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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.
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.
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?
The presidents and chancellors from Pac-12 schools have concluded their summer meetings and released a statement today emphasizing their push for NCAA reforms, which they outlined in this earlier letter, expanded the Student-Athlete Health Initiative and announced an 11 a.m. television window for the Pac-12 Networks.
The press release from the Pac-12 is after the jump.
From Pullman — Hey there, it's been awhile. Spring sports are coming to a close and we spent this week wrapping up track and field with the Pac-12 championships, which were held in Pullman at Mooberry Track and Field Complex this year. Runners, jumpers, throwers and spectators braved the Sunday weather that was predicted by weather persons to be a storm of some rain and much lightning. There was a storm on Sunday, alright, a pollen storm, and the generic antihistamine I popped prior to the meet might as well have been jujubes.
In between sneezes I saw enough to write this recap. I also wrote a story from Saturday on WSU's high jump champion, Charlotte Muschamp, who hails from a tiny town in New Zealand that is close enough to Antarctica that she claims to have seen icebergs (“Ice cubes? The things from Titanic) float past. Muschamp's victory was one of few notable performances for the Cougars, and John Blanchette examines how WSU can get back to track and field dominance. Photojournalist Tyler Tjomsland has a gallery from the meet.
In men's basketball news, the Pac-12 got a little weaker and Gonzaga got a little stronger with the news that Byron Wesley is headed to Spokane. Today Oregon State may announce that it has finally found a basketball coach. Death, taxes and Washington crew winning.
For the next three years the Pac-12 football championship game will be held at an ostensibly neutral site: Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. While fans are sure to point out that the location is a lot less neutral for some schools than others, it's a change from the prior practice of having one of the participants host.
The change was doubtlessly spurred by the desire to guarantee that the game will take place in a large, modern stadium. If UCLA hosts in the Rose Bowl that's fine, but when Oregon State or Washington State win the North, the conference could have had real logistical problems (read: not enough money) staging the event.
It should be quite a venue. Levi's is the new home of the San Francisco 49ers and is scheduled to host the 2016 Super Bowl, and the Fight Hunger Bowl starting this season. It seats 68,500 including luxury suites and club seats.
The conference issues a press release that said things like:
The Cougars have been in the news again lately so follow the jump for some links.
It is an unfortunate reality that athletes are not always ideal role models. Every school racks up some Fulmer Cup points now and again and sometimes someone truly vile is good enough at sports to play for a major college. The Pac-12 certainly isn't immune to this and there have been some disgusting acts allegedly perpetrated by athletes in the last few years at schools like Oregon State, Washington, and yes, even WSU.
In these incidents the coaches and schools are rarely to blame. Many coaches see a young, gifted but somewhat troubled athlete who was not given the opportunities that many of us took for granted growing up and believe they can help turn their lives around. They give them structure, accountability and provide a whole host of incentives to toe the line and reclaim their lives through a college education. For every athlete who turns up in the police blogs for shoplifting, how many more avoided a far more serious life of crime by becoming part of a team and going to college?
So what makes the news out of Oregon yesterday even more troubling is the seeming lack of vetting or discretion taken when deciding to place these athletes in a population of students. One of the players had previously been investigated for sexual assault at another university. The other two also had previous, although nonviolent, rule-breaking episodes. The Ducks have had great success under Dana Altman bringing in transfers. But at some point does a team of mercenaries beget a mercenary culture?
On a lighter note, check out some WSU links after the jump.
From Pullman — Well, the 2013-14 Washington State football season is in the books. Or maybe we've just finished the first chapter of the 2014-15 one. The “chicken or the egg” of college football.
The Cougars had practice No. 15 yesterday, kicking off the offseason. Here is our practice report and our story on Graham Harrell, the newest member of the coaching staff. We've also got a baseball notebook.
A look at some Oregon State salaries … Which Pac-12 players might go in the NFL Draft's first round … Former Cal quarterback Zach Kline won't be heading to Oregon State after all … Next year the Pac-12 Networks show The Drive will feature UCLA.
