COUGARS • UPDATED: 9:30 A.M.
This is going to be a full post, so let's get right to it. With all that's going on right now between basketball and football, our days are pretty full. My guess, with Halloween around the corner, so are yours. Read on.
• UPDATED: The Pac-10 basketball media poll is out. The Cougars are picked to finish eighth. We'll have more later.
• Washington State: Went to basketball practice yesterday in the morning and talked with coach Ken Bone before he, along with senior Nik Koprivica and assistant sports information director Jessica Schmick, headed off to Los Angeles for the Pac-10 media day (you can watch it here on SportsLink). Anyhow, the main thing Bone is pleased about is the attitude of his young team. As you probably know, Koprivica is the lone upperclassman on the squad, with 15 freshmen and sophomores filling it out. It's the youngest group in the conference and one of the youngest in the nation. But, according to Bone, they are working hard and he sees improvement each day. Still, like any young team, there are lots of steps to take. ... By the way, it's been widely reported the Cougars will be scrimmaging Montana on Friday in Spokane. The coaches can't talk about it (per NCAA rules), but it's true. The media can't be there and stats aren't allowed (sort of like youth sports). Wouldn't shock me if Montana doesn't get the best of WSU, just like Bone's Portland State team did last season. ... As we get closer to games, we'll try to get to practice when we can and keep you updated on the progress.
• Moving over to football, it was cold, darn cold, yesterday on the practice field. There was some intense hitting, especially early on. The last two practices have opened with ones-vs.-ones, whether it be for running – as was the case Tuesday – or for pride – Wednesday. Either way, the pressure was put on early, which, obviously, is an attempt to get practice started fast in the hopes such fast starts will carry over to games. Will it work? The proof will be found Saturday. ... With Louis Bland out, there's been some comment here and elsewhere about using Darren Markle. Let me just tell you that's not happening. Markle won't travel this week. He, defensive backs Anthony Carpenter and Nolan Washington, linebackers Andre Barrington and Sekope Kaufusi and lineman Justin Clayton – probably others as well – are all freshmen who have bright futures but just aren't ready now. Using them for four or five games this year would be counterproductive. ... Andy Mattingly's knee responded well to treatment and he was back at practice Wednesday afternoon. One nice thing about the cold. The bruises and strains are iced during practice (insert rim shot here). ... WSU announced yesterday the Arizona game was picked up for regional television, if you have Fox College Sports. The game will start at 12:30 p.m. (PST) and will be rebroadcast at 7:30 Saturday night on FSN.
• Now on to the links. ... Here's our story on speedy wide receiver Johnny Forzani. ... By the way, for Thursday, we're looking at how this game with Notre Dame came about and we talked with a WSU senior who is playing in front of the home folks (well, sort of) for the first time. ... We also had our Pac-10 picks. ... Here's a wire story on the matchup. ... Jeff Nusser over at CougCenter did some interesting things with Jeff Tuel's passing numbers. I bet if his name were Mike Tuel or Bill Tuel, Nusser wouldn't be so interested. ... From South Bend, we will highlight tight end Kyle Rudolph on Saturday. The Tribune does it here ... When Notre Dame plays a true freshman, you know he's good.
• Around the Pac-10: ESPN.com's Ted Miller makes his picks for this week (crud, it's week nine already?) and also tells us what to watch. ... Buster Sports' Nick Daschel ranks the conference's offensive skill position players for the week and projects the bowl teams. ... ...Washington: Jake Locker is taking a little time off to heal. ... Oregon State: The Beavers have lost hard-luck senior backup quarterback Lyle Moevao for the season. ... Oregon: It seems like a good time to look back at memorable games with USC. Cal: Which Bears' team will show up in Tempe? ... Stanford: Is Andrew Luck the best quarterback in college football? Let's see what Jim Harbaugh thinks. ... USC: Nitpicking Matt Barkley's game is the new in thing around Los Angeles. ...UCLA: Another Bruin defender is helped from practice. ... Arizona State: The Sun Devils rely on Trevor Hankins' big leg. ... Arizona: At least one Gronkowski is playing for the Wildcats. And Chris is having a good year.
• That's all for this morning. We'll post our stories this afternoon. Until then …