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WSU football chat (transcript)

Oct 12 2016, 11:02 AM

srchat: Welcome, everybody. We've already got lots of questions, so let's get started.

Oct 12 2016, 11:02 AM

Guest4114 (guest): How big is losing Logan Tago? I know he was passed up on the depth chart for a short while, seemed to have a good game against Stanford, but should fans be sweating like a heavy kid in a hot yoga class?

Oct 12 2016, 11:03 AM

srchat: How fans choose to sweat is their own business, but yes losing Tago is a significant blow to the depth. It's good that Dylan Hanser has started to play come on in recent weeks. Also, Grinch has proven to be pretty creative and capable at moving guys to different positions and putting them in positions to be successful.

Oct 12 2016, 11:03 AM

Guest2663 (guest): Hello, do you have any thoughts about how the WSU front 7 transformed their play in the first two games into what we're seeing in the last two games?

Oct 12 2016, 11:06 AM

srchat: I do. For one, I think you are seeing a group that is starting to play a lot faster and more instinctually. They've been much more decisive of late.

Oct 12 2016, 11:06 AM

srchat: Also, I think Garrett McBroom has made a really big impact by shoring up the depth at defensive line. Not only is he playing well, he's sent a former starter to the bench, meaning now the team can sub liberally on the defensive line and still feel like they have quality players in.

Oct 12 2016, 11:06 AM

Guest8211 (guest): Who will be stepping in for Tago? How do their skill sets differ from Tago. Is depth a concern now?

Oct 12 2016, 11:07 AM

srchat: Dylan Hanser has started three games at rush, while Tago started the opener and Stanford games. While Tago is more laterally quick, Hanser is still a very good athlete and he's very, very fast in a straight line. Depth is a concern, at least until we figure out how Alex Grinch will adjust the defense.

Oct 12 2016, 11:07 AM

CougSchroed (guest): Great job as always, Jacob! Any word on the timing of the decision of Barber's appeal?

Oct 12 2016, 11:08 AM

srchat: Thanks, Shredder. The decision is likely to come down any day. However, while the WSU appeals website lists a five-day period once the appeal is made before a decision, we have also heard recently that a 10-day period can also be used. So it might be a bit longer. Or, it might not.

Oct 12 2016, 11:08 AM

rharkins63: Best place to buy inexpensive rain gear in the Pullman/Moscow area?

Oct 12 2016, 11:09 AM

srchat: I like Tri-State over in Moscow. It's a good outdoorsman's store. Some of their stuff will be high quality and expensive, but I'm sure they also have lots of cheap ponchos and coats.

Oct 12 2016, 11:09 AM

cubsfan7331: Stanford crowd was the most polite I have ever seen and leaving was a breeze. With Tago out

Oct 12 2016, 11:09 AM

Sid (guest): Is there a rift starting between Leach and "the boss"?

Oct 12 2016, 11:09 AM

srchat: Neither have mentioned one to me.

Oct 12 2016, 11:09 AM

jonthecoug: Who will back up Hanser now at RLB?

Oct 12 2016, 11:10 AM

srchat: That's what we'll be monitoring. Will be interesting to see.

Oct 12 2016, 11:10 AM

RealCougSchroed (guest): Bigger loss: Tago or Barber (if it happens)?

Oct 12 2016, 11:10 AM

srchat: Few players on the team would be bigger losses than Barber.

Oct 12 2016, 11:10 AM

Jeremy Brown: There's a pretty nasty rumor going around regarding Connor Neville's recent suspension. Have you heard anything?

Oct 12 2016, 11:10 AM

srchat: I've seen the rumors but certainly nothing I'm comfortable reporting, even here.

Oct 12 2016, 11:11 AM

Guest8340 (guest): Great game for the Cougs an Luke. On TV the 2 QB's for Stanford looked like guys from Hollywood central casting. Falk looks like Joe blow off the street. Great game for Luke.

Oct 12 2016, 11:11 AM

srchat: As Mike Leach would say, they were "big ol' quarterback-looking guys."

Oct 12 2016, 11:11 AM

Guest7574 (guest): Do you see the QBs practicing with a wet ball at all? I'

Oct 12 2016, 11:12 AM

srchat: I've never seen them spray down a ball or anything. But it rains pretty often in Pullman, and is supposed to tomorrow and Friday, so Falk will have plenty of pregame practice with one.

Oct 12 2016, 11:12 AM

Sid (guest): Frankie really stood out to me in the Stanford game. Is he playing better of late?

