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WSU live chat (transcript)

srchat: We'll start our chat in about 15 minutes but if you have a question, go ahead and submit it and I'll answer those first.

Sep 2 2015, 10:59 AM

srchat: Alright, I'm tired of waiting and I'm sure you are, too. Let's get started.

Sep 2 2015, 10:59 AM

Guest1723 (guest): Does it appear any of the Kickers have the ability to place a KO deep in the end zone or out of the endzone ?

Sep 2 2015, 11:00 AM

srchat: Right now, no it does not. The caveat is that we've only see them kick in situations where it would be sort of pointless to boot it out of the end zone, since they need to practice returns and coverage. I suspect Powell can get a couple touchbacks, especially if he's got the wind behind him, but let's just say the coverage units had better be ready for a return every time.

Sep 2 2015, 11:01 AM

Guest1163 (guest): Any further developments on Barry Ware's status?

Sep 2 2015, 11:01 AM

srchat: I have heard from a source or two that there may still be an avenue for Ware to return to the team, but I can say how or why he is gone.

Sep 2 2015, 11:01 AM

Guest1212 (guest): When do you expect Broughten to play?

Sep 2 2015, 11:02 AM

srchat: Certainly by Wyoming, maybe even earlier if he can pick up the defense quickly and/or the Cougars get a big lead

Sep 2 2015, 11:03 AM

BullMoos (guest): Apodaca and Bruggman both transferred recently in hopes of finding playing time elsewhere, if Falk locks in the starting role all year would you be surprised to see Bender transfer?

Sep 2 2015, 11:04 AM

srchat: It wouldn't shock me. Bender is good enough to play somewhere and the reality for quarterbacks is that sometimes it just makes sense to try again somewhere else if you can't win the job. I think Bender was close enough to Falk that he sticks around at least another year to try and beat him out, particularly since he likely feels that he (Bender) has a higher talent ceiling.

Sep 2 2015, 11:05 AM

Guest1723 (guest): Looks like "Post " Dan L is not in the top 8 WR…does he have a RS year left ?

Sep 2 2015, 11:05 AM

srchat: This is the Post's final season with the Cougars, but I expect him to see the field some.

Sep 2 2015, 11:05 AM

Guest1212 (guest): What can we expect from PSU?

Sep 2 2015, 11:06 AM

srchat: A pretty wild offense. If you recall, the first play the Vikings ran last year was a QB-QB pass and their coach, interim coach Bruce Barnum, said on a teleconference yesterday that PSU might put three QBs on the field at once …

Sep 2 2015, 11:06 AM

Guest8188 (guest): Hey Jacob, we already know what Gabe Marks can do but what has been the report coming out of fall camp? Has he put on any muscle or seem to improve in any areas? Love the guy's passion.

Sep 2 2015, 11:08 AM

srchat: Honestly, I'd expected to see a little more from Gabe during preseason camp. He's always been the team's best, most focused player in practice, but he's been inconsistent. For every practice where you go, "oh, there's Gabe kicking everyone's butt again" he's had another that's kind of quiet. That said, he's obviously still a very talented player and it may be that he just needs a real opponent to bring out the fire.

Sep 2 2015, 11:08 AM

Guest3312 (guest): How much playing time do you think Tavares Martin will get this season?

Sep 2 2015, 11:08 AM

srchat: Quite a bit, especially considering he'll be returning kickoffs.

Sep 2 2015, 11:08 AM

peep6543: With Abramo no longer limited in practice, how has his work looked? Was Powell named the starter only because Abramao did not get enough valuable reps this summer?

Sep 2 2015, 11:09 AM

srchat: I think Powell was named the starter because he's been the best kicker. Now, part of that may have been Abramo being limited, but if Abramo was kicking a better ball in Friday's practice than he's who would start on Saturday.

Sep 2 2015, 11:09 AM

CapleOfChristian (guest): Jacob, what kind of impact is Eric Mele having on the Special Teams? They were atrocious last season, but word from camp has been that the unit is much improved

Sep 2 2015, 11:11 AM

srchat: I think he's had a big impact, particularly since the end of last season. While I'd caution against reading too much into reports about how the coverage units have looked in practice — it would be pretty difficult for anyone to tell without knowing exactly what the assignments are and having film to look at — there's just obviously a lot more energy and the coverage units are having more fun. I think they're taking more pride in it, and have created more of a unique "kick coverage" identity.

Sep 2 2015, 11:12 AM

Guest1163 (guest): Any chance we need a pash-rushing specialist kind of line-up out of Grinch? I'd love to see Palacio and McClennan on the field together, with Vaeao and Paulo on the inside.

Sep 2 2015, 11:12 AM

srchat: The team gets mad when I "discuss strategy" and we I don't want to make some SID read me the riot act, but yes, there will be those types of pass-rush packages.

Sep 2 2015, 11:12 AM

BKRansford: What's the deal with Jeremiah Mitchell? Loved his film, physical specimen coming into the program as an early enrollee, yet haven't heard too much about him. Any insight?

Sep 2 2015, 11:14 AM

srchat: I think it mostly boils down to this: When Grinch first implemented the defense in the spring, it was a really simple version and everyone was learning at the same speed. Mitchell, a big, strong guy, was able to be effective against the run because he wasn't asked to do much. Now that they've added stuff — and made the choice to get more speed on the field — Mitchell hasn't kept up as well as the others, and he doesn't bring the speed they're looking for.

Sep 2 2015, 11:14 AM

Guest5590 (guest): Wicks appears to be the primary back these days. Who gets more carries between Harrington and Morrow?

Sep 2 2015, 11:15 AM

srchat: RB coach Jim Mastro is really looking at it as a week-to-week thing. Wicks practiced the best this week, so he'll start. Next week it could be Morrow or Harrington. Once the game starts, it sounds like they're basically going to ride the hot back. Whoever busts a big run will get more carries.

Sep 2 2015, 11:15 AM

Guest7471 (guest): I think it's great how you write an article about something related to cougar football, then a few days later other news outlets start writing about it. Way to be on top of things!

Sep 2 2015, 11:16 AM

srchat: Thanks, guest. What's even more annoying is when I wear a new outfit and then three days later all the writers are wearing it.

Sep 2 2015, 11:16 AM

Guest1723 (guest): I am seeing the Cougs winning 5-7 games, the bye schedule could hurt down the road, mutts could have a losing season…

Sep 2 2015, 11:17 AM

srchat: I think that's a fair record prediction, I think we'd ALL like a bye later in the season (when we'll all need one) and it's more likely than not UW wins five games or less.

Sep 2 2015, 11:17 AM

BullMoos (guest): We've heard a good amount about the secondary since it was such a concern last year. Anyone on the DL or LB corps that you think will make a big impact? Anyone with the potential to fill Xavier Coopers shoes someday?

Sep 2 2015, 11:18 AM

srchat: Pound-for-pound, Hercules Mata'afa can be a better player than Xavier Cooper. Chandler Leniu has been solid but I think Frankie Luvu is a stud — don't be shocked if he starts taking snaps away from Jeremiah Allison.

Sep 2 2015, 11:19 AM

Guest6298 (guest): With the kicking situation being what it is, would anticipate the standard number of 'going for it' on 4th & reasonable this year?

Sep 2 2015, 11:20 AM

srchat: I think it has more to do with field position than how many yards are remaining, after a point. If the Cougars are somewhere in the opposing team's territory, it's not an obvious field-goal situation and they have six-or-fewer yards to go, I think there's a good chance they let'er rip.

Sep 2 2015, 11:20 AM

Guest1212 (guest): RB Williams has seemed to get some pretty good reviews, any chance he doesn't redshirt.

Sep 2 2015, 11:21 AM

srchat: Definitely a chance. Mastro says that if he's good enough to play, he'll play. Granted, since he's coming off an injury from high school I could see them being careful, but if the RB corps sustains an injury or two this year then he basically has to, right?

Sep 2 2015, 11:21 AM

Guest5951 (guest): Jacob, there's been a lot of hype surrounding the running backs and it's exciting to see so much potential with all underclassmen. As the season unfolds, how do you see the snaps being divided up between Morrow/Wicks/Harrington? I assume Williams is redshirting? Mastro seems really high on him. Thanks!

Sep 2 2015, 11:22 AM

srchat: Kind of a follow-up to the previous question, right now I really see the snaps between Wicks, Harrington and Morrow breaking up 40/30/30, respectively, with fluctuations from game-to-game depending on who's running the ball well that day. I assume Williams is redshirting, too, but I think there's about a 30% chance or so he plays.

Sep 2 2015, 11:22 AM

peep6543: Any changes to Martin since last season?

Sep 2 2015, 11:23 AM

srchat: Nah, I've been checking and I can't see anything. There may be some aesthetic Game Day changes, but no new additions to the building itself.

Sep 2 2015, 11:23 AM

Guest1723 (guest): Flor looks like he has dropped from the 2 deeps. start of last year he was battling Sorenson…whats up…like to see the Seattle/In State kids do well…and more in state recruits,

Sep 2 2015, 11:24 AM

srchat: I just don't think he's played well enough to be in the rotation. He played a little bit last year and didn't perform super well — granted, that USC defensive line was monstrous. I think they're more disappointed that Carlos Freeman hasn't had a good preseason. He was a beast in the spring and nearly made a run at the starting position — now they're having to teach Eduardo Middleton to snap the ball in case something happens to Sorenson.

Sep 2 2015, 11:24 AM

Guest7471 (guest): Who will be our ball hawk on defense this year?

Sep 2 2015, 11:25 AM

srchat: Shalom Luani. He really flies around back there. Also, Charleston White covers a lot of ground.

Sep 2 2015, 11:25 AM

Guest1163 (guest): Name your darkhorses on each side of the ball to really emerge this season?

Sep 2 2015, 11:25 AM

srchat: Offense: Tyler Baker. Defense: Frankie Luvu.

Sep 2 2015, 11:26 AM

WTFalk (guest): How do you suspect the air quality will be on Saturday?

Sep 2 2015, 11:26 AM

srchat: Rainy.

Sep 2 2015, 11:26 AM

Guest6298 (guest): what do you think Leach's goals are for Saturday on offense… Same Q for Grinch/D?

Sep 2 2015, 11:27 AM

srchat: Score a bunch of points and prevent many points from being scored. Sorry for the bland answer, but that's really how they think about it. I think both would love to do well enough in those regards to get the backups and the backups' backups some snaps, too.

Sep 2 2015, 11:27 AM

Guest5951 (guest): Jacob, what are your thoughts on the quarterback position….if Falk struggles the first part of the season, does he have a short leash and Leach might throw Bender in there or does he have a considerable edge over Bender?

Sep 2 2015, 11:29 AM

srchat: I think once the starter is named he will always have a considerable edge. The No. 1 QB gets way more first team reps in practice, and in the QB meetings I've watched he's usually gotten about 70% of the film attention from Leach. Obviously if Falk plays horribly they'll reevaluate the position, but I think that's what would have to happen for Bender to overtake him once the season starts.

