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WSU football chat (transcript)

Aug 10 2016, 10:32 AM

srchat: Our live chat begins at 10 a.m., but you can jump the queue and submit questions right now.

Aug 10 2016, 10:59 AM

srchat: Hey everybody, thanks for joining our first football chat of the year. Let's get start.

Aug 10 2016, 10:59 AM

Guest4270 (guest): Not sure the starting time is...any idea why Priester left, will Dylan start ?...

Aug 10 2016, 11:00 AM

srchat: I don't get the impression there was any one event that caused Priester to leave. More just general friction with the coaching staff that eventually led to a parting of ways. I expect Dylan Hanser will start at Rush linebacker, yes.

Aug 10 2016, 11:00 AM

SnoCoug: Was GM at practice yesterday?

Aug 10 2016, 11:00 AM

Guest6421 (guest): Obligatory what can you tell us about Gabe Marks question

Aug 10 2016, 11:01 AM

srchat: Gabe Marks was one of many Cougars who were happily in attendance at the football field adjacent to Sacajawea Middle School in Lewiston, Idaho.

Aug 10 2016, 11:01 AM

MTcoug (guest): Are we totally screwed on the defensive front? I can imagine us getting steamrolled up front against Stanford.

Aug 10 2016, 11:01 AM

Guest832 (guest): In my opinion, DL depth is our biggest issue and the only 1 thing that scares me about this team. Aside from Robert Barber, Ekuale, and Hercules, we have a bunch of question marks. Losing guys like Destiny, Paulo, McLennan, and Palacio will hurt more than we might expect. Thoughts?

Aug 10 2016, 11:03 AM

srchat: I think WSU's starting defensive line is pretty good. Hercules Mata'afa has a chance at an All-Conference season, Daniel Ekuale is a solid, experienced player and Robert Barber had a great spring. However, depth is a concern, particularly behind Barber. The Cougars have had a hard time recruiting nose tackle body types (a rare athlete regardless).

Aug 10 2016, 11:03 AM

cubsfan7331: I know its very early but, if he's even out there, how is transfer Anthony Gordon looking?

Aug 10 2016, 11:05 AM

srchat: Typically, a team brings in Juco players thinking they can play right away, but I currently expect Gordon to redshirt. If the Cougars were to need a third QB, right now I would expect them to use walk-on Christian Jorgensen, because I get the impression Gordon is a ways from being ready.

Aug 10 2016, 11:05 AM

jonthecoug: What's the rotation at dline looking like? Barber still at end?

Aug 10 2016, 11:06 AM

srchat: There has been some movement in practice to see different formations, create depth, etc. But I'd still expect to see Barber in the middle during the base defense on game day.

Aug 10 2016, 11:06 AM

Guest4270 (guest): So how do the new qb's look ?...

Aug 10 2016, 11:07 AM

srchat: They have not done a whole lot, and most are walk-ons. Trey Tinsley looks a little better than the average walk-on, kind of like Jorgensen. Gordon is a little behind where they had hoped he would be, like I said earlier.

Aug 10 2016, 11:07 AM

Sid (guest): How much has Cody improved on the O line?

Aug 10 2016, 11:09 AM

srchat: As far as pure improvement goes it's a little difficult to say, just because he was limited so much his first year or so. But he's really surprised me with how athletic he is at 6-8, 350 or so, and he's an eager blocker past the first level. When the big guy was always limited I didn't know that I saw him as a major contributor, but now he looks like a multi-year starter.

Aug 10 2016, 11:09 AM

Guest8109 (guest): No way the team comes out flat in the season opener two years in a row, right?

Aug 10 2016, 11:10 AM

srchat: It's certainly hard to see them not taking EWU seriously. But even if they don't come out flat Cooper Kupp is going to be a challenge.

Aug 10 2016, 11:10 AM

Guest832 (guest): What is Fall Camp like for you? Do you get to spend any time with the players outside of practice?

Aug 10 2016, 11:12 AM

srchat: Fall camp is nice because (except for yesterday) we get to watch practice from a closer viewpoint than the rest of the season, and interact more with coaches and staffers on the sidelines. We also get more access to players, both after practice and occasionally more in-depth interviews at the dorms. Also, KC's Burgers and Brews (owned by some WSU radio techs) is fantastic.