From Pullman — It was a return to the spotlight for the Washington State football team, which played its spring game yesterday in Spokane in front of a few thousand fans and anyone who wanted to watch it on TV (except you poor DirecTV subscribers). As far as spring games go, it was another one. The Crimson appeared to be the better squad but the game made a game of it once it stopped turning the ball over. I wrote a game story and put up a blog post with some additional thoughts from the game. John Blanchette says that WSU's secondary proved its mettle during the game. Hard to argue with four picks.
From Pullman — Yesterday Washington State had a good, old-fashioned Friday news dump. Funny thing was, none of the news were bad. Ernie Kent got his first two recruits as WSU basketball coach. The first was a forward, Aaron Cheatum, who signed his NLI yesterday. The second was a coach, Curtis Allen, who will remain at WSU as Kent's third and final assistant. Yesterday we had another live chat and put up our Five Questions segment with River Cracraft.
From Pullman — The Cougars won't be in pads when they take the field today for their final tune-up before Saturday's spring game at 1 p.m. in Spokane's Joe Albi Stadium. The Tuesday practice following that scrimmage will officially mark the end of spring football and will mean our Cougars coverage is going to really start winding down, sans the occasional baseball story.
But the Washington State football team is still making news, such as yesterday's announcement of a 2018 game against Eastern Washington. In case you missed it we have a profile of Mitch Peterson, a former walk-on safety turned scholarship linebacker. When I was in Spokane for the NCAA tournament I met ESPN's newest contributor to the Pac-12 blog, Chantel Jennings and she has her first WSU story up, a look at Vince Mayle.
That old so-and-so Christian Caple takes a look at where Washington is with spring practice in the books … The Pac-12's new coaches have been the story of spring … In its spring game Oregon will finally have to try and stop itself … The Beavers are seeing some movement in the running back depth.
From Pullman — It's Spokane Week for the Washington State athletic department and here in Pullman the Cougars have just one week left of spring football. We began the week yesterday with a lunchtime chat. We also had a blog post on Gabe Marks' successful surgery as well as an off day Five Questions segment with Toni Pole. Cougar fans seemed pretty happy yesterday with the news that Bill Moos is no longer looking to make games in Seattle a priority. Last night the news came out that men's basketball coach Ernie Kent landed his first recruit at WSU.
Oregon still doesn't know who its backup quarterback will be … Arizona recruit Stanley Johnson was named California's Mr. Basketball … It was a Bruin who won the Boston Marathon … Cal's new coach has named two assistants.
From Pullman — Some good news for the Washington State football team came down last night when Austin Joyner announced his intentions to play for the Cougars. Joyner is listed as a four-star running back but it appears he'll play cornerback at WSU. Yesterday we also posted some notes following an interview with athletic director Bill Moos.
In other Pac-12 news Washington unveiled its new football uniforms and they sure are uniforms … An Arizona basketball recruit's prep career is ending with a bang … A departing Oregon assistant is going to get a quarter million dollars every year from the public employee pension fund … Gonzaga added a head-to-head series against UCLA.
UPDATE: Somehow I missed John Blanchette's column on the Gonzaga series. Forgive me.
From Pullman — One of the true position battles this spring has taken place at center, where Riley Sorenson and Sam Flor are seeing equal time with the first string. Our story from yesterday's practice takes a look at that particular competition and we've got a recap of the team's 10th practice. We also reported the news yesterday that Washington State will play Gonzaga in Spokane again next season.
A Washington running back has overcome three ACL tears to get back on the football field … Here is a Q&A with Utah's defensive coordinator … Jordan Adams will put off the NBA draft another year … USC could start a true freshman on the offensive line.
From Pullman — There weren't any signing day surprises for Washington State basketball fans on Wednesday, but new coach Ernie Kent still has more than a month left to fill out his four remaining roster spots. It was a somewhat slow day for WSU news but we held another live chat and put up our Five Questions blog post with defensive lineman Xavier Cooper. CougCenter has a good look at WSU scholarship situation. We're getting closer to the NFL Draft and Deone Bucannon is visiting teams.
Sports Illustrated's Zac Ellis gives his take on Cal's coaching hire … A pair of Bruins make their decision to go pro official … As did Arizona State's Jahii Carson … Washington receiver Damore'ea Stringfellow received his sentence yesterday.
