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Cougars begin Lewiston phase of training camp

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It’s hot!

Washington State v Oregon Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Good morning. Tis a glorious Sunday, as Cougar football is a scant four weeks away. The gentlemen wearing the helmets at practice may not think the day is so great, as temperatures in Lewiston are predicted to top out in the mid-90s.

Among all those players is a group of talented receivers, some of whom are looking to show out on the field this fall. That was the thrust of the Spokesman Review’s feature article on Sunday, and it illustrated the limitless potential of the guys who will catch passes from, well, somebody this season.

The caveat, however, is that much of that talent is young. Aside from inside receivers Kyle Sweet and 31 year-old Robert Lewis, the group has little more than a year of experience per guy. Tay Martin, Jamire Calvin and Renard Bell are sophomores, Dezmon Patmon is a junior who is really just entering his second full season, and Rodrick Fisher, Drue Jackson, Travell Harris, Calvin Jackson and Easop Winston have never taken a major college snap.

Catching passes from a new quarterback is likely to exacerbate that inexperience, at least during the early part of the season when quarterback and receivers are trying to develop a rapport during live games. The reason for hope is that the three sophomores, Martin, Calvin and Bell, saw significant playing time as freshmen, and the old saying goes the biggest leap comes between the first and second season.

In the long run, I think this group of receivers has the potential to be one of the best groups the school has seen, possibly even by the end of this season. How quickly they’re able to make strides toward that ceiling will play a huge part in determining whether the 2018 Cougar football team exceeds expectations.

Football

Why Washington State’s receiving corps could be historically deep in 2018 | The Spokesman-Review
As Mike Leach and his staff whittle a group of 12-13 players down to eight, we take a deeper dive into the position and look at how the WR depth chart could shake out this fall.

Observations and notes from day two of Washington State preseason football camp | The Spokesman-Review
The Cougars moved things to Lewiston and Sacajawea Junior High for the second day of preseason camp. Here are observations, notes and highlights.

This Week in Parenting

Strap in. Tampa has a huge military population, largely at MacDill AFB, where in addition to the refueling wing, there are the headquarters of CENTCOM, Special Operations Command, Marine Forces Central Command, and Special Operations Command Central. Not to mention the billions of retirees because Florida. Every year, the Buccaneers have a training camp session for military families. This year they had two, and I took the kiddos to the Saturday evening walkthrough which, by the grace of God, was held indoors.

The boys had their Bucs mini-helmets and Sharpies ready to go for autographs. Naturally, as we’re less than two minutes from the end of practice/autograph frenzy onset, the 9 year-old has to use the bathroom. So now practice is over, and I’ve got his mini-helmet, a ball that the little b***ards guilted me into buying (there is indeed a sucker born every minute), and a 6 year-old with his own mini-helmet and requisite autograph wishes. We snag a few signatures, including Gerald McCoy (who also took a pic with him) and Vita Vea.

At this point, it’s been 15 minutes since the older boy ran to the bathroom, and there’s no sign of him. Now I’m in a quandary. The youngest wants autographs, and I’m trying to corral him while looking for the 9 year-old. I also know that if the 6 year-old comes home with more autographs than the 9 year-old, the whining will continue roughly until I have grandkids. So I’m stuck between trying to find my kid who I last saw 15 minutes ago, and chasing the 6 year-old who is gunning for Jameis Winston’s signature, while knowing that I also need to get Winston’s signature on the other helmet.

I’ve rarely encountered battlefield scenarios fraught with this much peril. We get Winston’s autograph just as the horn blows and the players start departing. I flag down one of the roughly 10,000 Bucs employees carrying walkie-talkies and tell her what’s happening. While I was reasonably certain that everything was fine, the worst-case scenarios were simultaneously running through my head.

I saw a police officer and gave her my kid’s description (Just like dad - tall, goofy-looking, probably won’t talk to a girl until he’s 24) and just then, they located him, still in the bathroom. Chip off the old block. We head for the exits, but of course the Bucs, in all their wisdom, are giving away popsicles. At 9pm. So the kids run an end-around on me there, too, though I’d have bought them a car out of pure guilt at that point. Also, I felt bad that the 6 year-old got his pic with McCoy but the oldest did not.

I told them to throw out the popsicles halfway through, and I looked inside as we were leaving. There was one guy still there, signing every last autograph and taking pictures. Yep, Gerald McCoy. I rushed in with the boys, and Gerald was more than happy to snap a photo.

Every year when we watch Hard Knocks, my wife decides on a training camp boyfriend. When the Buccaneers were on in 2017, Gerald was her guy. I’m here to tell you that he’s my guy, too. A 4-time All-Pro who sticks around until every fan leaves is someone to respect and admire.

Beer

Best beer I had this week: The Mrs. and I had a little time to kill before picking up the kids at summer camp Friday, so we dropped by Cigar City. They have a few rare beers that you can buy, but you have to drink on-site, and there have to be at least two consumers. I’d been eyeing that cellar fridge forever, and wanted one beer in particular. I’ve always been a sucker for pumpkin beers, but am often disappointed. Southern Tier Pumking was my gold standard, until Friday that is, when I had the bartender pop a bottle of Good Gourd Have Mercy. Best pumpkin beer I’ve had, by a mile. Must’ve been the rum and bourbon barrel aging. The best part? Mrs. Kendall wasn’t too crazy about it, so I got almost the whole thing to myself.

Craft Beer Flagships Are Necessary, Not Nostalgic | VinePair
A look at, and nod to, the nation's pioneering craft beers, from Sierra Nevada Pale Ale to Bell's Two hearted IPA. Long live the flagship!

Non-Sports

This story has been disseminated pretty widely this week, but on the off chance you haven’t read it, you should. It is wild. I never remember hearing anything about it, and there’s a good reason, which you’ll discover if you read the whole thing.

How an Ex-Cop Rigged McDonald’s Monopoly Game and Stole Millions
Jerome Jacobson and his network of mobsters, psychics, strip-club owners, and drug traffickers won almost every prize for 12 years, until the FBI launched Operation ‘Final Answer.’