In two weeks the 2010 Washington State University football season will begin. Two weeks. Does it seem like the offseason went by just like that? It does here. But we're back, so read on.
• Before we get into WSU football news (though there isn't all that much considering July is the month the football staff takes time off and the players will be heading out of Pullman next week for a little R&R before the Aug. 8 start of practice), I wanted to share how my offseason went – and why there was a dearth of posts here. In a word, it went shitty (hope I don't get in trouble for using that word, but it is appropriate). I could go in-depth, but you don't want to hear it. Suffice to say the last three months have been a nearly non-stop adventure through our nation's health care labyrinth. Hospital stays, procedures, office visits, prescriptions, some days of pure hell – a couple I don't remember at all – and a mound of bills all added up to a not-so-relaxing summer. But in the past few days things have perked up. Some new miracle antibiotics have helped and I'm starting to feel like a normal overweight old guy again. All in all it means I'm playing a little catch up as we head into the next week.
And what does that next week entail? Well, Paul Wulff and the rest of the Pac-10 coaches will head out Monday for New York, where the conference will put them on display for the Eastern media elite (or is it just ESPN?) at the W Hotel on Tuesday evening. Then they'll fly back to Los Angeles the next day, as the conference's annual media day is Thursday at the Rose Bowl. (As an aside, "covering a media day" will now join "attending a sleep-inducing high school graduation," "sitting in the south end zone for the 1971 game," "watching my high school lose to Pasadena once again," "covering John Elway's last prep game," and "writing overwrought college game stories" to the things I've done in Rose Bowl.) We'll be in Pasadena as well, and we'll have our usual coverage of the media day – anyone think WSU won't be picked to finish last in the media poll? Wulff will be joined by Kevin Kooyman as the Cougars' representatives, so we'll have comments from both. After that, there's a little more than a week before practice begins, and we hope to fill that space with some previews of what to expect from the 25 practice days available before the opener Sept. 4 in Stillwater vs. Oklahoma State. With 27 days before that game and 25 days for practice (that's the NCAA maximum), it looks as if the Cougars will have two days off. Though I haven't seen an official schedule, I'm guessing they will be Aug. 23 (the first day of class) and Aug. 30 (the Monday of game week). Otherwise, you can head to the newly refurbished Rogers Field (the turf is now the same as that on Martin Stadium) and watch.
So what news is there from Pullman? After talking to a bunch of players last week, there's the usual reports of tough off-season workouts, of added size and strength, of dedication to the goal of pulling WSU out of the valley. That's to be expected. There is also an appreciation of the talents of the new players, from the group of young wide receivers to the junior college defensive tackles (Steven Hoffart and Al Lapuaho) brought in late to bolster the interior. There is also an eagerness to get practice started, to be out on the field in 100-degree heat encased in pads hitting another 300-pound person. You have to love the enthusiasm of youth. Will that enthusiasm translate into success? We'll know starting in about six weeks.
Now on to some Cougar links. Usually we can't send you to Moscow-Pullman Daily News stories because they are behind a firewall, but I found this one by Sandra Kelly at a free site. She talks with redshirt freshman defensive back Nolan Washington. ... As you probably already know, a few of the early season games (USC and UCLA) have been picked up by FSN and the starting times set. You can find all the times available so far here. ... CougCenter has been keeping up with the news this summer, with the most recent post this look at five top stories for the upcoming year. We will have something on No. 1 in the next week or so. ... Cougfan's Howie Stalwick had this recent conversation with Bill Moos. ... A good look at realignment's pitfalls for Pac-10 football from the San Jose Mercury News and how expansion will hit other sports.
• That's all for now. We'll be back throughout the next couple weeks as we gear up for practice. Until then ...