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Cougar Football holds its second scrimmage

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Lots of passes! Lots of sacks!

PULLMAN, WA - APRIL 9: Washington State Cougars football program takes to Rogers Field for spring practice Jack Ellis/CougCenter

Good morning afternoon. Your Washington State Cougars held their penultimate scrimmage of the spring on Saturday, and there were lots of sacks, touchdowns and (presumably) high fives. A quarterback named Ward had probably the best day among the passers, as you’d expect. However, it turned out to be Xavier Ward, who completed nine of 10 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown. Presumed starter Cameron Ward threw the same amount of passes, completing six for 59 yards and another score.

In all, the six quarterbacks went 38/53, for 403 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. The top two running backs also had solid outings, as veteran Nakia Watson and newbie Djouvensky Schlenbaker (who I will simply call DJ Baker from now on), combined for 86 yards on just 17 carries.

Digression: How much do you want to bet that every time DJ has had to sit through roll call in class, he would see the teacher take a long pause and purse his or her lips in a moment of confusion? I’d say every time. My guess is that DJ would simply raise his hand in order to preclude another butchering of his name pronunciation.

Ok, back to the action. Those stats would portend a lousy day for the defense, right? Kind of. As many yards as WSU gained, and as many touchdowns as the offense scored, the defense had its share of impact plays as well. Linebacker Josh Erling picked off a pass, and four WSU defenders got to the quarterbacks for a good old “touch sack” seven times, with Raam Stevenson, Gabe Lopez and Nusi Malani getting at least two apiece.

While there weren’t any defensive stats outside of sacks and interceptions, it’s safe to assume that Nevada transfer Daiyan Henley was in on several plays. The Spokesman Review featured Henley on Saturday, and it’s not a stretch to think that Henley will be a linchpin of the Cougar D this fall. One interesting nugget I saw was that Henley has been all over the field since he began playing college football, which has aided his ability to excel at linebacker.

“It’s respect to each position I’ve played,” he said. “As a receiver, you’re learning where to sit in zones and you’re learning from different points on the field. Becoming a (DB), I had to learn coverages and where to be on the field. Coming to linebacker, I’m in the box now and reading guard pulls, tackle pulls. All of these things I’ve learned are different aspects of the game. I put those things together to know the game better.”

Henley was somewhat of a coup for the Cougars, as the article mentions that the graduate transfer had interest from Washington, USC and Kansas State. It’s probably not a stretch to believe that Henley ended up in Pullman largely due to the fact that his defensive coordinator at Nevada, Chad Ward, also moved to the Palouse from Reno during the offseason. Regardless of whether that played an outsized role, Henley’s addition will likely prove to be one of Jake Dickert’s best moves during the 2021-22 offseason.

And in a bit of trivia that only I probably care about, Henley will be one of two players suiting up for WSU this fall who also took part in the 45-7 Cougars victory over Nevada back in 2017. 2017! (this will also forever be known as the one time WSU wore the White/Anthracite/White uniform combo with the gray Cougar logo and gray face masks, which has been criminally excluded ever since) As a freshman in that game, Henley returned a kick for 24 yards.

Also in that game was Renard Bell, who caught four Luke Falk passes for 113 yards. This got me thinking about Bell’s time at WSU. Over that career, Bell has caught passes from Falk, Tyler Hilinski, Gardner Minshew, Anthony Gordon, Jayden de Laura and - presumably - Cameron Ward. In other words, Bell is one degree of Kevin Bacon from the 2014 Cougars, and he’s still on the team. Seems wild to me!

Football

'I'm not a one-dimensional player': Linebacker Daiyan Henley brings versatility, star potential to Washington State's defense | The Spokesman-Review
“Explosion, power and intensity – I’d say those words describe how I’m coming this year,” he said when asked about his hitting abilities. “Not only me, but I’ve seen it from my teammates. That’s how we’re all coming.”

Cougars Scrimmage for Second Time This Spring - Washington State University Athletics
Washington State Football held its second scrimmage of the spring with the offense starting fast and the defense finding stretches of dominance Saturday at Gesa Field.

Cougars in the NFL Draft

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco, publishes a list every year of 20 guys who he thinks are better than their perceived draft value. Max Borghi made the list for 2021.

Elsewhere in the CBS Sports-o-sphere, Josh Edwards put together a SEVEN ROUND MOCK DRAFT!!!

Borghi is not found on that list (and I fear he won’t have his name called over Draft weekend), but two other Cougars are. Edwards has Abe Lucas going to the San Diego Chargers in the 3rd round, and Jaylen Watson heading to Pittsburgh in Round 6.

2022 NFL Draft Better-Than Team: Here are 20 prospects Pete Prisco likes more than the scouts do - CBSSports.com
In putting him on this list, I am thinking sixth or seventh round. But he's worth a shot.

2022 NFL Seven-Round Mock Draft: Inside New Orleans' first-round plan, Chiefs and Packers land receivers - CBSSports.com
Without further ado, let's kick this thing off!

Pro Basketball Cougs

Michael Flowers has moved on from Pullman, and took part in the Portsmouth Invitational over the weekend. Flowers scored 23 points and led his team, Sales System Ltd., to a title by beating a team named the Roger Brown’s. I know these guys are vying for a spot in the pros, but to read this article would make one think this is a little league baseball tournament. Look out for Big Jim’s Bagel and Muffler shop in the 2023 version.

Former Washington State guard Michael Flowers shines in Portsmouth Invitational Tournament championship | The Spokesman-Review
Former Washington State guard Michael Flowers put on a show in front of NBA scouts, scoring 23 points in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament championship on Saturday.

