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Washington State football chat transcript: previewing the Crimson and Gray game

Washington State Cougars quarterback Anthony Gordon (18) throws during a spring practice on Thursday, April 5, 2018, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. 

Tyler Tjomsland/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
srchat (Admin): It’s been awhile! Welcome back to the live chat. I’ll be around for the next hour to answer your questions. I’ve already fumbled my iPhone into a bowl of scrambled eggs this morning, so surely the day can only get better… Apr 20, 11:00 AM Guest3699 (Guest): How large a role do you see Borghi having this season? Apr 20, 11:03 AM srchat (Admin): A big one. Seems to me he’s the second option at RB behind James Williams and I figure they’ll find a way to work him into special teams. Apr 20, 11:03 AM GoCougs14 (Guest): I know it is nearly impossible to know the answer, but if you had to pick a day 1 starter at QB, who would it be, Gordon, Tinsley or Minshew? Apr 20, 11:05 AM srchat (Admin): I suppose it’s good to get this one out of the way early. Between Tinsley and Gordon, I think Tinsley has the slight edge for now. Seems to command the offense a little better and looks more poised in the pocket. Though I believe Gordon has more raw talent. I won’t make any assertions about Minshew until I’ve seen him in this offense, but I suspect it’ll be a three-man race for quite awhile. Apr 20, 11:05 AM Guest5286 (Guest): Bigger concern for WSU from the end of spring through the start of fall camp: Rebuilding the OL or finding a starting QB? Apr 20, 11:07 AM srchat (Admin): Is 1A and 1B a suitable answer? If the protection for (Tinsley/Gordon/Minshew) isn’t better than it was for Falk last season, I can see the offense struggling. If (Tinsley/Gordon/Minshew) struggles to run the offense anyway, well, I’m not sure it’ll matter much what the O-line is doing. Apr 20, 11:07 AM Guest9014 (Guest): Which new coach swears the most? Apr 20, 11:08 AM srchat (Admin): Tracy Claeys doesn’t say much, but he probably leads the staff in SWPS (Swear words per sentence). Apr 20, 11:09 AM Guest6821 (Guest): Based on what you have observed this spring, has your opinion changed either way on the likelihood of Gardner Minshew getting the starting nod? Apr 20, 11:11 AM srchat (Admin): Think his chances of grabbing the job are still about as good as they were a month ago. Apr 20, 11:11 AM Its Me (Guest): hard to imagine this team not taking a pretty big step backward this season with all of the losses. Lots of young talent, but they’re going to have to take their lumps before they are as good as Luke Falk’s class, no? Apr 20, 11:12 AM srchat (Admin): That’s a fair assumption. Can this team scrape out six wins? I see six of them on the schedule. Will you guys be asking me about their chances of beating UW for the Pac-12 North in late November? Probably not… Apr 20, 11:12 AM GoCougs14 (Guest): There appears to be big difference in coaching styles between Claeys and Grinch, how do you feel the defense will perform this year with all the changes? Apr 20, 11:14 AM srchat (Admin): That’ll be one of the storylines I continue to track. He’s far less hands-on than Grinch, but players seem to think he’s still as effective. And they’re running many of the same schemes/keeping the “Speed D” moniker. If there is a dropoff, I think it’ll be more personnel-related than anything else. Apr 20, 11:14 AM Guest3992 (Guest): What are the chances that Cooper re-emerges as a candidate for a starting spot at QB after gaining more experience over the summer? Or does it seem that he’s generally not ready? Apr 20, 11:15 AM srchat (Admin): I won’t rule this out. Cooper’s looked like a stud at times this spring. Other times, he’s looked like an early enrollee who’s getting his first taste of CFB. This will be a big summer for him. The more time he spends with the playbook, the better. Apr 20, 11:15 AM Guest9014 (Guest): Abe Lucas is the only OL to have never played college football. Will we likely see him starting? Apr 20, 11:15 AM srchat (Admin): I’m penciling in Lucas to start at right tackle. New OL coach Mason Miller called him the “best young player” he’d seen in years. Apr 20, 11:16 AM Guest5286 (Guest): From the beginning of spring practice to today, what has been the biggest surprise or unexpected development? Apr 20, 11:20 AM srchat (Admin): The development of the D-line. Without Mata’afa/Ekuale, I thought the group would go through some growing pains, but they’ve performed well. Nick Begg’s had a great spring, Pono Lolohea should contribute in some fashion, Nnamdi Oguayo looks like one of the best edge-rushers in the conference. Apr 20, 11:20 AM Guest5553 (Guest): Thoughts on how