Day one of WSU fall football camp has come and gone, and there are two things we knew we could count on:
- Optimism would abound.
- There would be an overkill of coverage that won't be sustained through the rest of camp.
Yesterday did not disappoint. Of course, with no pads, rarely are there any injuries on the first day. Plus, everyone is feeling great about the new year with an entire offseason's worth of workouts between the end of last season's mess and today.
Some people will try to read the tea leaves and figure out what it all means -- I mean, we've got four weeks of camp to cover, so we've got to write about something. But without the benefit of preseason games or intersquad scrimmages, it's so difficult to project anything from camp to the regular season.
Remember last fall, when both Marshall Lobbestael and Kevin Lopina were completing like 65 percent of their passes against the WSU defense? The same guys who completed just 46.5 percent and 52.4 percent of their passes, respectively, against legitimate competition? I rest my case.
Also, you gotta love coachspeak. Yesterday's great example? The team was "focused" for a first day of camp. I suppose it's good to be focused, but I'm pretty sure there's no way to empirically measure "focus," and I'm equally certain there has been no scientific study done on the correlation between "focus" and the more important component "game results."
Because of that, you won't find us getting too high or low -- unless there are key injuries -- during fall camp. Everyone felt pretty good coming out of camp last year. And we know how that turned out. (In fact, feel free to re-read EDSBS's piece on spring practice. Most of it still applies in the fall.)
That doesn't mean camp is totally devoid of learning potential. For a team that was physically overmatched the last two years, it's important to ask if the players have made maximum gains in terms of strength and conditioning. All systems go on that front, which is a great sign.
We also can learn some things about scheme, which will be important for a program that's had to abandon a lot of what it wants to do because of personnel limitations.
Lastly, it's fun to watch the competitions play out. And I guess that's the thing that's got me the most encouraged at this point in camp. For the first time in two years, there's legitimate competition in camp. I'm not talking about two or three guys trying to become the starter; I'm talking about two or three guys who each appear to be legitimate Pac-10 athletes trying to become the starter. Most of the guys who are assumed starters at this point have already proven they can play at this level. The others are being pushed from behind. That's a good thing.
Read on for the links from day one.
First day in the books for WSU - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - Aug. 8, 2010
Though this is a young group, the execution was pretty sharp, sharp enough that coach Paul Wulff mentioned it after practice. "So many of these guys are going into their second year," he said, "they have a feel for what to expect." One of those guys is starting quarterback Jeff Tuel. He heads into camp knowing this is his team. "I should come into camp with a little more confidence," Tuel said, "and take ownership of the offense a little more." Given the keys, Tuel drove the group fast today.
Scout.com: DAY 1: Cougs come out sharp
THE LEVEL OF competition in the defensive secondary should make for an interesting camp if Day 1 was any indication. The entire secondary – whether the 1’s or 2’s were playing -- was blanketing receivers and showing incredible speed chasing down running backs during drills.
First and Crimson - Finally, Cougar Football
Rickey Galvin looks quick, real quick. The running back position is going to be fun to watch. There are a number of guys competing to win the starting job, and they should all be making each other better throughout camp. James Montgomery practiced, and he looks like he is pretty close to his old self.
Scout.com: Walks ons: Some we knew about, some we didn't
FALL CAMP IS opening at Washington State and with it comes the official list of invited walk ons. CF.C has reported over the months about a number of them that were expected, but as always, there never fails to be a surprise or two or three ...
Lastly, here are a pair of video interviews with Tuel and Wulff via First and Crimson: