Practice is over tonight and we've got some news to share. It's not the best if you are a Cougar fan. Read on.
• I was watching the quarterbacks do your typical passing drill midway through practice today when Kevin Lopina dropped back, threw a pass and started hobbling. Then he grabbed his right calf and went down to the turf. He stayed a while, a trainer came over and helped him off to the side. Ice was applied and Lopina sat for the rest of practice, finally leaving with using a crutch. "I know that it's cramped up and hurting right now," WSU coach Paul Wulff said. "It's one of those things where we've got to kind of let it calm down over the next 24 hours and then probably get a better evaluation of the severity of it." The calf has been a problem for Lopina throughout his college football career, causing him problems at Kansas State and at WSU. "He didn't feel like it was as bad as when he hurt it last time," Wulff said. If Lopina can't go – and he took more snaps today with the ones than he has in a week – then Jeff Tuel becomes Marshall Lobbestael's backup by default and would have to play if Lobbestael couldn't go for any reason.
• Another Cougar missing from practice Wednesday was running back Logwone Mitz, suffering from the dreaded flu-like symptoms. With James Montgomery out for the season, Mitz was expected to play often Saturday. Now freshman Carl Winston moves up the depth chart one spot, to third behind Dwight Tardy and Marcus Richmond. "He's tough," Wulff said of the freshman from the L.A. area. "He's competitive. He's got some natural instincts as a runner, sees the hole well and has good hips and feet." Winston is also 5-foot-8 and 197 pounds, a Quizz Rodgers-like build. "He's got a lot of potential to improve. ... As he grows in the weight room, he has a chance to be stronger and quicker."
• OK, there was some good news Cougar fans. Gino Simone, though wearing yellow for the second consecutive day, will play Saturday. ... Travis Long returned to practice Wednesday and went full speed. ... Louis Bland sat out to rest his knee. ... And, though the turf was burning up thanks to the 90-degree heat, WSU practiced hard. "It was a good practice," Wulff said. "It was pretty warm but they did a nice job kind of working themselves through it. We're handling this condition a lot better than we have." ... The Cougars spent a lot of time on kickoff and kickoff coverage, working on containing the returners.
• That's it for now. We'll be back in the morning with our usual stuff. Until then …