Good morning, and a hearty “welcome back” to the game of football. While the games still won’t count for a good bit, the current edition of the Washington State Cougars staged its first camp scrimmage on Saturday, while a few former Cougs took to NFL fields in their attempts to find a job at the professional level.
We’ll start with the “amateur” version of the Cougars, which was unable to scrimmage outside due to air quality, and unwilling to allow media members to witness the proceedings because reasons, or something. It seems the guys have a long way to go in order to be ready for the opener. That’s understandable since they’re still trying to adapt to a relatively new system, but still, head coach Nick Rolovich was less than pleased with the team’s performance according to the Spokesman Review.
“Well, I don’t think there’s a question the defense won the day,” said Rolovich, who took precautionary measures with many of WSU’s best players and held a handful of starters out of Saturday’s scrimmage. “A lot of self-inflicted wounds offensively that probably compounded the feeling walking off the field. A bunch of dropped balls. One bad snap is one too many and we had more than that, which really disturbs the flow of the overall cleanliness of a football team. So that needs to be fixed.”
He has a good point about the dropped passes and bad snaps. Even though we’re still a ways out (BUT FEWER THAN THREE WEEKS!!!) from the opener, mental errors like those should not be a chronic issue. It’ll be interesting to see whether Rolovich has a better review of those areas after the next scrimmage. It also seems that the coaches were relatively conservative when it came to playing a few of the veteran guys, which couldn’t have helped the offense’s rhythm.
According to reports, Max Borghi, Deon McInstosh, Travell Harris and Jahad Woods did not participate. I don’t know how long until it’ll officially be time for concern about Harris’ lack of participation, but given the lack of receiver depth, we’re rapidly approaching the worry zone. One guy whose name I keep reading is Donovan Ollie, and if practices and scrimmages are any indication, Ollie will have a big role in the offense. This is a big development considering the receiver attrition over the last couple years.
On the mandatory quarterback derby update front, it seems that Rolovich is no closer to naming a starter than he was before the week began, which is probably not the best of news, because it means that none of the three guys competing for the spot has emerged as the front runner. Judging purely by practice stats - nothing perilous about that! - I’d guess that the top spot will come down to Cammon Cooper or Jayden de Laura. It’s nothing more than a hunch, but I feel like Guarantano would have made some more noise by now if he was going to be the guy. As always, we’ll see.
According to the school’s scrimmage statistics, Cooper had the best day among the quarterbacks, completing nearly all of his passes, including two for scores (both to the aforementioned Ollie). Oh, and we have video proof!
Both of Cammon Cooper’s touchdowns from #WSU’s scrimmage. The first was a 70-yard strike to Donovan Ollie. The second? A 7-yarder to Ollie. Impressive touch on both passes from the redshirt junior, who’s definitely still in the thick of this QB battle. pic.twitter.com/Xz1lYJGqFg— Theo Lawson (@TheoLawson_SR) August 14, 2021
In all, the quarterbacks were 19-34 for 192 yards and four touchdowns. Wisconsin Badgers transfer Nakia Watson led the running backs with 34 yards on only three carries, while Billy Pospisil III, Calvin Jackson, Jr., Drake Owen and Ollie all caught multiple passes. Oklahoma State Cowboys transfer C.J. Moore, who we mentioned last week, did not register a statistic.
On the defensive side, the Cougars made some solid plays, though they were not able to generate any turnovers. Among the six quarterback sacks were two by TCU transfer/Sumner HS grad/glorious long blond hair-having linebacker Ben Wilson.
Afterward, Rolovich, defensive coordinator Jake Dickert and a couple Cougar players spoke to the media.
The Cougars will continue preseason camp on Monday, after resting (and probably watching scrimmage film) on Sunday.
'A lot of self-inflicted wounds.' Offensive miscues leave Nick Rolovich uneasy after first Washington State scrimmage | The Spokesman-Review
On a day when footballs hit the ground too often for his liking, both via bad snaps and dropped passes, Washington State coach Nick Rolovich left the indoor practice bubble with more concerns than closure about his offense less than three weeks ahead of the home opener against Utah State.
Five compelling position battles at Washington State and who we're picking to win each spot this fall | The Spokesman-Review
As the Cougars prepare for the second full week of fall camp, we dissect five of the team’s most intriguing and important position battles and make educated guesses as to who’ll claim each spot this fall.
Big doings over the weekend for several former Cougs, many of whom played parts in their respective preseason games. First up was Easop Winston, who made a huge play early on for the New Orleans Saints.