Oct 12 2016, 11:12 AM

srchat: Yes, he's been in on more tackles in recent games. And when he hits, the ball carrier feels it.

Oct 12 2016, 11:12 AM

Guest3100 (guest): What's with all of the recent recruiting de-commits, we have lost almost all of our best recruits!

Oct 12 2016, 11:13 AM

srchat: The whole concept of a "commit" before, say, December is kind of ridiculous. At this point, it's basically a norm for kids to commit and then continue taking visits and being recruited. It's best just not to think of most committed players as members of the signing class this early, rather simply guys who have listed WSU as their current favorite.

Oct 12 2016, 11:14 AM

srchat: That said, the NCAA is probably going to adopt an early signing period. It will be interesting to see what that does in terms of early commitments.

Oct 12 2016, 11:14 AM

CougSchroed (guest): who is playing the other safety spot when luani is at nickel? jalen thompson and??? is it charleston white they put in there?

Oct 12 2016, 11:15 AM

srchat: Robert Taylor has been starting at free safety when Shalom Luani plays nickel.

Oct 12 2016, 11:15 AM

Guest8340 (guest): Economics of Football in Pullman. With PAC 12 network money not as much as expected, Martin stadium 38k capacity? are games in Pullman money losers? What is break even? Ask AD and post next week?

Oct 12 2016, 11:15 AM

srchat: Interesting questions.

Oct 12 2016, 11:15 AM

Guest3100 (guest): What is the ceiling for the basketball team this year in Pac 12 wins, 2-4 wins?

Oct 12 2016, 11:16 AM

srchat: In basketball, a ceiling is always pretty high. Teams can catch fire and get into a rhythm and become super tough to beat. There's a universe out there where last year's team wins 8 conference games. But a realistic expectation is probably that they win five or six games and show a more cohesive offensive and defensive identity as a program.

Oct 12 2016, 11:17 AM

Guest8340 (guest): Is the early signing proposal another sign that the NCAA caves in to the powerhouse teams?

Oct 12 2016, 11:17 AM

srchat: I'm not sure the early signing period will actually benefit the top teams. It will force everybody to evaluate and sign kids earlier, meaning more players and especially late bloomers slip through to the smaller schools.

Oct 12 2016, 11:17 AM

Sid (guest): River finally healthy or why the return to form?

Oct 12 2016, 11:18 AM

srchat: Sounds like he just needed to get his mind right. I don't mean that to say he's some anxious person or a nervous wreck. But I think dealing with some injuries and having a couple setbacks the last couple years took him out of his rhythm for a bit. He seems to have regained his confidence and focus.

Oct 12 2016, 11:19 AM

cubsfan7331: There was an interesting tweet sent out by Harrington. Any idea what it means or what is up with him?

Oct 12 2016, 11:19 AM

srchat: I must not have seen it, and I don't see anything very noteworthy while scrolling through his Twitter timeline right now.

Oct 12 2016, 11:20 AM

Guest8340 (guest): Friends visiting Spokane/Pullman for the first time. Any small town/small bar you would suggest?

Oct 12 2016, 11:21 AM

srchat: In Spokane I really like the Flying Goat. Great food and a fun atmosphere. In Pullman my favorite spot is Etsi Bravo. Great ownership and staff who make really good, creative drinks and take a lot of pride in what they do.

Oct 12 2016, 11:21 AM

rharkins63: Coach Mele said that Harrington would be practicing this week when he was at the CAF Luncheon in Spokane.

Oct 12 2016, 11:22 AM

Guest3100 (guest): Why burn corner back Strong redshirt, we seem to have pretty good depth in the secondary?

Oct 12 2016, 11:23 AM

srchat: Depth can change quickly and they must think that once he gets his feet wet he'll be a contributor, especially when they start facing the good passing teams like Cal and UW. Strong has played really well in practice. They're also redshirting good players like D'Jimon Jones.

Oct 12 2016, 11:23 AM

CougSchroed (guest): In your opinion, is UCLA the best defense we have faced thus far? With their strong front 4, do you see us passing the ball more this game than we have in the last 3 games? possibly up to 55+ pass attempts?

Oct 12 2016, 11:24 AM

srchat: I'd say those are all reasonable assumptions to make.

Oct 12 2016, 11:25 AM

cubsfan7331: Any idea who has the call for ESPN?

Oct 12 2016, 11:26 AM

srchat: Allen Bestwick will do play-by-play, Kris Budden will be on the sideline and your boy Mike Bellotti will be the analyst.

