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Washington State football chat transcript for Oct. 29

WSU graduate transfer quarterback Gardner Minshew (16) celebrates with offensive lineman Liam Ryan (63) during practice on Friday, August 3, 2018, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
WSU graduate transfer quarterback Gardner Minshew (16) celebrates with offensive lineman Liam Ryan (63) during practice on Friday, August 3, 2018, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
The full transcript from our live chat this morning. Make sure to join every Wednesday from 10-11 a.m. srchat (Admin): “All right, questions.” (Mike Leach voice) Thanks everyone for joining me this week. Let’s get right into it! Aug 29, 10:01 AM Mark (Guest): Hypothetically speaking while knocking on wood, can this d-line be serviceable if there are no more injuries? Aug 29, 10:03 AM srchat (Admin): Eh … serviceable … sure. We’ll have a lot better idea of what it looks like this weekend. Obviously, Nnamdi Oguayo would be a massive boost. I think Will Rodgers III has shown some potential and Nick Begg had a pretty good spring. But obviously, the dropoff in talent/experience is pretty massive. Aug 29, 10:03 AM Harvey__Road: Do you ever get put off by Leach’s snarky responses and general disdain for the Press? Aug 29, 10:05 AM srchat (Admin): Not really. Think it’s important not to take offense to that stuff because with Leach it’s never personal. The Daily Evergreen reporter would get the same responses as the New York Times reporter would. After a year on the beat, I think I have a better idea of which questions elicit the snarky responses and which ones don’t. I THINK. Aug 29, 10:05 AM Guest9351 (Guest): Should we worry about our defense? Aug 29, 10:06 AM srchat (Admin): The defensive line, sure. The rest of it, no. I actually think behind the D-line, the Cougars can be much better than they were last year, returning Pelluer, Woods, Sherman, Rogers, Dale, Harper Jr., Thompson, etc… Aug 29, 10:06 AM JFM COUGS (Guest): Who’s looking good on the D line that might surprise us this year? I haven’t heard much from Kingston Hernandez or Hunter Mattox? Aug 29, 10:08 AM srchat (Admin): Begg, like I mentioned, has had some nice moments. You can tell he’s the experienced vet of the group. Keep an eye on Misiona Aiolupotea-Pei, as well. Since Lolohea’s departure, he’s been getting a lot of work at NT with the second unit. Aug 29, 10:08 AM Jon Yerkes: Alex Brink hinted yesterday on Seattle sports radio that Gordon may see some time tomorrow or down the road. Do you see Leach using more than one QB? Aug 29, 10:10 AM srchat (Admin): Well, if last year told us anything, Leach isn’t hesitant to pull a QB if he feels like he isn’t moving the offense. Best case scenario is Minshew plays well enough to keep himself in the game, every game. But Leach has stated his confidence in the other two (Gordon and Tinsley), so I wonder if Minshew would have a short leash. Aug 29, 10:10 AM Whitworth-Coug (Guest): #96 Preston Hendry DE, he was a juco kid who red-shirted last year. Has he gotten any run since the injuries to the DL ? Aug 29, 10:11 AM srchat (Admin): Observing mainly the first and second unit, I didn’t see much of him during the open practices. Aug 29, 10:11 AM Cougzz (Guest): What do you think is more important in this game— Coug O line vs Wyo D line? Or Coug D line vs Wyo O Line? Aug 29, 10:14 AM srchat (Admin): If I had to choose, Coug D line vs. Wyo O line. Tyler Vander Waal’s making his second start and I think it’ll be important to make him uncomfortable back there. Aug 29, 10:14 AM Guest5639 (Guest): With all the DL issues, no mentions of Mason Vineyard. Still with the team? Aug 29, 10:16 AM srchat (Admin): Yes, still with the team but the fact he didn’t show up on the two-deep indicates he’s been beaten out by some other guys. Maybe the depth there is better than we thought. Aug 29, 10:16 AM JFM COUGS (Guest): Should we be concerned that we only have 4 verbals so far in recruiting? Aug 29, 10:17 AM