At one point in the not too distance past, the first week of fall football camp was actually spent getting players back in shape after a long winter, spring and summer away from the game. Not so much anymore. With the rise of intense summer conditioning programs, most everyone is probably in the best shape they will be in all season. Heck, there hasn’t even been an organized team sprinting session yet. (Hope that doesn’t give anyone an idea. Wouldn’t want 105 football players mad at me.) Read on for more of what has been going on.
• Washington State: Before I get anywhere near Cougar football, want to take a moment to wish Kimmie a happy 31st anniversary. OK, I’m covered. Back to the Cougs. … As I mentioned in last night’s post, it seems like WSU is already two or three weeks into camp. Thinking about it more, that’s an outgrowth of experience within the system. Even last season, a drill would start and there often had to be some sort of explanation. Then within the 5- or 10-minute period, there was often a stoppage as someone had to be encouraged to do it correctly. Such occurrences are rare thus far. There is a focus and intensity to most parts of practice. Of course we haven’t reached the two- or three-week mark just yet. When it comes, maybe the focus and intensity will wane a bit. … Maybe not, though. There are position battles to be won, playing time to be earned. That’s an outgrowth of having more depth. We examined one of the fights – middle linebacker – in our story this morning. But there are others, including at safety (three guys, Chima Nwachukwu, Tyree Toomer and LeAndre Daniels, seem to be fighting for two spots), running back (though this group might all play pretty equal minutes depending on the down and distance) and center (Andrew Roxas has spent the past couple days being pushed to improve his fitness instead of taking snaps while Zack Williams runs with the first team at this spot). … In other WSU news, freelancer Howie Stalwick had a Cougar notebook in the Vancouver Columbian. … CougCenter has an interview with coach Paul Wulff. … And this special teams piece from freelancer Mike Robinson is on Cougfan. … Oklahoma State’s offensive line has to be rebuilt. … As does its defense. UPDATE: Though there is nothing official yet, former Oregon senior associate athletic director Mike Marlow will be joining the Washington State athletic department staff in the near future. Marlow worked for Bill Moos as a fundraiser at Oregon and was a finalist for the Missouri State AD job last year.
• Around the Pac-10: Think the conference is tough now? Utah enters next year and it is one of the nation’s better programs. … Washington: With a spot open at tight end, Chris Izbicki aims to fill it. … Day two of Husky camp is in the books. … Oregon State: Keith Pankey is back at linebacker exactly six months after Achilles’ tendon surgery … But two other starters were hurt yesterday and didn’t not practice much. … Oregon: The quarterback competition is still red hot. … LaMichael James is small man carrying a big load. … Cal and Stanford: The Cardinal are committed to playing the 3-4. … The change might have been motivated by the emergence of this linebacker. … USC: The Trojans are discovering what everyone else in college football has known for a long time: Without a lot of depth, you can’t practice as hard. … UCLA: A crucial defensive end is lost for a while to a broken foot. … Arizona State: The Sun Devils are searching for the right combination on the offensive line. … How is Dennis Erickson coping with his status at ASU? Just fine. It’s not his first rodeo. … Arizona: The biggest Wildcat begins the long process of getting back into playing shape.
• That’s it for this morning, except for another basketball note. WSU’s game in Seattle was officially announced yesterday, with the Cougars meeting the University of Portland on Nov. 23. The rest of the schedule? It’s pretty well set (for example, we pretty well know the Pac-10 slate, with te Husky games to be on Sunday nights, Jan. 30, and Feb. 27, along with the openers in LA Dec. 29 and 31), but there are some site adjustments still possible, so that’s why it has yet to be released. Time is running short, though, so it should be out soon. … We’ll be back after practice with a summary of the day’s events and our story. Until then …