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WSU Football chat (transcript)

Oct 28 2015, 2:43 AM

srchat: Submit questions now for our WSU football chat, which begins at 11 a.m.

Oct 28 2015, 11:00 AM

srchat: Thanks for joining our live chat, everybody, we're about to get started, but first there's a little business to take care of. Last week one of you recommended El Charro Cafe in Tucson. I ate there and it was fantastic, so thanks for that. Now we can begin.

Oct 28 2015, 11:00 AM

TheMartinParty (guest): While many were excited about the possibility of Gameday I heard Grippi took it the hardest because he had a cool sign. Any idea on what it was?

Oct 28 2015, 11:01 AM

srchat: Vince says he would have been front and center with a sign that says, "No, it doesn't rain here."

Oct 28 2015, 11:01 AM

Jonthecoug: Any chance Barber or Molten play this week? We could certainly use Barber's size for this one.

Oct 28 2015, 11:02 AM

srchat: It's like you're trying to get me in trouble.

Oct 28 2015, 11:02 AM

ItsMe (guest): So just what CAN you report on from your practice observations?

Oct 28 2015, 11:04 AM

srchat: Not a whole lot. Because we are no longer allowed to describe depth chart movements or position changes, as well as limited players, we have decided that it is neither useful nor ethical to cover practices, as we detail here: http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/sportslink/2015/oct/21/s-r-changing-way-it-covers-wsu-football-practice/ That said, I hope those of you have found our replacement coverage to be engaging -- I think the topics have been more interesting than practice, anyways.

Oct 28 2015, 11:05 AM

srchat: And because I do still attend some practices to keep an eye on the team, I can report that not much has changed. Falk looks good, Bender still throws too many interceptions and the defense appears to be practicing with more energy every day.

Oct 28 2015, 11:05 AM

Guest6260 (guest): How many tickets do you expect to be sold for the Stanford game this weekend?

Oct 28 2015, 11:06 AM

srchat: I think there are under 2,000 remaining. So I expect a sellout, or close enough to it for all intents and purposes.

Oct 28 2015, 11:06 AM

ski1stoney: Jacob, great job in covering the team. I really enjoying reading your insights.

Oct 28 2015, 11:06 AM

srchat: Thanks, Stoney. Appreciate you reading our work and dropping by chat.

Oct 28 2015, 11:07 AM

wsucougarbill: OK try this, how do you feel about the Federal Reserve decision to leave interest rates unchanged?

Oct 28 2015, 11:07 AM

srchat: I'm concerned about the potential it leaves for a December hike. December is far too cold a month for hiking.

Oct 28 2015, 11:07 AM

shurtyj (guest): Not that they're injured or anything, but what are the odds we see Tavaris Martin or Darrien Molten play on Saturday?

Oct 28 2015, 11:08 AM

srchat: Oh, well I did notice yesterday that (redacted) was (redacted) with the (redacteds). I don't expect (redacted) to (redacted) because yesterday he wasn't (redacted). But I still expect (redacted) (redacted) because (redacted) has been (redacted) very well.

 

Oct 28 2015, 11:09 AM

Guest666 (guest): Will you be dressing up for All Hallows Eve?

Oct 28 2015, 11:09 AM

srchat: Sportswriter isn't scary enough?

Oct 28 2015, 11:09 AM

jbim: what would it take for WSU to have a chance against the Cardinal on Saturday?

Oct 28 2015, 11:11 AM

srchat: Games against Stanford are wars of attrition. Many teams gamely go toe-to-toe with the Cardinal along the lines of scrimmage. But, it's so hard to do it for four quarters. I think a key will be how well WSU's backups on the defensive line play. They need to be able to match the Cardinal offensive line for extended periods so the starters don't get worn down.

Oct 28 2015, 11:11 AM

Guest6206 (guest): Jacob, With Stanford being such a physical team will we see more of Logan Tago in a SAM role to increase the size of our D or will we stick with Parker Henry in the nickel role. Thanks

Oct 28 2015, 11:12 AM

srchat: BASED PURELY ON GAMES and not practices, it seems like the coaches are becoming more and more willing to role with Parker Henry for the time being. And why not? He's played well, he's tackling opponents in the backfield, and while Tago may have a little more size/speed, Henry's got enough to get the job done.