Sep 2 2015, 11:29 AM

Guest8188 (guest): Jacob, how much/if any playing time do you see Kyle Sweet getting? Sounds like he's River Cracraft 2.0…

Sep 2 2015, 11:30 AM

srchat: Sweet had a very good freshman preseason but it wasn't enough to overtake John Thompson as the backup H. I don't think Sweet will redshirt, because I imagine he's the next man up if any of the inside receivers can't go, but he's not going to have the impact that Cracraft had as a freshman.

Sep 2 2015, 11:30 AM

Guest1723 (guest): Appears Begg is struggling to crack the 2 deep….speed ?

Sep 2 2015, 11:31 AM

srchat: Tight end. Begg plays a position that the Cougars almost never use in their offense, and I'm not sure he's good enough that it makes sense to take any of their top-8 receivers off the field. They did use Begg a bit in scrimmages, so they must see him as more than a scout tight end, but I don't think he's every going to be a huge part of the offense.

Sep 2 2015, 11:31 AM

BING (guest): Have not heard much about C.J. Dimry. He going to be a red zone got to with his height.

Sep 2 2015, 11:31 AM

srchat: You would think, but Dimry's been limited since early in camp. He's been impressive when he's played, though.

Sep 2 2015, 11:32 AM

peep6543: we have heard two of the best athletes on the team are Paris Taylor and Logan Tago, yet neither are on the 2 deeps. Where have they been playing and can we expect to see them get playing time?

Sep 2 2015, 11:33 AM

srchat: Taylor has played OK and I expect him to get snaps this year, but there are other linebackers (Frankie Luvu) who have played better. Logan Tago is a true freshman who is still acclimating to college football and life stateside, it would be a big surprise if he was already able to play.

Sep 2 2015, 11:34 AM

Guest1212 (guest): Do you see any players not on the 2 deep that could emerge and have a big year?

Sep 2 2015, 11:36 AM

srchat: Oh sure, Kyle Sweet could have still have a good season if one of the other receivers can't play. I could see a situation in which a guy like Colton Teglovic plays and does well. If Suli Hameed gets up to full strength he's still one of their better defenders, etc.

Sep 2 2015, 11:36 AM

Guest7471 (guest): What are your thoughts on the 2016 recruiting class?

Sep 2 2015, 11:37 AM

srchat: I frankly don't really put much stock in recruiting classes until about a month before signing day. Right now it's a bunch of kids that think they probably want to go to WSU. If the coaches offered them scholarships this early, before their senior years begin, then they are probably pretty good football players.

Sep 2 2015, 11:37 AM

Guest8934 (guest): Which road game are you most looking forward to covering?

Sep 2 2015, 11:38 AM

srchat: I've never been to the Rose Bowl, so I'm really looking forward to that. I also managed to book Alaska for my flight to New Jersey, so I'm looking forward to another year of MVP status haha.

Sep 2 2015, 11:38 AM

Guest6298 (guest): TO me, just as maddening as the lack of turnovers last year was the D's lack of success on preventing 3rd & Long conversions. That's almost like a defensive turnover, if you think about it. Has Grinch or anyone addressed this, or was it just a known issue that needed to be fixed?

Sep 2 2015, 11:39 AM

srchat: Ultimately, I don't think more success on third-and-long is really any different from just being a better defense. Sure, they work on that kind of situational stuff during team periods and such, but ultimately it's still just being able to make a play or tackle. Not playing Marcus Mariota will also help.

Sep 2 2015, 11:39 AM

Guest1723 (guest): On another subject…Chris Ivory is doing so well in the NFL…had a big AC for the Cougs..discipline problem at WSU.?

Sep 2 2015, 11:40 AM

srchat: Yeah, he was kicked off the team at the start of his senior season. He also missed 8 games as a junior with a hamstring injury.

Sep 2 2015, 11:40 AM

Guest1971 (guest): if game this Saturday is not a rout, should we be concerned? Anything less than 3 td margin means a lot of work to do?

Sep 2 2015, 11:40 AM

srchat: Yeah, if they can't beat the Vikings by three touchdowns then they better have a really good week of practice to beat Rutgers.

Sep 2 2015, 11:40 AM

BING (guest): Is Molton that good or is Pippens that bad?

Sep 2 2015, 11:42 AM

srchat: I thought Pippins looked pretty good all camp. Frankly, I was a little surprised Molton took his spot, although his athleticism is obvious. I can't watch film and stuff like the coaches, so I can't really tell you if Molton is a lot better at sticking to his assignments or anything like that, but it seemed to me like Pippins did a nice job of reading the quarterback and breaking on balls. If Molton is better, that's only a good thing.

Sep 2 2015, 11:42 AM

Guest1212 (guest): A lot of talk about running plays under center. What will the actual % be of plays run from under center?

Sep 2 2015, 11:42 AM

srchat: Maybe 15-20%.

Sep 2 2015, 11:42 AM

Guest1971 (guest): Do you think games against teams like this really help the program? Isn't this kind of a glorified scrimmage at full speed?

Sep 2 2015, 11:43 AM

srchat: I think getting that first win out of the way is a big deal and helps the team get in the rhythm of the season. Playing two games away from home last year, and going 0-2, certainly didn't set a good tone.

Sep 2 2015, 11:43 AM

peep6543: Of the assistant coaches on staff right now, who do you expect to get poached the soonest?

Sep 2 2015, 11:44 AM

srchat: Well, I think Joe Salave'a is the hot commodity in coaching circles, but he's already turned down USC and UW, so it's hard to see him going elsewhere unless he's offered a coordinator position. If Grinch can put together a really good defense I think he'd get some good offers after a couple years.

Sep 2 2015, 11:44 AM

srchat: Also I wouldn't be surprised to see Graham Harrell get some QB coach offers at big schools that can offer more money. I have no idea if he'd take it or want to leave Leach.

Sep 2 2015, 11:44 AM

Guest1723 (guest): Joyner at UW has been quiet…did not seem to have the hips to play DB…are the Mutts going to give a shot there.?..looks like more a Taylor Mays, SS type with straight away speed

Sep 2 2015, 11:45 AM

srchat: I haven't followed him very closely but I think he's playing cornerback?

Sep 2 2015, 11:45 AM

Guest8934 (guest): What stories are you able to share from the QB meetings you've attended?

Sep 2 2015, 11:48 AM

srchat: Well, the first one was a whole lot of law school talk. At the time, I had a close personal friend who had just gotten accepted at Harvard for her JD, so Leach was very interested and spent a lot of time talking about law school. The second time was right before the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, and the QBs were talking about where to watch it, and which offensive linemen would be best at making sure everyone chipped in for the the pay-per-view cost.

Sep 2 2015, 11:48 AM

Guest1971 (guest): Portland State? Is this some kind of payday for them? Why play the Cougs?

Sep 2 2015, 11:49 AM

srchat: This is what is referred to in the vernacular as a "bodybag game." Essentially, these small schools need the gate receipts from a big game to keep their football programs afloat. WSU is paying Portland State $525,000 for what should be an easy win.

Sep 2 2015, 11:49 AM

Guest1212 (guest): What other game are you most looking forward to this week?

Sep 2 2015, 11:51 AM

srchat: I'm really excited for Michigan @ Utah, Alabama-Wisconsin and EWU-Oregon game. I'm also curious to see how UCLA freshman QB Josh Rosen performs in his first game.

Sep 2 2015, 11:52 AM

AmsterdamCoug (guest): You've alluded to it a couple of times: Bender is pushing Falk and has more natural talent. What percentage of snaps do you think Bender is taking by game six?

Sep 2 2015, 11:52 AM

srchat: I went into this a bit earlier, but basically I think once they've picked a starter at QB they're not likely to take away his snaps unless a wholesale change is needed.

Sep 2 2015, 11:52 AM

Guest8934 (guest): Not to get ahead of ourselves, but do you see a W against Rutgers? Please show your work.

Sep 2 2015, 11:53 AM

srchat: I do not. I showed my work in this post http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/sportslink/2015/jul/28/five-predictions-wsu-football-season/

Five predictions for the WSU football season | The Spokesman-Review

Sep 2 2015, 11:53 AM

Guest1723 (guest): Will we ever see the likes of Rien Long, Trufant, Coleman, Fields, Lamont out of any of the current players on the roster ?

Sep 2 2015, 11:55 AM

srchat: Those are some pretty lofty players to aspire to. I don't think any of them are Trufant, but Charleston White looks like a potential NFL CB to me. I'm not sure he's ever going to be Rien Long, but Hercules Mata'afa is very disruptive, even when he's moved inside. I think there are a few talented guys on the defense who will make it more fun to watch than last year, but I think expecting one of the country's worst D's to have a bunch of All-American talent the next year is a tad unrealistic.

Sep 2 2015, 11:55 AM

Cougs2015 (guest): How does the secondary stack up compared to last year? Is it a completely different defense (hopefully)? Will the JC DB's (Luani, Broughton, Parker) make an immediate impact? Who is the guy we can rave about on defense this fall? I know, a lot of Q's, I'm just so pumped! Go Cougs baby!!!

Sep 2 2015, 11:56 AM

srchat: No worries, 2015, I'll try to answer them all. The secondary looks better — it's either the same players but a year older or better players. The addition of Shalom Luani is big and if Molton is good enough to beat out Pippins, he must be better. Losing Brown hurts some but I think adding Luani makes up the difference. I think Frankie Luvu is a player to watch on defense who could grasp a starting position at some point and Hercules Mata'afa could be a fan favorite.

Sep 2 2015, 11:57 AM

Guest3862 (guest): and we thank PSU for a win. God knows we need to pay for a few more.

 

Sep 2 2015, 11:57 AM

Guest7651 (guest): I looked at the WSU schedule and think if things break well for them they could go 7-5.. C. Caple thinks the UW is a 5-7 team does that mean WSU takes Apple Cup this year?

Sep 2 2015, 11:59 AM

srchat: Christian included the Apple Cup as one of his "must wins" for the Huskies. I think he's including it as one of those five wins, but I assume he agrees with me that it's true tossup game that could go either way. It's also going to be very important for both teams, meaning we should see one of the most exciting Apple Cups in some time, especially if a bowl is on the line for one or both teams.

Sep 2 2015, 11:59 AM

Guest1212 (guest): Biggest takeaway from fall camp?

Sep 2 2015, 11:59 AM

srchat: Wide receiver group is ridiculously deep.

Sep 2 2015, 11:59 AM

Guest8188 (guest): How has Priester looked as a return man? We haven't had something who is a legitimate threat there in a long time.

