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Quotes from WSU’s scrimmage

The Cougars went live for the first time today, scrimmaging for 62 plays. After practice we asked players and coaches their thoughts on the scrimmage, tackling for the first time and more.

Stats from the scrimmage are available here, and the interview transcriptions are after the jump.

WSU to hold first scrimmage of fall camp

The Cougars are going to hold their first scrimmage of spring at the conclusion of today's practice, probably around 3:15 p.m. The scrimmage will last around 50 plays and will probably be the first chance since the Spring Game to see the team go full contact.

The big news yesterday was the decision of U.S. District Court judge Claudia Wilkins against the NCAA in the Ed O'Bannon case. The decision says the NCAA cannot prevent student-athletes from profiting off a school's use of their likeness, and up to $5,000 per year can be put into a trust that will be turned over to the athlete when they graduate. Here is more information on the ruling and you can also read the 99-page decision.

Here at the S-R we have a story today about a versatile freshman the Cougars are trying out all over the field … The Cougars had a short day of practice yesterday to rest up for today's scrimmage … After practice Mike Leach reacted to the NCAA's recent step toward Big Five autonomy … There are still tickets available for the season-opener in Seattle … The Huskies will play plenty of first-year defensive backs this season … Arizona State says there is one foodstuff that won't be welcome on game day … UCLA has more talent at linebacker than it knows what to do with … Oregon State's freshmen are getting acclimated … Jon Wilner previews Stanford's training camp.

An easy day of practice for the Cougars

The Cougars aren't the kind of team where players run until they puke as some sort of homage to the Junction Boys. Mike Leach doesn't kill his charges, he'd rather they run hard in the drills and hit the whirlpool. That's why the Cougars don't do two-a-days during fall practice, don't always use up their spring scrimmages and why today's practice was an hour shorter with the Cougars back in shorts and shells.

“Just that time of camp, you know, the consideration is do you want a practice that's fast and crisp, you're getting full speed or do you want one where they're trying to push through and going to drag at some point so we went with the fast one,” Leach said when asked about the abbreviated practice. “So it went good, and then back out tomorrow.”

More on today's shortened session after the jump.

Leach addresses ‘Big Five’ autonomy

In a 16-2 vote yesterday, the NCAA board of directors approved a governance proposal to allow the 65 schools in the five richest conferences to govern themselves in areas such as player stipends, but not in things like academic requirements. You can read more on that decision here.

After Friday's practice Washington State coach Mike Leach praised the decision. He also responded to recent comments by coaches that think Big Five schools should only play one another, and defended the NCAA from critics who think it does a poor job of policing its member schools.

Read more after the jump.

Camp is half over

If you're planning to make the trip out to Lewiston, you should probably think about coming out this weekend. Today starts the second half of WSU's Idaho excursion, and after the 13th there won't be any more open practices until Spring.

We've got WSU links and more, after the jump.

Isiah Myers does it again

Who could forget Isiah Myers' catch, the one coach Mike Leach called one of the best he's ever seen? I mean, it's only been a day, you should probably be able to remember. But just in case you happen to be living out some Drew Barrymore in 50 First Dates scenario, don't worry, Myers was back at it again today.

Our practice report awaits, after the jump.

Andrew Furney hits NFL game winner

Andrew Furney had a penchant for big kicks in his career at Washington State. There was the Apple Cup game winner in 2012. The 60-yarder that same year. Another game-winner last year to beat USC in the Coliseum and two big kicks in the snow against Utah in 2011, including one with just seconds left to send the game to overtime.

Just because Furney's WSU career is over doesn't mean he's done with those types of kicks, of course. In fact, he just finished his first game since graduating in style, hitting what ended up being the game winner in the Jets' preseason-opener.

NCAA takes a step toward autonomy

The NCAA Board of Directors approved by a 16-2 the governance reform proposal set forth by its steering committee that would grant the 65 schools in the “Power Conferences” (ACC, Big-12, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC) to approve new benefits to its student athletes, including monetary stipends.

The board created 11 different “areas of autonomy” in which the five richest conferences will be able to self-regulate. Those do not include areas like academic requirements.

