes, Bryce Treggs (WR), Nick Forbes (LB)    
9:45 a.m.   Washington - Coach Steve Sarkisian, Keith Price (QB), Sean Parker (DB)    
10:00 a.m.   Oregon State - Coach Mike Riley, Brandin Cooks (WR), Rashaad Reynolds (DB)    
10:15 a.m.   Oregon - Coach Mark Helfrich, Marcus Mariota (QB), Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (CB)    
10:30 a.m.   Stanford - Coach David Shaw, David Yankey (OL), Shayne Skov (LB)    
10:45 a.m.   Break    
11:00 a.m.   Lydia Murphy-Stephans, President, Pac-12 Networks    
11:05 a.m.   Colorado - Coach Mike MacIntyre, Paul Richardson (WR), Chidera Uzo-Diribe (DE)    
11:20 a.m.   Utah - Coach Kyle Whittingham, Jake Murphy (TE), Trevor Reilly (DE)    
11:35 a.m.   Arizona - Coach Rich Rodriguez, Terrence Miller (WR), Jake Fischer (LB)    
11:50 a.m.   USC - Coach Lane Kiffin, Marqise Lee (WR), Hayes Pullard (LB)    
12:05 p.m.   Arizona State - Coach Todd Graham, Taylor Kelly (QB), Will Sutton (DT)    
12:20 p.m.   UCLA - Coach Jim Mora, Xavier Su’a-Filo (OL), Anthony Barr (LB)

Picking the Pac-12 before media day

COUGARS

Pac-12 media day begins Friday in Los Angeles, and we'll have our usual coverage once the festivites begin at Sony Studios.

Until then, here's the Pac-12 preseason ballot I filed last week …

Mike Leach calls new rules ‘ridiculous’

COUGARS

As noted here last night, Pac-12 coaches are in Bristol this week for an ESPN media tour before the conference media day in Los Angeles on Friday.

One of the stops for WSU coach Mike Leach was ESPN's First Take, where he was asked about the new targeting rules that could lead to ejections for hits that were previously deemed legal.

The hit that comes to mind, of course, is South Carolina defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney's massive takedown of Michigan running back Vincent Smith during last season's Outback Bowl.

Folks are upset because some higher-ups in the football officiating community have said that Clowney's hit likely would lead to an ejection if it occurred in 2013.

Count Leach among those protesting the new rules. 

“I'm getting tired of everyone apologizing for playing football,” Leach said, also calling the ejection rule “ridiculous.”

And:

I'm sure this will be discussed at more length on Friday. It should also be interesting to hear senior safety Deone Bucannon's take on the matter.

Also, if you're interested in Leach's portion of a live chat conducted by ESPN, go ahead and click this link.

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

WSU taking part of fall camp to Lewiston

COUGARS

Washington State will spend the first portion of its preseason training camp in nearby Lewiston, a source close to the program confirmed Wednesday. The Moscow-Pullman Daily News was the first to report the move.

Exact dates haven't been established yet for WSU's trip to Lewiston, though an official announcement is expected after coach Mike Leach returns from media-day obligations on the east coast and in Los Angeles this week.

Construction at Martin Stadium is likely the primary factor in moving practices from Pullman. Only half of Rogers Field is available for use, and WSU split its team between Rogers and Martin Stadium during spring practices.

That's not quite as feasible during camp with more newcomers on hand, a time when coaches would likely prefer to keep the whole team within one, visible range.

Camp opens Aug. 2. A full schedule will likely be available next week.

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

Mike Leach joins Pac-12 coaches on ESPN ‘car wash’

COUGARS

The official, for-real Pac-12 Media Day, in all of its capitalized glory, doesn't commence until Friday in Los Angeles (or Culver City, if you're into specificity).

We'll be in attendance and will pass along the usual fare, but also wanted to point your attention in the direction of ESPN's so-called “car wash” of Pac-12 coaches on Wednesday.

Essentially, the conference's football coaches are all in Bristol on Wednesday and Thursday for a fairly expansive tour of ESPN's many outlets.

Mike Leach, along with five other coaches, is scheduled to go through said car wash on Wednesday. The other half will buzz through on Thursday before heading back to the west coast.

Here's Leach's itinerary (and a link to the whole thing), which you will miss if for some reason you prefer to sleep until noon on Wednesdays:

10:00 a.m. ET/7:00 a.m. PT – SportsCenter Tonight radio show

10:15 a.m. ET/7:15 a.m. PT – GameDay Radio

10:30 a.m. ET/7:30 a.m. PT – ESPN.com Chat

11:20 a.m. ET/8:20 a.m. PT – First Take

12:40 p.m. ET/9:40 a.m. PT – Highly Questionable

1:20 p.m. ET/10:20 a.m. PT – SportsCenter

2:20 p.m. ET/11:20 a.m. PT – College Football Live

2:40 p.m. ET/11:40 a.m. PT - ESPN social media shoot

(As this story notes, Leach's segment with Skip Bayless on First Take likely qualifies as the day's primary entertainment.)