Sep 2 2015, 12:00 PM

srchat: From everything I've seen, he's just what you want. He's quick, physical and plays with an edge. But we won't be able to judge the most important skill — making the catch with a gunner about to spear you — until game day

Sep 2 2015, 12:00 PM

ItsMe (guest): Serious question - what's the latest with the fires in the area and the smoke problem in Pullman specifically. Has there been enough cool weather and rain to put the smoke problems behind WSU?

Sep 2 2015, 12:00 PM

srchat: It's raining right now and we haven't had any air quality issues for three days. I think we're good on that front.

Sep 2 2015, 12:01 PM

Guest4016 (guest): What is the over/under on the number of night games in Pullman this year?

Sep 2 2015, 12:01 PM

srchat: We know for a fact that the PSU and Rutgers games won't be night games. I think it's fair to assume that the other 10 will be.

Sep 2 2015, 12:03 PM

Guest3790 (guest): Could you find out if former Coug Will Derting and his family have been impacted by the fires

Sep 2 2015, 12:03 PM

srchat: I can try. I don't have a relationship with the Dertings, though, and he's notoriously hard to get ahold of.

Sep 2 2015, 12:04 PM

srchat: Well, that wraps up our live chat. Thanks for all the good questions, everybody. We'll hold another live chat at 10 a.m. on Saturday — one hour before kickoff — and you can always ask me what's going on on Twitter @JacobThorpeSR.

Sep 2 2015, 12:07 PM

srchat: And the transcript will be posted shortly.

 

Morning links: Falk starts Saturday, live chat today

I'll be hosting our last Wednesday WSU chat session of the preseason at 11 a.m. today. Until then, links!

First up, we have a notebook in the paper that notes Luke Falk is officially WSU's starting quarterback, along with other newsy morsels.  We have more WSU coverage in yesterday's practice notes, as well as post-practice video of Mike Leach and Alex Grinch. Don't miss these WSU practice stories from Darnay Tripp of KREM2 and John Collett of SWX.

ESPN has a story about Mike Leach's influence on Big 12 offenses. Stef Loh touches on that and more in her links. … Howie Stalwick wrote about WSU's new attitude.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12…

— Oregon State's offensive coordinator overdoses daily on diet cola.

— The Arizona Republic lists some of the Pac-12's best matchups this season.

— Christian Caple profiled Jake Browning who might (will) start for Washington as a freshman quarterback. Caple doesn't foresee a bowl game for the Huskies in 2015.

— Oregon isn't taking FBS-killer Eastern Washington lightly.

— UCLA has suspended cornerback Ishmael Adams after he allegedly stole an Uber driver's phone.

— Prices are soaring for Utah's game against Michigan.

WSU notes: Cougars practice, add recruit, future opponent

— Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times is reporting that Washington State has completed a home-and-home agreement with Central Michigan. The Cougars will play at CMU first, traveling to Mount Pleasant, Michigan, on Sept. 14, 2019. The Chippewas will complete the return visit on Sept. 4, 2021.

The agreement gives WSU a full nonconference schedule in 2019. If you remember, Mike Leach's first game at WSU was at BYU in 2012. The Cougars (from Provo) were supposed to make a return trip in 2013, but that got pushed back to Oct. 12, 2019. WSU will also host Northern Colorado, on Sept. 7, 2019, in exchange for a reported-payout of $500,000.

— The second bit of news comes courtesy of Adam Gorney, who works for Rivals.com and is reporting that three-star defensive end Mason Vinyard has committed to WSU:
  

 

Vinyard will likely play Rush linebacker at WSU and claims scholarship offers from San Diego State and San Jose State, as well as WSU. Below we have his highlight film. He's playing tight end in the first few clips.

— Last but not least, we have some practice notes to pass along.

Shortly after the start of Tuesday's practice defensive coordinator Alex Grinch implored his unit to "play 1,000 miles-per-hour!" I didn't see anybody going that fast – the campus cops who keep bugging me about practice being closed would probably have given them a ticket – but Grinch was probably still pleased with the way the defense responded.

But practices are pendulums, and the defense's good day was matched by an offensive performance that, shall we say, led to a lot of up-downs.

— The first play after Grinch's entreaty was actually a touchdown. The Cougars were doing a run-game drill and Alijah Lee scored from 10-yards out on a cutback against the first-team defense. The next play went better for the defense as Ivan McLennan dropped Lee for a five-yard loss.

— Cornerback Treshon Broughton practiced for the first time and was in pads. The junior college transfer had to finish up a summer school class so he was a late arrival, but it looks like he'll be ready to go. Broughton was on scout team during practice.

— Dom Williams didn't seem limited at all. The limited players I saw were T.J. Fehoko, Suli Hameed and Amosa Sakaria.

—The wide receivers generally won their battles against the defensive backs in the one-on-one drill, although Kirkland Parker had a nice recovery to break up a deep pass to Dom Williams that could have maybe had a little more zip. Marcellus Pippins broke up a quick slant to Daniel Lilienthal in the end zone.

— On the other side of the field the defensive and offensive front-sevens were going at it. The second and third string offensive lines had rough days, but Gerard Wicks was able to make some chicken salad, cutting through to the second level and popping Taylor Taliulu, the only remaining defender between the running back and the end zone.

— Erik Powell and Quentin Breshears were the kickers during a kick coverage drill. Powell got better distance.

— During a good-versus-good team period Luke Falk had a pass over the middle intercepted by Frankie Luvu, but responded well, throwing a 32-yard touchdown pass to Gabe Marks, who was covered by Isaac Dotson.

Unfortunately for the offense, that first pick was a harbinger of things to come. Later in practice Falk and Peyton Bender led the regular offense on one practice field and Tyler Hilinski led the scouts on the other. I nearly got whiplash watching the interceptions pile up as the respective defenses collected three in about 30 seconds. Colton Teglovic, Shalom Luani and Calvin Green were the defensive playmakers, and Parker got his own interception off a scout team quarterback a few plays later. Dotson got one, too. Needless to say, the above sequence led to some up-downs.

— Another poor series for the offense that gave way to some conditioning work: During a good-versus-good team period Falk was sacked, had a pass to Kyrin Priester dropped, handed the ball off to Keith Harrington who was tackled by Peyton Pelluer behind the line of scrimmage, and scrambled for little or no gain.

— Oh, Charleston White also intercepted a scout team quarterback's pass.

— I did have some fun watching the quarterbacks practice throwing passes at a garbage can placed the far corner of the end zone from about the 12-yard line. Falk was the most consistently accurate, never getting a football in the can but almost always hitting it. Hilinksi was the most random, landing two in the garbage can but also having several bad misses, while Bender was somewhere in between.

Walk-on quarterback Matt Jimison got the walk-off, however, completing his one and only attempt.

Morning links: Turning an eye to Portland State

There was no traditional Monday press conference yesterday. But we still cast our eye toward WSU's Saturday opponent.

In the paper today we our First Look at the Vikings and on the blog we pass along the game notes, courtesy of WSU athletics. Furthermore, I joined sports radio host Jason Puckett to talk about the upcoming season, and the folks at KJR have a podcast available here (you can also listen to S-R alum Christian Caple talk about the Huskies here).

Stefanie Loh breaks down WSU's inaugural depth chart, as does Jeff Nusser. … Nusser also answered some questions about the Cougars in this preseason Q&A. … The Pac-12 Blog's Kevin Gemmell and Erik Mckinney wrote about WSU quarterback Luke Falk today.

— Washington's defensive coordinator and Boise State's blue turf go way back.

— Arizona has a freshman free safety who could see the field in the opener.

— ASU coach Todd Graham is mighty impressed by his quarterback.

— Cal's players take pride in not needing to rest.

— Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre is taking the slow and steady approach.

— Oregon is making its offense work for Vernon Adams.

— Gina Mizell recaps Oregon State's preseason.

— Tom FitzGerald previews Stanford's position groups.

— A UCLA cornerback was arrested on suspicion of felony robbery.

— USC athletic director Pat Haden speaks about the Sarkisian incident.

— Utah isn't sure what to expect against Michigan.

Game Notes: WSU vs. Portland State

Washington State has released the game notes and depth chart for its upcoming season-opener against Portland State.

The depth chart is basically what we've been reporting throughout the preseason, but it does confirm that freshman Darrien Molton will start at cornerback. Also, it appears that Ivan McLennan and Kache Palacio are co-starters at rush linebacker, which also correlates with what we've seen in practice.

Freshmen Hunter Dale and Tavares Martin are also in the two-deeps. Freshman Zach Charme will punt, Erik Powell will kick. Kyrin Priester will return kickoffs, Martin will return punts and walk-on receiver Kaleb Fossum is the new holder. Gerard Wicks is the starter at running back with Keith Harrington and Jamal Morrow splitting the backup role.

Morning links: WSU’s fast-learning freshmen

In the paper today we have a story about two freshmen that figure to factor in heavily in WSU's plans on Saturday.

That story kicks off the first game week of the 2015 college football season. Well, the week really began last night with a short practice. You can read about that, and watch our video interview with Mike Leach, here. … The Folks at CougCenter put together an interactive map of the WSU recruiting class.  … Chris Petersen still won't name a starting quarterback. … USA Today describes how Vernon Adams won the starting job at Oregon so quickly. … Steve Sarkisian gave up play-calling duties for the first time as a head coach.

Eine Kleine nacht-practice, plus Five Questions with Mike Leach

The Cougars held a short practice at 8 p.m. on Sunday night. Afterwards, coach Mike Leach answered some questions that little or nothing to do with football.

The practice itself was uneventful, with the biggest news being that wide receiver Dom Williams was in street clothes. The other limited players I saw were Amosa Sakaria, Suli Hameed and T.J. Fehoko. Also, Aaron Porter and Kingston Fernandez have traded numbers. Porter is now No. 43 and Fernandez is rockin' No. 52.

The practice was mostly special teams and scout team work. At the end, the Cougars went over their pregame routine. The highlight, clearly, was Leach talking about Congress, Hawaii and some unique recruiting experiences. The video of that interview is below.

Morning links: Wrapping up our WSU previews

In today's paper we have our eighth and final Washington State position preview, and we saved the quarterbacks for last.

You can check that out here. And don't miss our post-practice video of Mike Leach, and some fun interviews with Graham Harrell and Ken Wilson. … Harrell's brother gave an interview about what it was like growing up around football. … Former WSU baseball player Ben Roberts played a big role in Montana's big win over No. 1 North Dakota State.

In other Pac-12 news …

— Kyle Bonagura wonders how many Heisman candidates the Pac-12 has.

— The News Tribune previews each Pac-12 team.

— The gamblers think highly of the Pac-12.
  

Videos: Five Questions with Graham Harrell and Ken Wilson

The Washington State Cougars held a short, indoor practice on Saturday so there isn't much to report. But assistant coaches Graham Harrell and Ken Wilson were good enough to speak afterwards, so we've got some fun videos of their interviews. First, Wilson talked about his linebackers, who is going to rack up the first sack and if he or running backs coach Jim Mastro developed the better poker face in Reno.