Oct 12 2016, 11:26 AM

Guest8340 (guest): Any friendly small towns/bars outside Spokane or Pullman to visit? These are some UCLA fans. Real small town experience.

Oct 12 2016, 11:28 AM

srchat: I have not spent much time in the outlying towns, but there are a million of them. Moscow is a nice little city with a good downtown. Colfax has its charms, I suppose. My dad lived in Palouse for a few months when he was a toddler. Genesee exists.

Oct 12 2016, 11:28 AM

RealCougSchroed (guest): Bellotti! Will he be taking a phone interview with Oregon on commercial breaks? Negotiating his next change to rebuild Oregon... again?

Oct 12 2016, 11:28 AM

rharkins63: It sure seems as though there are an awful lot of unsold tickets considering our recent record and the fact that it's homecoming. Are you sensing disappointment in the athletic department?

Oct 12 2016, 11:29 AM

srchat: I think there are less than 2,000 available for the UCLA game. Maybe a little disappointing if they don't sell out because it's Homecoming. BUT, and I've written this before, the real danger of losing those first couple games is that fans make plans for the rest of the season.

Oct 12 2016, 11:29 AM

srchat: Losing to Eastern in front of a sellout crowd is not great for ticket sales.

Oct 12 2016, 11:29 AM

Guest3100 (guest): What is your guess on whether Rosen plays or not and if he does do you think he will be limited?

Oct 12 2016, 11:30 AM

srchat: I expect him to play and not be limited any more than most quarterbacks who are sore by this point in the season. But I also don't have anything to base that on other than my gut ability to interpret Jim Mora's cryptic statements.

Oct 12 2016, 11:30 AM

Guest7574 (guest): The Saloon in Spangle is good, too. An hour from Pullman, though.

Oct 12 2016, 11:30 AM

Guest8340 (guest): Do the late starts hurt or help attendance?

Oct 12 2016, 11:31 AM

srchat: I tend to think they hurt. But mostly, not knowing is what hurts because it forces fans to pay for extra hotel nights or wait until the last second and pay supercharged rates.

Oct 12 2016, 11:31 AM

Guest3100 (guest): In your honest and humble opinion does UW lose a regular season game this year? The stars seemed aligned for them.

Oct 12 2016, 11:32 AM

srchat: I'm torn. I think it's really, really, really hard for any team to go undefeated so I'd almost always so yes, they lose a game. But the Pac-12 just seems really down this year, and even tougher games like @California or @Utah don't seem like they will be that tough, considering how good UW has looked.

Oct 12 2016, 11:32 AM

cubsfan7331: Logistically speaking what is the toughest Stadium to get to in the Pac-12?

Oct 12 2016, 11:32 AM

srchat: Martin Stadium by a factor of 100.

Oct 12 2016, 11:32 AM

GoCougs (guest): Best Offensive Line play since Leach joined WSU. True or False?

Oct 12 2016, 11:32 AM

srchat: Definitely true.

Oct 12 2016, 11:33 AM

Guest8340 (guest): Thanks for the Spangle suggestion. Any others?

Oct 12 2016, 11:33 AM

Sid (guest): What is the bar in Union with all the dollar bills on the ceiling?

Oct 12 2016, 11:33 AM

srchat: No idea. Sounds interesting, though.

Oct 12 2016, 11:36 AM

cubsfan7331: OK other than Martin which one?

Oct 12 2016, 11:36 AM

srchat: Probably Colorado, since you have to make the drive from Denver to Boulder and there is often snow involved.

Oct 12 2016, 11:37 AM

Sid (guest): Cindy Brunson tweets UCLA LT Conner McDermott said QB Mike Fafaul took all reps in practice today.

Oct 12 2016, 11:37 AM

srchat: Good info, thanks.

Oct 12 2016, 11:37 AM

GoCougs (guest): Given his size, do you think Marks gets to play on Sundays?

Oct 12 2016, 11:38 AM

srchat: Yes. I think he's the kind of guy teams will pass on because they don't love him in the slot and don't think he's big enough to play outside. Then a coach who knows how to use him will draft him and he'll be a lot better than a lot of guys who went in front of him.

Oct 12 2016, 11:38 AM

Guest8340 (guest): Weather at game time?

Oct 12 2016, 11:39 AM

srchat: Tempest.

Oct 12 2016, 11:39 AM

CougSchroed (guest): What % of the snaps has Tapa been playing this year?

