Some notes for you after Paul Wulff's conference call and practice, including a surprise appearance from an alum and a new walk-on kicker. Read on.
• Our first question to Wulff at today's conference concerned tight end Tony Thompson's availability. It doesn't look like Thompson will be able to overcome his concussion symptoms and play this week. Defensive end Jesse Feagin and safety Chima Nwachukwu are also out, with Nwachukwu not even making the trip. ... Otherwise, reserve linebacker an special team starter Joshua Garrett didn't suit up Thursday, letting a thigh bruise heal. He's expected to be OK for Saturday. ... Walked out to practice and saw a tall kicker wearing No. 82 that I hadn't seen before. Seems former Lewis and Clark High kicker/receiver/punter Alex Gauper has enrolled at WSU and has walked-on. The 6-foot-4 Gauper, who played on LC's state title team in 2007, graduated in 2008 and played football at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. He also played basketball at LC.
• While waiting for practice to start I noticed a familiar face in street clothes. Former Cougar wide receiver Brandon Gibson, back in Pullman again while his new team, the St. Louis Rams (thanks Grady) had a bye week, came over and chatted a while. He's happy to be in St. Louis, a city he likes more than Philadelphia – it's a lot less hectic – because, as he said, "I'm not an East Coast guy." He also thinks there will be more opportunity for playing time with the Rams, though the team is really young. He then got called over to lead the prepractice cheers, so that was the end of the conversation. I will say it looks like he's put on about 10 to 15 pounds in his chest. NFL weight lifting must agree with him. He also might be the only NFL player this year who enjoyed two byes.
• That's it for today. No story for tomorrow because I've been working on my basketball season preview. And, yes, when I post it, I'll let you know how I picked the Pac-10. We'll be back in the morning with links, but they might have to wait until Seattle because I have a 7 a.m. flight. Until then …