And here is Harrell talking about life in the NFL and who he guesses will score WSU's first receiving touchdown.



The Cougars will hold another short practice tomorrow night. There was some rain today, so hopefully the air will be clear enough for the team to practice outside.

Morning links: The Pac-12 might be coming to DirecTV

The Pac-12 Networks may soon be available on DirecTV. Read about all that and more in today's links.

— The Pac-12 Networks may finally be approaching a deal with DirecTV, according to this tweet by Ashley Adamson.

— Our position previews continue with a look at WSU's special teams.

— Jeff Nusser looks at how much churn there has been on the WSU defense.

— Oregon has named a starting quarterback and it's Vernon Adams.

— Utah coach Kyle Whittingham has a hardcore workout routine.

— An Arizona linebacker is out for the season.

— The Buffaloes are bullish on the offensive line.

— Ted Miller covers all things Pac-12 in his mailbag.

Morning links: Overwhelming depth at wide receiver

You probably know this, but Washington State has a deep group of wide receivers. If you didn't know, you should check out our position preview in today's paper.

You know what? Go ahead and read it either way. Also be sure to check out yesterday's practice report, featuring the return of Thursday Night Football, and our video of Alex Grinch after practice. … Stef Loh of the Seattle Times took a game-by-game look at WSU's schedule and gives five keys to the Cougars season. … Don't miss Brian Anderson's exploration into how the Cougars force more turnovers.

In other Pac-12 news …

— What's weirder than Popular Mechanics writing college football predictions? Popular Mechanics sending cupcakes to the Utah football team.

— Tom Fitzgerald compares the media policies at Pac-12 programs and boy, Sonny Dykes seems like a reasonable fellow.

— UCLA is going to start a true freshman at quarterback.

— Eventually, Mark Helfrich is going to have to decide who Oregon's starters will be. That moment is getting closer.

— Apparently a lot of "really quality dialogue" took place at the $500 booze parties Steve Sarkisian hosted on Washington's dime. 

WSU practice notes: Thursday Night Football ft. Dylan Hanser

Washington State held its first Thursday Night Football underclassmen scrimmage this week. Dylan Hanser and the defense did not give the offense much to work with.

To be fair to quarterback Tyler Hilinski, he was put in a difficult position at the outset, since center B.J. Salmonson's snaps routinely whistled past his ankles. Hilinski made a poor shortstop and Hanser took advantage.

On the first play, the snap got behind Hilinski and Hanser raced by to recover the fumble. On the next play, Hilinski field the low snap but bobbled it, and had no choice but to try and gain yards with his legs. Hanser met him before the quarterback could get back to the line of scrimmage. After a merciful rushing play in which running back James Williams picked up about seven yards, Hanser sacked Hilinski on his next drop-back.

The offense moved the ball slowly down the field, with Hilinski rarely throwing more than a couple yards behind the line of scrimmage. His best stretch came shortly after the offense crossed midfield, quickly getting into the red zone with passes to Erik Anderson and Kyle Sweet that went 11 and 10 yards, respectively. Williams chipped in with a 10-yard run.

Although the offense then struggled in the red zone, it was eventually successful when Hilinski found Anderson in the end zone from eight yards. The walk-on made a nice high-point catch under duress to secure the touchdown catch.

Christian Jorgenson, a walk-on QB from Bellingham, brought the offense back down the field. Jorgenson struggled to get into a rhythm and was intercepted by David Bucannon, but Williams kept the offense moving with runs of 24 and five yards.

Before the scrimmage, WSU held a fairly normal practice that had a particular emphasis on special teams. As is typical on Thursdays, the Cougars were serenaded by classics such as French Montana's "Off the rip" and piped-in crowd noise.

As for special teams, we're starting to receive some clarity as to who will do what in the opener against Portland State. Erik Powell seems set to handle kickoffs and field goals, Zach Charme will punt, Kyrin Priester will handle punt return duties and Tavares Martin Jr. appears to be the No. 1 kick returner. That said, I think the Cougars will employ a few different looks during kickoff returns, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Martin Jr. and Priester back there together, too.

Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch confirmed after practice that he's gravitating toward using a safeties lineup of Shalom Luani and Taylor Taliulu, with Isaac Dotson at nickelback, although he still anticipates Darius Lemora playing frequently. When asked about freshman cornerback Darrien Molton running with the starters in practice, Grinch said that he will not have players run with the first unit to try them out, that it's something they must earn, so it's possible the freshman will start.

Cole Madison had a yellow practice jersey but was a participant and Tyler Baker practiced without a no-contact jersey for the first time in a week or so. C.J. Dimry, Suli Hameed, Logan Tago and Matt Abramo are still limited.

In case you missed our note yesterday, wide receiver Zaire Andre has left the program. While Barry Ware has not been at practice yet in 2015, I'm hearing there is still a chance he returns to the team

Morning links: Practice and podcasts

Wednesday's practice did not end until 11 p.m., so it didn't seem sensible to put up a midnight post that nobody would see. Instead, we'll briefly recap the practice in this space. Also, KJR's Jason Puckett and Ian Furness broadcasted from Pullman yesterday so they could be in town for a ceremony honoring late president Elson Floyd. You can listen to the podcasts from his show (Bill Moos and Mike Leach), and we've passed along some highlights below.

Here are some highlights from WSU's late-night practice:

— Charleston White had his side of the field locked down in work against the scout team, collecting a pair of interceptions.

— Opposite White, it appears that Darrien Molton may be the starter at right cornerback. The true freshman has been practicing with the ones ahead of Marcellus Pippins for a few practices now.

— Also, I think Alex Grinch is moving toward having Isaac Dotson start at nickelback with Shalom Luani and Taylor Taliulu at safety. We're seeing more of that look, as opposed to having Dotson start in front of Luani with Darius Lemora at nickel.

— True freshman offensive lineman Drew Norvell was impressive during one-on-one's, stonewalling explosive defensive tackle Ngalu Tapa. Frankie Luvu got the best of Sam Flor in the drill, using a swim move to blow past the offensive lineman and "sack" the quarterback.

— Luke Falk ran with the first team offense and looked sharp, throwing a nice 30-yard touchdown strike to Tyler Baker.

— The limited players today were C.J. Dimry, Tyler Baker, Logan Tago, Suli Hameed, Matt Abramo and Cole Madison. With Madison out, Jacob Seydel was the starting left tackle.

Now, let's recap Furness and Puckett's show. First up was Bill Moos:

— Bill Moos had a touching answer when asked what Elson Floyd meant to him. "He's already missed. I've got to say that, in my many years in my profession and around this state and the northwest, I don't know if I've ever known anyone with as much passion, a beautiful vision, very articulate and mostly, what impressed me, don't say you can't do something to Elson Floyd." Moos called Floyd, "The students' president."

— There was a funny moment when Moos described the "escape hatch" in his suite that leads to a crow's nest away from all the dignitaries and boosters he hosts.

— Moos said that he fully expects the Cougars to play in Martin Stadium on September 5. He says that he took select people on the staff to "explore contingencies" such as move the game or rescheduling the game, most likely after the Apple Cup. He said playing the game in the Kibbie Dome would be "challenging" because of its low seating capacity, although members of his staff have talked to the folks at Idaho who would "take very good care" of WSU if that was the option.

— Moos was asked about his expectations for the season. He replied, "This is by far, I think, the best team we've had it's the most talented team we've had and we have the luxury of some depth in most positions. When Mike Leach came here in 2012, we had six offensive linemen on scholarship, maybe three of them shouldn't have been. I'm telling it like it is. Now we have 21 on scholarship, they're all the 6-foot-6, 320-pound, heavily recruited guys. That's kind of an indicator there of how we've done this the right way. We've talked about no quick fixes. I really like the leadership we have on both sides of the ball. I  talked to all of our student-athletes last night, where are the leaders today in sports, everywhere. I really like our new coaches, I heard you guys talking about Alex Grinch and Roy Manning. (They) have really brought energy and excitement to the defense. Graham Harrell, who has been connected at the hip with Mike Leach for a long time, actually in the box. I think they're going to be the communicators on paly calling. And then you've got Eric Mele, who's a tremendous special teams coach. All four of those guys are good recruiters, too. (Furness: And a guy like Graham knows the NFL.) Oh, when you throw that (Super Bowl) ring on, it doesn't hurt on a recruiting weekend. And it's good chemistry. I just think all those things together with a proven quarterback, you know you never want to see anybody get hurt, but Luke Falk, the first game he played he was the Pac-12 Player of the Week on offense. He has control of it. His sisters can really sing."

— Moos was asked about balancing the desire for immediate wins with giving a coach enough time to build a program. His response: "We've got a big name coach. We've got a national coach of the year who took over a situation where we had to build it. Academically, in our behavior, nutrition, I'm going on, facilities and all of that, to get to this point in year four where I think we have a legitimate chance with anybody we paly to have a chance to win. A lot of that comes from attrition. It's different playing for a coach who you know was in your parents' living room with you in the recruiting process, because you're bought in when you get here. And I very much believe that the holdovers who are now seniors are very much bought in. We've got good leadership, what we really need is to take advantage of our schedule this year, get out of the chute and get some momentum, which we did not do last year, and part of that was the product of the schedule and others where I don't think we were mature enough to get back on track. So, I'm excited about it. You look at the league, it's tough. I was talking to somebody the other day, I said, 'You look at the five newest coaches to come into this league were coaches at Texas Tech, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pittsburgh and the Atlanta Falcons. To complement the ones that were already here.' It's tough every Saturday but I feel very good about how the schedule lays out, the chemistry of the coaching staff, the leadership of our team, the depth of our team, our fans I think are excited and this would be a great year to get seven or eight (wins) and get ourselves into a nice bowl game and just continue to build off of that."

Then, Mike Leach joined the show:

— Mike Leach began the segment with a pretty interesting discussion of music and how the market "overcorrects" swinging from music like disco to punk before settling on a happy medium. The host used the opportunity to segue into a discussion about the starting quarterback, mentioning that KJR plays music by Luke Falk's sisters on Friday, so it would be great if he was the starter.

Leach said, "They do a heck of a job and actually I have heard this as people come around the building playing it." Leach was asked how the quarterback handles the attention paid to his sisters and replied, "You know what, he kind of just waits it out. Falk's kind of a shy person and he's all business, very focused, he just waits it out."

Leach said that Tyler Hilinski, an economics major, is "maybe the smartest guy on the team."

Puckett pressed Leach on whether Falk or Peyton Bender would start behind center in week one. Leach replied, "I think they both do really good, it's been ridiculously competitive. Falk lately has been getting more reps. Bender does a tremendous job, you know Bender as far as a true freshman, redshirt freshman, has picked things up quicker than anybody I've dealt with. It comes off his hand very quickly. The other thing is, Bender's got a calmness to him. But I think Falk, just with experience film study and all that, for week one, probably puts our best foot forward.

