Defensive battles on display in Crimson and Gray Game

 Spokane Week provided Cougar fans from north of Pullman the opportunity to meet and eat with the faces of the athletics program, like men’s football Head Coach Mike Leach and Athletic Director Bill Moos, who added a new member to the Cougar Athletic Fund (CAF) last week.

 “I was at the Burgers with Bill event on Friday when a Coug fan came up and asked how I got the pin that was on my lapel,” Moos said on his weekly radio show Cougar Calls. “So I said, ‘I’ll tell you exactly how you can get one of these,’ and we signed him up for the CAF right there.”

The week reached its crescendo on Saturday when the football team played its annual Crimson and Gray Game at Joe Albi Stadium.

 “Everybody had a good time and I think the weather had a lot to do with that,” Moos said on his most recent edition of Cougar Calls. “We probably had our best weather game in the history of the event.”

Sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-50s brought upwards of 6,000 Cougar fans out to Albi Stadium for the game.

Moos and his co-host Bud Nameck spoke with Devon Thomas, director of Spokane operations for the CAF, about the importance of bringing the Cougars up to Spokane for their spring game.

 “We hit a number of different venues trying to spread the message that this is a critical market for us,” Thomas said. “Even though we want you to come down to Pullman, every once in a while we’ll bring a little bit of Pullman up to you.”

Moos is no stranger to expressing the importance of garnering the support of the Spokane market for Cougar athletics, as Eastern Washington’s largest city hosts a myriad of Cougar alumni and fans alike.

Spokane Week and the Crimson and Gray Game at Albi Stadium keep the Cougars in touch with the region, but the spring game also satisfies another key element to the success of Cougar football; it gives players a chance to play close to full speed. Moos and Nameck had WSU linebacker coach Ken Wilson come on the show to talk about the football side of the Crimson and Gray Game, particularly on the defensive end.

“We had five interceptions, a fumble recovery, and nine sacks,” Wilson said. “I was really happy with the young guys who were pushing hard out there, and some of the DB’s who were making plays.”

Wilson said the young players benefit most from the spring game, especially those who haven’t seen a lot of action at the collegiate level at this point in their careers.

He mentioned several young defensive backs, like freshmen Marcellus Pippins and Sebastian LaRue, and redshirt sophomore Beau Glover, who not a lot of Cougar fans are familiar with, but are creating competition behind more well-known DB’s like sophomore Daquawn Brown.

 There is even competition between Wilson’s linebackers. Even though redshirt junior Darryl Monroe is one of the leaders on the Cougar’s defense, and a first team MIKE linebacker, a heated competition still ensues behind him at the position.

Junior Jeremiah Allison, who spent most of his first two years at WSU playing special teams, made some great plays during Saturday’s contest. He intercepted a Tyler Bruggman pass that Allison tipped to himself, while jumping over the intended receiver.

 “Most of the spring (Allison) was at mike linebacker,” Wilson said. “We’ve got some good competition and depth behind Darryl Monroe.”

With Saturday’s game in the books, Wilson and the rest of the football coaching staff will hit the film room to find some things that need to be corrected Tuesday during the final spring practice.