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WSU live chat (transcript)

srchat: We'll start our chat in about 15 minutes but if you have a question, go ahead and submit it and I'll answer those first.

Sep 2 2015, 10:59 AM

srchat: Alright, I'm tired of waiting and I'm sure you are, too. Let's get started.

Sep 2 2015, 10:59 AM

Guest1723 (guest): Does it appear any of the Kickers have the ability to place a KO deep in the end zone or out of the endzone ?

Sep 2 2015, 11:00 AM

srchat: Right now, no it does not. The caveat is that we've only see them kick in situations where it would be sort of pointless to boot it out of the end zone, since they need to practice returns and coverage. I suspect Powell can get a couple touchbacks, especially if he's got the wind behind him, but let's just say the coverage units had better be ready for a return every time.

Sep 2 2015, 11:01 AM

Guest1163 (guest): Any further developments on Barry Ware's status?

Sep 2 2015, 11:01 AM

srchat: I have heard from a source or two that there may still be an avenue for Ware to return to the team, but I cannot say how or why he is gone.

Sep 2 2015, 11:01 AM

Guest1212 (guest): When do you expect Broughten to play?

Sep 2 2015, 11:02 AM

srchat: Certainly by Wyoming, maybe even earlier if he can pick up the defense quickly and/or the Cougars get a big lead

Sep 2 2015, 11:03 AM

BullMoos (guest): Apodaca and Bruggman both transferred recently in hopes of finding playing time elsewhere, if Falk locks in the starting role all year would you be surprised to see Bender transfer?

Sep 2 2015, 11:04 AM

srchat: It wouldn't shock me. Bender is good enough to play somewhere and the reality for quarterbacks is that sometimes it just makes sense to try again somewhere else if you can't win the job. I think Bender was close enough to Falk that he sticks around at least another year to try and beat him out, particularly since he likely feels that he (Bender) has a higher talent ceiling.

Sep 2 2015, 11:05 AM

Guest1723 (guest): Looks like "Post " Dan L is not in the top 8 WR...does he have a RS year left ?

Sep 2 2015, 11:05 AM

srchat: This is the Post's final season with the Cougars, but I expect him to see the field some.

Sep 2 2015, 11:05 AM

Guest1212 (guest): What can we expect from PSU?

Sep 2 2015, 11:06 AM

srchat: A pretty wild offense. If you recall, the first play the Vikings ran last year was a QB-QB pass and their coach, interim coach Bruce Barnum, said on a teleconference yesterday that PSU might put three QBs on the field at once ...

Sep 2 2015, 11:06 AM

Guest8188 (guest): Hey Jacob, we already know what Gabe Marks can do but what has been the report coming out of fall camp? Has he put on any muscle or seem to improve in any areas? Love the guy's passion.

Sep 2 2015, 11:08 AM

srchat: Honestly, I'd expected to see a little more from Gabe during preseason camp. He's always been the team's best, most focused player in practice, but he's been inconsistent. For every practice where you go, "oh, there's Gabe kicking everyone's butt again" he's had another that's kind of quiet. That said, he's obviously still a very talented player and it may be that he just needs a real opponent to bring out the fire.

Sep 2 2015, 11:08 AM

Guest3312 (guest): How much playing time do you think Tavares Martin will get this season?

Sep 2 2015, 11:08 AM

srchat: Quite a bit, especially considering he'll be returning kickoffs.

Sep 2 2015, 11:08 AM

peep6543: With Abramo no longer limited in practice, how has his work looked? Was Powell named the starter only because Abramao did not get enough valuable reps this summer?

Sep 2 2015, 11:09 AM

srchat: I think Powell was named the starter because he's been the best kicker. Now, part of that may have been Abramo being limited, but if Abramo was kicking a better ball in Friday's practice than he's who would start on Saturday.

