Took the 7 a.m. flight to Seattle – booked for 10, but my ride to the airport has to be to work by 6, so 7 a.m. standby it was – so this is a hair later than usual because I was too crowded to type on the plane. But now we have a bit of time, so we can catch up. We have links, notes from practice and Paul Wulff’s press conference, and other stuff, so read on.
• Washington State: Wulff’s usual Thursday afternoon press conference was more uneventful than usual, so we didn’t rush to get to it – plus we had to finish our story about WSU and its penchant for throwing deep recently. … Anyhow, Wulff answered my question about ASU running similar offensive and defensive schemes as WSU and if that helped preparation with a qualified yes. The qualification came from not having the depth to do what the Sun Devils are doing, not using scout teams but using the two versus the ones to prep. … Wulff also said the Cougars are preparing for ASU quarterback Steven Threet to play, believing his concussion from last week won’t keep him from Saturday’s game. … The secondary players injured last week, Nolan Washington (wrist) and Daniel Simmons (concussion), will both play and they’ll be joined by Chima Nwachukwu some. Nwachukwu’s return from a hamstring and the emergence of Deone Bucannon at safety does give cornerback some depth, as Nwachukwu’s played it enough to fill in there. He needs to as Aire Justin doesn’t look ready to play this week. … Wulff said Bernard Wolfgramm and Brandon Rankin will start at defensive tackle so I followed up with a question about Rankin and how he’s been playing. Wulff believes the junior college transfer is still adjusting to major college football and will be OK. I will say he had a good week at practice. … Wulff doesn’t think the heat will be a problem. There might be a little more rotation needed, especially if one side of the ball is on the field an inordinate amount of time. … And that’s about it. On to the links. … We’ll interject here with a link to my live-from-Pullman Pac-10 basketball media day coverage, which you can find here along with our short coverage in the paper (second item). We also have the Times coverage of all the conference’s basketball teams, along with the Huskies, who were picked to win for the first time. … Back to Cougar football, we have Jim Moore reversing field once again and breaking free, heading for the Wulff camp. … Christian Caple of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News has his Pac-10 picks, including the Cougar game.
• Around the Pac-10: ESPN.com’s Ted Miller has some fun with Halloween (check Paul Wulff’s costume) and opens his weekly mailbag. … He also looks at Stanford and Arizona’s chances to keep winning. … Bud Withers examines USC and Oregon’s feeling for each other. … Time for Jon Wilner’s picks. … Washington: The Huskies’ cornerbacks are struggling. … Saturday is an anniversary of a big game for Marques Tuiasosopo. … Oregon State: At least one Beaver is happy to get back on the field again. … Oregon: Darron Thomas has run away with the Duck offense while Cliff Harris has done the same with a lot of punts. … What was it mom used to say about words can never hurt you? … … Cal: The Bears cast a wide net for this cornerback. … Stanford: More on the quarterback matchup of Jake Locker and Andrew Luck. … USC: Defensive end Wes Horton returns for the Trojan defense. … And Matt Barkley is ready for his closeup Mr. DeMille (sorry for the old movie reference). … UCLA: It’s Richard Brehaut time. … Arizona State: Jon Hargis’ return should give the Sun Devils a lift. … Arizona: Another player returns, but this one is from a painful disease.
• That’s all for this morning. We’ll be back this afternoon from Phoenix with more football. Don’t forget, the WSU men’s basketball team is scrimmaging this evening in Bohler if your Friday night is free. Until then …