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Preparing for USC’s defense

Three WSU coaches were asked about USC's defense and all three uttered the word "athletic" shortly thereafter.

The Cougars hope that the work they put in during Wednesday's practice can combat all that athleticism. How did it go? Our practice report is after the jump.

Live WSU football chat

 

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Mike Price and Jeremiah Allison fire up the Cougars

Before today's practice former Washington State football coach Mike Price addressed the team.

We weren't close enough to hear what he was saying, but judging from how animated he became during his speech, we're guessing it was something inspiring.

Price coached the Cougars from 1989-2002, taking WSU to a pair of Rose Bowls and three 10-win seasons.

"A good guy, I've know him for years," current coach Mike Leach said. "A great guy, actually the first time I ever came out here was to speak at a clinic he put on."

One Price finished up and exited with his former QB, Jason Gesser, as escort the Cougars took the practice field and linebacker Jeremiah Allison did his best to fill the motivational void.

We have more on practice, after the jump.

Receiver Kristoff Williams done playing football at WSU

Mike Leach confirmed after Tuesday's practice that receiver Kristoff Williams is off the Washington State roster.

We have more on Williams' departure after the jump.

WSU vs. USC: game notes and depth chart

Washington State sent out the game notes for this Saturday's game against USC. Included is an updated depth chart, on page 11, that shows a few notable changes. Pat Porter is now officially listed as the starting field cornerback and Taylor Taliulu is starting over Sulaiman Hameed at strong safety. Darius Lemora is still listed as the starting strong safety after not playing last weekend against Arizona. Also, Kristoff Williams hasn't played since the Nevada game but he has been listed on the two-deep. He's been removed and Dom Williams is now the backup X and Z receiver.

The game notes are after the jump.

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Video: Mike Leach at WSU press conference

Washington State football coach Mike Leach addressed the media during WSU's weekly Monday press conference. The video is courtesy of WSU athletics and a transcription is after the jump.

Video: Vince Mayle at WSU press conference

Washington State receiver Vince Mayle spoke to the media at Monday's football press conference. The video is courtesy of WSU athletics and some highlights of the interview are transcribed after the jump.

Video: Connor Halliday at WSU press conference

Connor Halliday spoke to the media at Monday's Washington State football press conference. The video is courtesy of WSU athletics and a transcription is after the jump.

 

Video: Jeremiah Allison at Monday press conference

Linebacker Jeremiah Allison spoke to the media at Washington State's Monday press conference. The video is courtesy of WSU athletics and a transcript is after the jump.

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Pac-12 adopts numerous reforms

The Pac-12 university presidents and chancellors announced today that the conference will adopt sweeping reforms. These include:

  • Four-year scholarships for all student-athletes.
  • Players that leave school early will be able to use the remainder of their educational expenses to pursue their degrees at a later date as long as the student-athlete has completed 50 percent of their degree requirements.
  • Medical expenses for athletes that are injured will be covered for up to four years after the athlete leaves school.
  • Pac-12 athletes that transfer to another Pac-12 school will be able to receive athletic scholarships immediately.
  • Student athletes will have a say in conference governance moving forward.

These reforms were made possible once the NCAA board of governors granted the Power Five conferences autonomy on Aug. 7, a proposal that officially passed muster when far fewer than the required 75 schools formally disapproved of the measure during a 60-day waiting period.

The presidents and chancellors also affirmed their support for matching athletic scholarships with the full cost of attendance at an institution. The 65 members of Power Five conferences will vote on that proposal at their inaugural meeting in January.

Kickoff time set for WSU at OSU

The Pac-12 conference announced this morning that Washington State's Nov. 8 game at Oregon State will kick off at 1 p.m. It's the earliest start time for a WSU game this season and will mark the third consecutive week the Cougars have had an afternoon game after beginning the season with seven consecutive night games.

The Cougars have a bye after their game against the Beavers. For a complete listing of that day's Pac-12 games follow this link.

Final thoughts from the Arizona game

If it feels like that was Washington State's worst loss of the season, well, that's pretty perceptive. The game's 2.5 line was probably a little misleading, by which I mean that with so much personnel uncertainty on the WSU defense winning this game was going to be a huge challenge for the Cougars.

But Arizona went on a 31-0 run to start the game and it did it in about 21 minutes of work. That's bad. That's really, really bad. The fact that WSU had so many players out coming off a bye week is immensely concerning with a game against USC.

The Cougars can play a lot better than this but they aren't doing it right now and with just four games left in the season they're running out of chances to prove that they're still an improving program.

More thoughts are after the jump.

WSU vs. Arizona: pregame chat

 

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Wednesday WSU football chat

 

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WSU defense prepares for Arizona’s race car offense

After practice Mike Leach said that turnovers weren't any particular point of emphasis on Tuesday, but the defensive ones and twos seemed to make it a priority forcing three consecutive fumbles at one point in practice.