Sep 2 2015, 11:09 AM

CapleOfChristian (guest): Jacob, what kind of impact is Eric Mele having on the Special Teams? They were atrocious last season, but word from camp has been that the unit is much improved

Sep 2 2015, 11:11 AM

srchat: I think he's had a big impact, particularly since the end of last season. While I'd caution against reading too much into reports about how the coverage units have looked in practice -- it would be pretty difficult for anyone to tell without knowing exactly what the assignments are and having film to look at -- there's just obviously a lot more energy and the coverage units are having more fun. I think they're taking more pride in it, and have created more of a unique "kick coverage" identity.

Sep 2 2015, 11:12 AM

Guest1163 (guest): Any chance we need a pash-rushing specialist kind of line-up out of Grinch? I'd love to see Palacio and McClennan on the field together, with Vaeao and Paulo on the inside.

Sep 2 2015, 11:12 AM

srchat: The team gets mad when I "discuss strategy" and we I don't want to make some SID read me the riot act, but yes, there will be those types of pass-rush packages.

Sep 2 2015, 11:12 AM

BKRansford: What's the deal with Jeremiah Mitchell? Loved his film, physical specimen coming into the program as an early enrollee, yet haven't heard too much about him. Any insight?

Sep 2 2015, 11:14 AM

srchat: I think it mostly boils down to this: When Grinch first implemented the defense in the spring, it was a really simple version and everyone was learning at the same speed. Mitchell, a big, strong guy, was able to be effective against the run because he wasn't asked to do much. Now that they've added stuff -- and made the choice to get more speed on the field -- Mitchell hasn't kept up as well as the others, and he doesn't bring the speed they're looking for.

Sep 2 2015, 11:14 AM

Guest5590 (guest): Wicks appears to be the primary back these days. Who gets more carries between Harrington and Morrow?

Sep 2 2015, 11:15 AM

srchat: RB coach Jim Mastro is really looking at it as a week-to-week thing. Wicks practiced the best this week, so he'll start. Next week it could be Morrow or Harrington. Once the game starts, it sounds like they're basically going to ride the hot back. Whoever busts a big run will get more carries.

Sep 2 2015, 11:15 AM

Guest7471 (guest): I think it's great how you write an article about something related to cougar football, then a few days later other news outlets start writing about it. Way to be on top of things!

Sep 2 2015, 11:16 AM

srchat: Thanks, guest. What's even more annoying is when I wear a new outfit and then three days later all the writers are wearing it.

Sep 2 2015, 11:16 AM

Guest1723 (guest): I am seeing the Cougs winning 5-7 games, the bye schedule could hurt down the road, mutts could have a losing season...

Sep 2 2015, 11:17 AM

srchat: I think that's a fair record prediction, I think we'd ALL like a bye later in the season (when we'll all need one) and it's more likely than not UW wins five games or less.

Sep 2 2015, 11:17 AM

BullMoos (guest): We've heard a good amount about the secondary since it was such a concern last year. Anyone on the DL or LB corps that you think will make a big impact? Anyone with the potential to fill Xavier Coopers shoes someday?

Sep 2 2015, 11:18 AM

srchat: Pound-for-pound, Hercules Mata'afa can be a better player than Xavier Cooper. Chandler Leniu has been solid but I think Frankie Luvu is a stud -- don't be shocked if he starts taking snaps away from Jeremiah Allison.

Sep 2 2015, 11:19 AM

Guest6298 (guest): With the kicking situation being what it is, would anticipate the standard number of 'going for it' on 4th & reasonable this year?

Sep 2 2015, 11:20 AM

srchat: I think it has more to do with field position than how many yards are remaining, after a point. If the Cougars are somewhere in the opposing team's territory, it's not an obvious field-goal situation and they have six-or-fewer yards to go, I think there's a good chance they let'er rip.

Sep 2 2015, 11:20 AM

Guest1212 (guest): RB Williams has seemed to get some pretty good reviews, any chance he doesn't redshirt.

