Saturday, August 09, 2008

Eyewitness Report: Longball Observes a Sudden Outbreak of Violence on the Palouse!

Autumn is my favorite season on the Palouse and no matter what the calendar says I can tell you it has officially arrived. I know this because today, over the chirping of the birds and the gentle rustling of the breeze blowing through the leaves I heard that telltale sound that heralds the arrival of Fall...

"PASS, PASS, PASS! BALL, BALL, BALL!"



That's right Crimson Nation, Cougar football is BACK. This morning the boys put on full pads for the first time this season and got after it. Having learned from my mistakes I made sure I had plenty of juice for my camera and came away with some good images of the morning's action on Rogers Field. There was a lot to see, so today I promise less jibber-jabber from yours truly, and more pictures of your 2008 Washington State Cougars in action.

I witnessed two spirited scrimmages today with skelly and other drills in between. You may have heard that there were some scuffles in the last few practices and today was no different. Below you see a couple of the guys continuing to tangle well after the whistle had blown...

Now some of you may find this worrisome, but I assure you this is a good thing. Football is a violent sport and between the snap and the whistle these guys are mortal enemies. That kind of intense aggression can't always be switched off with the sound of a whistle so it inevitably spills over into shoving matches like this. Of course we don't want this kind of stuff costing us yards and downs in a real game, but the coaches have plenty of time to instill that game day discipline in these guys. In the meantime it just shows that the passion and competitiveness we need are there, and those things are much harder to coach.

I was pleased that the scrimmage seemed pretty balanced, with both the Defense and Offense making their fair share of plays. to illustrate this, here are a few images from the intense battle between our receivers and defensive backs...

Above you see Brandon Gibson, 4, running after the catch and just look at that separation from the defender. Not too long after that he hauls in a score...



That's just Brandon being Brandon. But he's not QB Gary Roger's only weapon by any stretch. Here is the resurgent and potentially electrifying Michael Willis, 3, also getting great seperation...


...and moments later, hauling in a score of his own.

But don't worry, while it may look our defensive backfield is getting beat like a drum, they weren't hanging their heads at all. Rather, they just tightened their chin straps and made a few plays of their own. Here is Devin Giles, 32, about to step in front of a diving Anthony Houston, 88, to make a difficult pick on this ball...


The offense responded, showing off another one of its many promising weapons as tight end Devin Frischknecht, 80, breaks into the open...


But it wasn't all wide open spaces for the big tight end. Here you see him sloooooooowly picking himself off the turf after getting leveled by Myron Beck, 13.


Hits like that are exactly what I like to see from our DBs and Myron Beck looks to me like a bona fide assassin in our secondary. To Frischknecht's credit, he did hang onto the ball and after regaining his breath let out a Braveheart yell, got back on his feet and ran off the field. Just great stuff all around.

We also run the ball sometimes, and as you can see below running back Dwight Tardy, 31, is wearing no protection on his surgically repaired knee.

Tardy ran hard today and continues to look good. That's newcomer Chantz Staden, 22, behind him who with his helmet off looks like a mini-Steven Jackson. Promising young running back Marcus Richmond, 20, showed off his speed, finding his way round the end of the 2nd string Defense for a TD.

Not to be outdone, below, backup QB Kevin Lopina, 19, finds running room up the middle on a designed QB sneak.

But the defense came to play too. Below they celebrate after recovering a Greg Trent forced fumble...

Gotta love the defensive coaches getting into the celebration. Is that coach Akey circa 2003?

Now as Coug fans we are all programmed to worry about our offense's effectiveness in short yardage situations, especially on the goal line. Here we see the 1st team Offense punching the ball into the end zone from just a yard out.


Of course it remains to be seen if we can pull this off in a real game.

Another area of concern for most Coug fans is what is usually called the "kicking game", but for us recently has been more of a "shanking game". Aww the life of a kicker...

This is where they hang out for most of the practice, shootin the breeze, stayin loose until suddenly, after HOURS of not really pedaling at all on those bikes, they are called to action! This year, the brave souls that will face off against those pesky uprights are incumbent Wade Penner, 35, and new comer Nico Grasu, 29.

And here is Penner...

...shanking one to the right. And for good measure, here is Grasu...

...shanking one to the left.

Hey, I can't bring you only good news. Heck, if there was only good news we wouldn't be the Cougs, would we? On a brighter note, on the very last play of the practice Penner booted a beautiful kick through the uprights from pretty far out (I have no depth perception, but I think it was 40+ yards at least).

Now for the impact rookie watch... you may have heard some buzz about freshman wideout, Jared Karstetter, 84. Here he is running down a ball that is just out of his reach...

He had a case of the dropsies in drills today, but overall it is apparent what the buzz is about. He has great size and athleticism, and looks like he has a bright future ahead of him.

Now I would be remiss (and a disgrace to my Alma mater) if I didn't highlight another exciting rookie, freshman QB and Pullman High's own JT Levenseller, 5 (yes, coach Levenseller's son). Here JT stands and delivers...

JT may not have the size to be a full time QB, but he is a great athlete and tenacious competitor. I would not be surprised at all to see him on the field some day, perhaps as a slot receiver, or even a defensive back. Meanwhile, in spite of any doubts I might have, he is working hard to be our QB of the future and Pullman Greyhounds everywhere are cheering him on. Go Get 'Em JT!!

Now some of you may be asking, "Where's the beef, Longball?" I hear you loud and clear. Stay tuned for more pictures of the BIG boys on the line going head to head in a clash of titans this morning. So check in later for that and, as always...

Go Cougs!

10 comments:

ptowncoug said...

Good stuff. Need Willis to play a huge role early.

Brinkhater said...

Great stuff, LB. keep it pumping.

I've never liked this site more...

Anonymous said...

Vote now at seattlepi.com/sports

There is a "Who Cares, Go Cougs!" option RE: the jake 'savior' locker injury.

By the way...
Question: In the painting "The Last Supper"...why is Jesus handing off the bread to his apostles????

Answer: Because that Savior couldn't pass either.

Patrick said...

Thanks for the update.

Good God Penner's got some CRAZY tiny ankles. Right now I'll settle for wide left or right. It's the under the cross bar action that I find unacceptable.

logan said...

anybody know whats going on with all the hamstring injuries? it seems like everyone has one! i hope it doesn't become a theme...

Longball said...

Hey Logan, did you see the quote from CPW about how players need to toughen up and play through that stuff? I thougt it was interesting. He seemed to frame it as part of the change in culture he is instilling that perhaps guys havent been as willing to play or practice through pain as they need to be.

Coug Mom said...

When are you going to post more? The pictures are great. Go COUGS!

millcreekcoug said...

Have you guys received the cease and desist order yet?

Sedihawk said...

Hey Millie,

We found that we had a picture that we shouldn't be using, but otherwise we're ok.

Anonymous said...

hey im in pullman this week and i was wondering if anyone knows what time practice is and if they are open to the public to watch. thanks in advance