— Leach was then asked what he looks for when evaluating quarterbacks. HE replied, "I've always thought it's very simple but despite that it seems like everybody disagrees with me on this subject. Well, I think the most important thing is, one, does he make good decisions? Can he figure out who to throw the ball to or who to hand the ball to? The second thing, is he accurate? Once he's made the decision, can he execute it in a good enough fashion to get them the ball? I think that's where you start. I think if they're not accurate and don't make good decisions, I think you're out until they do. After that you look for the other things. Does he have quick feet – quick feet's different than fast – does he have quick feet? Does he have a strong arm? Is he fast? Well, I can't think of one quarterback in the NFL or Hall of Fame that has all five of those qualities. But most of them have about three of them, you know. Elevate the play of the team, that's the ultimate that you look for."

— The hosts took a break from football to ask Leach about what he will remember of Floyd. Leach said, "I thought he was fantastic, probably the finest college administrator in the country and I think that'd be extremely hard to argue with. He had the classic view of what a university's role of, which goes back to the ancient Greeks, that there should be a balance, that you should excel in all things, not just some things. And I think a lot of universities have lost that as universities get spliced up in petty jealousies and Elson Floyd aggressively avoided those and cleared the path on those types of things. He wanted to be the have the best business department, got the medical school, him and others got the medical school here, and then of course athletics is a part of it. And athletics is a big part of it. And it's like, I think sometimes people get tangled in the money argument on athletics. Well it makes this so it should have, well here's the thing. I don't know how much – and I minored in English – I don't know how much the English department made last year. And it doesn't matter if it lost a lot of money because the mission of a university is to build and broaden people's horizons, people's lives and to elevate our society and make it strong, proud, great and those things. And so it really doesn't matter because the role of a university is to have a lot of dimension and offer a lot of things to an incredible number of people and all the academic aspects are like that, just like a medical school , just like athletics is, too. He had a really clear vision of that and to eliminate a lot of the bureaucracy that goes on and get those things done. He was a great leader and had a presence to him, too. He was one of those guys who would walk into a room and you'd feel him before you saw him. You'd feel, he would have made a horrible secret agent. Because if he was spying on you, you'd know it. You feel like something has changed, something to the positive has changed in the room, you'd turn around and there would be Dr. Floyd. He had that kind of unique quality and I think that was felt by everybody here. I think his vision and just his commitment to it was really impressive. And then I had the opportunity to talk to him a number of times and, everybody has their journey to get to where they're at and his was ridiculously impressive.

—  "Here it is, yeah for sure.  Phsyically w'eve got guys back. We're still really young you know beause we pressed a bunch of freshmen into service last year but they're back and going strong. And I think a lot of it is, our offseason was so good. Because I think younger guys felt empowered to take control of this team and they came here with a vision and also a work ethic that elevated our offseason and that really brought a lot of people together. You'd walk in there and there was just a lot of energy in there. It wasn't just loud, it's easy to be loud. Yeah, it was loud, but you'd walk in there and just competitive and people pushing each other. Just very competitive and you'd look around the room and there wasn't anybody lagging behind. If they had they'd stand out ridiculously. It'd be almost an obvious embarrassment just because of the mentality of the group and tha'ts the most important thing ,what the group's able to do together and I think our practices have reflected that, too. But when you think about it, we've got all our running backs back, plus Keith Harrington, who's pushing both, could beat them out, I don't know but he's certainly pushing both of them. We've got all our offensive line back, and we're a little deeper. (That's the biggest difference, right?) Oh, no question. We had six on scholarship; three that could play and we averaged 260 (pounds)[I think Leach's math is a little off here, but whatever]. And it wasn't 260 because this guy's incredibly tough, no it wasn't like that. It was like this guy's 260 and he's the best one I've got. Now we average 310 and we've got 18 of them on scholarship, and I'm not saying we didn't screw up on one or two, but 18 to pick from, plus walk-ons. Plus the receivers, who are young as well, more of a mixed bag back there but we've got some tall guys, some short guys, some fast guys but they seem to be coming together really well.

— Leach was asked about going under center, a new wrinkle the Cougars have added to their offense. "The thing I like about under center is it's a great position to be in to hand the ball off, but it's also a great position to be in to throw vertically. Because you get your hands on that ball and you can throw it up real quick, and those two things contrast very dramatically. The under center stuff, it's fine, basically it matched a couple plays we wanted to do and we figured rather than make it too obvious there's certainly other things it would fit to do and certainly things that would be better off it, because you can throw screens better off it. So we just decided to kind of broaden that out and have the best of both worlds on it and hope they can remember to do it, and so far they have. Of course the media, you know even the slightest of change, they're both excited and alarmed. It'll be fun and if those cats forget they'll probably forget and go shotgun, I don't think they'll forget and go under center."

— Finally, Leach was asked why the defense will be better this year. He mentioned getting players back, but mostly he spoke about new defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. "When you watch Alex Grinch coach a drill, if they don't play well it hurts him more than it hurts the players. He's fully invested and as a result there's an accountability that rubs off on them."

Phew! Still with us? Here are some links as a reward:

— Our position previews continue with the WSU running backs.

— We held a WSU chat on the blog yesterday. Here is the transcript.
  

— I can confirm this report by Britton Ransford about Zaire Andre transferring:

— Jim Allen wrote about the WSU women's soccer team's coaching conga line

— Stef Loh of the Seattle Times wrote stories about Alex Grinch and Luke Falk.

Live WSU chat (transcription)

srchat: Welcome to our live chat. I'll be in at 11 a.m., but ask questions now if you have them and those will be answered first.

Aug 26 2015, 10:58 AM

srchat: Let's get started.

Aug 26 2015, 10:59 AM

Jonthecoug: Has Molton surpassed Pippins?

Aug 26 2015, 10:59 AM

srchat: It's starting to look that way, as Darrien Molton has been running with the ones in front of Marcellus Pippins for a few practices now. While Pippins has a little more experience, Molton does appear to have superior athleticism and maybe longer arms.

Aug 26 2015, 11:00 AM

ItsMe (guest): Who's gonna be the punter and placekicker?

Aug 26 2015, 11:00 AM

srchat: It looks like Erik Powell will handle kicks and Zach Charme will punt.

Aug 26 2015, 11:00 AM

Guest8022 (guest): Any cause for concern that our big & veteran OL seemed to not protect the QB as well as you'd have expected them to in camp?

Aug 26 2015, 11:01 AM

srchat: Not really. The defensive line got similar pressure last camp, and the offensive line held up pretty well during the season. It's important to remember these are "touch" sacks, which would not necessarily be sacks in a live situation. It's just easier to get to the QB knowing you only have to get a finger on him than it is to get a clear shot. Also, the defense knows the Oline, is familiar with the wide splits and generally knows what play is coming, too.

Aug 26 2015, 11:02 AM

ItsMe (guest): What about kickoff duties? And will they regularly put the ball in the endzone on kickoffs?

Aug 26 2015, 11:02 AM

srchat: I'm not sure the kickoff kicker has been decided yet. I think they'd like Matt Abramo to do it, but he's been limited. If Abramo can't go, then I don't think there will be many touchbacks.

Aug 26 2015, 11:02 AM

Guest1331 (guest): If Marks has a stand out season, does he leave for the NFL?

Aug 26 2015, 11:03 AM

srchat: I would not be shocked. Not because I think he'd be a high pick, necessarily, but if has 1,000-plus yards I'm not sure there's much more he could show the NFL, and he'd already have been in college for four years.

Aug 26 2015, 11:04 AM

Guest1331 (guest): But Marks has two years left with his redshirt?

Aug 26 2015, 11:04 AM

srchat: Including this season, yes.

Aug 26 2015, 11:05 AM

Guest4033 (guest): How safe is taliulu?

Aug 26 2015, 11:05 AM

srchat: He seems to have weathered an initial challenge to his spot, but with Shalom Luani getting more comfortable I wouldn't say he's particularly safe.

Aug 26 2015, 11:05 AM

Guest3786 (guest): Mastro seems to love James Williams. Is he going to pass the other running backs as true frosh?

Aug 26 2015, 11:06 AM

srchat: I doubt it, Mastro is pretty enamored of the other three as well. If all three remain healthy, I expect Williams to redshirt.

Aug 26 2015, 11:06 AM

Guest1331 (guest): Looks like Ware is out? Confirmation?

Aug 26 2015, 11:07 AM

srchat: We can't confirm until after today's 7:30 p.m. practice, but it sure seems like he's off the team.

Aug 26 2015, 11:07 AM

Guest3786 (guest): How's the smoke?

Aug 26 2015, 11:07 AM

srchat: The AQI is 89 right now, slightly worse than yesterday but good enough to practice outdoors.

Aug 26 2015, 11:07 AM

Guest6769 (guest): With an 11am kickoff do you think it's possible the game could just be delayed to a later time in the day, when air quality improves ?

Aug 26 2015, 11:08 AM

srchat: I doubt it. There would be no guarantees the air quality would improve by the afternoon and you wouldn't want to send everybody home. Plus, there are TV considerations, etc.

Aug 26 2015, 11:08 AM

Guest1331 (guest): First play of the season: Run or Pass?

Aug 26 2015, 11:08 AM

srchat: Kickoff

Aug 26 2015, 11:08 AM

srchat: But pass.

Aug 26 2015, 11:08 AM

Guest3516 (guest): Players going to be able to attend today's memorial?

Aug 26 2015, 11:09 AM

srchat: I believe that's the reason for the 7:30 p.m. practice.

Aug 26 2015, 11:10 AM

Guest8022 (guest): how has zach charme looked? are we going to be watching 35 yard line drive punts again this year?

Aug 26 2015, 11:11 AM

srchat: He's had about a week and a half of really good practices, with consistently booming punts. Accuracy might still be an issue.

Aug 26 2015, 11:12 AM

Guest4033 (guest): Anyone You'd like to see climb the depth chart and get more playing time?

Aug 26 2015, 11:13 AM

srchat: I'm curious to see what C.J. Dimry can eventually do as a big receiver. And I'd like to see Calvin Green at safety at some point.

Aug 26 2015, 11:13 AM

Guest4109 (guest): Who's your leader in the clubhouse for punt and kick returner?

Aug 26 2015, 11:14 AM

srchat: I think we'll see Gabe Marks return punts and Kyrin Priester and Tavares Martin Jr. returning kicks with some Keith Harrington reps as well.

Aug 26 2015, 11:14 AM

Guest3516 (guest): Has Calvin Green looked better making the switch to defense than Caldwell did?

Aug 26 2015, 11:14 AM

srchat: Yes.