Oct 28 2015, 11:12 AM

Guest5and2 (guest): Yeay.... I love that place, but at times you get a so-and-so waiter/waitress (always wearing the U of A teeshirt). Glad you enjoyed it Jacob. Hey, I get the impression that the Cougs coaches are inserting more subs than earlier in the season. Your opinion on why?

Oct 28 2015, 11:13 AM

srchat: A lot of that is because the subs are using the experience they gained in minimal time early in the season to become better players, who can now contribute more. For example, Chandler Leniu had never played before, so he was still getting his feet wet the first few games. Now he knows what to expect and it's allowing his natural talents to flourish.

Oct 28 2015, 11:13 AM

Guest4601 (guest): Where in the world is Isaac Dotson? Still with team?

Oct 28 2015, 11:13 AM

srchat: Yes, I think Dotson is getting closer to making his comeback.

Oct 28 2015, 11:14 AM

wsucougarbill: Did Broughton play at UofA?

Oct 28 2015, 11:14 AM

srchat: Broughton did play a couple snaps against the Wildcats.

Oct 28 2015, 11:14 AM

AllezLesCougs123 (guest): Is what the coaching staff 'did' to you that much different than what occurs these days in most places around the country? In other words... were your steps (holding your breath, slamming doors) really necessary? I'll take your comments off the air and wish a pleasant rest of the week.

Oct 28 2015, 11:16 AM

srchat: I'm not sure why 'did' is in quotes. Nor do I recall holding my breath or slamming any doors. It seems to me that when the coaching staff changed its policy, we changed ours to adapt to that policy and put out a very expository, Xs-and-Os statement explaining the change. We took the only option we believed was available to a journalistic organization and calmly let you know about it.

Oct 28 2015, 11:16 AM

Guest2186 (guest): I'm reading a lot of people speculating that this is Gabe Marks last year but from what I read it seems like he's a late round pick if he leaves this year. You have any inside scoop on his draft prospects?

Oct 28 2015, 11:18 AM

srchat: I don't have any inside knowledge right now about where he would be expected to be picked. But I think what the decision comes down to, from a professional standpoint is: Can he improve his stock by staying? If he's going to be, say, a 5th-round pick no matter when he leaves. Then financially it makes sense to begin his career a year earlier and have one more year collecting an NFL paycheck. Of course, other things factor into the decision, too, like WSU potentially having a really good season in 2016.

Oct 28 2015, 11:18 AM

Guest7297 (guest): The last three weeks have been awesome but I think it all comes crashing down this week.

Oct 28 2015, 11:19 AM

srchat: It's definitely a gut-check game for the Cougars. The team is on a roll but Stanford can punish the best of teams.

Oct 28 2015, 11:19 AM

TheMartinParty (guest): Stanford is a physical team who will be playing Nickel? How has Parker and Green progressed. I see they are in the two deep.

Oct 28 2015, 11:20 AM

srchat: Parker has been playing well in games, in my opinion. Green has moved back to safety. As for who will start at Nickel, we'll just have to wait and see who starts on Saturday. Unless any Stanford coaches happen to be reading this chat, in which case I fully expect Gunnar Eklund to play nickel.

Oct 28 2015, 11:20 AM

ItsMe (guest): I always enjoy your practice recaps since we can't be there and nothing much happens from Sunday to Friday for us Cougar football junkies. Sorry coaches these days are so paranoid. I do enjoy your replacement coverage, so keep up the good work!

Oct 28 2015, 11:20 AM

srchat: Appreciate that. Hopefully the replacement coverage lends more insight into the team and players than the practice reports did, anyway.

Oct 28 2015, 11:21 AM

Guest666 (guest): How devilish do you expect the DL and LBs of Stanford to be compared to years of past? Like when both Conner and Austin took corresponding hits in the Seattle game years ago.

