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River Cracraft says success is something he expects

River Cracraft surprised a lot of people when he had a big true freshman season that earned him All-Pac-12 honorable mention. This year he has worked to improve his game by finding ways to make yards after the catch. We had a moment after practice in Lewiston to talk to River about his big freshman season and playing with three former high school teammates, including his brother Skyler.

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Lewiston - River Cracraft didn't get any offers from major division schools except WSU. An inside word to coaches on his work ethic and character landed him at WSU where he made an instant impact on the team. Now Cracraft is on everybody's radar after receiving All-Pac-12 honorable mention as a true freshman. We had a chance to talk to River about playing with three high school teammates from Rancho Santa Margarita and the work he has put in to get more yards after a catch.

CougCenter: River, you were sort of recruited here under the radar. Did that motivate you to go out there last year and have the kind of year you did?

Cracraft: Absolutely. The coaches believed in me and gave me an opportunity. I was thankful and blessed enough to take advantage of it.

CougCenter: You're a pretty good recruiter yourself. You helped get Riley (Sorensen) up here, Nick Begg, and now your brother (Skyler Cracraft). How close is the relationship between you guys from Rancho Santa Margarita?

Cracraft: We're very close. We're all family. Obviously, to have my brother here is very special and Nick was my best friend in high school along with Riley. It's just great having those guys here.

CougCenter: Did you ever think you would have the kind of season you did last year as a true freshman?

Cracraft: Absolutely, I am always expecting success. That is something I like to pride myself on. If you work hard, you're going to get the results.

CougCenter: What were some of the things you worked on in the offseason?

Cracraft: I tried to relax a little bit. If I had to go into detail, I'd say getting yards after the catch. But really just relaxing and knowing I'm not a freshman anymore. Just getting loose on the field.

CougCenter: I know getting yards after a catch is a big part of the Air Raid. What really goes into getting yards after a catch?

Cracraft: We work on a ton of drills. The ‘stick and shake' drill is the biggest as far as (making yards after the catch). You have to have the mindset that you're not going to get tackled. It's going to be pretty hard to bring me down. That's the mindset I'm trying to work on right now.

CougCenter: Today is the last day of camp in Lewiston. What do you think was accomplished here by the team?

Cracraft: A lot of talk has been about our defense this year and I think we proved it here that our defense is great. We're going to be a solid corps this year. Our offense is improving. We're bouncing back this year from that last game (New Mexico Bowl). Everyone knows about the Air Raid. And we're going to show it this year.

Here are some links from Monday

Pre-Rutgers stuff

WATCH: Washington State coach Mike Leach talks about matchup vs. Rutgers |
Mike Leach clearly doesn't offer much to the media in the way of meaty soundbites, but the Washington State coach on Sunday did offer a positive review of Rutgers heading into his team's Thursday night matchup in Seattle.

Rutgers practice report: Defensive backs eager for chance to 'shut everybody up' in opener |
Rutgers' defensive players haven't been shy about embracing the challenge of facing Washington State's vaunted aerial attack.

Rutgers football week 1: Knights head west to face the Cougars - On the Banks
The Scarlet Knights once again start the season on the road on the west coast.

Rutgers RB Paul James ready for heavy workload vs. Washington State |
It stands to reason that in order to slow down Washington State's vaunted air-raid attack, Rutgers will look to control the tempo by playing efficient, ball-control offense in the opener Thursday night in Seattle.

Rutgers DBs still learning - - Aug. 25, 2014
For a decade Rutgers was the Harvard of the Secondary and getting a degree in defensive back was a surefire start to a career as a professional football player.

Rutgers-WSU tickets: Another glimpse into fan preferences | Pac-12 Confidential | Seattle Times
As of Monday afternoon, tickets were lagging for Washington State’s football opener with Rutgers Thursday night at CenturyLink Field. With the count at 26,000 scarcely 72 hours out, WSU athletic director Bill Moos says the crowd might top out in the mid-30s. That would make it the smallest gathering in the 12-year history of WSU’s game at this venue.

Plenty of good seats still available for WSU game in Seattle | Cougar Football | The Seattle Times
In the final days leading up to Washington State’s football opener Thursday night against Rutgers at CenturyLink Field, the story might be more about people who won’t see the game than those who will.

No more home games in Seattle for WSU - - Aug. 25, 2014
The Cougars will not play a home game in Seattle next season, and athletic director Bill Moos has indicated that the WSU football team is unlikely to cross the Cascade Mountains again unless it’s for an Apple Cup.

More Football

No LaRue at WSU's practice - SportsLink - - Aug. 25, 2014
Tomorrow will be a Thursday Night Football underclassmen scrimmage, Wednesday will be a walk-through and travel day and on Thursday the Cougars open the season in Seattle against Rutgers.

Pac-12 by the numbers: Week 1 - Pac-12 Blog - ESPN
Rutgers vs. Washington State, in Seattle The Cougars are 5-6 when playing at CenturyLink Field, dating back to the first-ever football game played in the stadium -- a win against Nevada in 2002.

Ranking the 99 best games of college football's 2014 opening week -
10. Rutgers at Washington State, Thursday, Aug. 28, 10 p.m. This will be Rutgers' first game as a Big Ten school, and it could be a tough one. Mike Leach doubled his win total in his second season at Washington State.

Klay and Team USA

Klay Thompson Selected to USA World Cup Team - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Former Washington State University men’s basketball standout, Klay Thompson, will represent the United States at the 2014 FIBA (International Basketball Federation) Basketball World Cup that will be held Aug. 30-Sept. 14 in Spain, USA Basketball National Team Managing Director, Jerry Colangelo, announced last week.