Sep 2 2015, 11:21 AM

srchat: Definitely a chance. Mastro says that if he's good enough to play, he'll play. Granted, since he's coming off an injury from high school I could see them being careful, but if the RB corps sustains an injury or two this year then he basically has to, right?

Sep 2 2015, 11:21 AM

Guest5951 (guest): Jacob, there's been a lot of hype surrounding the running backs and it's exciting to see so much potential with all underclassmen. As the season unfolds, how do you see the snaps being divided up between Morrow/Wicks/Harrington? I assume Williams is redshirting? Mastro seems really high on him. Thanks!

Sep 2 2015, 11:22 AM

srchat: Kind of a follow-up to the previous question, right now I really see the snaps between Wicks, Harrington and Morrow breaking up 40/30/30, respectively, with fluctuations from game-to-game depending on who's running the ball well that day. I assume Williams is redshirting, too, but I think there's about a 30% chance or so he plays.

Sep 2 2015, 11:22 AM

peep6543: Any changes to Martin since last season?

Sep 2 2015, 11:23 AM

srchat: Nah, I've been checking and I can't see anything. There may be some aesthetic Game Day changes, but no new additions to the building itself.

Sep 2 2015, 11:23 AM

Guest1723 (guest): Flor looks like he has dropped from the 2 deeps. start of last year he was battling Sorenson...whats up...like to see the Seattle/In State kids do well...and more in state recruits,

Sep 2 2015, 11:24 AM

srchat: I just don't think he's played well enough to be in the rotation. He played a little bit last year and didn't perform super well -- granted, that USC defensive line was monstrous. I think they're more disappointed that Carlos Freeman hasn't had a good preseason. He was a beast in the spring and nearly made a run at the starting position -- now they're having to teach Eduardo Middleton to snap the ball in case something happens to Sorenson.

Sep 2 2015, 11:24 AM

Guest7471 (guest): Who will be our ball hawk on defense this year?

Sep 2 2015, 11:25 AM

srchat: Shalom Luani. He really flies around back there. Also, Charleston White covers a lot of ground.

Sep 2 2015, 11:25 AM

Guest1163 (guest): Name your darkhorses on each side of the ball to really emerge this season?

Sep 2 2015, 11:25 AM

srchat: Offense: Tyler Baker. Defense: Frankie Luvu.

Sep 2 2015, 11:26 AM

WTFalk (guest): How do you suspect the air quality will be on Saturday?

Sep 2 2015, 11:26 AM

srchat: Rainy.

Sep 2 2015, 11:26 AM

Guest6298 (guest): what do you think Leach's goals are for Saturday on offense... Same Q for Grinch/D?

Sep 2 2015, 11:27 AM

srchat: Score a bunch of points and prevent many points from being scored. Sorry for the bland answer, but that's really how they think about it. I think both would love to do well enough in those regards to get the backups and the backups' backups some snaps, too.

Sep 2 2015, 11:27 AM

Guest5951 (guest): Jacob, what are your thoughts on the quarterback position....if Falk struggles the first part of the season, does he have a short leash and Leach might throw Bender in there or does he have a considerable edge over Bender?

Sep 2 2015, 11:29 AM

srchat: I think once the starter is named he will always have a considerable edge. The No. 1 QB gets way more first team reps in practice, and in the QB meetings I've watched he's usually gotten about 70% of the film attention from Leach. Obviously if Falk plays horribly they'll reevaluate the position, but I think that's what would have to happen for Bender to overtake him once the season starts.

Sep 2 2015, 11:29 AM

Guest8188 (guest): Jacob, how much/if any playing time do you see Kyle Sweet getting? Sounds like he's River Cracraft 2.0...

Sep 2 2015, 11:30 AM

srchat: Sweet had a very good freshman preseason but it wasn't enough to overtake John Thompson as the backup H. I don't think Sweet will redshirt, because I imagine he's the next man up if any of the inside receivers can't go, but he's not going to have the impact that Cracraft had as a freshman.

