It's funny how one play can change the whole tenor of a practice. Read on for our thoughts from the afternoon workout, held in 96-degree heat on Rogers Field.
• If you read the unedited version of tomorrow's story on the previous post, you'll know that James Montgomery got banged up midway through practice Thursday. Here are the details. ... The Cougars were going through a seven-on-seven goal-line passing drill. They had been doing it for 10 minutes and the offense was getting the best of it – after Daniel Simmons had opened the drill with an interception that would have been good for six. As time was running down in the drill Montgomery reached for a slant pass, got his right foot down and took a shoulder from one of the defense backs. He went down. He didn't get up. The training staff hustled over and a pall descended over the field. After a short examination, Montgomery rose and walked under his own power to the side, where the trainers did tests on his knee. Finally, he walked over to the ice chests and ice was put on his knee. He watched the rest of practice and was ice-free when it ended. As I said on the previous post, he had the slightest limp as he left, consistent with being tired or feeling a little discomfort. He said he didn't hear a pop when he went down and didn't feel it was all that bad. We'll know tomorrow, but don't be surprised if the Cal transfer takes a couple days off.
• One guy who hasn't taken any time off is defensive end Travis Long. The true freshman from Spokane's Gonzaga Prep spent most of Thursday running with the ones at the left defensive end spot, opposite senior Kevin Kooyman. The spot had been held by senior Jesse Feagin, who missed a couple days early in camp with an injury. But Long seems to have moved up through sheer hard work. ... Another true freshman who has been running with the one defense is middle linebacker Darren Markle. Starter Alex Hoffman-Ellis has missed the last two days with a sore foot, an injury that will be looked at in more depth Friday. Markle has moved ahead of sophomore Mike Ledgerwood in the middle while WSU waits and sees how long Hoffman-Ellis will be out. ... Andy Mattingly did more in the afternoon practice, but still wasn't at full go. ... The final scrimmages today were situational, with the offense initially in third-and-long – the passing game was successful at first, but the defense improved as the scrimmage continued – and then switching to the 2-minute drill. In the ones-versus-ones battle against the defense and the clock, Kevin Lopina led the offense to a field goal. Marshall Lobbestael marched the twos into field goal range, but Patrick Rooney's kick was wide.
• Coach Paul Wulff left practice at 3:20 because he had to drive to Spokane for the fall sports banquet. The hottest day of the year and he's not here, which is why I didn't feel bad standing in the shade of the library. ... Walk-on kicker Blake Dunn was at practice for the first time today. The freshman from Fresno is expected to redshirt. ... The football team traveled over to Moscow on Wednesday for an afternoon at the water park. Strength coach Darin Lovat sported a sign Thursday afternoon that said "Belly Flop Champion." After today's single practice, the team will hold a barbecue. ... The official word came down today. As expected, J.T. Levenseller is transferring to Eastern Washington. The sophomore has three years of eligibility left and hasn't used his redshirt. Right now the plan is for Levenseller to play this year and battle for the backup quarterback spot.
• That's what we've got tonight. We'll be back, like always, in the morning. Until then …