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WSU live chat (transcript)

Mar 30 2016, 11:09 AM

srchat: Hey, Jacob Thorpe here. WSU has held its first three spring practices and we're starting to get a sense for what the team will look like next season. Got any questions? Fire away.


Mar 30 2016, 11:13 AM

JChilders: Has Harrington been attending practice?


Mar 30 2016, 11:13 AM

srchat: Running back Keith Harrington has been attending practice, as has safety Isaac Dotson. They're both still firmly members of the team.


Mar 30 2016, 11:13 AM

Guest9648 (guest): What are the top few positions to watch this Spring? Also, The rush LB seemed to be a particular area for concern after departures. Who are the candidates for stepping up there, and what are your thoughts on how that will shape up?


Mar 30 2016, 11:16 AM

srchat: The outside linebacker positions, the strong safety position and the left side of the offensive line are where the team is seeing some turnover. At rush linebacker Dylan Hanser and Nnamdi Oguayo are the two leading candidates; I wrote about that position battle in this story:


Hanser and Oguayo battle for rush linebacker job at Washington State | The Spokesman-Review

Mar 30 2016, 11:18 AM

SDCougar (guest): Is Kam Powell in the mix for the 2 Deep at Safety? He was a highly regarded recruit coming out of HS, but seems like there hasn't been any peep about him as of yet.


Mar 30 2016, 11:20 AM

srchat: Powell has been with the scout team so far, but I wouldn't be shocked to see them take a look at him in the two deeps sooner or later. For now, Hunter Dale appears to be the safety they really like from that class, and Charleston White and Jalen Thompson are getting the majority of the snaps beside Luani.


Mar 30 2016, 11:20 AM

Guest9648 (guest): Thoughts on Calvin Green(e?)?


Mar 30 2016, 11:21 AM

srchat: I expected to see him playing more with the first and second unit since he started the Sun Bowl, but it's been primarily Parker Henry and Kirkland Parker from what I've seen. Green is obviously a guy they want to get on the field, however, given the position switches and the playing time he's gotten at multiple positions.


Mar 30 2016, 11:23 AM

Guest9648 (guest): Hilinski v. Bender?


Mar 30 2016, 11:24 AM

srchat: I'd give the edge to Bender. He threw really well yesterday.


Mar 30 2016, 11:25 AM

SDCougar (guest): Obviously still early and dealing with departures, but does the Defense seem to be playing with the same attitude as they did last year. Do you see them as a force to be reckoned with as they were last year? Or do you see them taking a small step back?


Mar 30 2016, 11:27 AM

srchat: I would expect the defense to improve by virtue of having another year in Grinch's system. Now, it's possible that the defense that takes the field against EWU isn't going to be playing at quite the same level as the defense that held Miami to 14 points. But the defense really wasn't all that good until about midway through the year. There will still be a learning curve, but with so many returnees it should not be too bad.


Mar 30 2016, 11:28 AM

srchat: To go into some more depth: They lose some good defensive linemen, but the maturation of players like Hercules Mata'afa should make up for that in my book. I do expect a drop-off initially at Rush linebacker. But I also expect the CB play to be the best its been in years. And though the linebackers lost some experience with Allison; the replacements are bigger/faster.


Mar 30 2016, 11:28 AM

JChilders: Of the early enrollees, who has impressed you the most?


Mar 30 2016, 11:29 AM

srchat: Jalen Thompson has been really good. He's got great instincts and has been around the ball quite a bit. He looks like he needs a little more muscle for the season, but I've also heard he was really impressive in the weight room so he should be able to do that this offseason. Physically, Isaiah Johnson looks as ready to play as a freshman receiver I've seen since (don't get mad) Kasen Williams.


Mar 30 2016, 11:30 AM

Guest9648 (guest): Priester has been a bit of a roller coaster for us. First, unreasonable hype, then a bit of a letdown, and now a lot of hope for this year. Do you see him growing into his talent and stepping up this year?


Mar 30 2016, 11:31 AM

srchat: Hard to say, because it's been a bit of a roller coaster spring for Priester, with head-scractching drops and really nice touchdowns. I do think moving him inside will make it easier for his talent to manifest himself because there isn't quite as much pressure to get open; he can run a quick route and get the ball in his hands instead of having to break down a defensive back and make a play.


Mar 30 2016, 11:31 AM

Guest9648 (guest): Does James Williams really bring anything to the running back table that wasn't already there with the other three? In other words, will he beat out the experienced guys for many snaps this year?


Mar 30 2016, 11:32 AM

srchat: Just because their skillsets are similar doesn't mean he can't beat out a more experienced player if his skill level is higher. I'd say he blends their skillsets. Think of him as a shiftier Wicks or a bigger, more powerful Morrow.


Mar 30 2016, 11:33 AM

Guest9648 (guest): true or false: the Cougs will have the best offense in the Pac12 this year.


Mar 30 2016, 11:34 AM

srchat: True. Oregon and Stanford are both replacing QBs, UCLA loses some offensive talent and I don't think Arizona has the pieces to keep up with the top teams.


Mar 30 2016, 11:35 AM

Guest9648 (guest): good. excellent. goood.


Mar 30 2016, 11:37 AM

SDCougar (guest): Any chance Jeremiah Mitchell makes an impact this year? You hope the Juco guys can plug in and contribute, but seemed like he rarely was on the field last year.


Mar 30 2016, 11:38 AM

srchat: There's always a chance, but I don't think Mitchell really fits want Grinch wants to do defensively. He's been solid in run support, but may not have the speed Grinch seeks from that spot. They do need DEs, though, so it will be interesting if he or perhaps Garrett McBroom can rise in the depth.


