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Live WSU football chat: Transcript

srchat: We're about 2 1/2 hours away from WSU's first practice of the season. Got anything you'd like to discuss?

Aug 8 2015, 1:00 PM

srchat: I guess you all need some preseason practice as well! Somebody has to start us off.

Aug 8 2015, 1:02 PM

Jonthecoug: Lots of talk about the run game lately. Should we really expect this team to run more than 25% of the time?

Aug 8 2015, 1:05 PM

srchat: Well, the Cougars ran the ball on 24% of their offensive plays last year, so I'd expect the number this year will actually be higher. The 25% number comes from Mike Leach's comments in spring practice and refers to how often the team might take snaps from under center, not run the ball. I doubt they'll actually be under center that often and, when they do, they will pass as well as run.

Aug 8 2015, 1:05 PM

Guest9938 (guest): I was at a majority of practices during spring and I would say 20%

Aug 8 2015, 1:05 PM

srchat: Possibly, but that would be less than last season.

Aug 8 2015, 1:05 PM

TylerBreeze (guest): What position is Luani expected to play and do you see him competing for a starting spot?

Aug 8 2015, 1:06 PM

srchat: I expect him to compete for a starting spot at safety or nickelback.

Aug 8 2015, 1:06 PM

VegasCoug (guest): To me the most intriguing position to watch is the safety position especially now there will be 3-3-5 allignment... out of dale, luani, taliulu, lemora, dotson and buchanon who will be the 3 main guys. I'm calling Lemora, Luani and ???

Aug 8 2015, 1:07 PM

srchat: At the end of spring Lemora was the starting nickel, and I think they'd like him to focus on that role. Assuming everyone is healthy, I would expect Dotson, Hameed and Luani to be the top three safeties. But because Dotson and Hameed have each struggled to stay healthy, Taliulu will likely get plenty of opportunities as well.

Aug 8 2015, 1:07 PM

Guest1770 (guest): What are Tokes changes to get some playing time this year and do you think he will make an impact?

Aug 8 2015, 1:08 PM

srchat: I'd be a little surprised if he played much this year. It's hard to see him passing guys like Mata'afa, Tapa and other defensive linemen that have been in the program for a little while. And, frankly, that's ideal.

Aug 8 2015, 1:09 PM

VegasCoug (guest): You've been covering the Cougs for a couple years now....Was the speed on the defensive side of the ball noticeable this spring under Grinch compared to Breske's defenses?

Aug 8 2015, 1:11 PM

srchat: I'd say it was in that the Cougars traded out a slower player (linebacker) for a faster player (nickelback) and you saw more "speed" personnel on the field in guys like Dylan Hanser. The players also reacted quicker, in my opinion, because Grinch didn't really throw much scheme at them. But ultimately, it's largely the same group as last year so it's not like the players themselves are that much more athletic because there's a new coach.

Aug 8 2015, 1:11 PM

Guest1770 (guest): How do you feel about the Juco transfers? Seems like quite an influx from previous years which tells me they want immediate improvement

Aug 8 2015, 1:11 PM

srchat: I'd say that's certainly true on defense. Jeremiah Mitchell looked like a contributor to me. I really can't comment on the other guys until I've had a chance to see them. C.J. Dimry is super tall, though.

Aug 8 2015, 1:14 PM

Barret Hamm: Hey Jacob, What was coach Leach trying to say they had to much Defensive philosophy last year.

Aug 8 2015, 1:15 PM

srchat: I believe he was saying that the defense was too complex and that led to confusion.

Aug 8 2015, 1:15 PM

TylerBreeze (guest): What's the difference in personalities between Breske and Grinch? It seemed like Breske's personality didn't mesh at times with the defensive players

Aug 8 2015, 1:17 PM

srchat: Grinch is a little more hands-on and proactive in dealing with players. He's more likely to run up to stop a drill to run up to a player and talk about technique and he's a little more in-your-face. Breske was more a CEO-style coach, who would stand behind the safeties to observe and then coach after.

Aug 8 2015, 1:17 PM

Guest1770 (guest): Do you expect the defense to take a major step forward and do you see the the d-line being more aggressive?

Aug 8 2015, 1:19 PM

srchat: Sort of and yes. I do expect the defense to be better this year, and I think some of that is simply the fact that it was an outlier in terms of forcing turnovers. To only get three interceptions, when one of your players has 13 pass breakups in nine games, is basically a fluke. So, I think they'll force more turnovers. I also think the personnel will be better by and large. But, I still think they'll struggle against what is going to be an absolutely killer slate of Pac-12 offenses this year.

