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Kevin Griffin leaves Washington State football program

I can confirm that freshman cornerback Kevin Griffin has left the Washington State football program, as indicated on his Twitter account.

Griffin played in three games this past season and made his first and only start in WSU's win at Oregon State. He finishes his career at WSU with two tackles.

Follow the jump for more.

Ernie Kent Q&A: coaching confidence

Since arriving at WSU, Ernie Kent has said that the greatest barrier between the Cougars and success is a lack of confidence.

None of the players, who probably won a great deal in high school, have won much in their collegiate careers and Kent thinks that reminding them what it's like to dominate on the court will put them in a mindset to once again be successful.

But is confidence possible to coach? Kent says yes.

“A lot of what we do in our basketball program is to wrap our arms around these young men and give them the opportunity that we're in this together and have them grow internally,” Kent said during today's WSU press conference.

“A lot of them need to grow internally because of what they've been through in their lives, but at the end of the day the fact that they're on a Division I campus, for some of them and what they've gone through in their personal lives, are already a success,” he added. “And need to empty their backpacks of lack of confidence and guilt, fear, shame, whatever, and let's move forward. So, we spend a lot of time talking about that every day, to get them where they need to be mentally before we even get to the floor to practice or play a game.”

The Cougars sure looked more confident in a 91-71 pasting of Texas-San Antonio last week but will obviously face a much bigger challenge against No. 9 Gonzaga tomorrow.

Kent spoke about WSU's upcoming game and much more today. We've got video and a transcription, after the jump.

Morning links: Tia Presley takes the court in Spokane one last time

Tia Presley has scored a lot of points in Spokane, 1,469 of them at Gonzaga Prep to become the GSL's all-time leading scorer.

The Washington State senior will try to add a few more at 6 p.m. tonight when the Cougars travel to Gonzaga and try to add to their already impressive NCAA tournament resume. Thomas Clouse has a story in advance of the game.

The men will take on the Bulldogs tomorrow. Jim Meehan as a story GU's stellar international freshman.

More links from around the Pac-12 are after the jump.

Morning links: That was kind of weird

Things were pretty quiet on the Washington State front on Sunday until a Houston TV reporter tweeted that Mike Leach might be looking at other schools.

This being the height of recruiting season, the Cougars quickly denied the report, which appears to have had some pretty light evidence. Still, it certainly livened things up after the Seahawks game.

In case you missed it during Seattle's big win, we also had a blog post yesterday looking back at the basketball team's win over Texas-San Antonio.

More links after the jump.

WSU denies Houston report that Leach interested in UH job

Houston reporter David Nuño set the Washington State Twittersphere ablaze with the above tweet, saying that Cougars coach Mike Leach could be interested in the vacant position at the University of Houston.

WSU officials doused the flames with a tweet of their own.



For what it's worth, the report didn't make much sense on first glance. Nuño did say “if buyout and contract issues could be worked out” but it's hard to see how they could be. Leach currently makes $2.7 million, which is more than twice as much as UH has been willing to pay its football coaches. Furthermore, he has an expensive buyout that is currently $2.25 million and will continue to be that high, as athletic director Bill Moos plans to roll over Leach's contract.

Looking back at the UTSA win

Washington State's 91-71 win over Texas San-Antonio on Saturday was insightful, but not indicative.

The Cougars are likely to win every game in which they shoot 60 percent on 3-point attempts and they are unlikely to come close to that success rate very often, so there's not a whole lot to be gleaned from yesterday's shooting performance other than that DaVonte Lacy appears to have found his shot and the team is shooting with more confidence.

But there is still a lot to dissect from yesterday's game and we'll do just that, and pass along the game book, after the jump.

Morning links: WSU romps past UTSA

A thunderous dunk was the grand finale to a 3-pointers parade yesterday as the Cougars made easy work of UTSA.

 

Texas-San Antonio never had a chance with the way Washington State shot the ball on Saturday, and the final insult came when the Roadrunners ended up as the saps in ESPN SportsCenter's No. 1 play: this dunk by Jordan Railey.  We also have our story from yesterday's game and postgame videos of Ernie Kent and some players.

On Friday we brought the news that a player from Riverside City College had decided to play football at WSU. Yesterday, three of his teammates joined him.

We also checked in with athletic director Bill Moos to get his thoughts on the state of WSU's football program. Some fans chimed in as well in today's paper with letters to the editor.