Aug 10 2016, 11:12 AM

Guest1179 (guest): At this point, which offensive lineman would be first off the bench if an injury were to occur?

Aug 10 2016, 11:13 AM

srchat: Depends on the position, but probably B.J. Salmonson.

Aug 10 2016, 11:14 AM

Guest120 (guest): I know it is early, but who are the true freshman playing themselves out of a redshirt?

Aug 10 2016, 11:15 AM

srchat: Right now it looks like Isaiah Johnson, Dezmon Patmon, Jalen Thompson and Marcus Strong will play this year for sure. I could also see Grant Porter possibly playing.

Aug 10 2016, 11:16 AM

Guest7846 (guest): What about Danny Bender? His HS film looked amazing. Has he done anything of note in practices yet?

Aug 10 2016, 11:16 AM

srchat: Not really, but it's pretty early for a young defensive lineman to get many opportunities.

Aug 10 2016, 11:17 AM

Guest832 (guest): How long do you envision CML coaching for?

Aug 10 2016, 11:18 AM

srchat: I could see another 10-15 years. He's only 55.

Aug 10 2016, 11:18 AM

cubsfan7331: Any word on what access you will have today related to post practice. Would love to get Coach Shephard's take on the IR's.

Aug 10 2016, 11:18 AM

srchat: We've been told interviews will resume today.

Aug 10 2016, 11:18 AM

Sid (guest): If the defense is even better this year than last do you see Grinch moving on?

Aug 10 2016, 11:19 AM

srchat: I would think he's still another year or so from a really, really good offer that would lure him away. But if the WSU defense is excellent and the Cougars have a big year, it's possible. I'm not sure what if any college jobs would be more attractive to Grinch, but I could see him relishing the chance to coach in the NFL.

Aug 10 2016, 11:20 AM

Guest4270 (guest): how do the other qb's look ?

Aug 10 2016, 11:20 AM

srchat: Falk has looked good. Tyler Hilinski has had very good days, and a couple days where he still throws the ball at defenders too often.

Aug 10 2016, 11:20 AM

ItsMe (guest): It seems to me Leach has been looser with the media during camp in years past. You used to be able to post video clips of practice highlights and mention the occasional (alleged) injury. I understand that all stopped once they left Lewiston and started game prep. But with yesterday's move to cancel interviews (thanks to Stephanie Loh just doing her job) it seems Leach is tightening the reins even more.

Aug 10 2016, 11:23 AM

srchat: I think for the most part Leach has consistently been looser with the media as the team has gotten better and he's gotten more comfortable with the media members. I've certainly had more opportunities in the last year or so to attend team meetings, hang out with coaches in their offices, etc. But, as you saw yesterday, Leach still has red lines and will enforce them. Just a situation where Stefanie doing her job well conflicts with what Leach feels is in his team's best interest, a friction that is bound to

Aug 10 2016, 11:23 AM

srchat: occur occasionally.

Aug 10 2016, 11:23 AM

Guest4270 (guest): so the pros love hand size , how big are falks ?...Bledose has huge paws !

Aug 10 2016, 11:23 AM

srchat: I honestly have no idea how big his hands are. I'm also probably not going to ask.

Aug 10 2016, 11:24 AM

Guest4270 (guest): just kidding !...

Aug 10 2016, 11:24 AM

jonthecoug: How do you see the running back rotation shaping up? Any chance Harrington goes back to WR?

Aug 10 2016, 11:25 AM

srchat: I think Jamal Morrow and James Williams will end up being the primary backs, with Gerard Wicks also getting carries. Wicks had a good run yesterday, but hasn't had the dominant camp he had last season. I think Williams will get progressively more snaps as the season goes on.

Aug 10 2016, 11:26 AM

srchat: Leach did allude to the possibility of moving a RB to WR, and if Harrington is the fourth RB it would make sense, particularly since he played WR. But ultimately I think they'll choose to just keep four at WR and have one as depth until he's needed because of injury, suspension, whatever.

