5 off-beat questions for 5 WSU upperclassmen

LEWISTON – The searing heat of Lewiston can turn a young man’s mind into mush after two hours or more of football practice, but Washington State players came to life following two recent practices when they were asked to provide some inside takes on their teammates and coaches.

Five off-beat questions were submitted to five upperclassmen: Senior quarterback Connor Halliday, senior long snapper Alex Den Bleyker junior linebacker Darryl Monroe (pictured), junior wide receiver Gabe Marks and junior defensive lineman Xavier Cooper. Their responses range from humorous to serious to heartwarming.

Cougfan.com: Who’s the funniest coach on the team?
Den Bleyker: The special teams coach, Coach (Eric) Russell, is pretty funny. He has a very dry humor. He says these funny things, but he doesn’t change his facial expression at all. You can’t tell if he’s being serious or when he’s joking, so you kind of start awkwardly laughing: “Heh, heh, heh.”
Halliday: Coach Valero (outside linebackers coach Paul Valero), he’s got a lot of jokes. Coach Leach (head coach Mike Leach), he’s got the more dry sense of humor. Sarcastic. And you can’t leave out Coach Mastro (running backs coach Jim Mastro) … he’ll just put you down (jokingly).
Monroe: Valero.
Marks: Valero, and second place, Leach.
Monroe: It may be Russell. Russell’s funny.
Marks: He’s sarcastically funny.
Monroe: He’ll be serious, but we think it’s hilarious.
Marks: Like when he’s most mad.
Monroe: He’s like (screaming), “It’s not gonna be funny on game day! It’s not gonna be funny on game day!”
Cooper: Joe Salave’a (the defensive line coach). Coach Joe is just a high-energy guy. He’s always got something funny to say. He has a bundle of jokes. They’re just really, really funny.

Cougfan.com: Who’s the funniest player on the team?
Cooper: Daquawn Brown and Theron West. Those two guys are TOO funny. If it’s not joking on everybody, they’re laughing and just running around.
Monroe: Cheetah (Brown) and K.P. (Kache Palacio).
Marks: K (Palacio) is funny. Tracy (Clark) is funny.
Den Bleyker: Theron West. He just never shuts up. He just rambles on and on.
Halliday: Robert Lewis, just because he’s such a little guy, and he’s always just making fun of somebody. He always gets the person mad enough to fight him, then Rob runs away before the guy can get his hands on him.

Cougfan.com: Fill in the blank: Mike Leach’s personality is …
Den Bleyker: Somewhere between genius and awkward. Everything he says has a reason behind it. It all makes sense, but some of the comparisons he makes, you kind of think, “Yeah, it makes sense,” but you just never thought about it that way.
Monroe: His personality is black and white. Straightforward.
Marks: He’s seriously not serious. He doesn’t really take himself seriously.
Monroe: He doesn’t take OTHER people serious. When he does interviews, he says off-the-wall stuff just to see other people’s reactions. You know what he reminds me of? Dexter Laboratory (from an animated TV series). He’s so much smarter than everybody that in his head he laughs at you. They think he’s crazy, but little do they know he’s a genius.
Halliday. Colorful. He can be so many things at different times, depending on what’s going on. You just never know what you’re going to get from him. You can get the serious, “Let’s talk about football. Let’s get some things done.” You can get – and this is in the same meeting room – that or the “story(telling) mode” for three hours. You always get back to your work. Then you can just get the constant belittling (jokingly). It’s like, “Gosh darn it, I’m trying my best!”
Cooper: Colorful. That’s a good one. I’ll go with that one. His personality is always the same. He’s a great coach. He keeps it real.

Cougfan.com: If you had a sister attending WSU, which teammate would you be most comfortable with her dating?
Halliday: Joe Dahl. Joe is this huge, mean football player, but I’ve lived with Joe the past two going on three years, and I’ve never met a guy off the football field that’s more caring. He has such a good heart. I’ve never seen him treat anybody poorly.
Cooper: Toni Pole. I can trust Ton. You’ve got to trust the guys you play next to, and I can definitely trust Ton. Joe Dahl’s a good dude. His parents definitely raised him right.
Den Bleyker: Erik Powell, the kicker. I hang out with him so much, I know him pretty well. He’s a good guy. He’s a stand-up guy.
Marks: Cody (O’Connell). Beau Glover.
Monroe: Sam Flor. Or Riley Sorenson. Because I ain’t got to worry about them doing nothin’ wrong to her. They’re going to treat her like she’s the queen of the earth.
Marks: Beau Glover is the god of Pullman.
Monroe: Beau Glover IS the god, but that’s what I’m worried about.
Marks: He’s got so much power?
Monroe: Exactly.

Cougfan.com: Which WSU player is going to be the first to become a millionaire?
Cooper: Myself! I hope so.
Marks: Me!
Monroe: No, not you.
Marks: Connor? He’s a senior.
Monroe: Oh, if that’s the case, I give it to Connor.
Den Bleyker: Vince (Mayle) or Cooper can definitely play at the next level. Then there’s guys who are really smart and can create something that can make them a millionaire. Like Kristoff (Williams, an aspiring attorney), he’s really smart. Joe Dahl’s a smart guy.
Halliday: Vince or Kristoff. If Vince has the season like he’s been practicing in spring ball and fall camp, he’ll be drafted pretty early, in my opinion.

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