Latest from The Spokesman-Review
How experienced is Washington State's linebacking corps? Even the backups have starts under their belt. The Cougars' deep linebacking corps is the subject of our story in today's paper.
More links after the jump.
The dorms in Pullman are open again and students are trickling back onto campus. School doesn't start for another week at Washington State but the football team's young defensive backs are studying hard for their first big test. That's the subject of our third WSU position preview.
Follow the jump for more links.
There was a lot going on at practice today. The Pac-12 Networks were in town filming and Rick Neuheisel took a keen interest in what the Cougars were doing, observing the drills closely, particularly the ones involving quarterbacks.
The Cougars also made use of the scout teams against the first string for the first time, which always creates some confusion. After practice coach Mike Leach had a bucket of water dumped on him for a good cause, which you can watch here.
The coaches acknowledged that there are always a few dud practices at this time of the year. But that doesn't mean they're happy about it.
“I didn't think it was a very good practice. I thought we started out pretty good, didn't do a good job of finishing practice,” Leacj said. “Today was the first day we traded scouts so sometimes, a lot of times that has an impact. It shouldn't, it shouldn't but yeah I thought both sides were soft in the team period. Prior to that I thought we were doing some good things but we have to be better than that tomorrow.”
More after the jump.
After practice Mike Leach cooled off before speaking to reporters by taking part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The video is below and the highlights of Leach's interview with reporters are transcribed after the jump.
Good morning, everyone. I hope you were able to sleep in today or had an otherwise productive morning. If not you can make up for it by reading our Pac-12 links and catching up on all the conference happenings, after the jump.
The Washington State coaches value special teams pretty highly. All coaches do to some degree, of course, and all will say that it's a third of the game, etc. Still, many coaches see coverage teams as a place to stick second string players, and save their starters for use on offense or defense. Maybe they're worried about injuries, or maybe they think a player whose only chance to make a play is on special teams will find just a little something extra in themselves to really blow up the ballcarrier.
Not the Cougars. In the words of Mike Leach, “Best players play. If you can't start on offense and you can't start on defense then you better have a good reason for being able to start on special teams.”
The Cougars will have new starters on special teams this season, at least they will at kicker, punter and punt returner. Our first 2014 position preview takes a look at the replacements.
More links are after the jump.
Washington State held its first Pullman practice of the 2014 season at 8 p.m. tonight. The practice took on the dual roles of a Sunday night postgame practice – the Rutgers game is on a Thursday so Friday is effectively Sunday now – and a Thursday practice, with the underclassmen scrimmaging at the end.
Our practice report is just a click away.
While most of Pullman has been gearing up for fall sports season, DaVonte Lacy and the Pac-12 All-Stars have been barnstorming around China and beating up on professional teams. The All-Stars are 2-0, both blowout victories, and Lacy has been a solid contributor averaging 6.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and three assists per game.
The All-Stars will face their toughest test tomorrow in the Shanghai Sharks, former NBA All-Star Yao Ming's old team that he now owns. The Sharks have a couple former American college basketball stars in Quincy Douby and Darnell Jackson, so the All-Stars should get a good test. Unfortunately, it appears that the team will no longer face the Guandong Southern Tigers and former NBA lottery pick Yi Jianlian.
We have a couple links to pass along after the jump.
After 12 straight days of covering football practice I know I'm starting to lose my legs, so I can only imagine how Washington State's players and coaches must feel. The kickers certainly looked a little wobbly yesterday, and maybe the defense could use a break, too (except the freshmen defensive linemen that is, those kids looked like they'd had a little too much sugar).
But we all made it through fall camp in Lewiston, Idaho no worse for wear. In fact, apart from one apparent head injury to Gabe Marks and some bumps and bruises along the offensive line and secondary, the Cougars Sacajawea Junior High with their health intact, which can't be said of a lot of schools.
Anyways, the links are after the jump.
(Can you evaluate the offense's play in the scrimmage?)
I thought our first offense really played well and then, understandably, our second offense had their hands full with the first defense. It was good seeing them get some big plays but we were disjointed at times. The threes got good work, too, and I thought a couple of the running backs did some good things.
More after the jump.
Washington State's fall camp in Lewiston, Idaho wraps up today with a scrimmage at 3 p.m. at Sacajawea Junior High. The Cougars braved heat, smoke and lightning to practice for 12 consecutive days. Let's celebrate their accomplishment with some links.
(We'll be holding a live WSU football chat here on SportsLink at 11 a.m.)
Although last year's recruits are in camp and Washington State's 2015 recruiting class appears to be well under way, the Cougars weren't quite finished with the class of 2014. The team announced the late signing of safety Jeffery Farrar to a financial aid agreement on Tuesday. The 6-foot-1, 195 pound safety out of Upland High in Upland, California signed with Virginia out of high school, over scholarship offers from Arizona, Arizona State, and other schools.
