Thursday, April 02, 2009

THIS is Spring?


Welcome to spring football in Pullman. Yikes. Not exactly what you order up for the idea of taking in a practice on April 1st?

That said, this post will be like my youngest son - short and sweet. Why? Because yesterday we ventured from the lovely Coeur D' Alene resort down hwy 95, to at least TRY to take in some spring ball. It sounded like a great idea. The result? Not quite an EPIC FAIL.....but not that far off either. :)

First, the drive. If you've driven 95 between Moscow and Coeur D' Alene, you know it can be a long one. But we thought hey, middle of the week, middle of the day even, and on a non-game day at that, it should be smooth sailing. WRONG. You had the snow, of course, snowing sideways and making visability a chore at that. But then you had the locals on the road, doing 35 - at best - in many instances. And good luck trying to pass on a day like this. So let's just say I started sweating it when we only went 30 miles in the first hour of our 84-mile trip.

And all the while, our own Longball had set up shop in Dupus Boomers, anxiously awaiting our arrival with a birds-eye view of the practice field. Alas, we never met up as Shane had to take off before we could get there. Sorry Shane. We'll try it again sometime. And hopefully Longball has some good insight to add in a future post, as he watched most of the first hour or more of practice himself.

However, we DID make it for the last 30 or so minutes of the practice. And we did see some things that were worth the trip....


First and foremost, and I'll get this out of the way. Due to our delayed drive, where we spent about three hours on the road, we only saw the end of practice, and really just the 7-on-7 skeleton drills. That's pretty much it. And we took in the action from the warm, comfortable setting of the bookie, with a "Madden" EA Sports type view of the field, elevated behind the QB (which was actually pretty cool). And to be kind? The end of practice we saw wasn't great. In fact, it was almost as sloppy as the conditions. It was tough on the QB's to make great throws, it was tough for the WR's to haul in cold, wet balls, etc. So the conditions were less than ideal to get a full read on what was happening.


But what did we see? Well, the biggest/best thing to me was #8, Marshall Lobbestael. And not just seeing him on the sidelines either. Yep, Ocho Rojo was in the QB rotation in said skelly drills, and he looked JUST FINE DOING IT. That's right, he LOOKED JUST FINE. I know you've read media reports that he's been in there with the yellow jersey and doing the things of a normal QB in spring drills. But I can assure any of you reading this, it will do your crimson heart well to know that he looked as good as can be expected, and then some. He took the snap, made his drops, scanned the field and delivered the ball with confidence. And without a hobble that you might expect from a kid not even six months from MAJOR knee surgery? In fact, other than a brace and a sleeve of some kind on his left lower leg, you wouldn't have been able to tell that he was coming off an injury like that. It is an absolute marvel that he is out there competing, let alone looking as fluid as he does right now. I was honestly blown away.

JT Levenseller and Kevin Lopina were the other QB's in the rotation I saw, with each QB alternating snaps in the drills. JT made a few good throws, but had a few sail on him as well. He seemed to be a litte more hesitant with his reads, and checked down to the backs more often than the others, but it was good to see him in there competing. He did make a pretty good throw on a deep fade to the tight end, who was in one-on-one coverage with a safety, but the tight end dropped the sure long gain, which might have even gone for a TD. Oh well, it's spring. Plenty of time to clean it up. And Lopina looked like, well, Lopina. He seemed more decisive on where to go with the ball, a little quicker on his delivery. But semi-accurate on some throws, while some more or less floated on him as well. It was really that kind of day (or at least that kind of practice at that stage of the day?).

The WR's were a mixed bag. Jared Karstetter made a couple of nice grabs in traffic, one in which he took a pretty good shot over the middle, but he hung on to the ball. I don't know exactly his weight difference from last year to this year, but he looked bigger, thicker to me. I wonder if he'll be a pseudo-tight-end this year in the offense where he'll venture more over the middle or run more underneath stuff, utilizing his size inside? But that said, there were your fair share of dropped balls as well by the other WR's. One thing that did stand out to my eyes anyway was that in the view we had, ala the "Madden" view, elevated and behind the QB, I didn't see a lot of seperation between the WR's and DB's covering them. I think that had a lot to do with the QB's not getting the ball off too quickly, or checking down to their outlet receivers underneath or coming out of the backfield. But it's not like guys were running down the middle of the field wide open, waving their arms, yelling for the ball. I don't know if that's bad for the offense, or good for the kids in the secondary?