Aug 26 2015, 11:14 AM

ItsMe (guest): Do you ever get tired of Mike Leach's attitude with reporters? I know it's not your job to be buddy's with coach, nor his. But be honest, wouldn't it be more fun to cover a coach with Pete Carroll's attitude toward the media than Leach's or Mora's, for example?

Aug 26 2015, 11:15 AM

srchat: Leach can be short at times, and there are times it would be fun to cover one of those really upbeat, positive coaches. But at least he's not Paul Petrino.

Aug 26 2015, 11:15 AM

Guest303 (guest): I saw Joe Dahl made the preseason Pac 12 team. Do you think any other Cougs should have also been on it?

Aug 26 2015, 11:16 AM

srchat: I think a few other players like River Cracraft or Dom Williams have the potential to make the list at the end of the season. But I don't think the Cougars have anyone whose body of work should dictate that they be on the list ahead of the players on there right now.

Aug 26 2015, 11:17 AM

Guest8022 (guest): i noticed last year (specifically apple cup) our punt returners struggled catching the ball and instead would let the ball roll 20 yards to inside the 10. has there been an increased emphasis on preventing that from happening and possibly moving closer to the line of scrimmage to catch the line drive punts and not let them roll inside the 10?

Aug 26 2015, 11:18 AM

srchat: I haven't noticed a specific emphasis on that, but I think a lot of that coaching goes on in the team meetings that we're not typically privy to.

Aug 26 2015, 11:18 AM

Guest3516 (guest): Nice of Jim Walden to join the chat seasion

Aug 26 2015, 11:18 AM

srchat: Hey, Jim!

Aug 26 2015, 11:18 AM

Guest7789 (guest): Right now the air quality in Pullman is like it was Saturday and Sunday. Gagging!

Aug 26 2015, 11:19 AM

srchat: I have noticed folks walking around in doctor's masks and very few of them looked like MDs.

Aug 26 2015, 11:19 AM

Guest1331 (guest): This being Grinch's first DC position, how is he doing?

Aug 26 2015, 11:20 AM

srchat: I think he's done well. I have noticed his intensity in practice ratchet up at the season gets closer.

Aug 26 2015, 11:20 AM

Guest4109 (guest): With Rutgers current dilemma, do you think that has any effect on our game with them?

Aug 26 2015, 11:20 AM

srchat: I think it only helps the Cougars. I suppose there can be a closing of ranks and bringing of a team together during a situation like that, but I tend to view it as a distraction.

Aug 26 2015, 11:21 AM

Guest303 (guest): What backups are you most and least comfortable with their abilities?

Aug 26 2015, 11:21 AM

srchat: The backup running backs and receivers are all really good. I think the backup DBs and to a lesser extent linebackers aren't quite Pac-12 ready.

Aug 26 2015, 11:21 AM

ItsMe (guest): Fair enough. It just seems so unnecessary for him to cop an attitude with about 25% of your questions when all you're trying to do is provide fans with interest in HIS team.

Aug 26 2015, 11:22 AM

Guest3516 (guest): Have you noticed less fights this year during camp? Team seem more focused?

Aug 26 2015, 11:22 AM

srchat: Way fewer fights than last season. I don't know how to gauge focus, but I suppose fewer fights could be an indicator of more focus.

Aug 26 2015, 11:22 AM

Guest1331 (guest): Bold what if scenario: What if the Cougs win 8 plus games, do you see any coaches get offered for bigger roles?

Aug 26 2015, 11:24 AM

srchat: I think Salave'a will get offers pretty frequently as long as he's at WSU. Some of of the coaches (McGuire, Mastro) are such Leach guys that I think schools lay off unless they hear they're looking. I wouldn't be surprised if Graham Harrell was offered a QB coach job at a big school or the NFL, and if Grinch has a good defense I think he'll be a sought-after coach in a couple years.

Aug 26 2015, 11:24 AM

Guest7789 (guest): Speaking of Petrino, as a beat writer, have you ever witnessed a scene like last week's incident with the Tribrune and Daily News beat writers?

Aug 26 2015, 11:26 AM

srchat: No, but if I did I would sure as heck write about it. As a reporter, you expect the people to cover to disagree with what you write about at times and we all get yelled at. But there's a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it, and in that situation I think the writer was correct to hold Petrino publicly accountable and start a discussion about the relationship between coaches and the reporters who cover their teams.

Aug 26 2015, 11:26 AM

Guest8022 (guest): Do you feel Leach's schtick annoys the older(50+) alums than the younger ones? I get the feeling the older generation hates how he doesn't speak in cliches and acts all hunky doory all the time. From what I can tell, the younger generation could care less and therefore support him much more.

Aug 26 2015, 11:28 AM

srchat: Perhaps. I've actually found that older fans generally care less about his perceived gruffness, while the younger fans I know think he should make more of an effort to be outgoing. I think the older generation grew up with coaches that were more strong and silent, etc., while the younger generations see these really engaging, energetic ones.

Aug 26 2015, 11:28 AM

Guest5184 (guest): There is talk that if Falk starts he will be under center more which will open up the run game more and play-action pass. Is this true or just the fan base over-analyzing the off-season too much?

Aug 26 2015, 11:29 AM

srchat: Where is this talk? I haven't seen one quarterback go under center more often than the other, but Falk does check into run plays more than Bender does.

Aug 26 2015, 11:29 AM

ItsMe (guest): Generally thoughts comparing your first Fall camp last year to your second one this year?

Aug 26 2015, 11:30 AM

srchat: WSU is a better, deeper team at most positions but losing Halliday hurts.

Aug 26 2015, 11:31 AM

Guest199 (guest): Not sure if you can answer a scheme question, but do the Corners always stay on one side of the field?

Aug 26 2015, 11:32 AM

srchat: Yes, unlike the boundary-field CB of last year the cornerbacks are always on their designated side of the field.

Aug 26 2015, 11:32 AM

Guest4033 (guest): Most exciting player to watch this year?

Aug 26 2015, 11:32 AM

srchat: Gerard Wicks for now. Kyrin Priester once he gets going.

Aug 26 2015, 11:32 AM

Guest303 (guest): How do you predict Broughton's year goes? When does he get up to speed to start contributing?

Aug 26 2015, 11:33 AM

srchat: I think he probably still has to wait for the NCAA to sign off on him practicing. Once that happens, he'll need a few weeks to get into a groove and work up the depth chart. I think a good-case scenario is him being ready to go after the bye week in time for the start of Pac-12 play at California.

Aug 26 2015, 11:35 AM

Guest9380 (guest): I see a lot of hype for Priester, but people need to remember he is still a freshman. Should we pump the brakes on getting excited about him or is he the real deal?

Aug 26 2015, 11:36 AM

srchat: He wasn't a huge factor in the spring game (when they kept his reps down) or in the scrimmages, so I think it may still take a little time for him to be able to use his talent at game speed. There's a lot of talent there, though.

Aug 26 2015, 11:36 AM

Guest7642 (guest): in what way does losing holliday hurt?

Aug 26 2015, 11:38 AM

srchat: He was a fifth-year senior quarterback who had started for years and knew the offense cold. He was the offense's undisputed leader and had a better command of the huddle. Losing that will always hurt, especially in an offense that passes so much. Additionally, he had a much more powerful arm than the other QBs, and could threaten a defense in a way they can't. Remember some of those bombs to Mayle, or those off-balance fourth-down completions against Utah? I don't think the current QBs can make those throws

Aug 26 2015, 11:38 AM

srchat: so the opposing defenses aren't stretched as thin.

Aug 26 2015, 11:38 AM

Guest3516 (guest): Martin JR. look like a lock for the two deeps?

Aug 26 2015, 11:38 AM

srchat: Yes, Martin Jr. will be the backup at Z.

Aug 26 2015, 11:39 AM

Guest5184 (guest): I should not have used the word "talk" but I have seen a couple articles that we could see Falk under center more instead of the shotgun — compared to what we saw with Halliday. http://espn.go.com/blog/pac12/post/_/id/88166/washington-state-looks-for-greater-offensive-balance-under-center

Washington State looks for greater offensive balance under center - Pac-12 Blog - ESPN

Aug 26 2015, 11:39 AM

srchat: Well yes, as we've reported since spring the Cougars are going under center some this year. But I don't think it's a matter of Falk vs. Bender, they will both do it.

Aug 26 2015, 11:39 AM

Guest199 (guest): Do you expect Dotson to play mostly at Nickel or Safety?

Aug 26 2015, 11:40 AM

srchat: I still think mostly at safety but it does seem like they will use him at nickel frequently, rather than just in certain situations.

Aug 26 2015, 11:40 AM

Guest3234 (guest): Brougton in or out ?

Aug 26 2015, 11:40 AM

srchat: He was at practice yesterday in street clothes. I expect he's here but waiting on NCAA clearance.

Aug 26 2015, 11:41 AM

Guest303 (guest): Will we break last year's record for total offense in a game this year?

Aug 26 2015, 11:42 AM

srchat: Last year the offense got 812 yards against Cal. That'll be tough to match, simply because the offense was on the field so much with Cal's return touchdowns and quick scores.

Aug 26 2015, 11:42 AM

Guest3234 (guest): falk has legs and that will add at least 1 more win to the total

Aug 26 2015, 11:43 AM

srchat: Every player anywhere has legs. Falk can run a bit, and that helps, but I doubt the two or three eight-yard scrambles a game and a few avoided sacks make up for Halliday's experience and arm strength.

Aug 26 2015, 11:44 AM

Guest3234 (guest): Ware to deep in the depth chart to come back or something else ?…is Dillard in the 2 deep ?..they were so high on him ?…

Aug 26 2015, 11:44 AM

srchat: Dillard is a backup tackle, he's doing just fine. Ware is no longer on the roster and probably not on the team.

Aug 26 2015, 11:46 AM

Guest3234 (guest): Disagree on legs…you know what I was talking about…Connor was terrible on the run and it cost the Cougs..my comment actually came rom 2 NFL qb's who watch the Cougs…so I think its valid..remember Tuel in the Apple Cup with his legs, Falk last year..its called an extension of a play !

Aug 26 2015, 11:48 AM

srchat: Fine, you win. I guess watching every snap from both players the last two years meant nothing. Falk runs for 1,000 yards and the Cougars win the Rose Bowl. Better go book a flight!

Aug 26 2015, 11:49 AM

Jonthecoug: Dline looks pretty solid. Do you expect 8-10 to be in the rotation this year?

Aug 26 2015, 11:50 AM

srchat: Maybe not that many, remember they only start three defensive linemen. I think there are 7, maybe 8 that rotate regularly.

Aug 26 2015, 11:50 AM

Guest199 (guest): I think the Rush linebacker position is very important this season. How has Palachio/McClennan looked?

Aug 26 2015, 11:51 AM

srchat: Both have looked good. McLennan, in particular, is starting to put everything together.