Aug 10 2016, 11:26 AM

Guest9844 (guest): Just joined, sorry if this has been asked. Which of the incoming FR WR's look most impressive and do you see getting PT this season.

Aug 10 2016, 11:27 AM

srchat: Isaiah Johnson is the furthest along, which makes sense because he participated in spring ball. But Dezmon Patmon isn't far behind, and might have made a greater number of big plays. I think both will play.

Aug 10 2016, 11:28 AM

cubsfan7331: How's Pippins fall camp going?

Aug 10 2016, 11:29 AM

srchat: Well, Pippins has played well but Treshon Broughton has played very well, and right now it looks like Broughton will start. But Pippins seems like he's handled possibly becoming a backup well and continues to compete.

Aug 10 2016, 11:29 AM

MTcoug (guest): After seeing this team in fall camp for a few practices, would you adjust your pre-camp assessment of the Cougars in the win/loss column? What has suprised you most so far?

Aug 10 2016, 11:31 AM

srchat: Not really, but I was pretty bullish on the Cougars at the start of camp (I picked them 2nd in the Pac-12 North). My opinion is that the team is very good but lacks depth at key positions. A healthy WSU probably has a floor of 7 wins and could win 10 or even more. But if Luke Falk or maybe Robert Barber were unavailable, things could get very hairy.

Aug 10 2016, 11:31 AM

Guest4270 (guest): Per my prediction at the beginning of last year Falk was going to win games with his feet by keep plays alive, hence the last minute TD's veruse Connor running out of the pocket, he seemed to take a lot of hits because of this...so do you see more protection in the backfield especially with the loss of dahl ?

Aug 10 2016, 11:32 AM

srchat: Oh good, you're back. Please continue to remind us of your prediction every week for another year. It's a fair prediction to think they might keep an RB back to block on the left side initially after losing Dahl and Eklund. I have not noticed it, but perhaps they will.

Aug 10 2016, 11:32 AM

Guest8109 (guest): Predictions on breakout players this year? Offense and defense.

Aug 10 2016, 11:33 AM

srchat: Offense: Tavares Martin and James Williams.

Aug 10 2016, 11:33 AM

srchat: Defense: Jalen Thompson and Frankie Luvu.

Aug 10 2016, 11:33 AM

Guest9844 (guest): Seems like a lot of guys are piled up at the WIL position (Luva, Taylor, Chima, DeRider, Dotson). Which of these guys do you see getting the majority of PT? Any of these guys have potential to move to MIK or Nickel?

Aug 10 2016, 11:34 AM

srchat: Luvu is currently the starter, but I could actually see him sliding to Mike if Pelluer was unavailable. I could also see Dotson making that transition. Paris Taylor will probably get some action.

Aug 10 2016, 11:34 AM

cubsfan7331: RCC seems to be a pipeline to WSU. I know you spoke of Treshon and how he's doing but what about Mitchell (DL) and Hoyd (LB), getting any reps? on another note how's Porter (LB) doing?

Aug 10 2016, 11:35 AM

srchat: I'm not sure I see Mitchell or Hoyd playing much this year. Porter has done OK, I think he's getting better in pass coverage.

Aug 10 2016, 11:38 AM

Guest4270 (guest): actually Jacob last year was the first year ! and yes it was spot on...3-4 additional wins...

Aug 10 2016, 11:38 AM

Sid (guest): What difference if any have you seen in Falk this year compared to last?

Aug 10 2016, 11:40 AM

srchat: Well he's gained about five pounds. Other than that, not a whole lot has changed since spring. He also doesn't seem as upset after bad plays as he did last year. Basically he seems more established and poised throughout practice. It's a change I noticed in Halliday after his first year as a full-time starter, too.

Aug 10 2016, 11:41 AM

Guest5929 (guest): Who looks bigger in person: Cody or Christian Haanga (sp)?

Aug 10 2016, 11:41 AM

srchat: Cody. Haangana is actually about 25 pounds heavier, but O'Connell has a mountain's frame.

Aug 10 2016, 11:41 AM

Guest6062 (guest): Falk any bigger this year at the beginning of camp?

Aug 10 2016, 11:41 AM

srchat: Not visibly, but he's supposed to have gained about five pounds.