“We are delighted that after years of debate, a consensus has emerged that the time has come for a modern approach to governance that recognizes the need to give more flexibility to those conferences pre-pared to do more for student-athletes and, at the same time, preserves the collegiate model which works so well for the vast majority of Pac-12 student-athletes,” said Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott in a statement. “This is a great day for the 7,000 current student-athletes in the Pac-12 and for generations of future student-athletes who will benefit from the educational opportunities and life lessons made possible by college athletics.”

Dr. Elson S. Floyd, President of Washington State University and Chair of the Pac-12 CEO Group, said, “This new model will allow our conference, which has always coupled academic and athletic excellence, to continue to maintain those high standards while adapting to the changing needs and expectations of our student-athletes and our universities. We plan to address needs across the full range of sports, for both men and women, and reinforce something all of our university leaders emphasized earlier this year: education must come first.”

The new legislation could take effect by the 2015-16 academic year.

There will now be a 60-day comment period on the proposal. If 75 of 351 Divison I schools express disapproval of the proposal during that period then the board will reconsider the decision. If 125 universities object than the implementation of said autonomy will be suspended while the board reconsiders the proposal.

If, during that reconsideration, the board affirms its decision then all Division I schools will vote on the measure. A five-eighths majority would overturn the board's decision.

 

Oh, what a catch

Let's get this link out of the way early. The catch by senior receiver Isiah Myers was the most impressive play by any individual so far in Washington State's camp, which wrapped up its fifth day yesterday. We had a full day here on the blog with a live chat, Drill of the Day and our daily practice report. We've also got some more WSU and Pac-12 links for you, after the jump.

No pads but plenty of hits

Mike Leach decided to wait until the fatigue of early camp wears off some before putting his guys in full pads. His guys barely noticed. The hits that were laid on both sides of the ball were worthy of body armor during WSU's fifth day of practice in Lewiston. Still, the hits played second fiddle to some of the catches made by WSU's wide receivers, including one that Leach referred to afterwards as, “one of the best catches of my entire career.”

Highlights after the jump.

Drill of the Day: Hard Tackle

Our second Drill of the Day installment takes a look at the drill Washington State uses to prepare its defenders to make touchdown-saving tackles at the goal line. The video and an explanation of the drill by linebackers coach Ken Wilson are after the jump.

Wednesday WSU football chat

 

Try Relay: the free SMS and picture text app for iPhone.

 

The pads come on today

We're a third of the way through Washington State's fall camp in Lewiston and the expectation is that the Cougars will be fully suited up for the first time today. Let's take a look at yesterday's WSU news, as well as what's going on around the conference.

Yesterday was probably the hottest day of camp so far with temperatures just a line of sweat under triple digits. That heat plus the daily grind of camp may have started to wear on the Cougars … That being said, Gerard Wicks certainly hasn't seemed too fatigued … CougCenter gives examples of how Mike Leach could spend his new dough in Pullman … Last year injuries took a toll and now California is already losing players … It didn't take Oregon long to find its next star running back … UCLA's Marcus Rios has returned after two years away from football … Washington's Kasen Williams is ready to go … Oregon State is envisioning life without Scott Chrichton … A pair of Utah speedsters want to finish their career in style … Here's a shock: Ty Montgomery is doing well in camp. 

Fatigue sets in during fall camp

Mike Leach says that fatigue sets in on day three of camp for average football teams. That means these Washington State Cougars are no average team, they made it to day four. The Lewiston heat took its toll on the players, as both Gabe Marks and Sulaiman Hameed needed some extra stretching during practice, probably for cramps. Other players occasionally would head to sideline to take a knee with their helmets off, staring into the muggy distance.

Perhaps no unit was more exhausted at the end of the day than the offensive line, whose coaches are starting to grow weary of the veteran defensive line always coming out on top. These dog days will be over soon, though, according to Leach. And the Cougars will be better for it.

“I think just four days in a row is a part of it,” Leach said after practice, with eight more consecutive days to follow. “They'll get their legs back under them sometime in the next couple of days.”

More on practice after the jump.

Morning links before Lewiston

The Cougars resume practicing today at 2:30 p.m. in at Sacajawea Junior High, the last one before they can put their pads on.

