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Sebastian LaRue back at practice

The Cougars held practice for about an hour tonight. There wasn't much worth noting – some punt drills, lots of scout team work at half speed – except for the return of one Sebastian LaRue, who has been away from the team because of family matters since the middle of fall camp.

After practice we talked to defensive coordinator Mike Breske for the first time since before the Rutgers game.

More on practice after the jump.

Highlights from WSU player availability

Connor Halliday, Darryl Monroe and Vince Mayle addressed the media on Saturday afternoon to talk about Thursday's loss to Rutgers, Friday's game at Nevada and more. Highlights from those interviews are after the jump.

Quotes from Mike Leach press conference

Washington State will play another weekday game this week, traveling to Reno, Nevada to take on the Wolf Pack. Because the schedule is still off the Cougars held their typical Monday press conference today.

 

A transcription of coach Mike Leach's interview is after the jump.

Saturday morning Pac-12 links

Some teams still play their games on Saturday and without a Washington State game it's the perfect opportunity to spend a day on the couch flipping between two or three matchups. The Cougars will hold their weekly press availability today so keep an eye out for some WSU news and the team will practice tonight.

Links are after the jump.

… 

Grading the Rutgers game

Just like last season, each day following the Washington State game I'll be posting letter grades for each position unit based on my observations of how it did during the previous game. To answer an oft-asked question: No, I won't be grading the coaching staff. We're not privy to what's going on in the minds and headsets, and these grades are simply a reflection of what I can see playing out on the field.

So with that, the Rutgers position grades are after the jump.

Morning after links

Washington State overcame an early deficit to take a solid lead against Rutgers in Seattle yesterday, but was unable to sustain it, eventually falling 41-38.

Links from that game and from around the Pac-12 are after the jump.

WSU pregame chat


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WSU game day links

Well, everyone, the countdown is over. Zero days until Cougar football. Still quite a few hours however, now that college football is a nocturnal sport, so let's pass the time with some links.

Good news for Dish subscribers

I just arrived in Seattle and saw that there is some good news for Dish subscribers who want to watch tomorrow's game between Rutgers and Washington State.

More after the jump.

Pac-12 power rankings: Week 1

The first iteration of our weekly power rankings are in the paper today. I'm also going to share these weekly snapshots here as well.

Let me know what you think.

One more day to Cougar football

Today is the last day of Washington State's offseason. We'll wrap it up today with a live WSU football chat right here on SportsLink at 11 a.m.

Until then we have some links, after the jump.

Hits highlight underclassmen scrimmage

One thing I love about watching these underclassmen scrimmages, the young defenders always load up for the big hit. Not that the hits are illegal or especially dangerous – I haven't seen anyone try to spear a teammate or lead with the helmet or anything like that – but with their older teammates watching and commenting from the sideline it's apparent the defenders want to assert themselves.

Follow the jump for more on today's scrimmage and the rest of practice.

The end of the Seattle game

Bill Moos had a full day in Seattle yesterday, promoting Washington State athletics as part of Seattle Week leading up to Thursday's game against Rutgers. He did radio, television, and even stopped by the Seattle Times for a live chat.

It may be the last time Moos does this for a while. While he says that he still will stump for WSU in Seattle, he won't send his football team there any longer unless it's for an Apple Cup.

That's the main item in today's WSU notebook.

More links are after the jump.

No LaRue at WSU’s practice

Tomorrow will be a Thursday Night Football underclassmen scrimmage, Wednesday will be a walk-through and travel day and on Thursday the Cougars open the season in Seattle against Rutgers.

So, today was the last “typical” day of practice, complete with drills, more drills, some passing drills and even the far-off echoes of electric drills from last year's constant construction reverberating around the Palouse.

Our practice report is after the jump.

Rutgers game at 26,000 tickets sold

As of early Monday afternoon Washington State's game in Seattle against Rutgers has sold around 26,000 tickets. WSU officials were hopeful that ticket sales would pick up about a week before kickoff and that the Cougars could still approach 40-45,000 in ticket sales but it appears now that could be difficult.

More after the jump.

Cougar Calls with Bill Moos highlights

Bill Moos joined Bud Nameck for his weekly call-in show earlier today. In case you missed it you can listen to the podcast later on iTunes and if you can't wait I've written down some of the highlights below.

Moos will also be joining the Seattle Times for a live chat at noon today on its website.

Highlights are after the jump.

DISH subscribers could miss WSU game

As Bud Withers of the Seattle Times pointed out yesterday, Washington State's season-opener against Rutgers on Thursday night is one of six Pac-12 games that are going to be televised on FOX Sports 1, which is in the middle of an apparent dispute with satellite TV provider DISH.

DISH claims that it already agreed to pay an “inflated price” for FOX Sports 1 content, and that FOX is now asking for an additional charge. If the two sides can't come to an agreement this week then DISH subscribers will miss Rutgers at WSU on Thursday, Colorado at Colorado State on Friday, North Dakota State at Iowa State on Saturday and Southern Methodist at Baylor on Sunday.

In addition to the two games this week, the Pac-12 games between Arizona and UTSA, UCLA and Arizona State, Utah and Oregon State and Oregon and California are scheduled to be televised on FOX Sports 1. The matchup between UCLA and ASU in particular could have major conference implications, and the contest between Utah and Oregon State will likely be a big game for fans of those teams as well.

A different sort of Monday

Today's the first Monday of the 2014 WSU football season, but don't expect the usual press conference. Because the Cougars play on Thursday, they're considering today a Wednesday.