Aug 10 2016, 11:43 AM

jonthecoug: Hey, how about that men's basketball team. 2-0 in Italy. The turnaround starts now!

Aug 10 2016, 11:43 AM

srchat: Interesting that true freshman Malachi Flynn is playing so much, and appears to be such a good passer.

Aug 10 2016, 11:43 AM

cubsfan7331: Same media faces at camp or have others started to show up based on Cougs finish last year?

Aug 10 2016, 11:44 AM

srchat: Same faces, though I think we're getting some satellite radio guys this week.

Aug 10 2016, 11:44 AM

Guest220 (guest): What is the situation with McBroom, I heard he hasn't been at practice?

Aug 10 2016, 11:44 AM

srchat: I think McBroom is taking care of some personal business. I expect him to show up soon.

Aug 10 2016, 11:44 AM

ItsMe (guest): Do you notice a larger media contingent around camp this season after last year's success and raised expectations for this season?

Aug 10 2016, 11:44 AM

srchat: No, but most national outlets that want a story on the Cougars will probably wait until they're back in Pullman.

Aug 10 2016, 11:45 AM

Guest5813 (guest): ho is going to be the surprise team in the pac 12?

Aug 10 2016, 11:46 AM

srchat: Seems like folks are down on Oregon, but it wouldn't take that much for the Ducks to reel off double-digit wins. In the South I could see Colorado finally starting to show signs of life.

Aug 10 2016, 11:46 AM

Guest832 (guest): Why did Roy Manning leave Michigan (his alma mater) to coach in Pullman? He seems like an awesome coach to play for who gets the most out of his players.

Aug 10 2016, 11:48 AM

srchat: Manning was a popular coach at Michigan who had a reputation among the fans for being a good recruiter. But, like the rest of Brady Hoke's staff, he was a casualty of the program not winning enough games.

Aug 10 2016, 11:48 AM

Sid (guest): Anything stand out good or bad with special teams?

Aug 10 2016, 11:48 AM

srchat: James Williams and Tavares Martin should be a pretty potent KR duo. Powell has basically made everything and the coaches seem to think he'll have a big season.

Aug 10 2016, 11:49 AM

Guest4270 (guest): where is hoops coug these days...years ago and early in Baynes cougar career he said Baynes would be just a spot player in college...wow !....always wondred why he did not see more looks at wsu..

Aug 10 2016, 11:49 AM

srchat: Hoops Coug, where you at?

Aug 10 2016, 11:49 AM

Guest5929 (guest): Blink once if you think any 5th year senior WRs are in jeopardy of missing significant time this season. Blink twice if instead us fans should be able to sleep easy at night.

Aug 10 2016, 11:49 AM

srchat: Ok. Did you see it/them?

Aug 10 2016, 11:49 AM

Guest220 (guest): How big is the drop off between Robert Barber and Tapa? How does the depth of the D-Line look?

Aug 10 2016, 11:50 AM

srchat: For a single play or two, not necessarily a huge dropoff. But it's hard to get conditioned nose tackles, and it's important to have depth (even running on and off the field can be a workout against a team with a quick tempo). If Tapa was all WSU had in the middle I think the Cougars would be in trouble.

Aug 10 2016, 11:50 AM

Guest9908 (guest): What do we need to do against Stanford this year?

Aug 10 2016, 11:51 AM

srchat: Hold Christian McCaffrey in check.

Aug 10 2016, 11:51 AM

Guest832 (guest): Cracraft going to make it in the NFL? I swear it was just last year when he showed up as a true freshman and won a starting job. Loved watched him over the years and hope he stays healthy this season!

Aug 10 2016, 11:52 AM

srchat: You know, I really don't know. He seems to share all the other qualities of the Leach receivers who supposedly weren't going to make it in the NFL but did. But, he's not going to be some NFL combine hero. I expect he'll be yet another who surprises people by having a professional career.

Aug 10 2016, 11:53 AM

Guest5454 (guest): Hey Jacob--great job so far this year! If you had a vote in the AP Poll--and i wish you did--how would you rank the Pac-12 North Contenders.

