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Examining WSU's preseason depth

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Where are the Cougs in good shape? Where is the roster thinner than we'd like?

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Good morning. I've got some good news and bad news. You're almost certainly aware of both. The bad news is that it was probably the worst week-plus of the offseason, what with the off-campus fight that will likely result in a player or two being kicked off the team. There are lots of rumors out there, many of which you've probably heard, but we won't speculate here.

More bad news followed, as we found out that Kyrin Priester is leaving the team. On the surface, that's a shame. Priester's talent is unquestioned, but something else seems to be holding him back. It seems as if the issues that led to his departure from Clemson surfaced again in Pullman. Hopefully he gets it figured out and takes advantage of his athletic gifts. He had a chance to shine at WSU, but unfortunately, I'll always remember him for fumbling the punt that changed the Portland State game.

On the good news front, we're a week away from preseason camp, and 34 days from the season opener. If you celebrate Lent, 34 days should be easy. As the season approaches, and roster attrition (hopefully) settles out, it's time to look at the depth chart. Jacob Thorpe did just that, giving out grades for each position group. I'm not sure if Priester's departure, along with a couple possible losses from the fight were figured in, but this is a good snapshot  as the Cougs prepare for their trip to Lewiston.

Despite Priester's absence, the depth on offense looks pretty solid, except for quarterback of course. WSU isn't alone in that boat, though, as nearly every school has a big question mark behind center if the starter goes down. Unfortunately for WSU, it seems like that question mark gets thrown into the fire more often than most other places.

Here are Thorpe's thoughts:

Waiting in the wings: Freshman Tyler Hilinski redshirted last season and was not expected to ascend to the backup position this quickly. But Peyton Bender leaving the program leaves the Cougars with few options.

Depth grade: D

As far as the defense, the closer you get to the ball, the thinner the Cougars get. A defensive line that gave up a pretty good amount of rushing yards last season will really depend on the contribution of newcomers this fall. One guy who really needs to step forward is Ngalu Tapa. His stumbling block has always been his conditioning. Here's hoping he finally got it figured out.

Nose tackle: Robert Barber, senior. 6-3, 290. Quick and powerful, Barber had a productive spring and set himself up for a big senior season on the Palouse.

Waiting in the wings: Ngalu Tapa is has been an intriguing prospect for a while but can’t seem to stay on the field for extended stretches. The Cougars do not have much else in the middle.

We're a week away from the start of camp. Hooray.

Football

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Beer

Best beer I had this week: Pretty productive week on the beer front. In the good news/bad news category, I had a sensational coconut coffee stout at Cigar City. I even took home a bomber. The bad news? I paid $20 for it, exceeding my self-imposed $15 bomber salary cap. For shame. Cigar City also made this beer, which was really good, far cheaper than that bomber, and had a cool can:

Beavis and Butthead would be proud.

I also had a Ballast Point Orange Vanilla Fathom IPL that was very good. In the end, though, the winner is the stout, cost be damned.

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The craft division of MillerCoors has bought a majority stake in Oregon-based Hop Valley Brewing Company, the second investment the big brewer has made in a tinier rival this month.

Non-Sports

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For most of the past 40 years, Creative Artists Agency has been the most innovative, most influential and, yes, most feared talent agency in Hollywood.