Confused? So are we. But hey, we can look forward to Thursday Night Football tomorrow.

Links after the jump.

Singleton and Ware off the WSU roster

Washington State just finished up a two-and-one-half hour practice on Rogers Field, their last in full pads before opening the season against Rutgers in Seattle. There were some roster changes today.

For starters, Dylan Hanser is now No. 43, Darryl Paulo is No. 99 and Peyton Pelluer is No. 47, so mark that down somewhere. Of more interest to you, in all likelihood, was the omission of freshmen Barry Ware and Deion Singleton from today's roster.

Singleton, a defensive back, and Ware, a receiver, never joined the team after signing letters of intent with WSU back in February. However, both were listed on the roster and coach Mike Leach said early in fall camp that he expected them to join the Cougars at some point.

Singleton is a plus athlete who could potentially have contributed at either corner or safety. Ware originally committed to UCLA and at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds has great size for a receiver. Here is what Leach had to say about each when they signed:

(Ware) “Big target, great receiver skills both physical and explosive.”

(Singleton) “Tall, rangy secondary player. Can do a lot of things and just an incredible athlete. His brother plays Arena Football there in the Tri-Cities.”


Classes start tomorrow, however, and neither has enrolled at WSU, likely prompting the removal of their names from the roster. That's not to say that they'll never play for WSU, however, just that they almost certainly won't this season. The players could greyshirt and enroll in January like Hanser, Marcellus Pippins and Nick Begg did last season. They could also go the junior college route. However, in either scenario Singleton and Ware will no longer be bound to WSU by their letter of intent, opening the door for other schools to recruit them.

Leach said after practice that he was unsure if he could comment on their absence, but “we're only worried about the guys that are here.”

Follow the jump for a report from today's practice.

Pac-12 morning links: Now it’s WSU’s turn

Eastern Washington kicked off the college football season in style yesterday with a fun win over visiting Sam Houston State. With that game out of the way, all eyes on this side of the state will be on the Cougars, who are just a few days away from their own season-opener against Rutgers.

Links are after the jump.

A closer look at WSU’s week one depth chart

In yesterdays' game notes we got a look at WSU's first depth chart since the start of fall camp and while it was mostly as-expected, there were a few surprises.

Read on after the jump.

Pac-12 morning links: Nugent remains undefeated

So, about that new Washington State soccer complex … the lights work, so does the drainage system. All the new equipment got a workout last night thanks to some pouring rain and lightning storms that pushed back new WSU soccer coach Steve Nugent's debut by nearly three hours.

But the Cougars ops guys really wanted to make this game against TCU happen and they pulled it off with just 10 minutes to spare before the mandatory cancellation time.

It's a good thing they did because the Cougars won handily. Here's our story in today's paper on the WSU victory.

Pac-12 links are after the jump.

No practice report, but some game notes

I wasn't able to make it out to Washington State's football practice today because lightning storms and rain delayed the start of the women's soccer game I was covering by nearly three hours. But hey, the soccer team won, so keep an eye out for that story in tomorrow's paper. 
  

The football team is less than a week away from opening up its season against Rutgers in Seattle. The game notes are after the jump.

Pac-12 morning links: The offensive line carries a heavy burden

Mike Leach says that the offensive line is the most important offensive unit no matter what scheme you run. That's especially true for Leach's Cougars, who will rely on a young offensive line to protect Connor Halliday, the only quarterback on the roster who has ever played in a college game.

That's the story of today's position preview. More links are after the jump.

Gabe Marks could redshirt

The Cougars consider today to be a Saturday – they're one week from playing a game, after all. Because there is no game today they had a contact practice, albeit a very short one.

Because practice was only about an hour, there isn't much of a report to pass along. There is some news, however, as coach Mike Leach acknowledged after practice that receiver Gabe Marks could potentially redshirt this season.

“Well we'll just look at it and see how it goes,” Leach said. “It's a possibility but nothing's been decided on it.”

Regular readers will know that Marks, who lead the team in receptions and receiving yards last season, missed spring practice and has been limited for most of the fall. Marks has been playing recently, but mostly on scout team.

A couple more practice notes after the jump.

One more week

Eastern Washington kicks off the college football season in just a couple days and we're only one week away from Cougar football. So what better time to preview the college football season? Are we really starting a new season, however? Or just starting the game-playing portion of a season that never stops? In the paper today our college football preview looks at 24/7/365 enterprise that is college football.

That and more are after the jump.

To redshirt or not to redshirt

Redshirting freshmen – having them sit their first year in exchange for a fifth-year of eligibility – is often considered a sign of a healthy program. After all, you are in effect trading a player's worst season for their best one.

However, if no true freshmen play than a school probably isn't recruiting enough high-impact guys. What's the point of redshirting a guy who is going to head to the NFL before his fifth season?

Still, you'd rather redshirt more players than not, giving young guys a year in the weight room and to adjust to college life.

In Mike Leach's first season at Washington State the Cougars played nine true freshmen, and won three games. Last season they played just five first-year players and won six.

We won't know for sure how many freshmen will play this season until its conclusion, but let's take a look at the most likely candidates after the jump.

Give the defensive line a break

Destiny Vaeao, Toni Pole and Xavier Cooper probably won't play as much for Washington State this season, and that's a good thing. Why it's a good thing is the subject for our story in today's paper.

More links after the jump.

*We'll be holding our weekly live WSU football chat today at 11 a.m.