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Cougars set for first camp scrimmage

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The new guys get to take part in their first semi-live action Sunday.

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Good morning. We are now less than two weeks away from real college football, when Cal faces Hawaii in Australia. This is good news. Even better news is that we are less than three weeks from seeing the Cougs face Eastern Washington on Labor Day weekend. In preparation for that first game, the team will conduct its first scrimmage on Sunday afternoon.

This will be the first chance for the new guys to get a taste of what it will be like to face top-flight competition, albeit under more controlled circumstances. I'm looking forward to the reports about how the young receivers perform against the talented group of defensive backs. Tavares Martin, Isaiah Johnson and Dezmon Patmon will likely be counted upon to contribute this season, and Sunday's scrimmage will hopefully provide a good progress report.

It will also be interesting to see whether the four running backs all stay in the backfield, or if one of them (Keith Harrington maybe) get snaps at one of the inside receiver spots. So if you're out driving around Lewiston and are looking for something to do before you head across the river to Fazzari's Pizza for dinner, stop by and check out the Cougs. Sunday will be their last day at Sacajawea Junior High. Following their first day off, the Cougs will resume practice Tuesday in Pullman in preparation for the season opener.

In addition to his practice report, Jacob Thorpe wrote an article on the diverse backgrounds from which the WSU football players originate. It is a really interesting read, and gives a window into Leach's reasoning behind taking the team to Lewiston for a portion of fall camp every year. Even before I read the quote below, I was thinking the same thing that Leach said at the end.

"Really, sports and war is where (diversity) all started," Leach said. "More than any of the politicians ever did, that’s where people really started mixing and working together and realizing they had more in common than they thought."

The war portion of that quote is 100% accurate. Anyone who spent time in the military will tell you that one of the best things about it is meeting, working and oftentimes living with people from completely different backgrounds and upbringings. The article is well worth your time.

Football

WSU players of diverse backgrounds mix at preseason camp | The Spokesman-Review
For those fans looking for a behind-the-pads look at the life of a full-time football player, Marcellus Pippins’ Snapchat story scratches the itch until the next episode of "Hard Knocks."

Cougars’ Justus Rogers appears suited for defense | The Spokesman-Review
Prior to enrolling early at WSU and playing quarterback throughout spring practices, Rogers started for two years at Bellevue High, leading the prestigious Wolverines program to consecutive appearances in the State 3A championship game.

Highlights, observations and a new recruit | The Spokesman-Review
If you'd like to catch the scrimmage, I'd show up at Sacajawea High in Lewiston around 3 p.m.

My AP top-25 football preseason ballot
The resurgence under Mike Leach continues with Luke Falk back to operate the Air Raid. Only problem is a rugged division.

Ultimate Pac-12 Road Trip, Week 13: Apple Cup and USC vs. Notre Dame
The Huskies certainly hold bragging rights from last year's shellacking. But WSU fans will counter (and it’s not unreasonable) that the lack of Luke Falk last year altered the outcome. Here's hoping that everyone is healthy this time around so we really can see this rivalry blossom when both teams are peaking and have something significant on the line.

Breakout Pac-12 players to watch in 2016
The Cougars, so often incorrectly stereotyped into the "they don't run" category that's associated with Air Raid offenses, actually have a plethora of backfield talent.

Beer

Best beer I had this week: The best/worst thing that happened this week was Total Wine opening a store near my house and sending out a coupon for discounts on four-and-six packs. I went there sans kids Saturday, and must have walked up and down the aisles 10-15 times. The worst part about it was that my credit card nearly started on fire when it was time to check out.

One of my selections was Fat Head Brewing's Head Hunter IPA. If you ask me (you didn't), Head Hunter is the gold standard for American IPAs. It doesn't hurt that their website's cap designs are the best you'll ever see.

Craft Beer’s Looming Crisis - The Daily Beast
If you go by the sample size of the fridge in my garage, craft beer is doing just fine.

Non-Sports

Do Your Friends Actually Like You? - The New York Times
This is easy for me. I only consider my Twitter followers to be my close friends. Everyone else is on the periphery.