As per usual on a Wednesday, we have a lot to get to, so we won’t waste your time with witty comments here – as if we ever have anything witty to say. Read on.
• Washington State: Let’s get right to the links. … No, let’s stop and take a minute to look at yesterday’s practice and the future. I started thinking about the future while writing a story for today’s S-R concerning the return of the injured offensive linemen (and my guess is Zack Williams, Steven Ayers and B.J. Guerra will all play some this weekend). And the thoughts came into focus with the newest recruiting commit and some of your comments concerning the class. … A lot has been written about the lack of linemen in the class thus far, especially offensive linemen. So let’s look at the possible starting lineup up front next year, from left to right. It could be Tyson Pencer (sophomore), Williams (senior), Andrew Roxas (junior), Guerra (junior) and Micah Hannam (senior). Or it could be Alex Reitnouer (sophomore), Ayers (junior), Sebastian Valenzuela (redshirt freshman), Tim Hodgdon (redshirt freshman) and Joe Eppele (senior). All of those 10 guys have shown either in games or in practice (while redshirting) they can be at least competent Pac-10 offensive linemen, especially after they add another offseason of weight training to their chests. That list doesn’t include senior-to-be Brian Danaher, who has started more than a handful of games the past couple years, or any of the incoming recruits. That’s the point. If WSU signs three offensive linemen (it has four either o-linemen or tight ends on its commit list right now), they all should be able to redshirt and develop for the 2011 season. So even if the list doesn’t grow at all between now and signing day, the numbers shouldn’t worry anyone. … Speaking of Williams, it didn’t take the guard to make his presence – or feisty attitude – known. Four plays into a team scrimmage, he was squaring off with Travis Long, though it was broken up before any blows were thrown. … It was all part of an intense day. Wulff told me during the bye week the coaches were going to ratchet up the intensity now that the younger players – and there are a lot of them playing – had a half-year of experience. The teaching methods will evolve to take that into account. And it showed Tuesday, with the demands for excellence being articulated with more volume. … That plays right into the goals Wulff talked about at his press conference (you can hear the entire audio here at CougCenter). Wulff said he is emphasizing to his players that their physical nature is not changing, they have what they have. They are not going to get bigger, stronger or faster between now and the end of the season. So what can they improve upon? The mental aspect. That’s what the Cougar players and coaches can control. Improving their preparation, their work ethic, their maturity. And the last one is the big one. The young team can grow up a lot between now and the end of the season. That is a goal, if met, will pay big dividends down the road. … One last note. With Daniel Simmons out for the year with a broken leg – we talked a little yesterday and he was really interested in how long it will be before he’s able to run again, because he wants to get started on next year as soon as possible – WSU has moved Myron Beck from linebacker back to safety, where he played last season. That allows more freedom to rotate Chima Nwachukwu to corner if needed and builds depth. … That’s it for practice notes. Let’s move on. … We also had a Pac-10 story this morning. … Freelancer Howie Stalwick is back from visiting family in New York and filed this notebook for the Kitsap Sun and other papers. … Finally, the WSU Football Blog summarizes Wulff’s weekly radio show.
• Around the Pac-10: Lots of stuff today. ESPN.com’s Ted Miller looks at WSU at midseason (he covered each of the conference schools) and looks ahead to the Pac-10’s second half. … Buster Sport’s Nick Daschel does his weekly bowl update. … And the Times’ Bud Withers looks how tough it can be to truly turn a Pac-10 program around. …Washington: Though he’s become the Huskies best clutch receiver, Devin Aguilar would rather play hoops. … This Homer’s game-day odyssey usually ends with his helmet in some linebacker’s chest. … Oregon State: Despite coming off a two-game winning streak, the Beavers were happy to have a bye week. … Oregon: The Ducks have rediscovered their rushing attack. … Cal: One of the Bears’ best players may miss the WSU game. … Though they are much more upbeat after beating up UCLA. … Stanford: The Cardinal needs to rediscover their defense. … USC: Most readers won’t understand this reference, but the Trojans’ tight end is the real McCoy. …UCLA: You must block Brian Price to move the ball on the Bruins. … Arizona State: The Sun Devils’ Vontaze Burfict plays on the edge, and sometimes over it. … Arizona: The Wildcats aren’t tackling well right now and it shows.
• That’s it for this morning. We’ll be back after practice with the unedited version of our story for tomorrow and some thoughts. Until then …