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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Grip on Sports: Washington State’s spring game prepares the Cougars for whatever fall may bring

Washington State Cougars quarterback Trey Tinsley (10) calls un audible at the line of scrimmage during the Crimson and Gray football game on Saturday, April 21, 2018 at Joe Albi Stadium. (James Snook / For The Spokesman-Review)
Washington State Cougars quarterback Trey Tinsley (10) calls un audible at the line of scrimmage during the Crimson and Gray football game on Saturday, April 21, 2018 at Joe Albi Stadium. (James Snook / For The Spokesman-Review)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • You never know if Washington State’s annual spring game in Spokane will be played in weather more akin to September, October or November. Which is probably a good thing. Read on.


• If spring football is supposed to mimic the fall, then inclement weather conditions, like wind, can be used as a teaching tool. Which, in theory, all of spring football is supposed to be about.

There’s more to it, sure, but kids don’t graduate high school early, rush to campus and spend weeks running up and down the field for those ancillary aspects.

They want to learn. Learn the system, learn the coaches, learn about the program. Which means every spring football practice, scrimmage and game is a success.

(This is the time to cut in and say there is a caveat to that. Injuries. But seeing as Washington State didn’t seem to have a major one to a key player and neither did our other two FCS schools, Idaho and Eastern, then the spring was a success.)

Unless your definition is a definite answer. About quarterback, that is. Spring the past few years as been simple for the Cougars: Luke Falk does his thing and everyone else vies to back him up.

But Falk didn’t have 22 years of eligibility, so WSU must move on. To whom? Well that’s not settled after practices in rain, snow, sun and wind. Or yesterday’s Spring Game.

Pick one: Trey Tinsley or Anthony Gordon. Or none of the above. Or maybe another name, East Carolina grad transfer Gardner Minshaw, who is should be in Pullman next month.

No matter who was in the shotgun yesterday at Joe Albi Stadium, the numbers say they were pretty efficient. Which makes Mike Leach happy. He loves talking about not trying to do too much, trusting the offense and trusting teammates.

Tinsley and Gordon did that well enough yesterday that Leach seemed happy, in his way.

“They didn’t try to do too much, just made routine plays,” he told our Theo Lawson, and that, from him, is a compliment.

It remains to be seen in the first sunny days of September, if either will stay hot under the glare of the TV cameras and Cougar fans’ expectations.


WSU: Theo has his game coverage from Albi, with a story on the scrimmage itself, another on the way the offensive line was used, a third on East Valley’s Rodrick Fisher making his Cougar debut and enough video interviews to keep you busy all morning (they are available on our Cougar football page). … Whitney Ogden added a story on Nnamdi Oguayo’s day. … James Snook has a photo report. … Former Cougar kicker Jason Hanson earned a spot in another Hall of Fame. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12, Washington finished up its spring sessions with a game that actually had a bit of drama. At the end. … Oregon also finished up the spring with a game. … The same happened at UCLA, with an added twist. … USC is done with spring but not with making news.

Gonzaga: There is a logjam atop the WCC baseball standings and the Bulldogs are no longer a part of it.

EWU: The weather conditions influenced Eastern’s scrimmage, with the wind helping the defense dominate. Jim Allen was in Cheney and has this report.

Idaho: A freshman receiver starred as the Vandals held their Saturday scrimmage. Peter Harriman was there and has this story. … The Big Sky golf tournament is underway.

Preps: It was the typical busy Saturday in the prep world with roundups available from soccer, track, softball and baseball.

Mariners: The M’s, and Edwin Diaz, held on for a 9-7 win in Arlington last night, but it wasn’t easy. And there was some troublesome injury news. And some real bad news for an ex-Mariner. … To avoid injuries, many players are wearing an attachment to their helmets. … Dave Nichols’ ponders the Ichiro problem in the latest Out of Right Field post.

Seahawks: This could be a key week in franchise history as the Hawks need a big boost from this year’s draft. Will they get it from the linebacker spot? … John Schneider learned a lesson in Green Bay he may be drawing upon this week. … Pete Carroll seems to be wearing a bit thin with some Hawks.

Sounders: We’ve all heard of sibling rivalry but this is next level stuff.


• I kept it short today because the Internet access at my hotel was shaky at best. We will be back at home tomorrow and, hopefully, everything will return to normal. Until then …

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