This is going to be a long post, so grab a Coke, a coffee, an adult beverage or something. We have more on the LeAndre Daniels situation and our preview of the linebackers. Plus we have notes on today's practice, so read on. By the way, tomorrow is Fan Appreciation Day at WSU. If you want to know what that means, click here. Me, I appreciate this blog's fans everyday.
• We'll start with practice, because we have stories on the other items to follow. ... After Thursday's scrimmage, coach Paul Wulff scheduled a light workout today. The Cougars were in just shorts, T-shirts and helmets – crimson ones if the player is making the road trip to Oklahoma State (though there were a couple who are traveling but whose helmets were not ready). ... There was a lot of time working on game-plan items on both sides of the ball with no hitting whatsoever. Even when there were team scrimmages – at a real fast pace which was designed to help the offense operate quickly and the defense deal with OSU – it was basically two-hand touch. ... A few players were held out for rest, including Travis Long and Mike Ledgerwood. "He's been through the whole camp and he needed a day off," Wulff said of Ledgerwood, whose knees were sore. "He hasn't missed a rep all camp. Travis Long the same thing, he could have played. We're giving them a day off because their bodies are pretty sore in spots." ... As for the rest, "we think all of them should be ready to go," Wulff said. The walking wounded included Chantz Staden (shoulder), Aire Justin (hamstring), Jared Byers (toe), Kristoff Williams (toe), Sebastian Valenzuela (concussion, though he did suit up for practice), Bobby Ratliff and Toni Pole, of whom Wulff said, "he's got a tremendous amount of swelling in that lower leg there, and we've just got to get that out of there." ... One player who returned to practice was Gino Simone, who seemed in mid-season form after recovering from his hamstring pull. ... We had some questions about a couple players, so I thought I would answer them. One concerned the status of safety Jamal Atofau. The redshirt freshman was set back some this fall with injuries, but is expected to contribute on the special teams at the very least. He is running with the third string at safety, but is on the kickoff coverage team and other special team units. ... Kyle McCartney is also a special teams fixture and running with the third team at safety. As for Jay Matthews, he will sit out this year. At practice he helps Chris Ball with the safeties and also does a tremendous amount of conditioning work. ... Now more on LeAndre Daniels. You can read our story that will appear in tomorrow's S-R for more, plus we have this comment from Wulff from after practice, when asked how the team took the news when he told them. "Every guy who didn't already know about, their heart sunk, as did everyone of us, for LeAndre," said Wulff. "He's a great guy, a great person, great player. He's very likable, so it's just one of those situations where you don't want someone's dreams to be crushed. It's hard. The thing you've got to look at, though it's not easy at this time, is all the bad things that could have gone wrong, the worst-case scenarios, didn't. So he's very fortunate." Wulff talked about Cory MacKay, the former Cougar defensive lineman left partially paralyzed after an auto accident more than a year ago, saying he and LeAndre will always be a part of the WSU team. ... We also have our linebackers' preview which centers on Alex Hoffman-Ellis and his move to the outside. By the way, the link doesn't have the depth, so here it is ...
(Height, weight, year and 2009 starts in parentheses)
Myron Beck (6-foot, 209, RS Sr., 2)
Arthur Burns (5-11, 206, RS Fr., dnp)
Mike Ledgerwood (6-1, 231, Jr., 2)
Hallston Higgins (5-11, 210, Sr., 0)
C.J. Mizell (6-2, 225, Fr., dnp)
Alex Hoffman-Ellis (6-1, 241, RS Jr., 9)
Darren Markle (6-1, 224, RS Fr., dnp)
• That's it for tonight. We'll be back in the morning with our usual post. WSU practices at 10 a.m. tomorrow, so it will be an early post-practice post as well. Until then ...