Taylor Taliulu got things started with a big hit on a wide receiver, then the next two were forced by group of defenders all converging on the ball carrier.

"(Upcoming opponent Arizona is) the Indy 500 of offenses," defensive line coach Joe Salave'a said. "Tempo never slows down one bit so I think our tempo in our practices is going to be critical and our work this week is going to be critical. We don't half-step anything and we're trying to keep up with the pace of the offense."

Lineman Darryl Paulo capped a solid day for the defense with a pair of consecutive sacks and Darryl Monroe, who was recently passed on the depth chart by Peyton Pelluer, had the hit of the day on running back Austin Hall as the ball carrier tried to bounce a run outside only to be met by Monroe in the backfield.

We have more from practice after the jump.

(Update) Report: Squally Canada has left WSU

(6:15 p.m. Update: After Tuesday's practice Mike Leach confirmed that Canada has left the program. The running back was not listed on the practice roster.)

Chris Shaw, who covers Washington State football for Cougfan.com, reported on Twitter that freshman running back Squally Canada has left the WSU program. Canada's departure is surprising given that he has played well for the Cougars during underclassmen scrimmages and has drawn a lot of praise from the coaches. Canada, along with some other players including regular contributors, was absent from Saturday's bye-week practice.

I haven't been able to confirm Shaw's report but the Cougars practice at 3:30 so we'll ask the coaches after that.
  

 

WSU vs. Arizona game notes, depth chart

Washington State's game notes for this week's matchup against Arizona are out, along with a new depth chart that shows Peyton Pelluer as the starting Mike linebacker over incumbent Darryl Monroe. Monroe, a junior, has started every game following a redshirt season his first year on campus but has been somewhat limited in practice this week. While no other significant changes are listed on the depth chart, it will be interesting to see if players like Kalafitoni Pole and Charleston White are available after not practicing last week.

Destiny Vaeao has practiced at nose tackle in Pole's place, and today said that Pole "is down" during a press conference. Cornerback Kevin Griffin is not listed on the depth chart but practiced with the twos on Sunday.

The notes are after the jump, the depth chart is on page 11.

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Video: Jamal Morrow speaks to the media

Here's running back Jamal Morrow at today's Washington State football press conference, courtesy of WSU Athletics:

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Video: Destiny Vaeao speaks to the media

Here's defensive lineman Destiny Vaeao at today's Washington State football press conference, courtesy of WSU athletics.

  

 

 

Video: Cole Madison speaks to the media

Here's offensive lineman Cole Madison at today's Washington State football press conference, courtesy of WSU Athletics:

 

 

Mike Leach Monday press conference

 

Washington State football coach Mike Leach addressed the media during his Monday press conference. The video above is courtesy of WSU Athletics and the highlights are transcribed after the jump.

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Back to game preparations with a Sunday night practice

The Cougars returned to game preparations with their weekly 8 p.m. practice on Sunday night. Washington State only practiced for about 45 minutes or so but we've still got a practice report, and some quotes from defensive coordinator Mike Breske, after the jump.

Keith Harrington, running back

Freshman running back Squally Canada was one of the players absent during today's football practice. So during the Cougars' third and final Thursday Night Football scrimmage of the week, Keith Harrington got all the work between the tackles.

He's doing so well that running backs coach Jim Mastro won't give him back to the receivers. Mike Leach wouldn't go so far as to make the switch permanent for the receiver, who did play running back in high school, but admitted that "we're heading in that direction."

More on today's practice is after the jump.

Four Cougars named to Phil Steele’s midseason All-Pac-12 teams

Phil Steele's magazine and website are go-to resources for statheads and football junkies and the relative success of his numbers-based prognostication means his awards lists carry more weight than most other analysts.

That's good news for four Cougars, who were named to Steele's midseason All-Pac-12 teams, including a pair of first teamers in offensive lineman Joe Dahl and receiver Vince Mayle.

Follow the jump for more on their selection.

All sorts of shuffling at WSU’s practice

By my count there were 11 limited players at WSU's practice on Thursday and a few more appeared to be absent. That led to a number of players getting reps at new positions or with new units. Afterwards, the Cougars held a Thursday Night Football scrimmage for the second week in a row.

Our practice report is after the jump.

The Cougars return with an intense practice

Washington State hadn't taken the field since Friday and has no opponent coming up this weekend so the Cougars had a spirited practice on Wednesday with the ones on offense going against the ones on defense and capped it off with a Thursday Night Football scrimmage.

The Cougars had a team meeting before practice where coach Mike Leach spoke to the importance of not letting a lackadaisical attitude set in with no immediate opponent upcoming.

"You've got to maintain the intensity and make sure that guys come in focused to get better every day," Leach said. "Just push them hard. But they did a good job today I thought."

More on practice after the jump.

Grading the Stanford game

We hand out game grades for Washington State's 34-17 loss at Stanford, after the jump.