The big news from yesterday had nothing to do with practice, of course. Bill Moos has invested in Cougars football once again, giving large raises to Mike Leach and his assistants. We have a story and a blog post on the topic. … But some stuff happened at practice as well and for that we have our daily report … Former WSU hooper Klay Thompson is trying out for Team USA and survived yesterday's cuts … On the other side of the state the Huskies had their first fall practice under Chris Petersen … Oregon State is searching for its next tiny, great wide receiver … Oregon is trying to be the first Pac-12 team to play in the college football playoffs … USC fans are returning to Troy … It looks like Tra'Mayne Bondurant isn't leaving Arizona after all.

Heat and tempers rising

The Washington State coaches' policy on fights in practice is essentially, “We don't care as long as it doesn't interrupt the next play. If it does, we'll roll you.”

With the tacit consent of their coaches alongside the competitive nature of fall camp, more Cougars than usual found themselves in skirmishes today. A long-standing chippiness between Vince Mayle and much smaller cornerback Sebastian LaRue turned into a little more. And the war of words between Gabe Marks and Daquawn Brown turned physical in a fight that drew in other players from both offense and defense.

But nobody was hurt and little practice time was lost. As Kalafitoni Pole said afterward, “Things get a little chippy but that's how it's supposed to be when you're getting after it.”

More after the jump.

WSU gives Mike Leach a $500,000 raise

As the on-field performance of the Washington State football team improves, so does its coaches' salary. WSU athletic director Bill Moos amended the contract for football coach Mike Leach to raise his annual media compensation from $100,000 per year to $600,000 per year, raising his total guaranteed annual compensation to $2.75 million.

Additionally, Moos allocated another $500,000 into the pool for assistant coaching salaries.

More on the coaching raises after the jump.

The sounds of football

On day two of fall camp the Cougars found their voices. Coaches, players, the smattering of fans that made the trip to Lewiston, all could be heard on the muggy Sunday afternoon. Quarterback Connor Halliday had some fun at the expense of cornerback Patrick Porter, who gave up a couple plays just like Deion Sanders did his first time covering college receivers. 

Today's story focus on a mouthy Cougar and his verbal sparring partner … Our practice report details yesterday's close team session … Andrew Crookston is in Lewiston and he has a Q&A with safety Beau Glover … Here's a practice report from ASU's practice … Washington's season starts tomorrow, here are five questions heading into fall camp … What can Utah do to break through its Pac-12 bowl drought … The LA Times takes a look at USC's schedule … Will the football rivalry in LA be revived?

A spirited second day of WSU fall camp

Day two in Lewiston is in the books and it was a pretty fun practice. The team session was about as close as any I've seen in all my months covering the Cougars and everybody seemed to be in a pretty good mood afterwards.

We'll cover all that after the jump, but I wanted to get a couple notes above the fold. First, I was mistaken yesterday when I said that freshman Deion Singleton was at camp, he wasn't. A player wearing his number was in attendance but that was Dakota Sinchak and the switch was not reflected on the roster. Both Singleton and Barry Ware have yet to arrive.

Additionally, coach Mike Leach said after practice that backup quarterback Luke Falk will be on scholarship, “we just have to go through the numbers and whatnot.” So we'll be able to stop referring to him as “walk-on Luke Falk” soon enough.

Now let's get to the good stuff.

 

Shaking the rust off

Well, the first practice is in the books. The awkward questions about the players' weights and builds have been asked and we can get back into our daily routine. Part of my routine includes oatmeal, blueberries, brown sugar and about a gallon of coffee. And what could go better with coffee and oatmeal than links? Just about anything, I'd imagine. But you get links.

The Cougars showed newfound confidence in yesterday's interviews … Bud Withers says to expect big things from Connor Halliday … On the blog we have a practice report with additional notes and quotes from day one … Don't miss our new Drill of the Day feature.

Arizona State practiced as well on Saturday … Arizona lost a senior safety this weekend … The Buffaloes are a little more comfortable in year two … It's going to be hard to miss Brett Hundley this year … Sad tidings out of Montlake, where a very kind man who I was fortunate to have met  passed away.