Oct 28 2015, 11:22 AM

srchat: Really, really devilish, just like always. Every year Stanford loses some exceptional players on defense. And every year some players you've never heard of become stars for that defense. I guess the group isn't quite as monstrous as, say, the 2013 unit, but they can still beat up just about anybody on the block.

Oct 28 2015, 11:22 AM

Guest3731 (guest): What's the key to winning on Saturday?

Oct 28 2015, 11:23 AM

srchat: Just like every week, it's execution. But even more so against a disciplined Stanford team that you can be assured will execute its own stuff very well. A mental slip here, an incorrect route there, and the Cardinal will run away with it.

Oct 28 2015, 11:23 AM

Guest1352 (guest): Thank you for having the cojones to maintain your journalistic integrity. What factors do you think contributed to WSU exceeding your preseason predictions this year?

Oct 28 2015, 11:25 AM

srchat: It's an interesting question, because after the first game the Cougars were obviously playing below my expectations and then even after the Wyoming and Cal games, my five-win prediction felt pretty close. These last three games have seen Luke Falk take a tremendous leap and the defense has gotten better, faster than I expected. I guess mostly the defense, because I did expect Falk to be good. While it was apparent in camp that Grinch had the unit on the right track, I didn't see it all coming together this year.

Oct 28 2015, 11:25 AM

shurtyj (guest): Do you see the Cougs assigning one player to shadow McCaffrey, similar to what you might do with a mobile quarterback?

Oct 28 2015, 11:26 AM

srchat: I don't think they have the luxury of doing that against Stanford. They will certainly keep their eyes on McCaffrey at all times, but if you put a spy on him you're going to open up areas in your defense that Stanford will happily exploit.

Oct 28 2015, 11:26 AM

Guest137 (guest): Thanks for all your hard work covering the Cougs! Do they let you in the football building? If so, is it the best in the country?

Oct 28 2015, 11:27 AM

srchat: I've gotten to tour it a couple times and I go up to the coaches' offices every now and then for interviews. It's certainly the best I've ever been in.

Oct 28 2015, 11:27 AM

wsucougarbill: Rumor on twitter is that you are dressing up as a Crimson Girl and going to be dancing on the sidelines as a part of a feature piece you are doing, no?

Oct 28 2015, 11:27 AM

srchat: Sounds like somebody's been spending too much time on Cougfan.

Oct 28 2015, 11:27 AM

SandyDayOConnor (guest): What about the Cougs should worry Stanford?

Oct 28 2015, 11:28 AM

srchat: Endurance. The Cougars can match up with Stanford and trade blows. The issue is always being able to still trade blows with the Cardinal in the 15th round.

Oct 28 2015, 11:28 AM

Guest7297 (guest): Everyone is talking about which bowl the Cougs might go to. Isn't that premature?

Oct 28 2015, 11:29 AM

srchat: Not really. I'm of the belief that the people who need to only worry about the next game are the ones playing in it. If it's fun for the fans to speculate and look at bowls, then they absolutely should.

Oct 28 2015, 11:29 AM

Guest7248 (guest): How's the stanford pass rush? Will our line be able to give falk time to throw like in the previous games?

Oct 28 2015, 11:29 AM

srchat: Surprisingly not that great. They're one of the worst teams in the country in adjusted sack rate.

Oct 28 2015, 11:30 AM

Guest2186 (guest): You see Flak playing on Sundays?

Oct 28 2015, 11:32 AM

srchat: I don't see why not. Often the Air Raid quarterbacks don't get much consideration in the NFL because they aren't built like NFL QBs. But Falk is 6-foot-4 and looks like he can easily put on some more muscle over the next two years. I'm sure the NFL can find a spot for a tall guy with a decent arm who throws for many yards and touchdowns and almost never throws interceptions.

Oct 28 2015, 11:33 AM

jbim: how many points do you think the Cougs win by on Saturday?

Oct 28 2015, 11:34 AM

srchat: I might get fired for revealing proprietary information, but just for you guys... when my picks drop later today, you'll see I've got the Cougars winning by a sliver.