Aug 8 2015, 1:19 PM

srchat: I do think the defensive line will be more aggressive.

Aug 8 2015, 1:20 PM

Mike Smith: Do you think CML will not go for it on fourth down as much, if he feels the defense is able to stop opponents more often? Or it really doesn't matter ?

Aug 8 2015, 1:20 PM

srchat: I think he'll go for it when his gut tells him to and that the defense won't be much of a consideration.

Aug 8 2015, 1:20 PM

Guest3956 (guest): Who is the newcomer you are most excited to see practice?

Aug 8 2015, 1:21 PM

srchat: Mike Leach listed six different positions that Logan Tago could play, so I'm excited to see where he ends up.

Aug 8 2015, 1:21 PM

Guest5255 (guest): Are we taking back the Apple cup this year? And is Boise State beating UW?

Aug 8 2015, 1:22 PM

srchat: Apple Cup will be a battle. Right now I would imagine UW will be favored by maybe 1.5 points by virtue of being at home, but who knows? I think Boise State will beat the sand out of the Huskies in what should be an incredible and hostile atmosphere in Petersen's first game back.

Aug 8 2015, 1:22 PM

VegasCoug (guest): I was very impressed with Charleston White's ability to blanket Gabe Marks in the spring game......who is going to take that other corner position??

Aug 8 2015, 1:22 PM

srchat: At this point I'd be pretty surprised if Marcellus Pippins didn't start opposite White. You never know about the newcomers, though.

Aug 8 2015, 1:22 PM

Guest5255 (guest): Is Tago the guy who was also really good at soccer?

Aug 8 2015, 1:23 PM

srchat: I believe that was Shalom Luani. Leach mentioned he's played some national ball for American Samoa

Aug 8 2015, 1:24 PM

Guest1 (guest): How do you think the situation at RB plays out? Will all 3 see a similar amount of carries?

Aug 8 2015, 1:25 PM

srchat: I'm kind of thinking a split of 40 percent Gerard Wicks, 35 percent Jamal Morrow and 25 percent Keith Harrington seems likely.

Aug 8 2015, 1:25 PM

Mike Smith: Was the lack of interceptions last season due to inexperience or more of a conservative philosophy?

Aug 8 2015, 1:26 PM

srchat: I got the impression the inexperience gave the players a conservative philosophy, making them more reluctant to take the kind of chances that lead to interceptions. Of course, as we saw on the first play against Rutgers, a conservative philosophy may have been smart for that group.

Aug 8 2015, 1:26 PM

Guest5255 (guest): Yup it was Luani and seems like an interesting prospect.

Aug 8 2015, 1:26 PM

srchat: Agreed.

Aug 8 2015, 1:26 PM

Guest3956 (guest): When the defense puts in the "speed package" with McClennan and Palachio who comes off the field to make room for both of them?

Aug 8 2015, 1:26 PM

srchat: I might be wrong here but I'm pretty sure it was the opposite end.

Aug 8 2015, 1:26 PM

Guest5255 (guest): I see the size and depth has improve at the safety position. Do you expect that position to be the strength on d next year?

Aug 8 2015, 1:27 PM

srchat: Yeah, I think an upperclassmen group of safeties that included Dotson, Hameed, Luani, etc. would be pretty formidable.

Aug 8 2015, 1:27 PM

Guest7877 (guest): I hear lots of praise for Falk's leadership/command. Also, of Bender's arm. Bender really came on towards the end of spring. What does bender have to do to get the nod?

Aug 8 2015, 1:28 PM

srchat: Improve his knowledge of the offense, cut down on interceptions and force the issue with consistent great practices.

Aug 8 2015, 1:28 PM

VegasCoug (guest): With Dom's big play ability and Marks' explosiveness on the opposite side......accompanied with Cracraft and Lewis inside is this the best WR group in recent years??

Aug 8 2015, 1:28 PM

srchat: I think it's the best I've seen.

Aug 8 2015, 1:28 PM

Guest1 (guest): Best/worst scenario for the season?

Aug 8 2015, 1:28 PM

srchat: Give me a second here.

Aug 8 2015, 1:30 PM

srchat: Best case: Start out the gate 3-0, knock out Cal in a shootout. Drop a close one at Oregon, come home and beat Oregon State. Win of the next three against the AZ schools and Stanford to become bowl eligible. Shock UCLA in Pasadena, take care of business against Colorado and demolish the Huskies in Seattle for a 9-3 record.