Sep 2 2015, 11:30 AM

Guest1723 (guest): Appears Begg is struggling to crack the 2 deep....speed ?

Sep 2 2015, 11:31 AM

srchat: Tight end. Begg plays a position that the Cougars almost never use in their offense, and I'm not sure he's good enough that it makes sense to take any of their top-8 receivers off the field. They did use Begg a bit in scrimmages, so they must see him as more than a scout tight end, but I don't think he's every going to be a huge part of the offense.

Sep 2 2015, 11:31 AM

BING (guest): Have not heard much about C.J. Dimry. He going to be a red zone got to with his height.

Sep 2 2015, 11:31 AM

srchat: You would think, but Dimry's been limited since early in camp. He's been impressive when he's played, though.

Sep 2 2015, 11:32 AM

peep6543: we have heard two of the best athletes on the team are Paris Taylor and Logan Tago, yet neither are on the 2 deeps. Where have they been playing and can we expect to see them get playing time?

Sep 2 2015, 11:33 AM

srchat: Taylor has played OK and I expect him to get snaps this year, but there are other linebackers (Frankie Luvu) who have played better. Logan Tago is a true freshman who is still acclimating to college football and life stateside, it would be a big surprise if he was already able to play.

Sep 2 2015, 11:34 AM

Guest1212 (guest): Do you see any players not on the 2 deep that could emerge and have a big year?

Sep 2 2015, 11:36 AM

srchat: Oh sure, Kyle Sweet could have still have a good season if one of the other receivers can't play. I could see a situation in which a guy like Colton Teglovic plays and does well. If Suli Hameed gets up to full strength he's still one of their better defenders, etc.

Sep 2 2015, 11:36 AM

Guest7471 (guest): What are your thoughts on the 2016 recruiting class?

Sep 2 2015, 11:37 AM

srchat: I frankly don't really put much stock in recruiting classes until about a month before signing day. Right now it's a bunch of kids that think they probably want to go to WSU. If the coaches offered them scholarships this early, before their senior years begin, then they are probably pretty good football players.

Sep 2 2015, 11:37 AM

Guest8934 (guest): Which road game are you most looking forward to covering?

Sep 2 2015, 11:38 AM

srchat: I've never been to the Rose Bowl, so I'm really looking forward to that. I also managed to book Alaska for my flight to New Jersey, so I'm looking forward to another year of MVP status haha.

Sep 2 2015, 11:38 AM

Guest6298 (guest): TO me, just as maddening as the lack of turnovers last year was the D's lack of success on preventing 3rd & Long conversions. That's almost like a defensive turnover, if you think about it. Has Grinch or anyone addressed this, or was it just a known issue that needed to be fixed?

Sep 2 2015, 11:39 AM

srchat: Ultimately, I don't think more success on third-and-long is really any different from just being a better defense. Sure, they work on that kind of situational stuff during team periods and such, but ultimately it's still just being able to make a play or tackle. Not playing Marcus Mariota will also help.

Sep 2 2015, 11:39 AM

Guest1723 (guest): On another subject...Chris Ivory is doing so well in the NFL...had a big AC for the Cougs..discipline problem at WSU.?

Sep 2 2015, 11:40 AM

srchat: Yeah, he was kicked off the team at the start of his senior season. He also missed 8 games as a junior with a hamstring injury.

Sep 2 2015, 11:40 AM

Guest1971 (guest): if game this Saturday is not a rout, should we be concerned? Anything less than 3 td margin means a lot of work to do?

Sep 2 2015, 11:40 AM

srchat: Yeah, if they can't beat the Vikings by three touchdowns then they better have a really good week of practice to beat Rutgers.

Sep 2 2015, 11:40 AM

BING (guest): Is Molton that good or is Pippens that bad?