Oct 28 2015, 11:35 AM

Guest666 (guest): What do you think the most possible harbinger of doom could lead to WSUs defeat on Saturday? A: Turnovers on WSU offense. B: Stanford scoring on all offensive drives. C: WSU special teams disaster

Oct 28 2015, 11:35 AM

srchat: Well, the Cougars don't really turn it over much and I have to imagine they'll get at least one stop. So, with Christian McCaffrey returning kicks, the special teams disaster seems most likely.

Oct 28 2015, 11:35 AM

Guest7946 (guest): For those of us who suffered through the Doba/Wulff eras, should we welcome these bandwagoners with open arms ("the more the merrier!") or be bitter ("where were you in 2008??")?

Oct 28 2015, 11:36 AM

srchat: I always kind of think it's dumb for fans to segregate by levels of fandom. Of course there are going to be more fans when the team is winning. Be happy that they're there because they're a byproduct of it being fun to follow the team again.

Oct 28 2015, 11:36 AM

Jonthecoug: How this year's freshman crop of Olinemen looking in practice? Any standouts?

Oct 28 2015, 11:37 AM

srchat: They're really, really big. They're also really raw. But you can see where the coaching staff is excited because with a couple years of coaching it has the makings of an impregnable offensive line.

Oct 28 2015, 11:37 AM

CougForker (guest): Since you're now spending your time writing interesting stories for us to read, do you know if there's anywhere I can find a watered-down practice report that complies with the coaching staff's new limitations? I have three kids who always want to stay up all night, and am in search of something that will help them fall asleep.

Oct 28 2015, 11:37 AM

srchat: No, I don't know anybody who does anything like that.

Oct 28 2015, 11:38 AM

Guest4601 (guest): Biggest concern is special teams. I don't think Mele is up to the task. Even on the Arizona onside kick at the end of the game, we weren't aligned properly- AZ had 5 guys against our 3 with Dom playing behind. Oh- they also had a punt return for a TD. Makes me feel like we won't punt this game. #NeverPunt

Oct 28 2015, 11:38 AM

srchat: If it's fourth-and-long and the Cougars are on their own side of the field in this one, I think you're gonna want them to punt.

Oct 28 2015, 11:38 AM

wsucougarbill: Shit, we are doomed. The beat writer is picking us.

Oct 28 2015, 11:38 AM

srchat: Sorry everybody.

Oct 28 2015, 11:38 AM

Guest2348 (guest): A couple starters missed last week's game. Do you expect any of those players to be back this week?

Oct 28 2015, 11:39 AM

srchat: Given that Tavares Martin traveled and was on the sidelines at Arizona, I imagine he can't be too far away from being ready.

Oct 28 2015, 11:39 AM

Guest7946 (guest): Did you like the new "Force Awakens" trailer?

Oct 28 2015, 11:40 AM

srchat: I did. I also saw a trailer yesterday for an upcoming movie about the Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize winning coverage that looks really good.

Oct 28 2015, 11:40 AM

Guest137 (guest): What is our weakest position group?

Oct 28 2015, 11:40 AM

srchat: It appears to still be kick/punt coverage.

Oct 28 2015, 11:40 AM

Guest5and2 (guest): Have you ever witnessed Cody O'Connell pancake a defensive player? Seriously, at 6'8", and 346 lbs, shouldn't he be able to take up some serious room, preventing rushers from even seeing the QB?

Oct 28 2015, 11:41 AM

srchat: I'm sure that I have. O'Connell has played well and he is a backup. But with all the starters from last year returning -- and Gunnar Eklund being a big dude himself -- there isn't much room for those guys to get playing time.

Oct 28 2015, 11:41 AM

Guest2063 (guest): Do you think the WSU defensive front get to Hogan a few times?

Oct 28 2015, 11:42 AM

srchat: That will be a determining factor in the game. The Cougars are pretty good at getting to the QB and I bet they do drag him down a couple times. But Stanford is so good on the offensive line -- they've got probably two of the top five guards in the country -- so it's going to be tough.