 

 

Bonus Link: This story has nothing to do with the WSU FOOTBALL team. But wouldn't it be funny if it did?

Notes and quotes from WSU’s first fall practice

There was a lot to like in Washington State's first practice of the 2014 campaign. The seniors played well, some of the freshmen look like seniors and there wasn't a single death due to bugs or heat. At least not among the reporters there weren't.

The coaches seemed to have a pretty high opinion of today's practice as well. Find out what they said, and what we saw, after the jump.

WSU drill of the day: offensive line

While the Cougars are in Lewiston I thought it might be fun to introduce a new feature taking a look at some of the drills the team runs during practice so I'll occasionally post a “Drill of the Day.” What I'll do is choose a position drill to shoot a few minutes of and then after practice I'll ask the coach about that specific drill so he can explain what you're watching and how it helps the players get better.

I should note that it is possible some colorful language will occasionally be heard in the background of these videos. You should probably just assume it's the Sacajawea junior high schoolers causing a ruckus.

We'll start with the offensive line's medicine ball drill after the jump.

 

 

It isn’t football season without links

Welcome back, readers. It's football season. The Cougars are down in Lewiston (where I'll be heading shortly myself) and while many professional prognosticators have shared their opinion on what the 2014 season holds for the Washington State football team, we won't really know until they take the field.

Since that hasn't happened quite yet, let's take a look one last look at what the pundits think, after the jump.

UPDATE: Drew Loftus arrested for assault

(This post was updated at 11:03 to include information from the police report.)

Washington State wide receiver Drew Loftus was arrested for assault in the fourth degree early Thursday morning, his 21st birthday. Officers responded to a call at Domino's Pizza on Northeast Monroe Street where two witnesses claimed to have been assaulted by a suspect, who was fleeing on foot, according to Sgt. Dan Dornes of the Pullman Police Department.

The victims were in Stubblefield's bar and taking video of the atmosphere. They said that Loftus and another football player were upset at being videotaped because they were not supposed to be in the bar.

Once outside a victim claims that he was punched by Loftus, who then ran off

More after the jump.

Steve Gleason will be inducted into the WSU Hall of Fame

Washington State just announced that former Cougar football and baseball player Steve Gleason will be the only 2014 inductee into the WSU Athletic Hall of Fame. Gleason, who played seven years in the NFL, was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2011 has been a leader raising awareness and fighting the disease through his foundation, Team Gleason.

The release from the school is after the jump.

Mike Leach talks about the Cougars before camp

Washington State head football coach Mike Leach spoke on the phone with members of the media today to talk about the Cougars fall camp. We've put together a transcription of the call's highlights, which you can read after the jump.

… 

WSU fall practice schedule

The Cougars will head to Sacajawea middle school in Lewiston, Idaho on Saturday for their first practice of the 2014 season. These practices are open to the media and public, although WSU will not be in full pads until Aug. 6, the fourth day of practice.

The team is being more restrictive with access than in seasons past. Unlike last year, practices will be closed when the Cougars return to Pullman and players won't be made available to the media from Aug. 14 until after the Rutgers game. (Update 12:31 p.m. I should note that while the Cougars will not have any open practices in Pullman this year, that is likely due to WSU's early game. Last year the final open practice was on Aug. 18, 13 days before the season began.)

The schedule of publicly available practices is after the jump.

Looking at the WSU pre-camp depth chart

I was handed a media guide recently and inside was an updated depth chart. I've taken the liberty of scanning that page (Thanks, Cam Scanner!) and posting it below. Here are a few items of interest I saw while perusing:

— Freshman receiver Calvin Green is now listed as the backup H receiver. The former running back enrolled early to participate in spring ball, a decision that sure seems to have paid off.

— Jamal Morrow is listed as Theron West's backup at running back.

— Jeremiah Allison has moved to MIKE linebacker from WILL.

— Seems like quite a battle at cornerback with Tracy Clark or Charleston White starting on one side and Daquawn Brown and Marcellus Pippins starting on the other.

— Apart from Darryl Monroe (who is listed as 235 but says he's actually 239) the biggest weight gainer appears to be strong safety Isaac Dotson, who is listed at 218, 12 pounds more than he was listed in the spring.