When Paul Wulff walked up to talk about practice Wednesday afternoon, the first question concerned the loud nature of practice. Not people yelling. The sound pads make when they bang together. Hard. Read on.
• The first question I had for Wulff concerned those noises. I asked if it was the loudest practice the Cougars had all year. His response was non-committal, though he did admit two things. Those of us in the media that watch practice from the side probably have a better vantage point to hear the hitting and yes, it was a physical practice, one he said WSU slugged through. And that, Wulff said, is what has to happen. If the Cougars aren’t physical, they can’t play with the rest of the teams in the Pac-10. … My follow-up question had to do with depth, and how it becomes even more important if you are trying to build a team around physical play. Wulff said injuries were a part of it, you don’t want them to happen, but they are going to, so you have to have enough depth to withstand them. … And the Cougars need depth this week because they have a lot of injuries. With James Montgomery out this week, Arthur Burns is making a bid to get some of his carries, showing flashes of brilliance on a couple of runs against the No. 1 defense in a 2-minute drill. … With Daniel Blackledge probably not going to be able to play and Jeffrey Solomon already out, Gino Simone and Bennett Bontemps become more important at the receiver position. By the way, Jared Karstetter was in full pads and went through a complete practice, so his ankle must be fine. … On the defensive side, the yellow jerseys were still in place on Anthony Carpenter, Casey Locker and Aire Justin, but all participated in varying degrees in practice. Alex Hoffman-Ellis, though suited, didn’t, resting his back, and Sekope Kaufusi didn’t suit up, which Wulff said makes it problematic getting him in the lineup Saturday. In his stead, Mike Ledgerwood worked at the will spot as well as in the middle with C.J. Mizell. … Blair Bomber, the quick freshman receiver who is putting in his time on the scout team, was the victim of a couple of the biggest hits, once getting sandwiched between Deone Bucannon and Ledgerwood, then another time taking a ear-splitting hit from Locker on a contested pass. … Justin Clayton, who suffered a kneecap injury Tuesday, was on crutches Wednesday and is out. … We have a couple of stories we can link to. The first is our Pac-10 picks, which were decent last week. The other is on the changeover of the bye week. For Friday’s paper we will have a feature on Jeff Tuel and Beau Sweeney, quarterbacks for Clovis West High whose college careers have taken different paths.
• That’s all for tonight. We’ll be back in the morning. Until then …