Oct 28 2015, 11:42 AM

Jonthecoug: A little off topic but will you be at the two bball exhibition games? I heard Ernie tell Matt Chazanow they are at least 10 deep.

Oct 28 2015, 11:42 AM

srchat: I will indeed. It's nice that the exhibition games match up with football home games.

Oct 28 2015, 11:42 AM

Guest3731 (guest): I went to Reno after the Rutgers win and tried to place a future bet ($20) on WSU winning the Pac-12 championship. Odds were listed at 175 to 1, however the casino said I couldn't place the bet yet because the odds hadn't been updated. Should I now be upset?

Oct 28 2015, 11:43 AM

srchat: I would've been upset then.

Oct 28 2015, 11:43 AM

Guest666 (guest): If you imagined Leach (beyond the obvious), Salvae, Yost and Grinch went out trick or treating, what would they be dressed as?

Oct 28 2015, 11:44 AM

srchat: I'm a little uncomfortable answering Halloween questions from a "Guest666," but here goes: Leach would be a viking axeman, Yost would be Kurt Cobain, Grinch would be Charlie Brown and Salave'a would be the Hamburglar.

Oct 28 2015, 11:44 AM

ItsMe (guest): Please don't pick the Cougs. They seem to always do the opposite of your pick (well, maybe not ALWAYs)

Oct 28 2015, 11:45 AM

srchat: Hey, I'm having a really good year with picks. It's Week 9 and I'm still above .500 against the spread!

Oct 28 2015, 11:45 AM

cubsfan7331: Weather at game time?

Oct 28 2015, 11:45 AM

srchat: Cold and rainy.

Oct 28 2015, 11:46 AM

CougForker (guest): hay do u tink Leech stole musics frum napster hehe git it cuz HES A PIRATE PPL!!!!!!!

Oct 28 2015, 11:46 AM

srchat: Do you people get it?

Oct 28 2015, 11:46 AM

Guest4459 (guest): Wonder if X Cooper regrets not sticking around, Earth Wind and Fire..I think I know the earth and wind..who is the fire

Oct 28 2015, 11:47 AM

srchat: I'm sure he pays attention to the team and wishes he was out there with Cougars occasionally. But I mean, playing in the NFL was his dream and he's doing it. And he was a high draft pick and he's making a lot of money playing on what looks like it could become a very good defensive line. So I bet he's comfortable with the decision to leave.

Oct 28 2015, 11:47 AM

Guest3731 (guest): What's your bowl game projection? I think Texas Tech in the Cactus Bowl would be a riot

Oct 28 2015, 11:48 AM

srchat: That would be awesome. I'd also really like a San Diego Bowl Having never been to Dallas, I'd take Heart of Dallas, too.

Oct 28 2015, 11:48 AM

Guest4459 (guest): Mele looks like he is over his head, has cost us one game, almost 2...

Oct 28 2015, 11:49 AM

srchat: But Eric Russell's special teams had the same issues and he was a very experienced, sometimes very successful special teams coach.

Oct 28 2015, 11:49 AM

Guest666 (guest): Alright no more Halloween questions. But One Obvious thing should be addressed. If it's a close loss, will WSU be unphased the rest of the season or will it be their undoing?

Oct 28 2015, 11:50 AM

srchat: Seeing how the team bounced back from the Cal loss with one of its best games in years, I think this team can handle a close loss to Stanford.

Oct 28 2015, 11:50 AM

Guest4601 (guest): my weekly, when are we getting rid of our concrete gray helmets? MATTE ANTHRACITE PEOPLE. Thoughts?

Oct 28 2015, 11:50 AM

srchat: I love the white helmets. I'm down with the crimson helmets. I think more colors are superfluous.

Oct 28 2015, 11:51 AM

Guest4459 (guest): I have never, ever see special teams this bad over the last couple of years, as much as I am not a Husky fan, Don James won games on special teams and never, ever lost the the same way

Oct 28 2015, 11:51 AM

Guest7297 (guest): Has Luke Falk's leadership been the difference in the team this year? I heard stories that he unites the whole team.