Aug 10 2016, 11:54 AM

srchat: Well, in the Pac-12 Media poll I went 1. Stanford 2. WSU 3. UW 4. Oregon 5. Cal and 6. OSU. If I was voting in the AP poll I'd probably have Stanford in the top-10, UW and WSU each around No. 20 and Oregon No. 25

Aug 10 2016, 11:54 AM

Guest8109 (guest): Road trip that you're looking forward to most this year is?

Aug 10 2016, 11:55 AM

srchat: Boise State. I've also never covered a football game in Colorado, but I've been to Boulder for basketball. So while I'm looking forward to seeing Colorado's stadium and hanging out in Boulder, the allure of Boise and the Blue Turf is going to win the day.

Aug 10 2016, 11:55 AM

bigskycoug: Has Kirkland Parker solidified his spot as the #2 Nickel? Anyone else in play here?

Aug 10 2016, 11:55 AM

srchat: Kirkland Parker has had a good camp and right now I don't see anyone else doing a whole lot to take it from him. But there's a lot of DB depth and a lot of talented guys who could play nickel.

Aug 10 2016, 11:55 AM

Guest3763 (guest): What to watch for in the EWU game?

Aug 10 2016, 11:56 AM

srchat: Cooper Kupp vs. The World

Aug 10 2016, 11:56 AM

Guest220 (guest): I was pretty high on Kameron Powell being that he was a 4 star commit, havent heard much from him?

 

Aug 10 2016, 11:56 AM

srchat: He's still on scout team. Hunter Dale is ahead of him in terms of safety types from that recruiting class.

Aug 10 2016, 11:56 AM

Guest4222 (guest): Is CJ dimry able to make the type of plays he made in the first day of camp?or have the DBs figured out how to cover him?

Aug 10 2016, 11:57 AM

srchat: That will be the question of camp. While Dimry still makes some plays with his size and athleticism, once the pads came on the DBs started having more success breaking up passes to the big receiver.

Aug 10 2016, 11:57 AM

Guest4270 (guest): where does Harrington fit in ?

Aug 10 2016, 11:57 AM

srchat: Right now he appears to be the fourth running back. Whether that stays true, and whether or a not a position switch is necessitated, remains to be seen.

Aug 10 2016, 11:57 AM

Guest4270 (guest): and how does leach view guys who show up to camp late

Aug 10 2016, 11:58 AM

srchat: I'm sure he's fine with it if they have a good reason.

Aug 10 2016, 11:58 AM

Guest220 (guest): Who is the most talented player on the team in your opinion?

Aug 10 2016, 11:58 AM

srchat: Hercules Mata'afa

Aug 10 2016, 11:58 AM

Guest3763 (guest): Cougs lose to EWU is it a bigger downer than the PSU loss last year?

Aug 10 2016, 11:59 AM

srchat: No. My recollection is that the WSU fanbase effectively self-immolated for a week. This year, having seen what happened last year, I imagine WSU fans would handle things a little better.

Aug 10 2016, 11:59 AM

ItsMe (guest): You've been very lucky with the weather in Lewiston so far this year. Looks like that's about to change!

Aug 10 2016, 12:00 PM

srchat: I didn't feel very lucky sitting in the rain yesterday. But I bet the folks in Lewiston are glad to be rid of last year's fires.

Aug 10 2016, 12:00 PM

Guest4270 (guest): 7, 8 0r 9 wine season ?

Aug 10 2016, 12:00 PM

srchat: I think 9, but WSU fans should still be happy with a seven win season if that's what happens.

Aug 10 2016, 12:00 PM

Guest3763 (guest): Cougs better on turf or grass?

Aug 10 2016, 12:01 PM

srchat: Turf, although I tend to think any advantages gained or given by playing on one surface or the other are pretty overrated. Both teams have to do it.

Aug 10 2016, 12:07 PM

Guest3763 (guest): Love the chat, even became a subscriber this year.

Aug 10 2016, 12:07 PM

srchat: Thanks for subscribing! And thanks to everyone who joined our live chat. We're out of time now, but we'll be back at it next week.

Aug 10 2016, 12:08 PM

srchat: A full transcript of the chat will be available 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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