Although Farrar signed a binding National Letter of Intent, WSU says that he is eligible to play immediately. Even if he doesn't redshirt, he'll presumably need some time to get ready after missing fall camp. Farrar is expected to enroll and begin class later this month.
Farrar was rated a four-star prospect by ESPN.
Today's practice will be the second-to-last of Washington State's fall camp in Lewiston. It will be held at Sacajawea Junior High at 2:30 p.m. unless it isn't. The following links will explain why, and more.
There was a time, today, when Bud Withers and I thought we might be late for practice. It seems silly now, but you see, but construction crews were doing something called “chip sealing” on US-195 South, shutting down all but one lane, forcing Bud and I to spend upwards of 15 minutes stalled outside of Colton watching the wheat grow.
Little did we know that unsealed chips would be the least of our troubles.
Follow the jump for our thrilling conclusion.
Washington State fans watched a few of their favorites move on from college this offseason. No matter how the Cougars do this season, safety Deone Bucannon will be missed and so will kicker Andrew Furney. Our story in today's paper looks at Erik Powell, the guy tasked with following Furney. More links after the jump.
I didn't get to this with yesterday's scrimmage, but lots of recruiting outlets are reporting that 6-foot-5, 300 pound offensive lineman Noah Myers out of Las Lomas High in Walnut Creek, California has verbally committed to play football for Washington State. Myers, whose highlight video is above, also claimed scholarship offers from Montana and Weber State.
Myers is the 12th player in the class of 2015 to pledge his services to WSU. He told Barry Bolton that he will probably play guard ($) for the Cougars. Scout.com rates Myers as a three star prospect and considers him to be the No. 91 guard in the class.
Links from WSU's scrimmage and from around the conference, after the jump.
The Cougars are going to hold their first scrimmage of spring at the conclusion of today's practice, probably around 3:15 p.m. The scrimmage will last around 50 plays and will probably be the first chance since the Spring Game to see the team go full contact.
The big news yesterday was the decision of U.S. District Court judge Claudia Wilkins against the NCAA in the Ed O'Bannon case. The decision says the NCAA cannot prevent student-athletes from profiting off a school's use of their likeness, and up to $5,000 per year can be put into a trust that will be turned over to the athlete when they graduate. Here is more information on the ruling and you can also read the 99-page decision.
Here at the S-R we have a story today about a versatile freshman the Cougars are trying out all over the field … The Cougars had a short day of practice yesterday to rest up for today's scrimmage … After practice Mike Leach reacted to the NCAA's recent step toward Big Five autonomy … There are still tickets available for the season-opener in Seattle … The Huskies will play plenty of first-year defensive backs this season … Arizona State says there is one foodstuff that won't be welcome on game day … UCLA has more talent at linebacker than it knows what to do with … Oregon State's freshmen are getting acclimated … Jon Wilner previews Stanford's training camp.
The Cougars aren't the kind of team where players run until they puke as some sort of homage to the Junction Boys. Mike Leach doesn't kill his charges, he'd rather they run hard in the drills and hit the whirlpool. That's why the Cougars don't do two-a-days during fall practice, don't always use up their spring scrimmages and why today's practice was an hour shorter with the Cougars back in shorts and shells.
“Just that time of camp, you know, the consideration is do you want a practice that's fast and crisp, you're getting full speed or do you want one where they're trying to push through and going to drag at some point so we went with the fast one,” Leach said when asked about the abbreviated practice. “So it went good, and then back out tomorrow.”
More on today's shortened session after the jump.
In a 16-2 vote yesterday, the NCAA board of directors approved a governance proposal to allow the 65 schools in the five richest conferences to govern themselves in areas such as player stipends, but not in things like academic requirements. You can read more on that decision here.
After Friday's practice Washington State coach Mike Leach praised the decision. He also responded to recent comments by coaches that think Big Five schools should only play one another, and defended the NCAA from critics who think it does a poor job of policing its member schools.
Read more after the jump.
If you're planning to make the trip out to Lewiston, you should probably think about coming out this weekend. Today starts the second half of WSU's Idaho excursion, and after the 13th there won't be any more open practices until Spring.
We've got WSU links and more, after the jump.
Let's get this link out of the way early. The catch by senior receiver Isiah Myers was the most impressive play by any individual so far in Washington State's camp, which wrapped up its fifth day yesterday. We had a full day here on the blog with a live chat, Drill of the Day and our daily practice report. We've also got some more WSU and Pac-12 links for you, after the jump.
Mike Leach decided to wait until the fatigue of early camp wears off some before putting his guys in full pads. His guys barely noticed. The hits that were laid on both sides of the ball were worthy of body armor during WSU's fifth day of practice in Lewiston. Still, the hits played second fiddle to some of the catches made by WSU's wide receivers, including one that Leach referred to afterwards as, “one of the best catches of my entire career.”
