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Another Tuesday over at WSU


COUGARS

We summarized Paul Wulff's press conferences earlier today (and you can watch his local one here) so we won't go into that again (if you want to read what we wrote earlier, click here). But we do have some practice notes, so read on.
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• Though Wulff said in his conference call there were no official lineup changes, there has been an unofficial one. Junior Andrew Roxas has moved ahead of Wade Jacobson at left guard. Roxas, who was a part time starter two years ago but missed last season with hepatitis, graded out well against Oklahoma State and has run with the ones all week. Whether he keeps that job will probably be determined by his play at practice. "It's all competition, it brings out the best in everybody," a sweat-drenched Roxas said after practice Tuesday. "It's all about production and who produces. Whoever produces the most is going to be out there. The best five will play." But Roxas wasn't the only offensive lineman challenging for time. Tyson Pencer and John Fullington both saw time with the ones at the left and right tackles spots, respectively. ... Mike Ledgerwood sat out most of practice with a sore shoulder and a sore hamstring, which opened up time for C.J. Mizell, who ran with the twos. He's also a subject I would like to address. There was a blog post on CougCenter that made an impassioned plea to start Mizell. As much as I respect a well-reasoned opinion, especially one backed up with fact, this would be a major mistake right now – and not because he isn't talented enough to play. He is. If you've read this blog over the years you know I rarely criticize players. They are 18- to 23-year-olds who will make mistakes. However, I will speak out about a lack of effort, because that's controllable. The most untalented player in the world can play hard. And that's where this is going. If you were at practice every day you would see a player who still hasn't learned to work ethic needed to be an every down player at WSU – or any college for that matter. Mizell just doesn't work hard enough at practice. Let me amend that. He hasn't worked hard enough yet. No matter how talented he is – and wow, he's got talents, you saw just a glimpse of them on Saturday – he can't be handed a starting spot. He has to earn it. And you earn it, like every other player on the squad, in practice and in film study. You wonder why he's out of position more than he should be? Because his film study may not be as good as it should be. Even I can see him walking around at practice, see him go through the motions when he feels like it. That has to change. If he worked his ass off in practice, like a majority of the players he shares a team with, he would start Saturday, every Saturday from now on and be in the NFL in a couple years. He's that good. When he learns that lesson, he'll be there. If he doesn't, he won't. The good news is he seems to be trying harder this week. If that trend continues, he'll earn his spot. And run with it.

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• That's all for tonight. We'll be back in the morning. Until then ...




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

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