Aug 26 2015, 11:51 AM

Guest1331 (guest): When will Wazzu be the Pac-12 North Powerhouse and start getting 5 star recruits?

Aug 26 2015, 11:52 AM

srchat: Very few schools ever give 5-star recruits unless they are near a major population center or have multiple national titles. But there aren't very many 5-star players, anyways. If WSU can make a bowl this year and then win 8 or so games next year I think they'll be able to regularly get more than a couple 4-star guys.

Aug 26 2015, 11:52 AM

NussCoug: (never)
Aug 26 2015, 11:53 AM

srchat: ^ Must be a Husky.

Aug 26 2015, 11:53 AM

Jonthecoug: How has Aaron Porter looked? Is he running third behind Pueller and Leniu?

Aug 26 2015, 11:53 AM

NussCoug: (just a realist who agrees with everything you just said)

Aug 26 2015, 11:54 AM

srchat: Porter has been OK, but he's a little slow. Luvu looks like a better option behind Pelluer.

Aug 26 2015, 11:54 AM

Guest6073 (guest): While the cougs do lose halliday, and I think there is going to be a big step down in arm talent, it seems to me like we will not have to be such a gunslinger offense that lives and dies throwing balls into tight windows (to some extent) which in the end should result in less turnovers and put less pressure on the defense. But I doubt we'll see the same halliday passing stats

Aug 26 2015, 11:56 AM

srchat: I agree, there are certainly benefits to not taking so many shots downfield. And if the offense doesn't sputter, it ultimately won't really matter. But the Halliday-Mayle combination likely also prevented some turnovers by moving the offense down the field quickly (more plays=more turnover opportunities). And Falk/Bender have thrown at least as many interceptions in practice as Halliday did.

Aug 26 2015, 11:56 AM

srchat: I think fans remember Falk's performance at Oregon State and assume that he's going to never turn the ball over and be calm and cool in all situations. But that's not what I've seen in practice and I don't think it's realistic in his first year as the fulltime starter.

Aug 26 2015, 11:57 AM

shurtyj (guest): Any guesses as to why the o-line as struggled a bit with pass pro so far?

Aug 26 2015, 11:57 AM

srchat: Hey shurty, we went into this in depth up above but the short version is that I don't think they've actually struggled as much as the sack numbers indicate.

Aug 26 2015, 11:57 AM

Ryan Rylee: Do you think we might see a two tight end formation in the red zone this year??

Aug 26 2015, 11:58 AM

srchat: Well last year they brought out that formation with seven offensive linemen, I think we could see that again. They've only really got one tight end on the team, so it'd be hard to get two true ones out there.

Aug 26 2015, 11:58 AM

Guest4033 (guest): Hows oguayo looked?

Aug 26 2015, 11:58 AM

srchat: He's made a few plays. Good athlete. Contributor down the road.

Aug 26 2015, 11:58 AM

Guest7789 (guest): I know this is off your beat but the women's b'ball team losing Galderia has got be devastating. Galderia was the type of player a coach could build a team around.

Aug 26 2015, 11:59 AM

srchat: Yes, losing her and Tia Presley means that coach Daugherty's team will have an entirely different feel next year. They've brought in some good recruits the last couple years, but it's going to be tough not to take a step back.

Aug 26 2015, 11:59 AM

Guest1331 (guest): Who's going to be able to stop 5 vertical routes with Marks, Priester, Dom, Cracraft, and Lewis on the field at the same time?

Aug 26 2015, 11:59 AM

srchat: A team with a really good pass rush.

Aug 26 2015, 11:59 AM

Guest3234 (guest): Glad you and Nuss work in tandem have each others back…silly…probably more of a coug that both of you…maybe 35 plus years.

Aug 26 2015, 11:59 AM

srchat: Your award is in the mail.

Aug 26 2015, 12:00 PM

50_plus (guest): Think the D-line and linebackers will fare better against the run, particularly vs. Rutgers?

Aug 26 2015, 12:01 PM

srchat: Sort of tough to say on the defensive line. It all depends if Barber and Ekuale are ready to replace Pole, a pretty good run-stuffer. I do think the linebackers will be a lot better against the run, particularly because the run defense improved last season once Allison and Pelluer entered the lineup.

Aug 26 2015, 12:03 PM

Ryan Rylee: Do you think Molton takes hold of a starting job by PAC12 play??

Aug 26 2015, 12:03 PM

srchat: I think he might have already taken hold of one.

Aug 26 2015, 12:04 PM

NussCoug:

Aug 26 2015, 12:04 PM

ItsMe (guest): Why did it take half a season for the coaching staff to realize Monroe was not their best option to start at LB last year? Seems like there have been a few occasions where this staff has been slow to recognize the talent gaps between their own players.

Aug 26 2015, 12:04 PM

srchat: According to Monroe's dad, he played much of last season with a minor injury that prevented him from playing at full speed, so it may be that they were waiting to see if he could adjust.

Aug 26 2015, 12:04 PM

ItsMe (guest): Jordon Simone comes to mind as another example

Aug 26 2015, 12:06 PM

srchat: Chris Ball recognized Simone's talent at WSU. It's why he was so happy to get him at ASU.

Aug 26 2015, 12:07 PM

ItsMe (guest): exactly.

Aug 26 2015, 12:07 PM

ItsMe (guest): What's the #1 reason WSU doesn't win 6 games this year?

Aug 26 2015, 12:07 PM

srchat: The defense is still a year away.

Aug 26 2015, 12:08 PM

Ryan Rylee: Any insight on Calvin Green? I know he just switched but,is he close to pushing for playing time?

Aug 26 2015, 12:08 PM

srchat: He's run mostly with the 3s but gotten a couple shots with the 2s. I don't think he's super close to playing yet but I think he's someone who will play, if that makes sense.

Aug 26 2015, 12:08 PM

Guest3234 (guest): Sorry to inform you..Wicks looks to be a very good RB, still like the hit he put on Thompson in the AC….however the most exciting players this year will be…Dom, River, Priester, Marks, lemoara and White…

Aug 26 2015, 12:09 PM

Guest3234 (guest): Simone would not have been the same player in last years Coug D…ASU had a fierce pass rush and good corners..makes a difference…he not not in good but overated, was expoed at times lst year in case you missed some ASU games

Aug 26 2015, 12:09 PM

srchat: and on THAT note, thank you all for joining our live chat, the transcript will be up shortly.

 

Morning links: Lots of WSU news and a live chat

We have plenty of Washington State football news to pass along in today's morning links. If that's not enough, we'll hold a WSU chat at 11 a.m.

Our links lead off with today's offensive line preview and continue with yesterday's blog posts about WSU's contingency plans for the season-opener if the wildfires encircling Pullman prove problematic. We've also got practice notes and video of Mike Leach.

Former WSU quarterback Connor Halliday had a workout with the Kansas City Chiefs. We have a brief story about that, as does CougCenter. And while you're over visiting our friends at SB Nation, give the CougCenter Hour a listen. I was a guest and host Michael Preston asked me lots of good questions about the Cougars. … Stef Loh weighs in on the wildfires in her links. … ESPN's Erik McKinney says WSU's pirate coach has done a good job plundering other school's recruits.

Elsewhere in the Conference of Champions…

— The Washington basketball team's recruiting hot streak continues.

— Arizona has some formidable walk-ons.

— Todd Graham addresses his son's sudden resignation.

— The NFL is full of California grads.

— Colorado's Adkins is sick of injuries.

— Oregon's outside linebackers are the envy of its peers.

— The Beavers are putting in work morning and night.

— Check out Stanford's captains.

— UCLA will not be joining the Oregon schools in considering a two-quarterback system.

— Ted Miller weighs in on the Steve Sarkisian situation.

— The Utah Utes are getting ready for Jim Harbaugh.

WSU practice notes: Treshon Broughton arrives

Washington State had a visitor on Tuesday. Treshon Broughton, a highly regarded cornerback recruit, was watching from the sidelines. I wrote about Broughton before he signed in February. You can read that article here. Broughton is a talented player that is expected to compete for a starting role, although it may take him a while to get settled because he has yet to practice. Rather than participate in the Cougars' preseason camp in Lewiston, Broughton was finishing up some schoolwork at Riverside City College.

I'll keep you updated on Broughton's progress in practice. Speaking of practice, here are today's highlights:
— C.J. Dimry, T.J. Fehoko, Matt Abramo, Logan Tago, Charleston White, Tyler Baker and Suli Hameed were all limited to some degree.

— Darrien Molton is still running with the ones ahead of Marcellus Pippins at one cornerback spot. It's pretty clear the true freshman has impressed the coaches and will play a lot this season.

— Parker Kirkland played at safety in practice today, running mostly with the second unit. In the early portion of practice, Calvin Green also got reps with the second team at safety.

— The Cougars did a lot of scout-team work today, with the regular contributors obviously having a large advantage over the scouts. For example, Isaac Dotson made a one-handed interception off Connor Ennis from about 10-feet away.

— It was very evident during the WR vs. DB drill how much respect the defensive backs have for Robert Lewis' speed. The defensive back matched up with Lewis consistently gave him the widest cushion of any player, making it almost impossible to stop a completion. Tavares Martin Jr. had a nice play in the drill, blowing past Pat Porter on a vertical route and then slide in the end zone to adjust to the slightly underthrown pass and make the catch.

— Peyton Bender struggled during the skeleton drill, having a pass nearly intercepted by Paris Taylor and getting passes broken up by Dotson and Molton. He also overthrew a wide open Daniel Lilienthal on what should have been a touchdown pass. But Bender looked much sharper during the team period. Luke Falk was pretty solid throughout practice, throwing a 50-yard bomb to Gabe Marks and finding Martin Jr. for a touchdown pass.

— The kick returners today were Martin Jr. Kyrin Priester, Keith Harrington and Isaiah Davis. Brett Schafer and Mitchell Cox handled the kickoffs. Schafer was pretty short with this kicks but Cox did all right.

WA wildfires could force WSU to relocate, reschedule PSU game

The wildfires that have ravaged eastern Washington during this abnormally hot and dry summer have been a thorn in Bill Moos' side. The fires in early June threatened the ranch near Spokane owned by the Washington State athletic director, and he recently took his family to barn dance that may as well have been held in one of his meat smokers.

And now, the fires are threatening his football team's home opener against the Portland State Vikings. The air quality in Pullman is a real concern, and the Cougars have already moved one practice indoors because the Air Quality Index (AQI) was above 150—any number higher is considered unhealthy.

With fans to consider, the Cougars likely have to hold themselves to an even stricter standard because an AQI above 100 is considered unhealthy for children and the elderly, as well as people with asthma, lung disease or other vulnerabilities.

"We're watching it really close," Moos said. "Of course we are concerned about the health and safety of our student athletes and our fans, as well as coaches and staff. I'm hoping we will get some relief with some rain. We're testing it every day."