Oct 28 2015, 11:52 AM

srchat: I think the team does respect Falk because it sees the work he puts in, and that's a great quality to have in your starting QB. But I think the bigger improvement has been the team-wide buy-in. It's definitely the closest team I've covered.

Oct 28 2015, 11:52 AM

Guest666 (guest): Are you able to tell readership/site visits increasing with the wins? Hoping it's a delightfully frightful change.

Oct 28 2015, 11:53 AM

srchat: There's definitely been more action on Twitter, which is fun. I might have to check with our web folks and see how much traffic has gone up, because I'm sure it's a lot. For example, there are 83 people in chat today ...

Oct 28 2015, 11:53 AM

Guest7946 (guest): I'm curious if the on-field success has translated to donations going up with CAF etc. Have you heard about any positive impacts on giving?

Oct 28 2015, 11:53 AM

srchat: I have not, but that's worth checking into.

Oct 28 2015, 11:53 AM

Guest4459 (guest): Uniforms for the game...All Red ?

Oct 28 2015, 11:54 AM

srchat: That would be far too much red. This isn't EWU.

Oct 28 2015, 11:54 AM

Guest137 (guest): How do you see the o line two deeps looking next year?

Oct 28 2015, 11:57 AM

srchat: At left tackle I think you'll see Andre Dillard take over for Dahl, and there are a few candidates to be his backup. Cedric Bigge-Duren has the body you'd want, but he's pretty raw still so he'd need to have a very productive offseason. At left guard you could definite see Cody O'Connell emerge as the starter. Riley Sorenson should continue to start at center and the hope would be that Carlos Freeman would regain his form from the spring and be able to back him up. Middleton is back at right guard and Cole

Madison will stay at right tackle. I don't want to speculate too much on the backups because all of those spots will be highly contested.

Oct 28 2015, 11:58 AM

Guest7297 (guest): Stanford red helment white unis. Cougs white helmet crimson unis.

Oct 28 2015, 11:58 AM

srchat: Love it.

Oct 28 2015, 11:58 AM

Guest666 (guest): Any chance the rest or Price's thrillingly spooky staff (Doba, Levenseller) start showing up to games or ceremonies with Price being honored?

Oct 28 2015, 11:59 AM

srchat: "Frightfully" "thrillingly spooky," and Halloween questions. What's your deal, 666? And I could see Doba stopping by if he's around, although I haven't heard from him that he is.

Oct 28 2015, 12:00 PM

Guest7702 (guest): How do you think our run game will do against the Stanford D?

Oct 28 2015, 12:00 PM

srchat: I think the Cougars are going to have to win with their passing game.

Oct 28 2015, 12:00 PM

Coug_Trouble: you talk about the "team buy in" was the Leach hire a problem in the locker room for the past years?

Oct 28 2015, 12:01 PM

srchat: Any time you hire a new staff there are going to be players that don't fit with the new coaches and it's pretty obvious that Leach and his staff rubbed a lot of the Wulff guys the wrong way. But now the team is essentially all Leach guys, so that obviously makes it easier to get them to buy in.

Oct 28 2015, 12:02 PM

Guest4459 (guest): Its pretty obvious like I stated earlier in the year that Falk will keep drives alive, win games with his feet...case closed...moving on..Brock and Salk at the Cub on Friday, should be fun, you going swing by

Oct 28 2015, 12:02 PM

srchat: The Corner Club in Moscow? I hadn't heard that but I may have to.

Oct 28 2015, 12:03 PM

Guest4459 (guest): Nope....WSU Campus

Oct 28 2015, 12:03 PM

srchat: Oh, CUB. I see.

Oct 28 2015, 12:03 PM

Guest666 (guest): I'm out of adjectives, soooo...Happy Halloween!

Oct 28 2015, 12:04 PM

srchat: Happy Halloween to all our readers and thanks to you all for joining our live chat. The transcript will be up soon.

 



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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