More links are after the jump.

Lacy and the Cougars get hot against UTSA

Washington State dominated Texas-San Antonio despite some struggles with turnovers. You can overcome a lot when you shoot like the Cougars did on Saturday.

My game story is after the jump.

Three more Riverside recruits headed to WSU

WSU's defense could look markedly different next season. In fact, it could look a lot like the one at Riverside CC.

 

Following yesterday's news that Riverside's Treshon Broughton will play at Washington State rather than Oregon State, today three of his teammates decided to follow suit.

 

Follow the jump for more.

Jordan Railey punctuates WSU win with a dunk

With less than a minute on the clock, most fans were hoping for one more 3-pointer to break the Washington State single-game record. Jordan Railey looked for a shooter, but sized up the defense and decided to take it himself.

WSU hosts UTSA, plus morning links

Today at noon the WSU men's basketball team will try to get back on the winning track against Texas-San Antonio.

The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks and is the last home game for WSU (3-4), until its Dec. 21 matchup against San Jose State.

More links are after the jump.

WSU flips an OSU recruit

Washington State's defensive backfield got a little older today with JC cornerback Treshon Broughton's college switch.

More on WSU's newest recruit after the jump.

Darryl Monroe leaves the Cougars

Darryl Monroe entered last season as the spokesman of the Washington State defense.

Well-spoken and a two-year starter heading into his junior season, Monroe was WSU's defensive representative at Pac-12 Media Days and was asked to further engage with fans by conducting video walkthroughs of the football operations building and interviewing freshmen in short videos produced by the athletic department.

On the first day of fall camp he tried to set the tone for the season, saying, “Last year was just a taste, it was like a little drop of blood to a shark. He's fiending so now we're fiending for success, so right now the sky isn't even the limit. We're trying to go past that, go to outer space.”

Now, Monroe has quit the team. Cougfan.com's Chris Shaw first reported Monroe's departure and I have since confirmed it.

More on this after the jump.

 

 

Morning links: WSU women win again

Washington State's women's basketball team won again, 81-55 over UC Santa Barbara, to improve to 6-2.

The Cougars received a combined 45 points from Lia Galdeira and Tia Presley (Gonzaga Prep).

On the men's side we have a blog post to pass along explaining why it's so critical the post players step up their game and an update on WSU's search for a defensive coordinator.

We've got more Pac-12 links after the jump.

Who is standing out in WSU’s defensive coordinator search?

Covering a coaching search can be like playing in a national game of Telephone.

You hear some names of prospective candidates that make no sense and some that make a lot of sense, and just when you think you've zeroed in on the candidate somebody completely new will get the job. Just take this morning's announcement that Oregon State's Mike Riley will take over at Nebraska when everyone thought the job belonged to Scott Frost, for example.

It's entirely possible that the names you hear associated with vacant jobs were never even contacted by the schools doing the searching. Still, it's fun for everyone to try and guess who will be hired and so we'll pass along some names we're hearing more often than others, after the jump.

WSU basketball: posts need to step up

Josh Hawkinson has been Washington State's best basketball player in 2014 and continued his strong play yesterday.

The 6-foot-10 forward scored 16 points and collected 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.

Hawkinson played 33 minutes in WSU's 77-71 loss to Idaho on Wednesday. All of WSU's other posts combined to total just 35 minutes, and that's including 13 minutes from Brett Boese, who is a guard that's playing wing in a post's body.

Apart from the sophomore from Shoreline the Cougars are getting very little out of their big men and it's causing problems for the rest of the team.

Read on after the jump.

Morning links: Idaho defeats WSU

If only the Cougars had made 7 of 30 3-pointers, the game would have gone to overtime. Instead, Washington State his just five of their attempts from behind the arc and fell to their Big Sky opponent, Idaho, 77-71.

Before the game we held our first WSU basketball chat of the season.

More links are after the jump.

Vandals finally triumph in hardwood Battle of the Palouse

The next time Idaho senior Connor Hill sees his Washington State men's basketball friends around the Palouse, he might just have some trash-talking words to say. 

In a friendly manner of course. 

Idaho and Washington State unofficially scrimmage each other over the summer up to three times a week. And for the last four summers Hill has had to heard the crowing of Cougars about their annual triumphs in the Battle of the Palouse. 

