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Originally published August 2, 2013 at 10:00 PM | Page modified August 2, 2013 at 10:46 PM

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Washington State football gets things going off campus

Starting things off in Lewiston, defense carries the day as Mike Leach’s second season gets underway.


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LEWISTON, Idaho — The beginning of preseason camp is all about adjustments. Like the one Deone Bucannon made earlier Friday on the bus prior to Washington State’s first practice.

Yes, the Cougars are taking buses to (middle) school for now — big, yellow ones.

“It brought me back a little bit,” Bucannon said. “You know how you have to push the things to open the window? I was trippin’ out.”

Next year, WSU will move into what is expected to be a state-of-the-art football operations building, the construction of which is taking up some serious space on the Cougars’ practice field.

So they’re practicing at Sacajawea junior high, a spacious locale with thick, natural grass fields — a space larger than the entirety of Rogers Field — and plenty of space for WSU to conduct its business.

“I just heard we were coming to a middle school. I was like, all right,” said sophomore receiver Gabe Marks, laughing. “Typical Leach. Come to a middle school. Pac-12 team. Let’s have camp here and not at our school.”

Coach Mike Leach said he thought this first day exceeded the performance he saw at the start of last year’s camp.

“We got here this morning and kind of didn’t miss a beat,” Leach said as a bus full of his players roared away, back to the dormitories at Lewis-Clark State College. “Our transitions will get quicker.”

The defense seemed to get the better of the offense for a good part of the day. But that may have been due to the fact that the offense ran only two or three different plays throughout the team session and 7-on-7 drill, and with players wearing just helmets and shorts — they can’t wear pads yet — running the ball was problematic.

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