That was to be Winston’s only catch of the game, on two total targets.
San Francisco 49ers receiver River Cracraft also got some playing time Saturday, catching two passes on four targets, for nine yards. He also returned two punts, but couldn’t break loose, totaling four yards. Cracraft faced former WSU quarterback Anthony Gordon and the Kansas City Chiefs, and Gordon got a fair amount of playing time, throwing the most passes of any QB in the game. He completed 11/17, but for only 79 yards, good for 4.6 YPA. I guess we’ll have to wait another week until Andy Reid names Gordo the starter over Patrick Mahomes.
As I write this, another two former Cougs are squaring off in Indianapolis. Receiver Dezmon Patmon and linebacker Frankie Luvu both showed out rather well on Sunday in a 21-18 Indianapolis Colts victory over the Carolina Panthers. First up, the victor.
Jacob Eason throws a strike to Dezmon Patmon and the @Panthers move the chains @skinnyqb10 | @dadpat7— NFL (@NFL) August 15, 2021
: #CARvsIND on @NFLNetwork (or check local listings)
: https://t.co/ItciNYd3S4 pic.twitter.com/uDBEIPnYL3
Gotta love that Coug-Husky synergy! Dez led both teams in total receptions with five, which covered 49 yards.
On the other hand, a Coug sacking a former Husky probably feels even better, and new Panther Frankie Luvu agrees.
Hopefully every former Coug with a shot at a roster spot is able to stick around for the season’s duration.
This Week in Parenting
The boys are wrapping up their month in the U.S., as Team Kendall prepares to depart for Europe, and the gathering storm cloud known as football practice and the start of school. The week was spent mostly in the pool, at Top Golf, at the miniature golf course, or on a bike. I also noticed that Colts training camp takes place near the home of the in-laws, so I thought it would be cool to make a half day of it and try to get some autographs for the kiddos. I told them to both wear their WSU jerseys, and maybe we’d get to meet Dez Patmon and Frankie Luvu, since Indy and Carolina were holding a joint practice.
We procured a couple mini-footballs and reserved tickets for August 11, so of course somebody with the team canceled outdoor practice on the 11th due to likely inclement weather, which never materialized. This wouldn’t be the last time the Colts weather person pissed me off. Anyway, we regrouped and decided to go the next day. Luckily we weren’t subjected to the brutal heat and humidity that has plagued this area most of the summer, as it was cloudy and breezy.
As the boys headed to the bleachers to watch practice, I made my way to the souvenir tent to see if there was a mini-helmet for autographs. What greeted me? A sign that read “Due to NFL rules regarding COVID, fans will not be able to get autographs.” Super. F***ing. Duper. All was not lost, though, as the boys watched some practice, ran around the kids’ play area where they got to run the 40-yard dash, catch punts etc., and went back to watch more. In the meantime, we learned that the players would sign footballs and throw them into the crowd when practice concluded. During the 11-on-11 period, the boys even managed to get Dez Patmon’s attention, yelling “Hey Dez! Go Cougs!” He turned and pointed, so I considered the day a win, and figured he’d be happy to sign a ball and throw it to the kids later on.
So of course, with five minutes to go, the PA announcer let everyone know that the players would not be signing autographs due to - once again! - impending inclement weather. You won’t believe this, but for the second day in a row, that poor weather never arrived. Deflated though they were, the boys once again got Patmon’s attention as the players departed, and he took some time to walk over and have a quick chat. He was particularly excited that the nine year-old was sporting his #12 WSU jersey. While the dumb NFL and the dumb weather person precluded a signature, Dez played along as best he could.
Pandemic rules and poor weather forecasting worked against getting an autograph today, but @dadpat7 was cool enough to come over for a pic. Many thanks for your time, Dezmon! Best of luck this year! pic.twitter.com/OPMZEUbtiB— PJ Kendall ✈ ⚰ (@Deathby105) August 12, 2021
So despite all the fits and starts, I considered the trip to camp well worth our while. Once again, thanks to Dezmon for taking the time.
Sunday, for whatever reason, the boys took an interest in my Peleton workout, deciding to take part in my 20-minutes of core. Afterward, the nine year-old insisted that I leave the laptop with him because he wanted to do some yoga. Not a joke. Anyway, I happily acquiesced since he’s wound pretty tight. After that, the older boy joined in for some meditation, and I couldn’t resist documenting the evidence.
The dog has them both beat, if you ask me.
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