I guess that's about all I can report on. I know Vince is reporting that Andy Mattingly suffered a pectoral injury and was out of pads by the end of practice, but I never saw #45 at all. He was already done for the day by the time we got there.

The reward for making the drive down and braving the snow? SELLA'S! Wow do I miss that place. It has that Sella's smell that you know, as soon as you walk in, just like coming home. And both boys worked hard on drawing on their placemats, hoping to get theirs up on the wall like so many before them. But while that didn't work out, they were thrilled with the whole experience, and ended up taking their placemats home with them.


Best of all? While my 5-year old was more interested in the train at the depot downtown, my 8-year old has now given a verbal commitment to become a WSU Cougar. He has been to Pullman before for football games, but it's funny how coming on a snowy day in April has closed the deal. He loved walking around campus, loved the Cub, loved the bookie, loved the whole thing. But he also declared that "I will eat at Sella's three times a day when I'm living here!" I told him if that's the case, he'll gain so much weight they will end up rolling him up and down the Hill for classes. Not going to happen.

That's it for today. ENJOY YOUR THURSDAY, and GO COUGS!

19 comments:

Longball said...

Im bummed to have missed you guys. All the more so, because my day included a DeAngelo Casto sighting, playing the video games in the CUB with his buddies and yes, wearing the headband.

Sedihawk said...

I saw some guys playing games out there, but didn't take a close look at who they were. So Casto wasn't a huddled mass in the corner, crying and wallowing over TB's departure?? Kids. They are emotional, day-to-day, but also resilient. SO GLAD he's going to stick it out!

Mychal Thompson was on KJR this AM (didn't hear it myself). But he supposedly said that Klay is quite happy at WSU and will stay. He also said Bennett told him that he would be staying in Pullman all four years of Klay's eligibility. Whatever.

But also interesting in that he whole-heartedly endorsed Terry Porter for the WSU job, and defended him as getting a raw deal in Phoenix. Something about trying to teach defense to NBA all-stars. Doesn't work. We'll see what happens!

Lucas said...

Ahhh the drive from C'dA to Moscow. I try to cut off and go west through Garfield and then down Grand toward Dissmore's / Stadium; believe it's fast even without traffic.

On another note, saw a few UW football players at Safeway on Roosevelt near Green Lake last night. Made sure to thank them for the Apple Cup.

TiltingRight said...

re: the Mychal Thompson interview, he also said that all coaches say it, whether they mean it or not. "Do you think John Callipari said that to the kids he recruited?" I think CTB meant what he said, right up until he decided to leave. I don't know if that makes him a liar, or John Kerry (famous flip-flopper).

He was pimpin' Terry Porter, bigtime. Liked Bone, "and the other names on the list" too, but TP was his favorite.

Best news, Klay WILL stay at WSU, unless we hire an abusive coach. I guess Bobby Knight won't be coming then, I guess. Rumors are he was interested too.

bill gray said...

Bobby Knight!!!

Best coach in the history of college basketball landing in Pullman? Say it's true!

James said...

You missed probably the most exciting parts of practice. I wasn't there yesterday, but on Monday my friend and I decided to watch some of practice while I had my break for work. So while we were complaining about TB, we watched practice from the the elevator by the CUB. The best part of practice was when the defense had to prevent the RBs from getting through. It seemed to be pretty evenly matched--sometimes the defense got the RB while the other times the defense got a good grab. The exciting part was the majority of the team was standing cheering them on and really getting into it--particularly during a nice tackle. The defense looks to be the most improved, along with Lobster's accuracy. The main worry for me is the receivers...

sedihawk said...

