Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Rain 52° Rain


Live chat today, plus links


FROM PULLMAN -- We're shifting our weekly live chats to Wednesday afternoons at 1 p.m., beginning today. This way, we can continue them on the same day throughout the season (since next Thursday will be a travel day). Anyway, continue for links.


--- Our position previews concluded today with a look at WSU's special teams.

--- On the blog, we had some notes from yesterday's practice.

--- Lindy's has a preview of WSU's season.

--- A pair of Washington running backs coming off ACL injuries are expected to play in their team's opener.

--- Silas Redd might not be ready for USC's season opener.

--- UCLA's defensive star left practice yesterday with an undisclosed injury.

--- Arizona has a pair of true freshmen who are pretty good, by any name.

--- An Arizona State player put on weight to earn a starting job.

--- Colorado is searching for an ideal linebacker, which is better than a non-ideal linebacker.

--- Here are 24 facts about Utah's starting quarterback.

--- Still no news on the Oregon State quarterback front.

--- Oregon is gearing up for a scrimmage on Thursday.

Here are some additional quotes from yesterday's interview with special-teams coordinator Eric Russell.

(Thoughts on Andrew Furney's performance in camp) "Not what you’d expect out of a senior. He hasn’t had the camp that he had last year. He’s stroked the ball well, the leg strength's there, this and that. But the accuracy’s not really been what we expected out of him, and we’ve got to go back and look at all this stuff and see what’s different from a year ago. I don’t know if it’s anything to be alarmed (about) yet, but for the standards you have for Andrew Furney, we haven’t met those."

(Did Lewiston grass affect him?) "We haven’t been in Lewiston now for the last however many days. Missed one today, missed two the other day. I wish I could say, yeah, it was the grass or this and that. And it could be a combination of things. New holder. Biggest thing is you try not to get in his head about it, but we need to get it fixed. we need to get the ball through the pipe, we’ve got to get it protected and he’s got to be automatic from 45 (yards and) in."

(On Austin Apodaca at holder) "Doing a good job. I’d say that’s who Andrew’s most comfortable with right now. Still learning some of the nuances and this and that, but we’ve also put that on Furney. Get the guy how you want it. ... Andrew’s got to take Austin under his wing and whenever they can steal reps, make sure. We’ve got less than two weeks to make sure that we can."

(At punt returner?) "I’d say more it’s (Leon) Brooks, (Rickey) Galvin, (Brett) Bartolone."

(Kick returner?) "Probably would be Galvin and (Teondray) Caldwell."

(Do you mind if one player returns both kicks and punts?) "If they’re the best guy at it … with that in mind, catch the ball first. Teondray knows he’s got to field it. That’s one thing to improve on from a year ago was too many bobbled kicks or muffed kicks and we can’t have that. Ball security, decision making and fielding everything. Right now that’s where Leon’s got the edge on everybody. He’s going to catch it clean, he’s not going to have a lot of the mistakes back there. Rickey probably brings a little more big play potential, but (he's) developing that trust in his decision-making at times on which balls to field … and then Bartolone, you’d classify him a little bit more like Brooks but has had some issues in camp here a little bit."

(Is Mike Bowlin more consistent mentally?) "We’ll find out on Saturday. His stuff’s always been fine in practice for the most part. We haven’t had any real big scrimmage games where the emphasis is on (special) teams to know, but we’ll find out on that first Saturday. He’s doing a lot of things a lot better, but that we’ll find out down there in Auburn."

(On setting foundation for kickoff coverage last season) "I thought coverage-wise we were good last year. Obviously had the Utah breakdown but that was a mental error and probably a coaching error. I should have had a little something extra on there. But for the most part … there’s a lot of guys back that were on that team but there’s also some moving parts, some that missed, some that have been out. That’s one area that I've got to make sure between now and then that we’ve got people in the right places and that we’ve still got a little bit of that swagger, that hungry, because they started to develop a little bit of identity where they liked being on kickoff, and I don’t know on kickoff yet. We’ve worked it the same amount of time but we’ve covered less full kicks than maybe we did last fall and that might be a mistake on my part. We’ve got to try to gain some this week and at the same time next week get their legs back.

"The hard part is you have no idea what Auburn’s going to do schematically on any unit. The guy they’ve got running (special) teams right now has not been a special teams guy, was off the field the last three years. Gus (Malzahn) didn’t bring his guys from Arkansas State. Our guys right now, we’ve got to be ready for anything, where I think a year ago we kind of knew what BYU would do. So we got to hone in on them for a few weeks and played decent in our coverage game against BYU, so we got some confidence, but we kind of knew what we were going to get going into that, and we repped it and repped it. We haven’t been able to rep anything Auburn yet. And we’ve had missing pieces each time we’ve worked kickoff. I’m just not ready to say, 'hey, we’re still there' yet, but I hope that continues to be a solid group for us."

SportsLink is your portal into sports news around the Inland Northwest and beyond. You'll find updates, notes and opinions, and plenty of reader feedback.

Looking for a Grip on Sports?

Vince Grippi's daily take on all things regional sports has been moved to our main sports section online. You can find a collection of these columns here.