Highlights after the jump.
We're a third of the way through Washington State's fall camp in Lewiston and the expectation is that the Cougars will be fully suited up for the first time today. Let's take a look at yesterday's WSU news, as well as what's going on around the conference.
Yesterday was probably the hottest day of camp so far with temperatures just a line of sweat under triple digits. That heat plus the daily grind of camp may have started to wear on the Cougars … That being said, Gerard Wicks certainly hasn't seemed too fatigued … CougCenter gives examples of how Mike Leach could spend his new dough in Pullman … Last year injuries took a toll and now California is already losing players … It didn't take Oregon long to find its next star running back … UCLA's Marcus Rios has returned after two years away from football … Washington's Kasen Williams is ready to go … Oregon State is envisioning life without Scott Chrichton … A pair of Utah speedsters want to finish their career in style … Here's a shock: Ty Montgomery is doing well in camp.
The Cougars resume practicing today at 2:30 p.m. in at Sacajawea Junior High, the last one before they can put their pads on.
The big news from yesterday had nothing to do with practice, of course. Bill Moos has invested in Cougars football once again, giving large raises to Mike Leach and his assistants. We have a story and a blog post on the topic. … But some stuff happened at practice as well and for that we have our daily report … Former WSU hooper Klay Thompson is trying out for Team USA and survived yesterday's cuts … On the other side of the state the Huskies had their first fall practice under Chris Petersen … Oregon State is searching for its next tiny, great wide receiver … Oregon is trying to be the first Pac-12 team to play in the college football playoffs … USC fans are returning to Troy … It looks like Tra'Mayne Bondurant isn't leaving Arizona after all.
As the on-field performance of the Washington State football team improves, so does its coaches' salary. WSU athletic director Bill Moos amended the contract for football coach Mike Leach to raise his annual media compensation from $100,000 per year to $600,000 per year, raising his total guaranteed annual compensation to $2.75 million.
Additionally, Moos allocated another $500,000 into the pool for assistant coaching salaries.
More on the coaching raises after the jump.
On day two of fall camp the Cougars found their voices. Coaches, players, the smattering of fans that made the trip to Lewiston, all could be heard on the muggy Sunday afternoon. Quarterback Connor Halliday had some fun at the expense of cornerback Patrick Porter, who gave up a couple plays just like Deion Sanders did his first time covering college receivers.
Today's story focus on a mouthy Cougar and his verbal sparring partner … Our practice report details yesterday's close team session … Andrew Crookston is in Lewiston and he has a Q&A with safety Beau Glover … Here's a practice report from ASU's practice … Washington's season starts tomorrow, here are five questions heading into fall camp … What can Utah do to break through its Pac-12 bowl drought … The LA Times takes a look at USC's schedule … Will the football rivalry in LA be revived?
Well, the first practice is in the books. The awkward questions about the players' weights and builds have been asked and we can get back into our daily routine. Part of my routine includes oatmeal, blueberries, brown sugar and about a gallon of coffee. And what could go better with coffee and oatmeal than links? Just about anything, I'd imagine. But you get links.
The Cougars showed newfound confidence in yesterday's interviews … Bud Withers says to expect big things from Connor Halliday … On the blog we have a practice report with additional notes and quotes from day one … Don't miss our new Drill of the Day feature.
Arizona State practiced as well on Saturday … Arizona lost a senior safety this weekend … The Buffaloes are a little more comfortable in year two … It's going to be hard to miss Brett Hundley this year … Sad tidings out of Montlake, where a very kind man who I was fortunate to have met passed away.
Bonus Link: This story has nothing to do with the WSU FOOTBALL team. But wouldn't it be funny if it did?
Welcome back, readers. It's football season. The Cougars are down in Lewiston (where I'll be heading shortly myself) and while many professional prognosticators have shared their opinion on what the 2014 season holds for the Washington State football team, we won't really know until they take the field.
Since that hasn't happened quite yet, let's take a look one last look at what the pundits think, after the jump.
(This post was updated at 11:03 to include information from the police report.)
Washington State wide receiver Drew Loftus was arrested for assault in the fourth degree early Thursday morning, his 21st birthday. Officers responded to a call at Domino's Pizza on Northeast Monroe Street where two witnesses claimed to have been assaulted by a suspect, who was fleeing on foot, according to Sgt. Dan Dornes of the Pullman Police Department.
The victims were in Stubblefield's bar and taking video of the atmosphere. They said that Loftus and another football player were upset at being videotaped because they were not supposed to be in the bar.
Once outside a victim claims that he was punched by Loftus, who then ran off
More after the jump.
Washington State head football coach Mike Leach spoke on the phone with members of the media today to talk about the Cougars fall camp. We've put together a transcription of the call's highlights, which you can read after the jump.