Freshmen focus of WSU practice


Reason No. 1,459 not to become a sportswriter. You're on the practice field watching another form tackling drill while Roy Halladay is tossing only the second no-hitter in postseason baseball (thanks for the catch Andrew). But, boy, was that drill riveting. For more on the rest of practice, read on.


• I spent much of Wednesday's practice watching the defense, most notably C.J. Mizell and Sekope Kaufusi work at Mike and Will linebacker, respectively. I'll be doing a story on them for Friday's S-R. The two took most of the snaps, as Mike Ledgerwood and Alex Hoffman-Ellis were held out of contact drills, Ledgerwood due to his neck and Hoffman-Ellis his back. After practice coach Paul Wulff said Hoffman-Ellis should be able to go on Saturday, though Ledgerwood's status is still up in the air. ... Chima Nwachukwu's status no longer is. The senior safety won't be playing this weekend with the hamstring strain – he spent much of practice on the exercise bike working his healthy left leg. That means Deone Bucannon will start and Anthony Carpenter, moved over from cornerback this week, will be the backup. ... By the way, Jamal Atofau gave Myron Beck a lot of rest today at the Sam spot, so, for much of practice, the linebacking corps consisted of three freshmen, with either Atofau or Arthur Burns at the Sam, Mizell at the Mike and Kaufusi at the Will. When I asked Wulff about it, and whether that was the optimum situation going into a game with No. 3 Oregon, he answered, "I don't know if age matters when you face them. You just have to play and play fast. No one has stopped them but we sure as heck can try to be in the right position and make plays." ... Another defensive player, tackle Steven Hoffart, will be unavailable this week as he's dealing with a case of mono. ... Toni Pole did go full speed again, however, and it's looking more and more as if the 6-foot-1, 291-pound freshman tackle will play. ... On the offensive side, John Fullington and Micah Hannam have been trading off the right tackle spot even more than usual this week, making me wonder if Fullington might not play more against the Ducks. Hannam has also filled in on the left side whenever David Gonzales needed a rest. ... Former Cougar basketball player Craig Ehlo, who talked with the basketball team before practice, came out to watch his son Austin, a freshman walk-on, run the receiver position on the scout team. ... We'll leave you with a link to my Pac-10 picks for the week, which includes the Cougar game. Feel free to give me a hard time.


• That's all for now. We'll be back in the morning with our usual post. Until then ...

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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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