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WSU Spring Game: Crimson defeats Gray, 25-24

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Washington State v Stanford Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Good morning, and Happy Easter. Your Washington State Cougars conducted their annual spring game on Saturday, amid some textbook Palouse spring weather. Most of the attendees probably didn’t mind said weather, however, because spring weather on the Palouse meant the game had returned to Pullman.

As with every spring game ever, good things for one side meant not-so-good things for the other. Regardless, these exercises are a fun chance for fans and alumni to break up the offseason doldrums by returning to Pullman, as well as an opportunity to see how things are progressing in advance of the upcoming season. Such was the case again on Holy Saturday, and for the second straight spring game, all eyes were on the quarterback race. Well, except for the eyes that were on the beer line in the suites.

While 2018’s spring game was mostly a mixed bag concerning the QBs, Anthony Gordon stood above the rest on Saturday. Gordo (it can not be emphasized enough what a great nickname “Gordo” is in 2019) completed 70 percent of his 30 attempts, averaged 7.8 YPA and tossed three touchdowns. The rest of the quarterbacks on the roster combined to throw two touchdowns.

All of this comes with a pretty big asterisk, of course. Senior transfer Gage Gubrud watched the proceedings in sweats because, despite all his happiness and health, his ankle/foot injury is still healing. My suspicion is that the quarterback race will come down to two of the seniors (Gordon and Gubrud) in the fall.

One non-sequitur - Pac-12 Network main switched from the WSU Spring Game to Oregon’s Spring game after only an hour. This makes sense, given Oregon’s dominance in the series of late. Wait, what?

But enough of my rambling, let’s have a look at some highlights.

Notes from the highlights:

  • Max Borghi is still really good!
  • Gordon showed some good elusiveness in the pocket. If he can just move around to buy time like Gardner Minshew II did, the passing game will remain at a high level.
  • 10/10 would like to keep seeing that concept that got Renard Bell wide open for the Crimson’s first touchdown. While it’s a great design, that play depends heavily on the offensive line holding their blocks.
  • Renard Bell backflips forever.
  • Continuing with our Bell theme - He and Travell Harris have a chance to absolutely eviscerate defenses this season. Hopefully the quarterback takes advantage of the talent at “H” moreso than WSU Air Raid QBs traditionally have.
  • Not sure what happened with the defense on the game’s first TD, but something tells me that somebody was supposed to cover Kassidy Woods.
  • The more I watch, the more I tell myself, “man, Anthony Gordon made some beautiful throws.” (but that INT was the result of a horrible decision)
  • I sure hope Nnamdi Oguayo is healthy next season.
  • I know Peyton Pelluer missed much of 2017, but I think his absence will be much more acute in 2019.
  • Cammon Cooper has some great arm talent, but his footwork on those two interceptions was atrocious.
  • I didn’t know who Brandon Gray was, but if he keeps making catches like the one near the goal line, we’ll all know his name in the fall.
  • Apologies that this section is heavy on offense, but whoever cut the highlight video made me do it!

Football

Anthony Gordon shines (and separates himself?) with three touchdowns in Washington State Crimson and Gray Game | The Spokesman-Review
The Crimson and Gray Game serves more than one purpose, but the storyline that many have been glued to this spring – a close battle between two redshirt senior QBs – offered another major plot point underneath gray/rainy skies at Martin Stadium.

Crimson and Gray notes: Will Rodgers III leads Washington State pass rush with three sacks | The Spokesman-Review
One year after it paced the Pac-12 with 38 sacks, Tracy Claeys’ defense rang up seven touch sacks with 10 tackles for loss and two quarterback hurries.

This Week in Parenting

For the three of you that read this, it’ll be long-winded but I will spare you many of the details. Sorry not sorry.

The boys had spring break last week, so my parents flew in and we loaded up the family truckster (aka, a rental car that apparently passes for a minivan in Europe) and headed to Normandy, France after a couple days spent in Brugge, Belgium. This trip was spurred by the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, who hold a camporee in Normandy once every three years.

EDIT: We stopped by Dunkirk on the way to Normandy. It was decidedly “meh.”

Making this trip was like making the hajj to Mecca for the WWII-crazy 10 year-old, and even the youngest was sort of excited to go. The majority of the scouts were camping. This guy wasn’t about to live in a tent for three days, so we stayed in a comfy Air BnB. The initial part of the first morning was spent at Omaha Beach, and we got there when the tide was out.