Cooper has looked so far? Apr 20, 11:22 AM srchat (Admin): Good at times, sporadic at others. He doesn’t lack the physical tools, just the experience. He’s been tentative in some situations. Think he’ll benefit from redshirting if that’s how this plays out. Apr 20, 11:22 AM GoCougs14 (Guest): Who do you think will be the top 5 receivers this year in total yardage? Apr 20, 11:24 AM srchat (Admin): Oh boy. 1. Tay Martin; 2. Jamire Calvin; 3. Renard Bell; 4. Kyle Sweet; 5. Easop Winston. Apr 20, 11:24 AM Guest3992 (Guest): What have been your impressions about the RUSH linebacker spot? Do you see Willie Taylor challenging for a spot in that rotation? Apr 20, 11:25 AM srchat (Admin): Not a ton of experience there and nobody who can flat out replace Frankie Luvu, but between Chima Onyeukwu, Tristan Brock and Willie Taylor, I think they like their options and depth at that spot. Apr 20, 11:26 AM wazzupike (Guest): How does our depth at WR look w the departures of IJM & Martin? Any surprises? Apr 20, 11:27 AM srchat (Admin): Believe WR is the deepest position on this team (LB is a close second). Tay Martin, I think, could become one of the better wideouts in this conference. On the other side, Dez Patmon and Easop Winston make a good one-two punch. Then tons of options on the inside. Apr 20, 11:27 AM Its Me (Guest): Has anyone followed up with Leach on his desire to take the Tennessee job now that we know he all but accepted the job before the AD was fired (in part, for offering to him)? Apr 20, 11:28 AM srchat (Admin): That hasn’t come up in an interview setting yet, but I have a good idea of how it’d play out if someone did ask… Apr 20, 11:29 AM GoCougs14 (Guest): No Dezmon Patmon in top 5?? Will Connor Neville ever get a chance to play at WSU? Looked good as a recruit. Apr 20, 11:30 AM srchat (Admin): Patmon will make some big plays for the Cougars and could even be their TD leader, but he’s not someone I see getting a lot after the catch. I don’t see a role for Neville right now. He’s clearly the third guy on the depth chart and will presumably slide to fourth when Minshew arrives. Apr 20, 11:30 AM rharkins63: Coach Leach has gone out of his way to praise the job Eric Mele is doing with the RB’s and that they seem more prepared and focused. Do you notice a real difference in the preparation, or do you think some of it is a jab at Mastro and the way he left? Apr 20, 11:32 AM srchat (Admin): Frankly, I think Mele’s tried to maintain a lot of what Mastro had in place. Those RBs definitely played for Mastro, but feels like it’s been a seamless transition to this point. Apr 20, 11:33 AM Guest8447 (Guest): Will you do a post spring 2 deep depth chart? Apr 20, 11:33 AM srchat (Admin): Yep, look for something like this on the website next week Apr 20, 11:33 AM GoCougs14 (Guest): How is the kicking game looking? Impressive year by Powell where I actually was confident kicks were going to go in. Is Crane going to be the FG Kicker and is he able to kick it in the end zone on kick offs? Also, who do anticipate will punt? Apr 20, 11:36 AM srchat (Admin): Crane seems like the guy for now. The SIDs will tell me I’m jinxing him, but he hasn’t missed a FG in the scrimmages yet. I’d say that’s a good way to win a job. Would expect him to handle kickoffs, too. As for the punter, I have a feeling the JC transfer, Oscar Draguicevich, will get that job. Would expect them to sprinkle in some of the rugby punting with Sweet, though. Apr 20, 11:36 AM Its Me (Guest): Since Leach lost almost his entire coaching staff in once off season, how would you say the players feel about the mass turnover in assistant coaches? Apr 20, 11:38 AM srchat (Admin): I’ll bet it was tough for the players to see some of them go. I spent an hour watching film in the RBs room last year and it gave me a sense of the bond they had with Jim Mastro. Granted, they know it’s the nature of CFB and feels like they’ve embraced all the new guys. Apr 20, 11:38 AM Guest3992 (Guest): Not asking you to provide specifics because I know that you can’t—and I’m sure we’ll see Vanilla tomorrow— but have you seen any evidence that Leach is tinkering with the Air Raid at all this year or should we figure to see the same ole, same ole this Fall? Apr 20, 11:40 AM srchat (Admin): Can’t really speak to this, but with the inexperience at QB and the talent at RB, perhaps we see a few more designed runs this year. But, that’s just my own guess…. Apr 20, 11:40 AM Guest2885 (Guest): I hear too much that we might struggle to get 6 wins this is a rebuilding year. I think we are better or as good in every position group as we were last year … except on QB. No real glaring reason we can’t get at least 8 wins except all qbs become bust Apr 20, 11:43 AM srchat (Admin): Taking care of those first