Oct 12 2016, 11:39 AM

srchat: Unlike the NFL, snaps aren't charted in college football so I can't give you a real good number there. Ballpark, 20-25.

Oct 12 2016, 11:39 AM

rharkins63: If you come the back way from Spokane, there are a couple of taverns in Tekoa. It takes about 20 minutes longer than 195.

Oct 12 2016, 11:40 AM

Guest3100 (guest): Why has Powell stop kicking it into the endzone, seems like he lost some power along with some confidence?

Oct 12 2016, 11:40 AM

srchat: If you recall, the same thing sort of happened last year. Might simply be a case of getting tired after booting them deep for five games. I'd be curious to know if other kickers' kickoffs got shorter as the year went on.

Oct 12 2016, 11:41 AM

rharkins63: So the big question, uniform combo 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5?

Oct 12 2016, 11:41 AM

srchat: Anyone who votes for anything other than No. 2 is no longer welcome in chat.

Oct 12 2016, 11:41 AM

Guest9461 (guest): Mora just said the decision about Rosen playing will be up to Rosen...so my take...there is no way he doesn't start

Oct 12 2016, 11:42 AM

srchat: My take: Mora would not say anything else either way and if a coach has made the decision to not be forthright about injuries then there is not point in interpreting his statements one way or the other.

Oct 12 2016, 11:42 AM

Guest8340 (guest): What did Rosen injure?

Oct 12 2016, 11:42 AM

srchat: He had two against ASU. He suffered a body hit that took him out for a bit, then he hurt his throwing shoulder when he came back in.

Oct 12 2016, 11:42 AM

CougSchroed (guest): to piggyback of 3100's question. do you know if mele instructs powell to kick it "high and between the 5 and goal line" or to kick it deep for a touchback? touchback makes most sense to me. you could stop a guy 9 times in a row at the 17 but that other time could be a td return and the other 9 times of success would not be worth it

Oct 12 2016, 11:43 AM

srchat: They do both, depending on what they see in the opposing return team. They'll kick it high if they think they can pin a guy, but typically try to get the touchback.

Oct 12 2016, 11:43 AM

GoCougs (guest): Decision is up to Rosen: "Are you kidding me, have you seen that Mata'afa kid? I'll sit."

Oct 12 2016, 11:43 AM

rharkins63: See ya then. I'm for #1 lol

Oct 12 2016, 11:43 AM

RealCougSchroed (guest): Should broadcasts just remove the FG target line from Wazzu games?

Oct 12 2016, 11:44 AM

srchat: Broadcasts should remove the field goal line from all games. They should also remove the ridiculous 3-point hologram from NBA games since, you know, there is already a line there.

Oct 12 2016, 11:44 AM

SeaStorm24: Candy corn is a delicious Halloween treat. Thoughts?

Oct 12 2016, 11:44 AM

srchat: Candy corn makes sense seasonally, but a good beeswax candle can provide the same enjoyment year round.

Oct 12 2016, 11:45 AM

wsucougarbill: I have heard unconfirmed rumors that you have audio of Hillary Clinton engaging in some "locker room talk" and that you are planning to release it the week before the election, true or no?

Oct 12 2016, 11:46 AM

srchat: Yeah, but it's more of the "So, what time are you getting to the sock hop?" "Did you see Tyler's new pickup truck?" locker room talk. We'll see if it makes an impact.

Oct 12 2016, 11:46 AM

Guest4280 (guest): Is there a massive uproar in LA since Mora is being quiet about a player's potential injury? Seems our media (you excluded) has a hissy fit about it.

Oct 12 2016, 11:48 AM

srchat: Oh, I have a hissy fit right alongside everybody else. I am unsure of the degree to which UCLA media is throwing a tantrum. However, I would also point out that Mora is acknowledging that the player was injured and giving some information, even if he's coy about the details. That's a little different than what they do here.

Oct 12 2016, 11:48 AM

rharkins63: Do you know when Dimry will get the news on his appeal?

Oct 12 2016, 11:49 AM

srchat: We're talking about a medical redshirt? I typically only see the news of those come down after the season. Although, the NCAA has kind of neglected its own rules on those for a couple years now...

Oct 12 2016, 11:50 AM

Sid (guest): What are the options in the kicking game? Any other kicker on the roster?

Oct 12 2016, 11:50 AM

srchat: They always carry a few kickers, but Leach's comments lead me to believe they will stick with Powell.

Oct 12 2016, 11:50 AM

Guest8340 (guest): Is the storm that is coming in hitting at game time? Temp at 7:30?