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

Hey, look: an Auburn kickoff time

COUGARS

Those making the trip to Auburn, Ala., for Washington State's football opener can finalize their tailgating plans.

WSU and Auburn will kick off at 4 p.m. PT, or 6 p.m. CT., and the game will air on ESPNU. The SEC made its early-season TV schedule announcement earlier today.

So, that's back-to-back games that will end in the dark to start the season. WSU travels to USC in Week 2 for a 7:30 p.m. game. The only other known game times are 7:30p.m. on Oct. 31 against Arizona State, and 12:30 p.m. at Washington on Nov. 29.

Also, as Vince noted this morning, WSU's basketball team learned that its Thanksgiving Day opponent will be Butler in the first round of the Old Spice Classic in Orlando.

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

Cougars get commitment from kicker

COUGARS

With Washington State set to lose both of its scholarship kickers after the 2013 season — Andrew Furney and Mike Bowlin are both seniors — it stands to reason that coach Mike Leach might want to offer a kicker a spot in his 2014 recruiting class.

And as recruiting maven Braulio Perez reported yesterday, Tristan Vizcaino, a kicker from La Verne, Calif., has given a verbal commitment to sign with WSU. That's now eight known commitments in WSU's 2014 class, according to Scout.com.

Vizcaino is listed at 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds. Here are some highlights of him kicking, as well as some additional analysis from CougCenter.

A 7th player commits to Cougars

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Reports yesterday indicate that Washington State picked up its seventh oral commitment for the class of 2014, as cornerback Kevin Griffin of De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif., told Braulio Perez that he's committed to WSU.

Here's that story, as well as Griffin's bio from Scout.com (he's listed at 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds). CougCenter has more analysis here.

And here's a video of Griffin's highlights:

Here's a full list of WSU's known 2014 commitments from Scout.com.

Rutgers added to WSU schedule (and Wisconsin pushed back)

COUGARS

Hoping to catch Wisconsin at Martin Stadium in 2014?

Well, that's not going to happen.

But you can see the Cougars play a “home game” against Rutgers in 2014 at CenturyLink Field on Friday, August 29. WSU returns the favor with a game at Rutgers on Sept. 12, 2015.

In turn, WSU's home-and-home series against Wisconsin, originally scheduled for 2014 (in Pullman) and 2015 (in Madison), has been pushed back to 2022 (in Madison) and 2023 (in Pullman) by way of a “mutual agreement.”

“Adding two BCS opponents to those already on future nonconference schedules benefits our program and is sure to be appealing to our fans,” said athletic director Bill Moos in a statement. “Our 2014 schedule also allows us to bring five quality Pac-12 games (Arizona, USC, Cal, Oregon and Washington) to Pullman to showcase our newly completed facilities.”

The latter part of that quote seems to imply that WSU doesn't plan to move any of its Pac-12 games to CenturyLink Field in 2014, as they have for the past two seasons (and will again this year, with Stanford visiting the CLink).

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

Some WSU betting lines

COUGARS

You'll likely see these lines in a few other outlets today, since the Golden Nugget sports book just released betting lines for 250 college football games earlier this afternoon. DonBest.com was kind enough to list all of them, so we've sorted through that listing (which you can view here) to pull out the eight WSU games with lines posted.

None of them favor the Cougars. Actually, none of them suggest the Cougars will lose by less than double-digits. But, as always, it's worth noting that Vegas lines simply intend to force as much betting action as possible, and don't necessarily intend to predict a margin of victory.

With that in mind, here's what WSU is looking at, via the Golden Nugget:

Washington State at Auburn (-11.5)

Washington State at USC (-21)

Stanford (-18.5) at Washington State

Oregon State (-13) at Washington State

Washington State at Oregon (-35.5)

Arizona State (-15) at Washington State

Washington State at Arizona (-19)

Washington State at Washington (-14)

Another Cougar commitment

COUGARS

Washington State's list of known committed players for the class of 2014 is up to six after the news broke yesterday that Sacramento receiver Calvin Green has committed to the Cougars.

Green, who is listed by Scout.com as 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds and attends Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, is another player who lines up primarily at running back for his high school team but reportedly projects as an inside receiver at WSU.

Here's a story about his commitment from Braulio Perez, who reports that Green has been offered scholarships by more than 10 schools.

CougCenter's Kyle Rancourt breaks down the commitment here.

Here's a list of WSU's known committed players, according to Scout.com.

And here are some highlights:

Another commitment for Cougars

COUGARS

Make it five known commitments for Washington State in the class of 2014, as multiple outlets reported Thursday that Keith Harrington, a 5-foot-8, 165-pound prospect from St. Petersburg. Fla., has committed to play football at WSU.

As Braulio Perez notes in this story, Harrington plays running back for his high-school team but projects as an inside receiver for WSU. CougCenter adds some analysis here.

Here are some highlights. You can watch a higher-quality clip here.