Baseball

The Cougar baseball team had a great chance to win their second consecutive series, but collapsed late against Cal, falling 7-4. WSU faces Seattle in a midweek game, then heads to Eugene next weekend.

WSU Loses Lead Late, Drops Rubber Game to Cal - Washington State University Athletics
Washington State dropped the series rubber game 7-4 to California at Bailey-Brayton Field Saturday afternoon.

This Week in Parenting

Mrs. Kendall and I were talking with the kids the other day, and the 10 year-old asked us if we knew what “the drip” is. I said, “I think that’s someone who has lots of nice jewelry, right?” He was satisfied with the answer. I turned to Mrs. Kendall, and we shared a knowing look which said, “sure meant something else when we were younger!” Our only hope is that he doesn’t find out the meaning that we’re familiar with.

Aside from that, spring baseball is in full swing. Hooray? The boys are both on two teams, which means lots and lots and lots of practice, which means I pretty much need to put a goddamn taxi sign on my car. For example, Monday for the 10 year-old was 5-6 p.m. practice, then home for a quick dinner, then back to practice from 7-815. I lasted precisely one session before I begged the league administrator to let him play with the 11-12 year-olds (who practice at 6 p.m.) for the sake of my sanity.

Thankfully, he relented, so now I can just drop the kid at 6 and come back at 8 or so to get him. Then on Wednesdays I also get to toss the 13 year-old in the car and take him to Scouts during 10 year-old practice. I keep telling myself that these kinds of busy nights will end one day, and I will long for them to come back. But I’ll be damned if the part of my brain that just wants to sit on the couch and have a beer doesn’t butt in every time.

Speaking of Wednesday, the older boy likes to hang out with his friends after school. I had to pick up Mrs. Kendall after work, and we were going to be early to get him at the park, so he whined to mom about wanting to stay longer. “Dad said he’d pick me up at 5!” So what did I do? Got the car washed, got some gas, and stalled enough to pick him up at 5. When he got in the car, he was privy a very prejudiced and one-way conversation about the need for him to understand life beyond the tip of his nose. I’m sure it sank in precisely not at all.

This Week in Parenting meets BVB Fan Since Forever

If you had told March, 2020 me that in just over two years, I would be at a German pro soccer game wearing a jersey and waving a scarf, I’d ask you to share the can of paint thinner you’d been huffing. In other words, I didn’t give two licks about the sport. Fast forward two years, and there we all were, taking in the mighty Borussia Dortmund Schwarz Gelben at Signal Iduna Park.

Pretty cool stadium! Then, after watching the pregame festivities, I wasn’t sure how entertaining the actual game would be.

The 13 year-old doesn’t seem to care that much, but the 10 year-old was fired up. The crazy part is that Dortmund scored in minute 24, then in minute 26 (at which point Mrs. Kendall went for a white weinschorle), then in minute 28, then in minute 34, then in minute 38 (Mrs. Kendall missed three goals). If you’re bad at math, that’s FIVE GOALS IN 14 MINUTES. Anyway, we were all in on the proceedings.

The boys gushed afterward about what a great time they had - sure helps when you win 6-1! - so I guess dad tallied one up in the win column. As they grow older, those Ws will be fewer and further between, so I’ll take them anytime I can get them.

Stranger in a Strange Land

I won’t use this space to rant about the nonsensical myth of German trains running on time. Nope, I’m not going to write at all about how bizarre it is that the Italian trains are more reliable.

So anyway, there we were, sitting in Bingen, waiting on our train to Dortmund that was 40 minutes late. An older gentleman, who definitely looks like a guy who has seen some shit, walked up and asked a question in Russian, mentioning “Bonn.” He pointed to his ticket, and after some initial confusion on my part, I realized that he was waiting on the same train we were (he probably had also been sold the nonsense about German train promptness).

The guy didn’t speak a lick of English, but did speak some German. He also had nothing but a bottle of tea. Not even a backpack. I used Google Translate to try and tell him that the train was late, its new ETA, and the time it would arrive in Bonn (a stop on the way to Dortmund). He clearly wasn’t getting the information he sought, so he was using his phone to translate from Russian to German, and then I’d look at the German, and use my phone to translate to English. You can probably infer that it was going poorly.

Finally, he understood that he was supposed to get on our train, so he asked us to inform him when his stop at Bonn was next. I agreed, and the train came. We were assigned to a family compartment, and I knew he wasn’t, so now I was concerned that the German ticket guy would make him sit somewhere else and I wouldn’t be able to help him get off at Bonn. We waited anxiously for the ticket guy to arrive so we could clue him in.

When the ticket guy did appear, of course he checked the guy’s ticket before ours, so we jumped out to explain the situation. Turns out our friend is from Ukraine, and the ticket guy said that people with a Ukrainian passport are allowed to travel for free on the German train. He was allowed to sit next to us, and I pointed out to him when his stop was coming up. In the meantime, Mrs. Kendall’s empathetic heart sprung into action, and she gave him some salami sticks we’d taken with us. Seeing how it was Good Friday, and judging by that way he ate them, he was either on the fence about Lent or starving.

When we were approaching Bonn, I gave him the heads-up in Russian, and off he went. Hopefully he found some loved ones at his end point, and that he’s able to go back home to a peaceful nation sooner than later.

Non-Sports

Opinion | After a long timeout, Germany is now crucial to the fascist resistance - The Washington Post
Divided and occupied after World War II, Germany would not be whole again for 45 years. The question for the reunified Germany was how to resume its natural place as Europe’s leading economy — a function of its rich resources and central location — while remaining deliberately weak in military terms.

Major Cheese Heist Puts Dutch Dairy Farmers on Alert - The New York Times
Thieves made off with thousands of pounds of cheese, worth about $23,000, from a Dutch dairy farm last week.