Sep 2 2015, 11:42 AM

srchat: I thought Pippins looked pretty good all camp. Frankly, I was a little surprised Molton took his spot, although his athleticism is obvious. I can't watch film and stuff like the coaches, so I can't really tell you if Molton is a lot better at sticking to his assignments or anything like that, but it seemed to me like Pippins did a nice job of reading the quarterback and breaking on balls. If Molton is better, that's only a good thing.

Sep 2 2015, 11:42 AM

Guest1212 (guest): A lot of talk about running plays under center. What will the actual % be of plays run from under center?

Sep 2 2015, 11:42 AM

srchat: Maybe 15-20%.

Sep 2 2015, 11:42 AM

Guest1971 (guest): Do you think games against teams like this really help the program? Isn't this kind of a glorified scrimmage at full speed?

Sep 2 2015, 11:43 AM

srchat: I think getting that first win out of the way is a big deal and helps the team get in the rhythm of the season. Playing two games away from home last year, and going 0-2, certainly didn't set a good tone.

Sep 2 2015, 11:43 AM

peep6543: Of the assistant coaches on staff right now, who do you expect to get poached the soonest?

Sep 2 2015, 11:44 AM

srchat: Well, I think Joe Salave'a is the hot commodity in coaching circles, but he's already turned down USC and UW, so it's hard to see him going elsewhere unless he's offered a coordinator position. If Grinch can put together a really good defense I think he'd get some good offers after a couple years.

Sep 2 2015, 11:44 AM

srchat: Also I wouldn't be surprised to see Graham Harrell get some QB coach offers at big schools that can offer more money. I have no idea if he'd take it or want to leave Leach.

Sep 2 2015, 11:44 AM

Guest1723 (guest): Joyner at UW has been quiet...did not seem to have the hips to play DB...are the Mutts going to give a shot there.?..looks like more a Taylor Mays, SS type with straight away speed

Sep 2 2015, 11:45 AM

srchat: I haven't followed him very closely but I think he's playing cornerback?

Sep 2 2015, 11:45 AM

Guest8934 (guest): What stories are you able to share from the QB meetings you've attended?

Sep 2 2015, 11:48 AM

srchat: Well, the first one was a whole lot of law school talk. At the time, I had a close personal friend who had just gotten accepted at Harvard for her JD, so Leach was very interested and spent a lot of time talking about law school. The second time was right before the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, and the QBs were talking about where to watch it, and which offensive linemen would be best at making sure everyone chipped in for the the pay-per-view cost.

Sep 2 2015, 11:48 AM

Guest1971 (guest): Portland State? Is this some kind of payday for them? Why play the Cougs?

Sep 2 2015, 11:49 AM

srchat: This is what is referred to in the vernacular as a "bodybag game." Essentially, these small schools need the gate receipts from a big game to keep their football programs afloat. WSU is paying Portland State $525,000 for what should be an easy win.

Sep 2 2015, 11:49 AM

Guest1212 (guest): What other game are you most looking forward to this week?

Sep 2 2015, 11:51 AM

srchat: I'm really excited for Michigan @ Utah, Alabama-Wisconsin and EWU-Oregon game. I'm also curious to see how UCLA freshman QB Josh Rosen performs in his first game.

Sep 2 2015, 11:52 AM

AmsterdamCoug (guest): You've alluded to it a couple of times: Bender is pushing Falk and has more natural talent. What percentage of snaps do you think Bender is taking by game six?

Sep 2 2015, 11:52 AM

srchat: I went into this a bit earlier, but basically I think once they've picked a starter at QB they're not likely to take away his snaps unless a wholesale change is needed.

Sep 2 2015, 11:52 AM

Guest8934 (guest): Not to get ahead of ourselves, but do you see a W against Rutgers? Please show your work.

Sep 2 2015, 11:53 AM

srchat: I do not. I showed my work in this post http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/sportslink/2015/jul/28/five-predictions-wsu-football-season/

Five predictions for the WSU football season | The Spokesman-Review

Sep 2 2015, 11:53 AM

Guest1723 (guest): Will we ever see the likes of Rien Long, Trufant, Coleman, Fields, Lamont out of any of the current players on the roster ?

