Shockingly, WSU coach Paul Wulff has been happy with his team's progress this spring.
I'll be honest: I have a real hard time getting into spring football from 300 miles away. I think spring practice is about the process more than results, and without being able to see the process with my own eyes, all I'm left with is trying to make sense of the results, which are skewed by unknown personnel groupings and contrived game-like situations.
It leaves me feeling like this guy. So I don't even really try. All I really hope for over this month is that, 1) The team gets better; and 2) The team avoids major injuries.
I have to take the first on faith -- after all, I would imagine it would be hard for a team to hold a string of practices over a month and not improve. The second? With two practices and the final scrimmage to go, the Cougs have yet to suffer a major injury.
That's great news for the obvious reason that nobody yet has an injury that will threaten them playing next year, but it's also important in that it allows all of these guys to continue full steam ahead in their strength and conditioning development between now and August. That's something tangible I can hang my hat on, and for that, I'm legitimately excited.
If you, however, are a person who is interested in the results, yesterday's scrimmage featured some stellar defensive play after the offense stole the show a week ago -- you can check out the final stats here. Here are the various first hand reports:
It's defense's day at WSU scrimmage - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - April 9, 2011
From the opening possession, heck from the opening play, it was obvious this was going to be the defense's day. You could hear it. The pads were popping as the defense, embarrassed a little by the offensive domination last Saturday, came out hitting. Logwone Mitz tried the right side and was met in the hole after 2 yards. Isiah Barton was pounded by a big group after catching a slant for 4 yards. And then Anthony Laurenzi was too quick for the offensive line and came up with a sack. Three and out. A tone was set.
Cougfan.com: WSU scrimmage turns heads of different type
[Defensive tackle Toni] Pole said part of the defense’s improved play could be attributed to Brian Cain, a noted sports psychologist, who addressed the team Friday. "We were given an inspirational speech yesterday and he gave us kind of a different perspective on how we should play," Pole said. "He told us we need to work on the daily things and build off of that. So now we can just be happy with today, we need to build from this and get better."
Defense Shines In Cougars Second Spring Scrimmage - WASHINGTON STATE OFFICIAL ATHLETIC SITE
"I thought our defense played hard, played fast, and really set the tone for the day by getting stops on the first four series," commented head coach Paul Wulff. "Jeff (Tuel) then threw a great ball to Marquess (Wilson) for the score but the defense regrouped and came back and made more plays."
EDIT: One more this morning ...
More for a Sunday from WSU - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - April 10, 2011
The play of the defense Saturday was no accident (segues, the foundation of blog writing), not after the way the offensive line had carved up the defense the Saturday before. Following the first scrimmage, Alex Hoffman-Ellis told me the defense knew the offense wanted to be more physical and that it would try to run the ball right down the defenders' throats. And it ticked him off because it did just that. So this time the defense decided to turn the tables and drive the offense back. And it did. Now next week, in the spring's final scrimmage in Spokane, I wonder if both teams will up the ante a little bit?
The final scrimmage will be Saturday at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane at 3 p.m. There will be a "fanfest" style event beforehand at 1 p.m. I have no idea if they'll be rocking the new uniforms, but that would be cool, wouldn't it?