Why Palacio is the pepper on WSU spice rack

PULLMAN – Kache Palacio made a rare appearance before the media Monday afternoon, so fellow Washington State linebacker Jeremiah Allison dropped by to see his good friend and give him a little grief. Not necessarily in that order.

“What are you doing here?” Palacio asked in mock indignation.

“My baby done grown up!” a smiling Allison declared after Palacio handled his group media session with aplomb.

Properly warmed up, Palacio, who mans the BUCK linebacker position, then made time for Cougfan’s weekly 11-on-1 feature – 11 questions, one guest. It’s a Cougfan exclusive. Enjoy.

1. Cougfan: Teammates have described you as one of the funniest players on the team. Who do you think is the funniest player?

Palacio: It’s a tie between Daquawn Brown and Ivan McLennan. They’re both saying the unexpected. They’re both comedians.

2. Cougfan: Who’s the funniest coach on the team?

Palacio: They all have their moments. I’d have to say Coach Mike Leach, because he says random things.

3. Cougfan: How do you explain Leach’s quirky personality to outsiders?

Palacio: You never know what you’re going to get. It seems like he’s always testing you as far as when he’s talking to you: He’s trying to read what you’re thinking. He’s always thinking outside the box.

4. Cougfan: Your team is 3-7 with two games left to play. What type of season did you foresee the Cougars having coming into the fall?

Palacio: I expected, for sure, our team gaining a winning season. Why it didn’t happen? We kind of slipped up on certain games. It was tight. We just didn’t pull through. I think that’ll come with a little more experience. That’s what we’ll have going into next year, and we’ll finish off these last two games showing that, too.

5. Cougfan: All the youth and inexperience on defense: Is that the main explanation for the defense’s problems?

Palacio: I think more so communication. From the back (secondary), there’s a lot of experience things (missing). I think they’re starting to get more of a hang of it. More communication. Some (of the secondary’s problems) was blown coverage, but I think more so it was being young and having a lot of jitters at the beginning of the season.

6. Cougfan: Another young and inexperienced player, quarterback Luke Falk, made a sensational starting debut in the win over Oregon State. What did you think of his performance?

Palacio: I was happy with the way he played. He works hard. He works very hard. The thing that was shocking is how composed he was. I could see him coming into the game getting jitters out, but he stayed very composed through the whole thing. Usually, you don’t see young players do that. They come in kind of nervous and try to force things.

7. Cougfan: Leach said you played your best game as a Cougar against Oregon State, when you and Xavier Cooper teamed up to provide a strong pass rush. Why has outside linebackers coach Paul Volero nicknamed the two of you “Salt” and “Pepper”?

Palacio: He felt like we were a great blend of seasonings (smiles). I’m Pepper.

8. Cougfan: You grew up in south-central Los Angeles, but you turned down scholarship offers from UCLA and Southern Methodist to play in oft-chilly Pullman. How come?

Palacio: Taking my (campus recruiting) visit and getting to know the people around me and liking the people I was going to spend my four years with.

9. If you don’t fulfill your dream of playing in the NFL (Palacio, a junior, is majoring in psychology), what do you plan to do after you’re done playing football?

Palacio: Hopefully, I end up teaching, and I’d probably have a psychology class. I want to coach, too. I’d like to be a head coach at a high school.

10. Cougfan: Kache (pronounced KUH-shay) is an unusual name. What’s the origin?

Palacio: My dad grew up with his grandma. He was from Belize (a small country in Central America). His grandma passed when he was 9, so he named me after her.

11. Cougfan: The Cougars have no shot at a winning season or bowl game, and now you must travel to 13th-ranked Arizona State to play at 10 a.m. PST Saturday. The Sun Devils have thumped Washington State by at least 30 points each of the past four trips to Tempe. How will you guys motivate yourselves at ASU?

Palacio: It’s another opportunity to get a win. That’s the main motivation.

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