Sep 2 2015, 11:55 AM

srchat: Those are some pretty lofty players to aspire to. I don't think any of them are Trufant, but Charleston White looks like a potential NFL CB to me. I'm not sure he's ever going to be Rien Long, but Hercules Mata'afa is very disruptive, even when he's moved inside. I think there are a few talented guys on the defense who will make it more fun to watch than last year, but I think expecting one of the country's worst D's to have a bunch of All-American talent the next year is a tad unrealistic.

Sep 2 2015, 11:55 AM

Cougs2015 (guest): How does the secondary stack up compared to last year? Is it a completely different defense (hopefully)? Will the JC DB's (Luani, Broughton, Parker) make an immediate impact? Who is the guy we can rave about on defense this fall? I know, a lot of Q's, I'm just so pumped! Go Cougs baby!!!

Sep 2 2015, 11:56 AM

srchat: No worries, 2015, I'll try to answer them all. The secondary looks better -- it's either the same players but a year older or better players. The addition of Shalom Luani is big and if Molton is good enough to beat out Pippins, he must be better. Losing Brown hurts some but I think adding Luani makes up the difference. I think Frankie Luvu is a player to watch on defense who could grasp a starting position at some point and Hercules Mata'afa could be a fan favorite.

Sep 2 2015, 11:57 AM

Guest3862 (guest): and we thank PSU for a win. God knows we need to pay for a few more.

 

Sep 2 2015, 11:57 AM

Guest7651 (guest): I looked at the WSU schedule and think if things break well for them they could go 7-5.. C. Caple thinks the UW is a 5-7 team does that mean WSU takes Apple Cup this year?

Sep 2 2015, 11:59 AM

srchat: Christian included the Apple Cup as one of his "must wins" for the Huskies. I think he's including it as one of those five wins, but I assume he agrees with me that it's true tossup game that could go either way. It's also going to be very important for both teams, meaning we should see one of the most exciting Apple Cups in some time, especially if a bowl is on the line for one or both teams.

Sep 2 2015, 11:59 AM

Guest1212 (guest): Biggest takeaway from fall camp?

Sep 2 2015, 11:59 AM

srchat: Wide receiver group is ridiculously deep.

Sep 2 2015, 11:59 AM

Guest8188 (guest): How has Priester looked as a return man? We haven't had something who is a legitimate threat there in a long time.

Sep 2 2015, 12:00 PM

srchat: From everything I've seen, he's just what you want. He's quick, physical and plays with an edge. But we won't be able to judge the most important skill -- making the catch with a gunner about to spear you -- until game day

Sep 2 2015, 12:00 PM

ItsMe (guest): Serious question - what's the latest with the fires in the area and the smoke problem in Pullman specifically. Has there been enough cool weather and rain to put the smoke problems behind WSU?

Sep 2 2015, 12:00 PM

srchat: It's raining right now and we haven't had any air quality issues for three days. I think we're good on that front.

Sep 2 2015, 12:01 PM

Guest4016 (guest): What is the over/under on the number of night games in Pullman this year?

Sep 2 2015, 12:01 PM

srchat: We know for a fact that the PSU and Rutgers games won't be night games. I think it's fair to assume that the other 10 will be.

Sep 2 2015, 12:03 PM

Guest3790 (guest): Could you find out if former Coug Will Derting and his family have been impacted by the fires

Sep 2 2015, 12:03 PM

srchat: I can try. I don't have a relationship with the Dertings, though, and he's notoriously hard to get ahold of.

Sep 2 2015, 12:04 PM

srchat: Well, that wraps up our live chat. Thanks for all the good questions, everybody. We'll hold another live chat at 10 a.m. on Saturday -- one hour before kickoff -- and you can always ask me what's going on on Twitter @JacobThorpeSR.

Sep 2 2015, 12:07 PM

srchat: And the transcript will be posted shortly.

 



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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