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Current and former Cougars go live, kind of

College and pro scrimmages abound this weekend

NCAA Football: Stanford at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning. Your Washington State Cougars held their first scrimmage of training camp on Saturday, as they prepare to take on the Idaho Vandals just 20 days from today. And for a change, transfer quarterback Cam Ward wasn’t the star of the show. Those honors went to freshman running back Jaylen Jenkins. Jenkins tore through the Cougar defense to the tune of 126 yards and a touchdown on just nine carries. Not a bad average! As Colton Clark reported, the freshman Texan broke several explosive plays, with four runs covering 20 or more yards. Ward is also excited about Jenkins’ potential.

“He’s still learning the plays, but when he gets the ball in his hands, he shows you what he can do – just a little shiftiness that he adds to the game,” Ward said. “I’m really excited to have him by my side.”

While Dickert continues to preach a “committee” approach to the position, Jenkins was a committee of one on Saturday, as incumbent Nakia Watson was again a non-participant, and reserves Kannon Katzer and Djouvensky Schlenbaker carried the ball 10 times and gained a total of 10 yards.

Aside: Is it just me or is the team’s organic coverage lacking when compared to recent years? No practice stats, a perfunctory recap, and nothing in the way of practice video. Maybe I’m mis-remembering (quite possible!) but I seem to recall social media highlight videos after scrimmages. I wonder why they’re absent this year.

Ok, we’re back. The Spokesman Review’s Colton Clark reports that the reserve players got the majority of work during the scrimmage. That gave guys like Tsion Nunnally and Drake Owen a chance to step up, and both did so, combining for 114 yards on seven catches.

On the injury front, there wasn’t much of a change, as guys like right tackle Ma’ake Fifita and guard Brock Dieu remained sidelined. I haven’t gotten much of a read on how Dickert deals with injury disclosures, but it seems like he’s been rather coy thus far, terming most time missed as nothing more serious than wanting to make sure guys are ready when the curtain goes up.

Dickert was, however, rather pleased with the offensive line’s performance.

“I thought the offensive linemen did a great job today. We were very clean,” Dickert said, awarding offensive player of the day to right guard Grant Stephens, a senior transfer who earned All-Big Sky honors last season at Northern Colorado. “I thought the (starters) set good pockets and kept Cam upright.

While WSU’s success in 2022 largely depends on keeping Ward upright, the guy who would enter the fray in his stead is still undetermined, and let’s just say there isn’t a lot of veteran experience among the competitors. All three are freshmen of varying class year, and Dickert said that he hopes to identify a solid number two in the sooner than later.

On the whole, the offense and defense had their moments, as the offense scored on seven possessions, while the defense forced three turnovers and sent the offense off the field three times after threes-and-out. Speaking of those three field goals, All Pac-12 performer Dean Janikowski had a solid outing, hitting all of his kicks from 38, 46 and 52 yards. The increased range would be huge for WSU, because while he connected on 14 of 17 kicks, only two of those were 40 yards or more, with a long of 41.

The Cougars will take a rest on Sunday, then get back at it Monday morning. This will be the final week of school-free practice, as classes begin on August 22.

Cougars in the NFL

It was a busy weekend for NFL Cougars, many of whom are going through their first NFL training camp. Among the first-timers are Max Borghi of the Denver Broncos (four carries for 10 yards), Travell Harris of the Cleveland Browns (one tackle) and Liam Ryan of the Seattle Seahawks (DNP).

However, there were a few rookie Cougs who either got a lot of time or made the most of the snaps they got. Abe Lucas led the Seahawks in snap count, taking part in 87% of the team’s plays. Jaylen Watson of the Kansas City Chiefs recorded three tackles, and Jarrett Guarantano completed seven of his 10 passes, with one going for a touchdown.

A couple other rookie Cougars sealed wins for their respective teams. First, there was Calvin Jackson, Jr. catching a touchdown pass for the New York Jets to defeat former teammate Gardner Minshew and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Minshew attempted 12 passes during the game, completing eight for 81 yards.

Then, late Saturday night, new Los Angeles Ram Daniel Isom had a highlight of his own, making a great play to intercept an Easton Stick pass and lock up a win over the Los Angeles Chargers.


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This Week in Parenting

Welp, it’s official. The kids are back in school, as they had to endure a very rigorous three days last week. Since it was their first day in a new school on Wednesday, I figured I’d relay that they should try and stay low-key, take in the new surroundings and maybe blend it a little while learning who’s who. The 5th-grader took this advice to heart.

Or not.

Then he came home Friday afternoon, and headed straight for the video games. At the same time, his teacher sent out an email to parents, stating that the kids had to read for 30 minutes Friday evening, then 60 minutes each on Saturday and Sunday. You’ll be stunned to learn that he did not disclose this information upon arrival. When pressed, he said that he knew the teacher was going to send out an email, so he didn’t think it was necessary to inform his mom and me. Of course. I will never not be amazed at how young people will always think they can get away with trying the exact same scams that the older people in their lives ALREADY TRIED.

On the high school front, the 9th-grader seems to be spending more time at school than home. I drop him off at 7:15 a.m. for JROTC drill practice, and don’t pick him up until football practice ends around 6 p.m. The onset of high school is going to instill a hard lesson in time management, I think, because the last couple years have been mostly bereft of schoolwork outside the classroom.

On the football front, communication with the school has been, well let’s just say there are a few gaps. This came to a head on Thursday when the kid called me at 5:48 to tell me about a parents meeting that would start at 6. Super (bleeping) duper. So off I sped to the meeting while Mrs. Kendall went and got him at practice, cursing at the fact that there was no prior warning of this meeting which, as someone who is brand new to the school, seemed important!

The head coach talked about his practice of communicating with the parents through the kids. And while this is a solid theory, in that it encourages dialogue between parent and kid and makes the kid accountable for passing information, the implementation can be quite different. I sent a not-so-brief note to a school official, giving some ideas about how this gap in communications could be remedied, especially for newcomers like us (never give someone a problem, give them a solution), and I’m sure said note went straight to the “Junk” folder. Oh well.

BVB Fan Since Forever

Die Mighty Schwarzgelben took to the Freiburg field Friday afternoon, and things did not go well for quite a while. Dortmund was rather listless for the first 75 minutes, then a colossal mistake by the Freiburg goalie tied the game at 1-1, and Dortmund awoke.

First place!


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