srchat (Admin): That was brought to my attention the other day. You would think coming off 9-4, there might be a few more, but it could be the result of the assistant coach shuffling that took place this offseason. Aug 29, 10:18 AM Whitworth-Coug (Guest): How Fast is Calvin Jackson Jr? Will his speed be able to get him on the field more by seasons end? He reminds me of Sammy Moore (former Juco) and by seasons end, he got the concepts down and got more playing time. Aug 29, 10:20 AM srchat (Admin): He’s pretty fast. Not quick like Jamire Calvin, per se, but he’s hard to track down once he gets going. I’ve been impressed with him throughout camp and definitely think he’ll have a role more sooner than later. Aug 29, 10:20 AM Guest70 (Guest): Tay Martin has been getting a lot of hype in practice reports across all units, yet his stats have been minimal during scrimmages. In your experience, are scrimmages the best way to see who is going to thrive during the season? And what is your opinion on Tay? Aug 29, 10:23 AM srchat (Admin): I’ve said multiple times I think Martin could be one of the top WR’s in the Pac-12 by the end of the season. I wouldn’t look into the scrimmage stats too much. He’s been lights-out in a few of those practices and probably had the two best catches in camp. He’ll be a tough cover for just about every DB he faces this year. Aug 29, 10:23 AM JFM COUGS (Guest): I’m not sure why I keep hearing Dillon Sherman as a quality LB, I’ve re-watched many of the games and he was constantly being trucked or missing tackles, he’s also a walk-on. Has he greatly improved or something? Aug 29, 10:26 AM srchat (Admin): I actually thought he did a fine job stepping in last year. You can tell he’s put in plenty of time in the weight room - just looks stronger and more imposing this fall. Aug 29, 10:26 AM Guest9351 (Guest): What is your quarterback depth chart? (“Or” is not allowed) Pros and cons of each? Aug 29, 10:30 AM srchat (Admin): Minshew, Gordon, Tinsley, Cooper. Minshew’s experience is obviously an advantage, but he’s still building chemistry with receivers. Tinsley’s well-built (6-3, 215) for a quarterback, but doesn’t have the arm strength the others do. Gordon throws the best ball of the group, but he can be pretty inconsistent. Cooper’s ceiling is sky-high, but it’s easy to tell he’s just a freshman at times. Aug 29, 10:30 AM Whitworth-Coug (Guest): Have you been impressed by Fa’avae Fa’avae? Looks like he and Justus Rodgers are in battle for #2 spot at LB. What do you like about his game? Aug 29, 10:32 AM srchat (Admin): He’s really instinctual in pass coverage and hits hard for a smaller linebacker. Think the depth at both inside LB spots is really, really strong. Aug 29, 10:32 AM JFM COUGS (Guest): How are Ahmir Crowder, Jesus Echivera, and Dallar Hobbs looking? It seems like they all of the body and talent to be legit pac 12 d lineman? Aug 29, 10:35 AM srchat (Admin): You’re right, all have pretty good size, which is something the D-line has definitely lacked these last few years. I think Echevarria has been the most impressive of that bunch this spring. Aug 29, 10:35 AM srchat (Admin): Err, fall* Aug 29, 10:35 AM Guest5639 (Guest): I keep hearing speculation about Cooper playing some at QB to take advantage of the new redshirt rule, but playing someone who hasn’t earned it doesn’t seem like a Mike Leach thing to do, your thoughts? Aug 29, 10:39 AM srchat (Admin): Have thought about that, too. I certainly don’t think he’d be the next guy in if the Cougars were plastering somebody - say SJSU week two - but maybe he gets the last offensive drive in that game after Gordon and Tinsley have each had a couple. Think he’ll benefit a ton from those Thursday Night Football scrimmages. Aug 29, 10:39 AM wsuWR: Do you think the offense will be more like 2013-2014 in terms of throwing the ball 60 plus times? It seems like from the scrimmages they rarely check to a run. Aug 29, 10:41 AM srchat (Admin): I almost think they’ll run it more this year than they have before. Once you guys see