Aug 8 2015, 1:33 PM

srchat: Worst case: Rutgers is too much for the Cougars and the hangover leads to a shocking loss at home against a Wyoming team that is better than the fans realize and finishes with a 7-5 record. Blowout losses at Cal and Oregon dry up what remained of fan support and Martin Stadium is a ghost town for a loss to Oregon State. The Cougars win one last game against Colorado and the Huskies keep the Apple Cup with a great performance from whoever is at quarterback. After the season, Cougar Country goes out of business.

Aug 8 2015, 1:33 PM

Guest7877 (guest): Interested to hear how sweet performs, if he is the next cracraft. Would be nice to add to mix

Aug 8 2015, 1:33 PM

srchat: Santa Margarita kids have certainly done well at WSU lately.

Aug 8 2015, 1:34 PM

Guest5255 (guest): Speaking of Rutgers. A lot of people seem to forget that we were shuffling a lot of people on defense that game. We had Caldwell in, Monroe, and we were experimenting at corner. I expect this year to be a different outcome especially when Nova is gone, a shaky O line and bad secondary. Do u agree?

Aug 8 2015, 1:35 PM

srchat: Not really. The run defense was a bigger issue in that game than the pass defense, and the nickel may not be helpful in that regard. There's a decent chance the Scarlet Knights improved at quarterback and frankly, last year Rutgers had to travel across three time zones. Now the Cougars do. WSU can certainly win that game and should expect to. But the Cougars will have to earn it.

Aug 8 2015, 1:35 PM

Barret Hamm: Has team speed improved from last year at all

Aug 8 2015, 1:35 PM

srchat: Maybe a bit on defense.

Aug 8 2015, 1:35 PM

VegasCoug (guest): So with Descalo gone.......what is going to happen with the punter position?? Does this possibly mean that Mele prefers a rugby style punter...his departure surprised me.

Aug 8 2015, 1:36 PM

srchat: I think Mele would have preferred his punter not leave. It will be interesting to see what happens there. Could be Matt Abramo, could be Powell or could be a walk-on.

Aug 8 2015, 1:37 PM

VegasCoug (guest): Same situation with long snapper too right??

Aug 8 2015, 1:37 PM

srchat: Long snapper looks pretty open.

Aug 8 2015, 1:38 PM

Guest7877 (guest): Did you hear anything on if tj fehoko tore his Achilles this summer?

Aug 8 2015, 1:38 PM

srchat: WazzuWatch.com reported that he did. Britton does a good job and I believe he spoke to Fehoko's father, so I'd trust that report.

Aug 8 2015, 1:38 PM

Guest5255 (guest): I did see we had signed a walk on kicker. Are we going to have to defend a short field because of special team play?

Aug 8 2015, 1:39 PM

srchat: I would be very nervous about the punting/kicking game this year. I do expect coverage to be a lot better than last year.

Aug 8 2015, 1:40 PM

Guest5255 (guest): And I think specials team is our biggest liability..Agree?

Aug 8 2015, 1:40 PM

srchat: Yes.

Aug 8 2015, 1:40 PM

Guest7877 (guest): Do you live tweet during practice?

Aug 8 2015, 1:40 PM

srchat: No, that's frowned upon. I try to tweet out the major notes after practice, though, and will have a thorough report on the blog after each practice.

Aug 8 2015, 1:41 PM

Guest2956 (guest): Chandler lunai looked great in high school ,does he see much playing time this year? does his size slow him down?

Aug 8 2015, 1:42 PM

srchat: Allison told me at media day that he's as fast as ever. But if he's really north of 260, I'm going to need to see that in person. Leniu looked good in the spring but the JC, Aaron Porter, also comes highly-regarded.

Aug 8 2015, 1:42 PM

Guest7877 (guest): Ah got ya, thanks!

Aug 8 2015, 1:42 PM

srchat: My pleasure.

Aug 8 2015, 1:42 PM

VegasCoug (guest): So first year special teams coach with new kicker, new punter and new long snapper.....yeah Leach go for it on 4th

Aug 8 2015, 1:42 PM

Guest2645 (guest): what is the situation at corner now with 2 JCs incoming including Broughton. How do you think that 2 deep will shake out by game 1

Aug 8 2015, 1:43 PM

srchat: I think pretty highly of Charleston White's abilities and Pippins played well in the spring. I expect them to start with Broughton and another backing them up.

Aug 8 2015, 1:43 PM

TylerBreeze (guest): Can you provide the full transcript of the chats this year? The chat roll only lets you scroll up a certain amount so some of the responses are missed.

Aug 8 2015, 1:43 PM

srchat: I know. It's awful. A pox on Chatroll. But I think we've found a solution so stay tuned and I'll try to post the transcript.