I walked out as far as I could, and even though I didn’t make it to the water line, the distance between my feet and the edge of the bluffs was striking. That’s my kid in the foreground, and he wasn’t half way to the bluffs. To the men who landed that day, the distance must have felt like a light year, what with all the mines, barbed wire etc. blocking their path, and the phalanx of Nazi firepower zeroed in on their positions.

I stood there for a good 10-15 minutes just taking everything in, before the Mrs. called me back in. In truth, I could have stood there for the entire day. I made sure all three generations got a photo together. (also sweet Jesus was the wind howling)

We spent the next couple days visiting various sites and museums. So many museums. The funny thing is that the best places to visit are free. The museums are always interesting, but if you ever go, I’m willing to bet that your favorite places will be Omaha Beach, Utah Beach, Point du Hoc (which was really neat) and the American Cemetery. Walking among all those graves is incredibly humbling, and the grounds are immaculate. Also, it sits atop a bluff that looks down on Omaha Beach.

Saturday night, there was a dinner on Omaha Beach, after which the oldest Cub Scouts crossed into Boy Scouts at a ceremony. After we arrived amid 25-30 knot northeast winds and began to walk toward the tent where our meals were, my wife turned to me and asked if I was thinking the same thing she was (i.e. let’s get our meals and get the hell back to the house). I needed no convincing, and the kids were fine with it after they saw scores of people sitting on the beach and looking completely miserable.

Later that night, the Mrs. saw some ceremony photos on Facebook, including people dressed up as WWII-era soldiers at the crossover ceremony that the oldest would have been a part of. Everyone looked so happy, and parental guilt set in, hard. I felt like I’d put my own interests ahead of what would’ve been a fun experience for my boys. She asked if we should tell the boys about the ceremony, and if you’re a parent, you already know my answer.

There was a closing ceremony at the cemetery Sunday morning, and we hadn’t planned to go, choosing instead to get an early start on the seven-hour drive home. But after missing out on the ceremony Saturday, we figured we needed to go in an attempt to make up for bailing out the night prior. There were thousands of Scouts, parents etc. there, and we stood on the side near one of the exit paths. This was by design, as I told my wife precisely how we would exit the area to beat traffic.

As we stood through some remarks etc., we noticed that there was a long line of Scouts waiting behind us. Turns out they were all set to lay wreaths at the memorial in the cemetery. As they began to make the procession, I headed toward the exit, prepared to sprint for the car as soon as Taps ended.

Before I got to my pre-assigned point, I noticed that there were a couple wreaths that didn’t have Scouts to carry them. I asked the lady who appeared to be in charge if she wanted my boys to carry one, and she said that the rule was only one wreath could be carried per Scout pack/troop. I didn’t say it, but I thought, “So you’re going to stick to some arbitrary rule for what? So these wreaths can get tossed in the trash?” People kill me sometimes. Anyway, she told me to ask another lady nearby.

Sure enough, that lady was far more receptive to not letting wreaths intended to celebrate thousands of fallen heroes go to waste, and my boys got the honor of their young lives. (sorry about the video quality, I had to zoom in which made it shaky)

Shortly after Taps (as I was sprinting to the car), my wife talked to a friend of hers who said everybody was miserable at the beach Saturday, and that we made the better choice to attend the ceremonies on Sunday. Maybe I’m not such a crappy dad after all. Oh, and we got the hell out of there ahead of everybody else. Always have an egress plan.

Beer

Best beer I had this week: Oh man, I can not stress enough what a beer heaven Belgium is. There’s a place in Brugge called 2be, which contains not only not only an amazing beer wall (Google it), but also a huge cellar. I’d still be there if not for our itinerary. Despite the fact that the “minivan” rental was packed to the gills, my wife managed to find every nook and cranny, and I filled them all with beer. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be Pêche Mel Bush, which is a strong fruit beer with the perfect amount of peach. It was sublime. Brugge Tripel and Paix Dieu (only brewed during the full moon, per abbey tradition) were also right there.

One other awesome thing about Belgium, and other places in Europe, is the fact that nearly every beer has a unique glass pairing. I keep telling myself that I won’t get any more glasses, which means I keep lying to myself.

Why honey beers are misunderstood
At its most basic, honey bees produce honey, which humans use in all sorts of culinary and brewing and domestic ways.

Non-Sports

I was hoping to come away from this article with a definitive stance on the value of homework. Though the story is very informative, I was kind of disappointed, because the answer was, as always, “it depends.”

Does Homework Work? - The Atlantic
America’s devotion to the practice stems in part from the fact that it’s what today’s parents and teachers grew up with themselves.