Max Borghi in person, you might agree with me. Aug 29, 10:42 AM Whitworth-Coug (Guest): How are they using the transfer from WV during practice if he’s sitting out the year? And, is he showing signs of being a future monster on the DL? Aug 29, 10:43 AM srchat (Admin): Good question. I was chatting with Jeff Phelps the other day and told him he had one of the best scout team players in the country. He laughed at that and indicated while they are using McDougle a lot on scout, he is also getting some work with the first team defense. Yeah, I think he could be pretty darn good. Aug 29, 10:45 AM JFM COUGS (Guest): Do you think the offensive line could be better this year then last. I know we lost a lot of experience but it seems like the O line and offense in general took a step back last year? Aug 29, 10:48 AM srchat (Admin): Given the experience and talent of that group last year, it seems like they could’ve kept Luke Falk a little cleaner. Not sure this group can be better right off the bat, but Minshew’s more mobile and decisive with his throws so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the sack numbers dip in 2018. Aug 29, 10:48 AM Whitworth-Coug (Guest): Cougs really haven’t had a true return game specialist for a while. Do you see the new ST Cord getting more guys out there that have the break-a-way ability rather than the safe choices we have had during Leach’s era? Aug 29, 10:52 AM srchat (Admin): Most folks haven’t seen redshirt freshman Travell Harris (the No. 1 PR and KR on the depth chart) yet, but he definitely has an explosive side and you could see him breaking off a few throughout his career. Aug 29, 10:52 AM Guest5745 (Guest): How does Skyler Thomas look? Just seems like a guy you don’t hear much about for somebody who is going to be a starter Aug 29, 10:53 AM srchat (Admin): True, I haven’t noted him in many of the practice reports. He certainly doesn’t make as many plays as his partner back there, but I also can’t remember many instances where he was beat badly by a WR. Aug 29, 10:54 AM Whitworth-Coug (Guest): Last year it felt like they had more rotation at the Corner, but little movement at Safety. Can you talk a bit about the current state of Safety and if you think we will see more of a rotation this year outside of Thompson?? Aug 29, 10:58 AM srchat (Admin): Secondary depth seemed to be a pretty significant concern for Tracy Claeys, but I think they feel better about it now with a few of the freshman who’ve arrived (Ross, Djibril, Nunn). I’ll get a better sense of how Tracy Claeys rotates the safeties on Saturday, but obviously the more time Jalen Thompson spends on the field, the better. Aug 29, 10:58 AM wsuWR: Great coverage of fall camp! Question for you, are you almost just excited as the players for the game??? Also if Cougs make a bowl game, do you consider this season a success with all the turnover? Aug 29, 11:01 AM srchat (Admin): Appreciate it. I am eager to see what this team looks like against a real opponent. Practice reports are fun and all, but…. To answer your second question, yes certainly. I’ve seen a few 3-9, 4-8 predictions the last few days. I think 6-6 or better would be a nice achievement. Aug 29, 11:02 AM Whitworth-Coug (Guest): Without saying the QB name. Do you see 1-of-the-3 willing to check to the run more? Even more than Falk did ? Aug 29, 11:04 AM srchat (Admin): I don’t think so, simply because Falk was probably more comfortable checking by the end of his career than any other QB Leach has had at WSU. But I’d suggest the others get comfortable with it, because there’s a lot of talent in that backfield and you’d hate to see it wasted. Aug 29, 11:06 AM srchat (Admin): Thanks everyone for joining me this week. I’d encourage you to pick up a copy of tomorrow’s Spokesman-Review, which will include our annual college/HS football preview insert. Lots of really neat stuff in there I’m excited for the readers to see. And as always, for all of our game-week coverage. Until next time…
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