Bonus Link: This story on Yasiel Puig's defection from Cuba is great.
From Pullman — If you can make it out to Martin Stadium today you'll have a chance to watch Washington State's first football scrimmage of the spring. More on that here. The team got a new addition yesterday when former Boise State running back Aaron Baltazar announced he was transferring to WSU.
Washington's freshman point guard is seriously considering whether or not to turn pro … Arizona State is trying to put a positive spin on a new fee for students … UCLA's record number of basketball championships could be in jeopardy.
Also, Todd, the winner of our tournament challenge, has made his email on Yahoo! private. Please contact me Todd so we can get you your prize or we'll have to move to the next highest scorer.
From Pullman — I have some work-related errands to run up in Spokane today so unfortunately we won't be able to have our typical off-day chat. I know it's hard. But just thing how much we'll have to talk about on Friday.
If you're in Spokane today you can meet WSU's new men's basketball coach, Ernie Kent … Washington State's young secondary had some growing pains yesterday … Here's our story on WSU's running backs and returning leader Marcus Mason … June Daugherty's contract was extended after the WSU women made the NIT … Yale Rosen was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week in baseball after batting 7 for 10 in the Cougars sweep of California.
ESPN's Kevin Gemmell unloads in his Pac-12 mailbag … Could Washington's most important new coach be the guy in the weight room? … Marcus Mariota seems to thinks he's well-compensated for his exploits on the football field … Four positions wasn't enough for one Wildcat.
From Pullman — Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The Final Four is set and that means the college basketball season is almost over. It also likely signals the coming end of the Washington State coaching search as athletic director Bill Moos plainly said he hoped to have the hire in place before the NCAA tournament was over. The hire could be announced today or it could be announced a week from today. Likely, it will happen sometime in between.
On Sunday we put up some notes and quotes from Saturday's practice and we had a live chat as well … With Marquise Lee entering the draft USC has already found his replacement … the Stanford women advanced to the Elite Eight … One Oregon unit isn't looking exactly championship caliber yet.
Shortly after the news came down that Washington State had apparently offered the men's basketball coaching position to somebody, we confirmed that Boise State's Leon Rice interviewed with the Cougars. But apparently has decided to stay in Boise.
You're not going to believe this, but it looks like that 7th grader who committed to USC once upon a time may not actually end up a Trojan … Oregon is reloading in the secondary … Washington's Desmond Simmons will transfer.
From Pullman — Football as back and that can only mean one thing: more links. The Cougars had their first practice of the spring yesterday and we've got a practice report as well as a story on WSU's developing quarterbacks. Yesterday, baseball coach Donnie Marbut was in an automobile accident but thankfully he's already out of the hospital. We've also got a blog post about New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies, who denied interest in the open WSU baseball coaching position, for now.
Don't forget, at noon tomorrow we'll be hosting a live chat to talk about spring practices and the basketball coaching search. We'll continue having a noon chat on the day following practices throughout the spring.
From Pullman — Things are starting to pick up in Pullman. Tomorrow will be the first day of Washington State's spring football practices, and on Friday we'll have a live chat at noon. In today's paper we take a look at five important position battles to watch this spring, and we also had a blog post on the topic. Cougcenter has a breakdown of WSU's football scholarships by class. The Daily Evergreen has a preview as well.
UCLA hasn't played Florida, yet, but they've played Arizona … spring practices are underway at USC under new coach Steve Sarkisian … ESPN's Kevin Gemmell says the Cougars have the fourth best “three-headed monster” in the Pac-12 North next season.
From Pullman — Spring practice is just days away for the Washington State football team and the Cougars are already getting ready. And so is the media. WSU released its Spring roster on Monday and we've got a post detailing the differences we could find between the roster now and at the end of the 2013 season. Coaches Mike Leach and Mike Breske also appeared on Cougar Calls with Bill Moos yesterday to talk about the team. We've got some highlights from that discussion here. Moos also touched on the ongoing coaching search, something that we have a story on here. Speaking of coaches, former WSU coach Kelvin Sampson has emerged as a leading candidate for the Houston job.