Hill, a senior from Post Falls, will now be doing the crowing. 

 

Morning links: WSU hosts Idaho

The Vandals will try to sack Beasley Coliseum this evening when Idaho travels to Washington State for a 7 p.m. game. The schools have the longest continuous rivalry west of the Mississippi, which we detail in our advance.

We're going to have our first weekly basketball chat today at 11 a.m. and we've got more links after the jump.

Vince Mayle named Second Team All-Pac-12

Washington State receiver Vince Mayle was named Second Team All-Pac-12, the conference announced Tuesday.

Mayle tied for the national lead with 106 receptions and set the WSU single-season record with 1,483 receiving yards.The redshirt senior led the Pac-12 with six 100-yard receiving games and was the only college football player this season with two games of more than 250 receiving yards. He was also a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award, which is given to the nation's top receiver.

More after the jump.

Key numbers from the WSU season

WSU finished the regular season with the nation's No. 1 passing offense margin, throwing for 477.7 yards per game.

How good was Washington State at moving the ball through the air? Well, Western Kentucky was No. 2 in that category with 365 passing yards, or 112.7 yards per game than the Cougars.

All those yards didn't always produce points, however, and the Cougars were merely 45th in scoring offense. In sports the numbers never tell the whole story, but they can serve as a pretty compelling guide.

We take a look at some of the numbers that define WSU's 2014 season after the jump.

Morning links: Who will head the defense?

Washington State is in the market for a new defensive coordinator and while nobody knows who it will be, seemingly everyone has a guess. That includes me, and I offer up a few potential candidates in this blog post and story.

We’ve got more links after the jump.

Four names to watch in WSU’s coaching search

Washington State coach Mike Leach is in the market for a new defensive coordinator and finding one may not require a lengthy search.

Speaking on his weekly Cougar Calls radio show with Bud Nameck on KXLY 920, WSU athletic director Bill Moos said that Leach has a short list of about six potential candidates and that he expects the Cougars to have a new defensive coordinator soon.

More on WSU’s coaching search after the jump.

Kent addresses first-half suspensions

Today Washington State men's basketball coach Ernie Kent answered questions from the media, including a few about his decision to suspend Aaron Cheatum, Ny Redding and Que Johnson for the first half of WSU's 71-43 loss to UC Santa Barbara in the opening round of the Great Alaskan Shootout.

The players were late to a team meeting and Kent took the opportunity for a teaching moment, while acknowledging that the episode probably put the Cougars “out of whack” in that game.

Cheatum is a junior, Redding is a freshman while Johnson is a sophomore.

“The fact that they held up 22 other people, when you talk about players, managers, sports information director people that are in our team meeting and not come on time: No. 1 it's disrespectful, No. 2 you've got to understand the importance of this and what we're trying to get done out here,” Kent said. “The message was sent, it was received and probably cost us a game one way or another and if we learn something from it, that's OK.”

Johnson only played four minutes in WSU's next game, a 76-74 victory over Rice but that does not appear to have been influenced by the previous game's suspension as Redding started and played 30 minutes.

The entire transcript of Kent's press conference is after the jump.

Behind the scenes with WSU basketball

Tonight at 7 p.m. the Pac-12 Networks will air a feature on the Washington State basketball team and new coach Ernie Kent during “Pac-12 Sports Report.” Prior to coaching the Cougars, Kent was a Pac-12 Network college basketball commentator.

Two WSU linebackers named to Pac-12 All-Academic first team

The Pac-12 released its 2014 football All-Academic teams and Washington State linebackers Mitch Peterson and Peyton Pelluer both made first team. Pelluer, a redshirt freshman, earned a 3.77 grade-point average and has not declared a major while Peterson, a senior, earned a 3.75 GPA as a marketing major.

Offensive linemen Jacob Seydel and Sam Flor were named All-Academic honorable mention, as was wide receiver River Cracraft.

The release from the Pac-12 containing the full list of players that were honored is after the jump.

 

Morning links: Leach makes coaching changes

Mike Breske and Paul Volero became the second and third coaching casualties of Washington State's deflating season. In the paper today we have a story on the dismissal of the two coaches as well as a blog post on SportsLink.

Basketball coach Ernie Kent will hold a press conference today in advance of Wednesday's game against Idaho, so we'll have some coverage from that.

Links are after the jump.

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