For the first time this season, the Washington State Cougars took football practice into the bubble. Which, all of the assembled observers agreed, was a really good thing. Warmth, benches, a roof. What's not to like? We have notes, so read on.
• Had a long chat with offensive line coach Steve Morton before practice concerning what constitutes a productive run. When we were done talking, it's obvious there is a gap between what a fan sees and what a coach sees and, more than likely, the two will never be bridged. One of the more interesting things he said concerned 3-yard runs and why they aren't 4-yard runs. It's only a yard – Morton illustrated by holding his arms apart – but one is good and the other bad. He always wants to know why the 3-yard run wasn't a 4-yard run, and what he has to do to make sure the next time that same run is 4 yards. ... Before I get to the next note I have to come clean. The reason this is here is because, when it happened, Morton yelled out something to the effect it would be on my blog tonight, so here it is. During a drill in which each offensive lineman shuffled up and, with his hands, popped a fellow offensive lineman posing as the defender, Andrew Roxas popped Wade Jacobson hard enough to knock Jacobson on his butt. It was unexpected – no other player fell – and elicited laughter and derision from Jacobson's linemates – and Morton's comment. ... There was a large group of injured players following strength coach Darin Lovat like the Pied Piper around the practice facility. Those walking laps included players out for the year like David Gonzales and Aaron Dunn, but also others who were banged up in Saturday's game, like starting cornerback Daniel Simmons, who is dealing with a concussion, Eric Oertel, Alex Hoffman-Ellis and Anthony Carpenter. The latter three should be available for Saturday but Simmons must pass his test Tuesday to get enough time in to be cleared to play. ... The other starting cornerback, Nolan Washington, came to practice with his wrist and hand in a splint, but had it taped and went through the drills. ... Aire Justin wore a yellow jersey but participated. ... Chima Nwachukwu ran sprints on the side but did not practice. ... Because we weren't able to get to the morning post – FYI, after six months of battling a health problem, I was given the all clear today, which means a great deal to me – I wanted to throw out a few links you may have missed. ... At CougCenter, there is a sentiment it's time for this team to get a win. ... There's a similar sentiment on the WSU Football Blog. ... And at Cougfan the thought is this is a winnable game. ... So what happens if ASU wins by 28 points? Will people start jumping off bridges or, at the least, off the Paul Wulff bandwagon? Just want to know because it could happen. The Cougars are banged up, Arizona State has played some pretty damn good games this season and it is homecoming for the Sun Devils, who need a win to keep in the bowl hunt. Just wondering. ... Finally, there's a piece in the Columbia Basin Herald that preaches patience.
• That's all for tonight. We'll be back in the morning with our usual posts, including our first look at ASU. Until then ...