From Pullman — The weekend passed and the Washington State men's basketball team remains without a long-term coach. While former Ken Bone assistant Curtis Allen has been placed in charge to oversee the day-to-day operations of the team we still don't know who the next Cougars coach will be. Former Oregon coach Ernie Kent's name has often been linked to the vacancy due to his close ties with WSU athletic director Bill Moos. Word out of San Diego last week was that Kent is very much interested. Another coach to keep an eye on is Marvin Menzies out of New Mexico State. Menzies coached the Aggies in Spokane last Thursday when they nearly-upset San Diego State. Menzies has made hay on the recruiting trail, particularly in Toronto. Could a move north make sense for the former assistant to Rick Pitino and Steve Fisher?
The WSU baseball team fell in extra-innings to No. 14 UCLA … Stanford knocked Kansas out of the NCAA tournament yesterday … Arizona beat up Gonzaga pretty bad yesterday. Jim Meehan has the game story from San Diego and John Blanchette has a column … UCLA took some heat off coach Steve Alford by advancing to the Sweet 16.
From Pullman — That 36-game losing streak to Washington? It wasn't even the longest drought the Washington State women ended this season. No, yesterday's invitation to the WNIT means WSU will be making its first postseason trip in women's basketball in 23 years. The Cougars will head all the way to Montana for their matchup against … Montana. While they're there maybe they can beat the Huskies again. A little late but here's a good piece illustrating just how good DaVonte Lacy was for the men this season.
From Pullman — It's St. Patrick's Day and you know what that means? This year it means March Madness is officially upon us. The NCAA tournament bracket has officially been set and followers of our Washington State and Pac-12 coverage can compete with other readers in our NCAA Tournament Challenge. Gonzaga will head to San Diego for a rematch with Oklahoma State. John Blanchette has a column on GU's seeding.
Six Pac-12 schools made the cut and Cal — which started conference play 5-0 and knocked off Arizona — will head to the NIT to face the Utah Valley team that Idaho just beat … Oregon State will play in the CBI … Arizona nabbed a No. 1 seed but still has some land mines to navigate … UCLA's loss to WSU just over a week ago didn't appear to register much with the selection committee, which granted the Bruins a 4 seed … Losing Spencer Dinwiddie didn't end Colorado's season and the Buffaloes are going dancing … Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins appears to have saved his job by guiding the Cardinal to the tournament … Oregon's late-season resurgence was enough to get the Ducks into March Madness … Arizona State will open up against Texas.
Having trouble coping with all the Madness? Jim Allen has some advice.
From Pullman — The Washington State men's basketball team is hitting the road a little early, leaving Pullman today and heading to Las Vegas for the Pac-12 tournament. Their opponent will be Stanford. We touch on that and have some highlights in a blog post today … Bud Withers put out his Pac-12 All-Conference team … As did Percy Allen … Chris Foster says UCLA hasn't improved since sacking Ben Howland, but that's no reason to think they won't.
From Pullman — The Washington State seniors went out in style last night, upending UCLA in the regular season finale. We've also got video and quotes from the win. However, the laws of the universe required that the WSU women fall in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals to balance out the men's good fortune.
The day's biggest upset however was Oregon's win over No. 3 Arizona, which likely assures Oregon of an NCAA tournament berth … Stanford scraped out a much-needed win over Utah … Arizona State, California and Washington also came away with narrow victories.
From Pullman — Washington State knocked off No. 20 California last night to return to the Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament semifinals for the second time in three years. Thomas Clouse watched watched Lia Galdeira scored 28 points to lead the Cougars in their 91-83 win and has a game story from Seattle. The baseball team also won on Friday, taking a series opener from Texas State. Suiting up as Cougars for the final time in Pullman will be D.J. Shelton and Will DiIorio. A football player whose time at WSU has passed is getting ready for the NFL draft. Yesterday the State Senate passed a resolution honoring WSU's 1915 Rose Bowl team.
ESPN's Pac-12 blog takes a look at each team's safety depth … Washington's Spring practices may not be pretty … The Huskies are also getting ready to say goodbye to their seniors … The Ducks have one more chance to show they're legit, against No. 3 Arizona … Utah looks to cap an impressive late-season run against Stanford … The Beavers hope everything comes together against Arizona State … Cal and Colorado will have a lot of chips on the table in today's game.