Aug 8 2015, 1:44 PM

Guest2645 (guest): Will you be making a set of camp reporting videos entitled "The Beat"? What would part 1 entail?

Aug 8 2015, 1:45 PM

srchat: I wish. But if I could do that, I'd be making movies and sipping vino in Cannes instead of chatting with you folks and sipping iced tea in Lewiston.

Aug 8 2015, 1:45 PM

Barret Hamm: Jacob, what we be the point to play sweet since we are stacked at his position.

Aug 8 2015, 1:46 PM

srchat: If they think he's one of the top 8 receivers, he'll play. I think the coaches are confident enough in their abilities to attract receivers to the Air Raid that they plan to always be stacked there.

Aug 8 2015, 1:46 PM

Guest1472 (guest): Welcome back to the action Jacob, we missed you. Thanks in advance for all the hard work you're about to do for our benefit.

Aug 8 2015, 1:46 PM

srchat: Thanks for that, Guest1472. I really appreciate you guys. I hope you enjoyed our media days coverage and the Jeremiah Allison article.

Aug 8 2015, 1:46 PM

Guest5255 (guest): Traveling tothe Arizona game. Any recommendations?

Aug 8 2015, 1:48 PM

srchat: Definitely visit Taqueria Juanitos. You will probably see me there.

Aug 8 2015, 1:48 PM

VegasCoug (guest): So out of Dahl, Eklund, Sorenson, Middleton and Madison....which guy will be pushed the most and by whom?

Aug 8 2015, 1:48 PM

srchat: I bet Carlos Freeman makes a run at center. If Sorenson holds him off, Middleton will be pushed by both Freeman and Cody O'Connell.

Aug 8 2015, 1:48 PM

Guest7877 (guest): Do you think the team reacted differently to Falk's leadership when he went in vs Halliday? There's demeanor certain spark for osu and even as until all the interceptions started and derailed everything. He started pretty decent...

Aug 8 2015, 1:49 PM

srchat: I think they rallied around him in a time of crisis, and I think his leadership and demeanor allowed him to make that happen. I don't think that necessarily means he's a better or worse leader than Halliday. But, with a young team, the players may feel they know him better.

Aug 8 2015, 1:49 PM

Guest2645 (guest): Reggie Coates had a big spring game do you think that will carry over to fall and where do you think the DL is in comparison to last year?

Aug 8 2015, 1:50 PM

srchat: I don't really know about Coates. He did have a good spring, but every year there are guys that have great springs and it doesn't really carryover. I hate to see he's a candidate for that, but he just seems pretty small for the position. I think the defensive line lost a lot in Cooper and Pole and needs really good play from the interior to not take a step backward.

Aug 8 2015, 1:51 PM

Guest5255 (guest): Ok great. Its a date

 

Aug 8 2015, 1:54 PM

Guest2645 (guest): How much of a role do you see Lilenthal play? Will he just be a "Post" route runner or do you see more variety to his game that we haven't seen yet?

Aug 8 2015, 1:55 PM

srchat: I think he'll have a role as the backup X receiver. While I'm sure he'll be asked to run many routes in order to see the field, the post sure seems to be his bread and butter.

Aug 8 2015, 1:56 PM

VegasCoug (guest): Considerably younger staff than last year....How did that affect things this spring? Seems like the rapport players have with this is better...

Aug 8 2015, 1:56 PM

srchat: Yeah, I think that's a good assessment. The players probably relate to the staff better. Is that a good thing? We'll see.

Aug 8 2015, 1:58 PM

VegasCoug (guest): punt returner position has been a disaster under Leach...Pippins front runner, any chance guys like Lewis or Green get involved in that competition...

Aug 8 2015, 1:59 PM

srchat: They'll try lots of guys. You could even see Cracraft or Marks back there. But Pippins does seem to be the one constant in that group.

Guest2645 (guest): So there are apparently is a major kicking derby going on with 6 and a JC recently joining. How are they going to try them all out?

Aug 8 2015, 2:00 PM

srchat: Basically, at the start of practice Mele will tell one of them that it's his day and he'll get a few opportunities to take three or four more-or-less "live" kicks from varying distances.

Aug 8 2015, 2:02 PM

srchat: Alright, everybody. I need to pack up and get to the field. First, however, I'm going to post the transcripts so stop back again in a few minute if you didn't get to stay for the entire thing. Thanks for joining me and we'll do it again next week.

 




Jacob Thorpe
Jacob Thorpe joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He currently is a reporter for the Sports Desk covering Washington State University athletics.

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