three games is key. Leach’s teams always tend to win a game or two they’re not “supposed to.” A ton depends on the QB/OL, in my opinion. Apr 20, 11:43 AM GoCougs14 (Guest): With Pelluer and Woods, a great starting pair of backers, do you think they will rotate in Justus, Dillon and Catis to keep everyone fresh? Apr 20, 11:45 AM srchat (Admin): Justus Rogers has perhaps had the best spring of any LB. I think those three (Rogers, Woods, Pelluer) are interchangeable. Sherman is a capable backup, too, so I think you start with that four-man rotation and go from there. Apr 20, 11:45 AM GoCougs14 (Guest): It looks like Harper Jr has cemented his spot as their top DB, Molten flashed early in his career, but I feel he’s been steady. Who do you think the starting DB’s will be this year? Apr 20, 11:47 AM srchat (Admin): I still think Marcus Strong will push Harper Jr. So, with that said, starting DBs: CB (Harper Jr./Strong), CB Molton, SS Jalen Thompson, FS Skyler Thomas. Apr 20, 11:47 AM Uncle Larry (Guest): Hi Theo! Apr 20, 11:47 AM srchat (Admin): HI! Apr 20, 11:48 AM Its Me (Guest): will we ever win an Apple Cup again? Apr 20, 11:48 AM srchat (Admin): Let’s poll the room… Room, will the Cougars ever win an Apple Cup again? Apr 20, 11:48 AM Guest3992 (Guest): NO Apr 20, 11:48 AM UCallItAnything: No Apr 20, 11:48 AM Guest1263 (Guest): Maybe Apr 20, 11:49 AM GoCougs14 (Guest): Not with Peterson at UW Apr 20, 11:50 AM Guest2885 (Guest): This year we will. No one is as good as they are built up to be and this is the type of year we are not suppose to so yeah we win this year Apr 20, 11:50 AM Its Me (Guest): No Apr 20, 11:50 AM Guest6821 (Guest): Probably not…. Apr 20, 11:50 AM srchat (Admin): Real quick, Crimson & Gray rosters were just released: Apr 20, 11:50 AM Uncle Larry (Guest): What do you think of the new womens basketball coach? Weird with Chung meeting with the players. Apr 20, 11:51 AM srchat (Admin): Seems like a home run hire. Ethridge was bound to get a Power Five job eventually, so good move by Chun to snap her up. Apr 20, 11:52 AM GoCougs14 (Guest): Where does Luke Falk get drafted? I am going to hold you to this predication…..! Apr 20, 11:53 AM srchat (Admin): “With the 63rd overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots select Luke Falk, quarterback, Washington State.” Apr 20, 11:53 AM Guest2885 (Guest): Peterson is great coach but so was James. Anyone can be beat. Cougs are good enough to do it. Apr 20, 11:53 AM Its Me (Guest): Let me revise that, history says we win 3 out of every 10. we’re down 0-for-the-last-5, but it’s really hard to imagine us winning 3 of the next 5 to get back to our historical everge this decade. Apr 20, 11:54 AM srchat (Admin): More Apple Cup thoughts ^^^ Apr 20, 11:54 AM GoCougs14 (Guest): I have heard ZERO about Cody O’Connell in the NFL draft.. Crazy for an All American to get zero buzz. Does he even get drafted? Signed as an undrafted FA? Apr 20, 11:58 AM srchat (Admin): I could potentially see a team taking Cody late based on his sheer size and thinking they could mold him into something. If not, I’m sure he’ll get a UDFA deal. Apr 20, 11:58 AM Uncle Larry (Guest): Besides QB, next biggest question mark on the team? Apr 20, 11:58 AM srchat (Admin): Offensive line. Apr 20, 11:58 AM Guest2885 (Guest): Who did chun meet with and why would it be weird for AD to meet with “players” Apr 20, 12:00 PM srchat (Admin): Chun reportedly met with the current players prior to hiring Ethridge. Meeting reportedly didn’t go well for some of the players. Three of them transferred. Apr 20, 12:00 PM rharkins63: Wondering if there is someone flying under the radar you might recommend we keep a close eye on tomorrow? Apr 20, 12:01 PM srchat (Admin): Taylor Comfort’s been repping with the first team at nose tackle. He’s had a sneaky good spring. Apr 20, 12:01 PM GoCougs14 (Guest): Go Cougs - 7 wins, 5 losses this year Apr 20, 12:02 PM srchat (Admin): Taking any final questions… Apr 20, 12:02 PM GoCougs14 (Guest): Whats your favorite color? Apr 20, 12:02 PM srchat (Admin): Red (but I’m not a Coug) Apr 20, 12:02 PM Its Me (Guest): where are you gonna be tomorrow Theo? Can we come by and say hi and thanks for all the hard work? Apr 20, 12:03 PM srchat (Admin): Believe I’ll be up in the Joe Albi press box, but shoot me a tweet and I’d love to meet up. Thanks! Apr 20, 12:03 PM Uncle Larry (Guest): Inexperienced QB and 2nd biggest question mark is the O-Line has me worried that this offense might not score much. Apr 20, 12:04 PM srchat (Admin): Both areas that I’ll keep a close eye on when fall camp starts. Apr 20, 12:05 PM srchat (Admin): Well, thanks everyone for joining. Will have a few things out today and be sure to follow our coverage tomorrow afternoon from Joe Albi. Until next time…