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Early Spring Practice Insights
Written by EC Rules   
Friday, 26 March 2010 09:35

The first of 15 practices is now in the books and the team and staff are all smiles. A natural infusion of some new blood (staff and players) and the excitement of the first day led to a really solid practice. If you saw the Spring depth chart and then compared it to who was playing the first day you know that the only thing it's good for is comparing weight gains for each player. There is going to be a TON of movement every practice and the first day was no different.

 

Amongst the reports, we did begin to see some things that are either new or have confirmed earlier thinking. Let's take a look:

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Fantastic intel on the football team heading into Spring drills
Written by OpenToClose   
Monday, 22 March 2010 21:54

Ted Miller on the ESPN.com Pac-10 blog had a phenomenal amount of new information regarding the Cougs as the team starts Spring drills on Thursday. You can find his blog post here External link and you should bookmark it as he usually drops some pretty good stuff in there. Plus, it never hurts to have some Cougs dropping him comments and questions.

Here are a few of the highlights that really caught my attention.

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The Unfiltered Truth- WSU Defensive Backs
Written by OpenToClose   
Saturday, 20 March 2010 21:31

It wasn't long ago that we were pumping out NFL corners and safeties on a regular basis. Just as quickly that lineage faded into obscurity and it was replaced by a revolving door of undersized or unhealthy players that continued through last season. This season brings a series of fresh new faces with one common theme: speed. The guys in the back four will be younger and frustrating at times but the upgrade in speed will be noticeable.

Let's take a peek at what to watch out for as Spring ball kicks into gear:

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The Unfiltered Truth- WSU Linebackers
Written by OpenToClose   
Friday, 19 March 2010 13:26

It looks and feels like the WSU linebacking corps is on the upswing. There is a lot of young talent at each position that will excite fans this season. Last seasion, watching some of our linebackers play tackling angles or pursue from the weak side was kind of like punching yourself in the stones over and over again. It was simply painful to watch guys in position but simply not have the speed to play in space. That should be fixed for the most part this season. We also had problems with read and react and shedding blockers but those are things that are cured with repetition and good coaching. The really good news is that the guys on the depth chart this season have the raw talent to play and now it's just a matter of how healthy they stay and how quickly they pick up technique.

 

Alex Hoffman-Ellis is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. He's got speed to burn and was very effective at times last season. At other times, he would easily get caught up in the wash of blockers and his reaction times were just a beat slow quite frequently. Sometimes he would overcome that delay with raw speed but if he puts that speed together with quicker diagnosis of plays and you've got a linebacker that will be above average in league.

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The Unfiltered Truth- WSU Defensive Line
Written by OpenToClose   
Thursday, 18 March 2010 21:57

The defensive line is a study in contrasts this year for WSU. The defensive end unit is probably close to what Paul Wulff envisions when thinking about what WSU would look like when it is fully functioning. There is a great mix of youth and veteran leadership. There is quality depth and a couple of players with NFL potential. Defensive tackle is more like his recurring nightmare with a lack of talent and quality depth. The position seems to be a revolving door that suffers from a key injury, lack of size or lack of talent.

 

So, the question really is how the staff will adjust to these deficiencies.  Will they do something drastic like try to play a bit of 3-4 or will they bleed some depth from the dend position and move one or two players inside? This Spring it will be fun to watch a couple of new guys fly around at end and it will probably be a little depressing to read about the production at defensive tackle. The bright side is that we have players on the edge that are legitimate Pac-10 starters with the potential to be honors candidates as they mature. We probably haven't seen a glut of talent like this since DD Ancholonu and Ike Brown were roaming the ends and leading the league in sacks.

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