LEWISTON -- Before I close the book on my time covering Washington State's fall camp for Cougfan.com, I want to share some of my final takeaways, notes and observations on the Cougs' first three days out on the gridiron.
The first three practices of the Cougs' 2013 fall camp were fast-paced sessions replete with a lot of passionate play. They were also dominated by the defense.
While redshirt freshman QB Austin Apodaca looked to be gaining confidence and improving on his accuracy as the days went on, the quarterback battle seems to be Connor Halliday's to lose from what I saw. I will be surprised if the junior signal caller isn't named a starter by the end of the month.
True freshman quarterback Tyler Bruggman has put on visible weight from when I covered him before LOI Day and even seems to be a little taller (or maybe I just got shorter?). I predict a redshirt will be in play for him this upcoming season, which should benefit both Bruggman and the Cougs.
The two WSU freshmen who have been most impressive out of the gate from this chair -- on offense it was wide receiver River Cracraft and on defense it was cornerback Daquawn Brown.
Notable Statistic: Third-year sophomore linebacker Tana Pritchard logged an interception each day. Three picks in three days, now that's a stat line.
First year inside receivers coach David Yost may be notoriously interview shy (he's a pleasant enough guy -- he was simply adamant about not doing any interviews my three days there), but it is easy to see how active, enthusiastic and intense he is during practice. Hard not to respect his "shut up and work" mentality.
While JC transfer and outside receiver Vince Mayle has struggled at the onset of his first WSU camp, I wouldn't start freaking out just yet. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound athlete certainly passes the eyeball test and could easily be mistaken for a linebacker. Mayle's physicality should make him a problem for Pac-12 defensive backs, once he washes the butter off his fingers and gets into the swing of things.
Holding the first 10 days of camp in Lewiston, Idaho, seems to be agreeing with the Cougs. Many players have said that away from Pullman, it's easier to focus solely on football and the team. Spending that additional time bonding with one another off the field should help increase team chemistry and boast a more cohesive unit in 2013.
Personal goals took a backseat to team goals; and you can sense the sense of urgency among the seniors to go bowling.
Lastly, it's been a pleasure covering the first few days of WSU's preseason camp here in Lewiston. Thank you very much to Cougfan.com for the expense of getting me out here and having me file reports on their behalf -- I hope you CougFans enjoyed all the videos and content! You can follow me on Twitter @InnaLazarev and if you have any comments or questions on my three days camping with the Cougs, tweet away and I'll be sure to try and answer them!