Oct 12 2016, 11:51 AM

srchat: It is supposed to be rainy. Temperature around 50. I'll be thinking of all of you as I grab another bowl of chili and cup of coffee in the press box, I promise.

Oct 12 2016, 11:51 AM

Guest3100 (guest): Why dont you think Falk goes deep more often to Martin Jr, I thought he was pretty fast?

Oct 12 2016, 11:51 AM

srchat: He is pretty fast, and Falk has gone deep to him as much as anybody. 50-yard shots downfield have never really been Falk's game, though.

Oct 12 2016, 11:52 AM

RealCougSchroed (guest): Considering your profession and proximity to locker rooms, do you have a personal relationship with Donald Trump? Or just acquaintances?

Oct 12 2016, 11:52 AM

CougSchroed (guest): at a "normal" point in the game, say somewhere in the 2nd quarter with the score relatively close, in what scenario do we kick a field goal this week? 4th and 10+? anything less than 4th and 10 in field goal range we go for it? especially with the wind/rain forecast...

Oct 12 2016, 11:54 AM

srchat: In that scenario they'd probably kick if it was 4th and 10 and they were at the 25-yard line or closer.

Oct 12 2016, 11:55 AM

Guest1748 (guest): Not sure if you can answer this, but is Powell still getting the majority of the reps?

Oct 12 2016, 11:55 AM

srchat: I expect them to stick with Powell.

Oct 12 2016, 11:55 AM

Guest1801 (guest): How has Marcus strong looked at practice? Must be showing something to burn his redshirt this late into the season without an injury

Oct 12 2016, 11:55 AM

srchat: Really good. I think they're happy to have had the opportunity to get him snaps the last few weeks.

Oct 12 2016, 11:55 AM

GoCougs (guest): Any chance we hear any news soon about Barber and Fehoko? If that's even possible (Privacy and whatnot)

Oct 12 2016, 11:56 AM

srchat: The Barber expulsion situation should resolve itself soon one way or the other. We'll just have to wait for the prosecutor on the charges for both.

Oct 12 2016, 11:56 AM

Guest8340 (guest): UCLA football gets almost no press down here with the black hole that USC creates.

Oct 12 2016, 11:57 AM

rharkins63: Yes, medical redshirt. Thanks!

Oct 12 2016, 11:57 AM

Sid (guest): Do you think they could of run more in the Stanford game? Seemed like they kind of got away from it.

Oct 12 2016, 11:57 AM

srchat: Maybe they could have, but they scored 42 points. It's not like what they were doing was not working.

Oct 12 2016, 11:57 AM

SeaStorm24: Regarding the confluence of chili, coffee and sportswriters in a confined space, what's the atmosphere in the pressbox like in the 4th quarter?

Oct 12 2016, 11:58 AM

srchat: Suffocating.

Oct 12 2016, 11:58 AM

RealCougSchroed (guest): I wish we could find a time in a game to get Powell a "gimme" so-to-speak. I think he needs to see one go through and get his mind right. Thoughts?

Oct 12 2016, 11:58 AM

srchat: They sort of have. His kicks against Oregon and Stanford were not particularly difficult. Until he starts making a few, I think gimmes is all they will attempt.

Oct 12 2016, 11:58 AM

Guest7574 (guest): If this team was a person what would they be for Halloween?

Oct 12 2016, 11:59 AM

srchat: Kenneth Bone.

Oct 12 2016, 11:59 AM

CougSchroed (guest): do football teams fly into spokane or pullman? i assume most fly commercial into spokane? maybe a few charter a plane to pullman? do you know what ucla is doing?

Oct 12 2016, 11:59 AM

srchat: I think most fly into Spokane. I would assume that is what UCLA will do.

Oct 12 2016, 11:59 AM

Guest3100 (guest): Is Falk the 2nd best QB in the Pac 12 right now behind Browning?

Oct 12 2016, 12:00 PM

srchat: Yes, I would say that's very reasonable. Maybe Davis Webb on his best day slides into second.

Oct 12 2016, 12:01 PM

Guest3100 (guest): How big is the gap between UW and the rest of the Pac 12 right now?

Oct 12 2016, 12:02 PM

srchat: Seems really large right now that Browning is emerging as a legitimate Heisman contender. We knew UW was going to be good, but we did not know their QB was going to lead CFB in touchdown passes in Week 7.

Oct 12 2016, 12:02 PM

srchat: Alright, folks. That's the hour and we're getting hotdog questions. Thanks for joining our live chat and we'll hold another 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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