I have to admit to a raised eyebrow (or two?) at the mere mention of Knight. But the more I hear his name, the less interested I become. The guy is just too polarizing, and while some of the fan base would want to throw a parade, the rest would be diving off the clock tower. It isn't worth the headaches and the maintenance that would come with what he brings. You don't get a fraction of Bob Knight. You get the whole thing, like it or not. They grew tired of him at Tx Tech. Why would we expect anything else from him in Pullman?

Here's a rumor mill name for you (as long as you are talking ESPN) - Steve Lavin! He was rumored to be interested when the Bennett's got the job. He might be ready to get back into the game. Not sure if he could recruit into Pullman or the NW, but who knew if the Bennett's could either? Anyway, Sterk said there were some surprises on the list. I bet he is on it, one way or another.

bill gray said...

They did not grow tired of Knight at Texas Tech. That's a bunch of crap. He is a hero in Lubbock, I know that for a fact. The only reason he isn't there is he wanted to launch his son's career. Check your facts.

Also James--don't worry about the receivers. The only coach with any significant Division 1 experience on the ENTIRE COACHING STAFF is coaching the receivers. Levy will whip those boys into shape. Worry about the lines, and most of all, our apparent inability to play defense at the Pac 10 level.

Sedihawk said...

Believe it or not Bill Gray, I did find firebobbyknight.com this AM from some Tech fans, and thought they were done/fed up/whatever with him. If I have offended you and your knowledge of the situation, I apologize.

Hooty McBoob said...

Geez, Bill, you sound like my Dad. Grumpy bastard.

JMC said...

It has been a tough week for cougs everywhere. I have had to listen to the told ya so's in my office about Bennett all week and am ready to shove my TPX reports up their wine and cheese asses. I was angry and bitter but have transitioned to acceptance and ready to move on. But to see Cougs going after each othre is disturbing. Fans are on each others nerves right now and a lot of arrows have been shot back and forth. Cougfan forums have been ugly as I can recall. We just need to take a chill pill and relax before going after throats of good Cougs.

bill gray said...

That site is by one person, with no community, where he reposts news articles, etc. i have firsthand knowledge that he is loved at Tech, just as he was and still is by the Indiana faithful. Media attempts to villianize the guy can't detract from his unbelievable ability to coach and get the best out of second-tier recruits. That's exactly what we need in Pullman.

Also, to illustrate the idiocy of fans and their coach-loving ability, you'll notice that firepaulwulff.com has already been registered by some Cougar fan somewhere as well. Too soon? For sure. But they are ready.

For a funny fan site, check out firecoachk.com

Soze said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sedihawk said...

Soze, you can email me. Seahawk2k5@yahoo.com will work. Top dog, no, but a dog, probably. :)

Sedihawk said...

It's getting interesting. Mike Davis to interview per Grippi:

http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/sportslink/2009/apr/03/wsu-interview-davis/

And then Bud Withers says they will cast a wide net at the Final Four.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/cougars/2008982919_coug04.html

Could be some really interesting names surface over the weekend!

bill gray said...

awesome find Sedihawk. This weekend should be fun. I feel like were playing the lottery. Hope we get a good one!

Soze said...

I want to vomit.

Sedihawk said...

Hang in there Soze! Think about it - could the timing be any BETTER for TB to bail than right now?

The Final Four has the job-fair-type reputation, so any number of possibilities could spring out of nowhere. Tony talked to Okie State and LSU I believe last year at the Final Four? Might be wrong on one of those schools.

Anyway, Craig Robinson and Oregon State matched up at the Final Four last year, so you never know. Sterk is going to be a popular guy with a Pac-10 job available in his pocket, a job where we've paid $1 million per year for the right guy. And we're coming off a nice run. This isn't the same program it was 6 years ago. Not that we ever wanted to lose Bennett, but let's see who or what shakes loose after this weekend.

Soze said...

I want to vomit based on the fact that if Xavier Thames get out of his LOI, he's going to be courted by UCLA, Florida and Marquette.