With that in mind, Moos says that WSU is exploring options to relocate or reschedule the game. Sources indicate that the Cougars have reached out to the University of Idaho about potentially holding the game in the Kibbie Dome, likely a worse-case scenario given that particular venue holds 16,000 seats—fewer than the Cougars have probably sold for the home opener (ticket information will be available early next week).

"That could be an option," Moos said. "There haven't been any real, formal talks in regards to we are going to do that or not. But I think it's important that we explore options. My staff, though, has been focusing on a normal game day procedure in Martin."

In addition to returning tickets to fans, the Cougars would also face the logistical nightmare of dealing with already disgruntled fans who made travel arrangements or booked hotel rooms. I, for one, would not envy whoever had to figure out the new parking provisions for those fans who could attend the game, to say nothing of dealing with boosters that paid big money for suites to which they would not have access.

Of course, other venues exist.

"The Kibbie Dome would not be the only option in my mind, there are other options where maybe we could go," Moos said. "We want to play the game. Another option is, can we reschedule it? That's happened before when you look back September 11th, and those things, people had to get creative with their schedules.

So, it may be easier to reschedule the game, if it comes to that. It won't be easy, the Cougars and Vikings don't have any open dates that align, but the teams could potentially reschedule for after the Apple Cup.

It may be easier than usual to reschedule because the Vikings are likely to bus to the game. What's certain is that both teams want to play. The Cougars could use what should almost certainly be a win as they try to return to a bowl game, and the PSU program really needs the $525,000 paycheck from the game.

The good news is that none of this may matter. The AQI is Pullman right now is 95, the lowest it has been in in some time by a good margin. The Cougars are planning to practice outdoors this afternoon and if the Palouse can just get some wind or a little rain, the Cougars should have no problem opening their season as scheduled.

Morning links: A longer look at the defensive line

There was no practice to report on yesterday. But our series of position previews continues.

Our preview of the Washington State defensive line is in today's paper. On the blog yesterday we had notes about how the poor air quality in Pullman is affecting the Cougars, and about a cornerback recruit who says he will sign with WSU.

And tomorrow at 11 a.m. we'll hold our weekly live chat.

Here are a few links from around the Pac-12:

— Arizona State running backs coach Bo Graham, son of head coach Todd Graham, resigned yesterday.

— Joe Dahl was named to the Pac-12 Blog's preseason All-Conference team.

— Christian Caple ponders which true freshmen could play at Washington.

— Oregon's talented quarterbacks could still split reps.

— The Beavers are also enamored of two QBs.

— Players are still auditioning for the spots next to Scooby Wright.

Recruiting: Cornerback Isaiah Love accepts WSU scholarship offer

Isaiah Love, a cornerback from West Covina, California, announced his decision to play football Washington State on Monday afternoon.

In his announcement, Love references an offseason neck injury that is expected to keep him out for at least few games this fall. A three-star recruit, Love also held scholarship offers from Colorado, Fresno State and San Diego State. His Hudl profile lists him at 6-foot, 165-pounds and claims a 4.71 time in the 40-yard dash. Here are his junior season highlights:

Pullman air quality could continue to impact Cougars

The Washington State Cougars practiced indoors on Sunday because of smoke caused by nearby fires. It might not be the last time.

For the Cougars to practice outside, the Pullman Air Quality Index (API) must be 150 or lower. Anything between 151 and 200 is considered "unhealthy." In recent days the API in the Pullman-Moscow area has climbed as high as the low-300s, which falls in the "hazardous" range.

When Sunday's practice was moved indoors, the Pullman API was about 190, approaching "very unhealthy" levels. Right now the API is about 168, so if the Cougars held a Monday practice it would be moved indoors.

Nearby fires and a lack of wind or rain are expected to keep smoke in the area until at least Wednesday, and the Washington Department of Ecology has issued an air quality alert for Whitman County. 

So, don't be surprised if the Cougars hold a few more indoor practices this week.

Morning links: Previewing WSU’s linebackers

Our position previews continue today with a look at Washington State's linebacker corps.

You can read that here. And you can also check out our report from last night's practice, which includes a couple cool videos. We've also got a blog post about a Los Angeles linebacker who has decided to play for WSU.

Also, there was some good news for those wondering when junior college cornerback recruit Treshon Broughton would join the Cougars:
  

And former WSU hooper Jordan Railey appears to have found a home at the next level:
  

The first Associated Press Top-25 poll of the year is out. Here it is. … Steve Sarkisian got blitzed at a booster event. … He has since apologized

WSU practice notes: Clay McGuire and Joe Salave’a look back

Washington State moved its hour-long practice indoors because Pullman is filled with smoke.

Seriously, even on a cloudless day one can barely see the sun. The medical types seem pretty certain that smoking is bad for one's health, so the Cougars made use of "the bubble," on Sunday for their 8 p.m. practice.

That also meant that we reporters couldn't watch practice, other than the usual 15-minute period at the beginning. So, here are the highlights:

— The Cougars punted a bit. Zach Charme was the punter.

In lieu of the robust practice report bursting with information about hog-mollies and beef-hosses and hog-hosses and beef-mollies to which you are accustomed, I have a couple fun video interviews to pass along. First, offensive line coach Clay McGuire takes us back to his days playing for Mike Leach at Texas Tech and describes one of the perks of year-round recruiting. Then, defensive line coach Joe Salave'a provides some color from his days in the NFL, and talks about a trip he took to the White House.

Enjoy.



Recruiting: Los Angeles linebacker Derek Moore accepts WSU offer

Outside linebacker Derek Moore has reportedly accepted a scholarship offer from Washington State, making him the 11th known member of WSU's 2016 recruiting class.

Adam Gorney of Rivals.com first reported the news of Moore's commitment.
  

At 6-foot-2, 220-pounds, Moore is a sturdy outside linebacker prospect. According to a premium report from Scout.com's Braulio Perez, he was primarily recruited by assistant coach Roy Manning.

If the Cougars use Moore at the Rush linebacker position, than Manning will be his position coach in college. If he instead plays Wil or Mike linebacker, Ken Wilson will coach him.

As you can see in his film below, it appears that Moore frequently lines up on the line of scrimmage for Crenshaw, so he's got some experience playing a position similar to Rush.

Morning links: WSU preseason ends with a scrimmage

The Washington State Cougars held a scrimmage during their last publicly open practice of the year.

We've got scrimmage coverage on the blog, including our practice notes, stats and videos of Mike Leach, Jim Mastro, James Williams and Luke Falk.

In the physical newspaper we're starting our position-by-position previews. Up first, the defensive backs.

CougCenter also has a scrimmage recap. … Stefanie Loh wrote about the Pac-12 Network's trip to Pullman.

Elsewhere in western coastal football…

— Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon is playing well.

— Some Pac-12 players are named in the Seattle Times exposé about cheating at Bellevue High.

— Freshman Jojo Wicker is already turning heads at Arizona State.

— California is trying to add a smash-mouth ground game.

— Oregon called the cops on Pac-12 analyst Curtis Conway. … And Mark Helfrich won't rule out a two-quarterback system.

— Oregon State will certainly use two quarterbacks, at least in the opener.

— Stanford's football team held its own scrimmage, and a freshman running back was the star.

— Adam Jude spoke to Dexter Charles about his sudden retirement from football. … Washington's season-ticket renewals are way down.

WSU practice notes: Cougars scrimmage again

Prior to Saturday's scrimmage, the Cougars spent about 50 minutes bouncing around, warming up and doing some drill work. None of it was particularly interesting from a spectator-perspective, although it does appear that Zach Charme is rounding into form at punter. The freshman from Boise still seems to have some trouble placing the ball where he wants it, but his kicks have good height and travel far.

Tyler Baker, Dylan Hanser, Keith Harrington, Logan Tago, and C.J. Dimry were limited. Logan Tago and Suli Hameed were in street clothes. I would tell you that Barry Ware and Treshon Broughton weren't at practice, but I only care about the players that are there.

The stats from the scrimmage are available on the blog, and here are some things that stood out to me:

— River Cracraft led the receivers with eight catches for 85 yards and a touchdown. A cynic would point out that with Tyler Baker limited, Cracraft also played a lot of snaps on Saturday. But that would be beside the point. The receiver has steadily gotten more involved in the offense throughout the preseason and appears to be rounding into form as the offense's safety-blanket right in time for the start of the season. Cracraft played a lot of snaps and he was open a lot, and probably should have been targeted by the quarterbacks even more than he was.

— James Williams played in the first scrimmage and has gotten some other live action, but Saturday was the first time we got much of an extended look at the freshman running back who position coach Jim Mastro thinks so highly of. He did not disappoint. Running behind an offensive line that, while big, is still getting its act together, Williams ran for nine yards on each of his first two carries.

Williams' running-style, from what I've seen, can best be described as a blend of teammates Gerard Wicks and Jamal Morrow. He's more elusive than you think – he's pretty stout for a freshman – and he runs to avoid defenders, not truck them. But he can break free of a tackle and doesn't get caught up in the muck very often, and he's got some power.

He's also got some hops. He turned a short pass into 11-yards by hurdling freshman safety Kameron Powell.

— Colton Teglovic made a great play to rip the ball away from tight end Nick Begg after a 10-yard reception.

— Darryl Paulo could be a guy who breaks out his redshirt senior season. He had a couple sacks today – Kingston Hernandez also had two – and just seems to have a really good sense of where the quarterback is at all times and takes good routes to get to the sack, unlike other players who need to beat their offensive lineman first, then figure out where the guy with the ball is.

— I thought the starting offensive line had one of its better days. Luke Falk's first touchdown pass went to Dom Williams from five yards out, and the play must have lasted a good six or seven seconds. Falk had time to wait, check all his reads, and wait for Williams to break open in the back of the end zone and never needed move from his initial space.

The group also blocked well in the run-game. They sprang Gerard Wicks for a 22-yard run (he helped himself with a powerful stiff-arm of Hunter Dale), but it was called back because receiver Robert Lewis held a defender, taking him to the ground.

— Tavares Martin Jr., should have a touchdown in the stats. Sorry, officials, but when a player reaches the ball across the end zone and doesn't lose control of it until after the ball (and his knees) have touched the ground, that's a touchdown. Martin Jr. caught the ball at the five-yard line and fought through a couple defenders prior to what should have been a scoring dive.)

— There wasn't much action for the field goal kickers, besides extra points. Erik Powell made his one attempt, from 32-yards. Brett Schafer made a 26-yarder and came up seven or eight yards short on a 50-yard attempt.

— Shalom Luani made a great play on fourth down, jarring D.J. Thompson with a big hit as the receiver tried to make a catch that would have given the first-team offense a first down against the second-team defense.

Isaac Dotson and Darius Lemora also caused some jarring collisions on Saturday, and Peyton Pelluer made a heck of a play to find Wicks in the backfield and drag him down for a five-yard loss.