The wind was up, the temperature down and, when it was all said and down, the defense did some up-downs. For more on Washington State football, and some on basketball, read on.
• The Cougars have a rule about weight lifting. When a player is late once, he is punished with after-practice work. When he's late twice, his unit, say the linebackers, is punished and so is he. When he's late three times, the entire side of the ball is punished. Such was the case Tuesday. The entire defense did up-downs for more than 15 minutes after practice, more than 100 all told, under the watchful whistle of strength coach Darin Lovat. It wasn't easy, it wasn't popular and it wasn't fun to watch. The offending player, who shall remain nameless, but isn't a starter this year, was not too popular when it was over, especially with the media types like myself, freezing our fingers off as we waited to talk with a defensive player. ... Which brings up our other point. The wind was blowing steadily if not with a lot of force the entire practice, which was shortened by about 15 minutes as coach Paul Wulff tries to keep players fresh. The quicker-paced practice was appreciated, especially considering the temperature was in the 30s. ... Wulff held his usual Tuesday afternoon press conference and the first thing I brought up was the players out and the players back. The only one of the three hurt Saturday that won't play this week is Gino Simone, who has a concussion. The other two, Marcus Richmond and Arthur Burns, both were back in pads Tuesday – the Cougars were in full pads, though the tackling was limited to the thud variety (not taking the players to the ground) for much of the workout – and seemed to participate fully. James Montgomery, who Wulff said will be back, had a yellow jersey on as he recovers from his concussion. ... Sekope Kaufusi was also back in full pads at practice, working in the middle and at weakside linebacker. ... I asked Wulff why Richmond had been playing more recently and he said it had to do with his speed – and the fact so many players were hurt. ... I asked pretty much the same question in another form about Aire Justin and Wulff's answer had to do with light bulbs. Well, not really. What Wulff said is it takes some players longer than others to "get it," for the light bulb to go on. He thinks it finally is for Justin, a redshirt junior. Another player in the same category, Wulff said, is Anthony Laurenzi, who played exceptionally well Saturday, will start again this week and, Wulff said, is doing things they expected from him all along. ... Wulff said Daniel Simmons' condition is still unknown but he is out this week for sure. If the rotator cuff is strained, he could be back for the Apple Cup. If it's torn, he'll need surgery. ... Jim Moore asked for the backstory on kicker Andrew Furney and Wulff gave it. Wulff did say Furney's kickoffs are still not up to snuff and that's something he'll have to work on over the offseason. ... The third-and-20 play was brought up and Wulff again said the Cougar defenders were doing what they were told, trying to rip the ball free. But they all were doing that and no one tackled the ball carrier. ... The Apple Cup time of 4 p.m. came up and Wulff said he thought it was a great time. He would have been five with 7 as well (it's obvious he's never had to deal with a newspaper deadline). The colder the better he said. ... Wulff was asked the keys to Saturday and he brought up OSU's dearth of turnovers (four this season, all interceptions). He said the Beavers aren't going to beat themselves, but if WSU could force a couple – in the loss to UW, Ryan Katz threw three interceptions – it would have a huge effect. The offense, Wulff added, will have to execute better. ... Wulff also talked a bit about the play of C.J. Mizell and Deone Bucannon. Mizell's season has been a lot like the Cougars, up-and-down, Wulff said, while he hasn't seen a true freshman play strong safety like Bucannon, ever. ... And that's it from the press conference. ... We have a couple basketball links from the Seattle Times. Bud Withers has his season preview of the Cougars along with five things to watch.
• That's it for tonight. We'll be back in the morning. Until then ...