WSU held its last practice in Pullman before busing over to Seattle tomorrow. Read on for our report.
• As practice started on Rogers Field there was a noticeable lack of enthusiasm. At least Paul Wulff noticed it. After stretching he gathered the players together and laid down the law. The gist was simple. The Cougars had put two good practices in this week. But this one was the most important if they wanted to go into Saturday’s game with the momentum they’ll need. The team listened. And put Wulff’s words into practice. After a quick, no-pads-except-helmets workout, the game plan was in on both sides of the ball. Plus, the special teams seemed ready to go as well. We’ll see how ready Saturday.
• The defense won’t be at full strength Saturday, that’s for sure. We mentioned Kevin Kooyman’s knee in our story on the post below. And he’s not the only defensive lineman not going. Backup tackle Dan Spitz has the flu and won’t play. … The linebackers aren’t perfect, either, with Louis Bland dealing with his problem knee. He did, however, practice Thursday so he’ll probably be available. … In the defensive backfield, cornerback Aire Justin has a quad pull andsafety Eric Block is still dealing with a concussion, so both won’t play. Safety Jay Matthews was not cleared to play. … On offense, didn’t see anyone who was not ready to go. Even running back Marcus Richmond, out last week, was moving well.
• Junior offensive lineman Andrew Roxas, who has not even practiced this year after dealing with viral hepatitis, was in the same get-up today as everyone else – which is a big deal. Roxas had his helmet on for the first time this fall, though he didn’t participate in drills. But just being on the field was a victory for Roxas.
• The players and coaches don’t talk on Thursdays, except for Wulff holding a conference call. He covered a lot of territory, including talking about the similiarities between Hawaii and SMU, next week’s opponent – Hawaii runs the ball a little more. … He also mentioned how simple the run and shoot offense really is – he played for the inventor, Mouse Davis, in the World Football League – with lots of reads based on what the defense does. … He talked how important it is to tackle in space and how much WSU has worked on that. … He said he’s playing the quarterback rotation by ear. If Kevin Lopina is playing well, he’s going to stay in. … Last year the Cougars put good pressure on Hawaii quarterback Greg Alexander and he burned them some with his feet. Wulff said they have to make sure that doesn’t happen. … Don’t be fooled by Hawaii’s struggle with Central Arkansas, Wulff said. After watching that film, he said that Central was a very good FCS team.
• That’s it for tonight. We’ll be back in the morning. Until then …