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Cougars conduct first spring scrimmage

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Like usual, it was good and not so good.

NCAA Football: Washington State at Colorado Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning. While we all wander aimlessly through the spring/summer desert that’s largely bereft of intriguing storylines regarding Cougar athletics, a few oases are provided in the form of spring football scrimmages. The first of those occurred on Saturday and, as is always the case when the home team faces the home team, a good result for the Cougs also meant a poor result for the Cougs.

The Spokesman Review was on hand to document the proceedings, and the main inference was that the receivers - with one exception - had a pretty rough day. Mike Leach said as much afterward, making it pretty clear that he was quite displeased with the group’s performance.

“I thought our receivers were remarkably soft,” Leach said after Saturday’s scrimmage.

The coach was critical of the group’s toughness, adding, “I don’t know if some of them think they accomplished something or they achieved something and think that we need to read their press clippings or something. I haven’t read any of them, so clearly I’m not informed on how great they think they are.”

By the way, talking about “press clippings” in 2019 might be my favorite thing about Leach’s comments, but I digress.

The glaring exception to Leach’s criticism was former walk-on Brandon Arconado who, according to Theo Lawson, caught all seven passes thrown his way. Three of those catches resulted in touchdowns, including a beautiful 50-yard rainbow from Cammon Cooper.

Trey Tinsley and and Anthony “Gordo” Gordon got the bulk of the work behind center, and combined to go 25-44, for 265 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Gordon tossed all four TDs, while Tinsley threw the only INT among all five quarterbacks. The three other QBs got one series apiece, and John Bledsoe was the most impressive, according to the stats anyway. Bledsoe only threw six passes, but none of them hit the ground and two were touchdowns.

Max Borghi got the bulk of the carries (a whole seven!), and looked about like we’d expect, averaging north of eight yards-per-carry. Hopefully he can carry a massive amount of the load in 2019, because that list of guys behind him is...yeesh. And yes, I realize they have a recruit coming in the fall.

On the defensive side, the Cougs were only able to generate one turnover, a Patrick Nunn interception, but they also logged five “sacks” during the proceedings. Dom Silvels led the way with two sacks, and I think he’s one guy who could make a big impact in 2019.

On the kicking front, it was a mixed bag. Both Blake Mazza and Jack Crane hit two of their four attempts, but neither could convert from 50 yards.

You can read the stat sheet here.

Here were a couple things I noticed on the highlight reel:

  • The defense was getting its licks in on those receivers, which may have induced some of the drops.
  • Bledsoe’s pass to Arconado in the end zone was a thing of beauty.
  • Max Borghi’s physicality is impressive, but I kinda wish he wouldn’t seek out contact when he doesn’t have to, such as that play near the goal line where he could have cut left and scored without trucking that poor defender. We really need you to stay fresh, Max!
  • I can get used to the idea of Dezmon Patmon catching a tunnel screen and running amid some poor DBs who stand no chance.
  • Cam Cooper clearly has some arm talent, but that pass up the left sideline was an easy score if he hadn’t underthrown it so badly.
  • Hopefully the weather is much more pleasant for the spring game in a couple weeks.

Football

Brandon Arconado puts on a show, but wide receivers inconsistent in first Washington State scrimmage | The Spokesman-Review
With a few exceptions on both sides, the wideouts were inconsistent and the defensive backs were physical throughout a mock game at Martin Stadium that lasted nearly two hours and 100 plays.

Back and Forth in Cougars First Scrimmage - Washington State University Athletics
Washington State resumes its spring practice schedule Tuesday at 3 p.m. at Rogers Field and Martin Stadium.

Pac-12 Quarterback Depth Chart Breakdown
6-4 redshirt freshman Cammon Cooper is a big-time talent who’s destined to be a starter at some point in his career, but he’ll likely take a backseat to seniors Trey Tinsley and Anthony Gordon who know the system.

2019 Spring College Football Rankings, Predictions: No. 1 to 130
It’s a loaded team that should be every bit as good as last year’s version if Eastern Washington transfer QB Gage Gubrud can be another Gardner Minshew.

This Week in Parenting

There are many milestones in a young child’s life that make a parent beam with pride: learning to crawl, first steps, first words, first tooth, riding a bike etc. Saturday, we reached one of the few milestones that damn near brought a tear to dad’s eye: taking the little bastards outside and telling them not to come back in until all the weeds are gone. I’m getting emotional just thinking about it.

The temperature was only in the high 50s, but apparently that was enough to merit a “sun’s out, guns out” situation.

Beer

Best beer I had this week: Spent a good part of the week in Izmir, Turkey. This will probably stun you, but Turkey doesn’t exactly have a burgeoning craft beer scene. Upon returning, I tried a beer I’d picked up at the local supermarket, and man was Schnorres Palantine Pale Ale a very pleasant surprise. Turns out it’s brewed right up the road. Win, win!

What craft beer’s continued growth means for beer drinkers
The total number of American craft breweries surpassed the 7,000 mark in 2018, and now stands 7,346 and counting.

Non-Sports

Russia Ordered a Killing That Made No Sense. Then the Assassin Started Talking. - The New York Times
It turned out the killer of a Ukrainian electrician was working for Russian intelligence agents.