Mar 30 2016, 11:38 AM

Guest9648 (guest): Does Leniu have the speed to keep up at LB? Would you guess he ends up at DL?


Mar 30 2016, 11:39 AM

srchat: I don't see him switching positions, but I do think they'd like him to lose some weight so he can get faster.


Mar 30 2016, 11:39 AM

SDCougar (guest): Gabe Marks, still un-coverable ?


Mar 30 2016, 11:39 AM

srchat: Marks is having a good spring, yes.


Mar 30 2016, 11:42 AM

Guest9648 (guest): Odds for Cougs getting to the rose bowl this year


Mar 30 2016, 11:43 AM

srchat: Couldn't find any, but Vegas has 250/1 for winning the national championship.


Mar 30 2016, 11:43 AM

Guest715 (guest): How's deionized singleton doing?what position is he playing now and do u think he will get playing time this coming season?


Mar 30 2016, 11:44 AM

srchat: He's playing backup cornerback and playing well. I don't expect him to beat out Molton or Pippins, but that's fine, he should get good reps as a redshirt freshman. Also, "Deionized" Singleton is a great nickname.


Mar 30 2016, 11:44 AM

SDCougar (guest): Any improvements in Falks game? He was pretty stellar last year, but seemed to take a few games to get into rhythm. Does he look more refined to you or much of what you've seen (which isn't a bad thing)?


Mar 30 2016, 11:45 AM

srchat: Honestly, that's not something you're going to pick up in spring unless he starts regularly running for 40-yards. He looks very solid and in control, he makes the right reads, etc., but again it's practice. If there's anything I've noticed, it's that he seems very secure in his role and in command of the offense.


Mar 30 2016, 11:46 AM

Bullmoos9 (guest): Justus Rogers has been playing QB how's he looked? Do you think his long term position might be on the defensive side or are they committed to him at QB?


Mar 30 2016, 11:46 AM

srchat: He's thrown some good balls, and a couple real ducks. It's early so they haven't given him too many reps just yet. I think they're going to give him a real opportunity to make it at QB, but would not be all that shocked if he gets moved.


Mar 30 2016, 11:46 AM

Guest7690 (guest): Dion Singleton was one of the best recruits in recent years, how is he looking?


Mar 30 2016, 11:47 AM

srchat: See above.


Mar 30 2016, 11:47 AM

Guest1854 (guest): Anyone noticeably healthier? What I mean is, someone who has been playing a lot fast/stronger and a lightbulb goes off and causes you to say, "Oh, THAT's probably what was wrong with him, he was hurting pretty bad at the end of the year" (and yes, I know with WSU injureis and reporting thereof is always tricky business)


Mar 30 2016, 11:48 AM

srchat: Hmmm, that's a good question. I think more what I'm seeing is guys who are definitely in better shape. Ngalu Tapa is moving around better; Shalom Luani and Kaleb Fossum look like they've put on some muscle. They're definitely seeing the benefits of a good winter weightlifting session.


Mar 30 2016, 11:52 AM

Guest1854 (guest): Falk was so good last year, it's hard for the novice to say what he needs to improve on... However, Leach is not a novice. What are the areas he has said he'd like to see improvement from Falk?


Mar 30 2016, 11:52 AM

srchat: Leach is neither a novice, nor someone who regularly goes into much detail on questions like that beyond "decision making" "play faster" etc.


Mar 30 2016, 11:52 AM

wsucougarbill: I heard that you put on 10lbs of muscle during the offseason, true?


Mar 30 2016, 11:52 AM

srchat: Yes, and improved my vertical leap by at least as many millimeters.


Mar 30 2016, 11:54 AM

wsucougarbill: Great, now you are more capable of jumping to conclusions!!


Mar 30 2016, 11:55 AM

srchat: (snare drum)


Mar 30 2016, 11:55 AM

Guest715 (guest): Who do u think will be leachs guy in the both?it seems like a vital position to play calling during game time


Mar 30 2016, 11:55 AM

srchat: I expect Dave Nichol, the new outside receivers coach, will be up in the booth.


Mar 30 2016, 11:55 AM

SDCougar (guest): Totally Way-to-early Prediction: Cougars end the season with a record of _______ with a major upset/loss against ______.


Mar 30 2016, 11:56 AM

srchat: 10-3 with a major upset against Stanford and a major loss to Boise State.


Mar 30 2016, 11:56 AM

Guest9648 (guest): How long until the coaches take you off the bench and put you in the game? What position are they likely to have you step in at?


Mar 30 2016, 11:57 AM

srchat: They'll call on me when the NCAA finally recognizes tackling dummy as a legitimate, on-field position. I look forward to the free meals now afforded to walk-ons.


Mar 30 2016, 12:00 PM

Guest9453 (guest): How does the special teams look this spring?


Mar 30 2016, 12:01 PM

srchat: They've put in a lot of special teams work, but so far it's only been individual drills. There's been a lot of emphasis, though.


Mar 30 2016, 12:01 PM

SDCougar (guest): Only allowed to eat at one place in Pullman, where is it?


Mar 30 2016, 12:02 PM

srchat: The first meal I ever had in Pullman was a catfish po'boy at Birch and Barley, and it remains my favorite spot. Runners-up are the lamb sliders at South Fork and the carbonara at Black Cypress.

Mar 30 2016, 12:04 PM

srchat: Alright, this seems like a good stopping place. Thanks for joining our live chat, everybody. I'll get the full transcript 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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