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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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No rush today, unless you are the hunted

A GRIP ON SPORTS

When you tour the edges of a golf course, as is my usual habit, it is amazing the wildlife you experience. And sometimes such Animal Planet-like encounters have a correlation to the sporting world. Read on.

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• While putting out on the back nine at Indian Canyon yesterday, one of my playing partners noticed a coyote near the 15th green. The coyote didn't notice us, however, as he was too busy hunting something in the underbrush. Having had many a close encounter with coyotes over the years, this didn't interest me much, not nearly as much as the three-putt I was just finishing up. But the incident came back to me a couple holes later when, while searching for a ball in the woods – for the record, it was not mine – I stumbled upon a group of nine (I counted, and not the way I usually count my strokes) wild turkeys. They were pretty big brutes and darn aggressive, not backing down despite my size and well-earned reputation as a devourer of turkey sandwiches (on white bread with a little mayo, tomato and crisp lettuce). It hit me. This was what that miniscule coyote was hunting. Hah. It seemed there was no chance that little guy was going to bring one of these big birds down, even if he could cull the smallest away from the flock. That didn't stop him from trying, though. Hunger will do that. I recalled the earlier run-in with nature later that night when I was watching a few minutes of the Hawks' 31-10 preseason win over San Diego. So many of the Seahawk players who appeared on the field reminded me of that little coyote. No matter how hard they try, there is no chance they are making the team. I read a stat this week about NFL training camps. Some 40 percent of the guys who begin camp will be cut before the first game. Four of 10. For guys like DeShawn Shead or Martin Parker or Phil Bates, their appearances Thursday night might be their last in a football uniform. Who knows? But they are trying, hoping, reaching. They have a dream and they are acting upon it. Nothing wrong with that. And don't think they are the only ones on the Hawks facing tough odds. Take quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. Despite his near-perfect performance last night (8-of-9 passing for 128 yards and two touchdowns), Jackson's ceiling with this team is as the backup. The Hawks are going with Russell Wilson as their starter. Thay have attached their offense to him and, barring injury, he's not going anywhere. So Jackson is trying to win the backup job. Nothing more, nothing less. No matter how well Jackson plays, he knows Pete Carroll hopes the only regular-season snaps he takes are at the end of blowout wins. Here is a guy who started 14 games for Seattle as recently as 2011, but was cast aside last year, first for Matt Flynn and then for Wilson. Now he's just trying to figure out a way to bring down Brady Quinn and earn a roster spot. It's all part of the coyote-eat-turkey world of the NFL.

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• WSU: The Lewiston portion of preseason camp is winding down but that doesn't mean the coverage will. Christian Caple has his usual assortment of items today, what with a story on freshman Isaac Dotson moving from quarterback to safety, a blog post summarizing yesterday's practice and another post this morning with links. ... His attorney says Mike Leach will appeal, but a judge is about to throw out his lawsuit from the Texas Tech days. ... By the way, I'll be back on the football postgame show this year with my friend Dennis Patchin, so I expect all of you – all of you – to stay up until midnight after the night games to listen to my astute commentary. If not, you'll be banned from the website.

• Gonzaga: St. Mary's has a new assistant coach and to no surprise he has an Australian connection.

• EWU: The Eagles' offensive line will be one of their strengths. Jim Allen assesses it in this story. He also has a video and more on camp in this blog post.

• Idaho: Josh Wright watched – and blogged – as the Vandals practiced under the lights. ... The Vandals also have a new radio voice for basketball.

• Indians: The All-Star break is over and Spokane returned with a win in Eugene. A shutout win.

• Shock: The AFL announced its awards this week and though the Shock didn't win as many as, say, Philadelphia or Arizona (or San Jose or Jacksonville for that matter), Jim Meehan blogs that quarterback Erik Meyer was first team, as were Adron Tennell (pictured) at receiver and Terrance Sanders at kick returner.

• Mariners: No game yesterday so the pickings are a bit slim, though the M's will induct Ken Griffey Jr., into their Hall of Fame this Saturday, so Art Thiel decided to relive his best Griffey memory. ... Brad Miller is learning how to be a major league shortstop and Danny Farquhar is learning how to be a major league closer.

• Seahawks: The 31-10 win over San Diego didn't come without a couple of hiccups, most notably the sloppy play of the starters on both sides of the ball. But what can one expect from a first preseason game? ... Carroll was pleased with many things – when isn't he? – but one of them had to be the performance of rookie running back Christine Michael, who played enough to get worn out. ... Jackson and safety Chris Maragos each talked with the media afterward. ... Want to really impress someone? Tell them the Hawks have a six-game winning streak. In preseason games. That type of minutia will really earn you some points among football fans. Or have them shaking their heads.

• Sounders: The U.S. National Team is going to take a couple of Sounders next week, but not newest addition Clint Dempsey, according to SI's Grant Wahl.

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• It's Friday and all that means. One thing it means for me is I will be back on the Patchin, Lukens and Osso show today starting at 3 p.m. with only Rick Lukens among the stars to join me. You can listen here. As for the comment about banning folks in the WSU section above, I was just kidding. Heck, it will be nearly impossible for me to stay up that late. Until later ...



Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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