COUGARS • UPDATED: 3 P.M.
The Washington State Cougars got back on the football field yesterday and we were there. Though more than a few people came by to tell us how silly we looked with a wool cap on. Wait, that wasn't it. It was the wool cap covered by another hat. That was the problem, or as one WSU equipment guy (who shall remain nameless so my legions of fans don't picket his home) said, "that's not a good look for you." My retort, after eight hours of thinking about it? "What is?" That's one of the perks of being a bit on the dumpy, not-so-good-looking side, nothing looks stylish on you so you don't have to care. For more ... on WSU football ... read on.
• Washington State: We had our practice report up last night. It included a link to our story. ... We spent a lot of time yesterday watching the offensive line and though a lot of what they do is intelligible to us, it was easy to see the group is performing better, especially on run blocking. There are more holes. Bigger holes. There are more defensive players on the ground. And the centers, whether it was Andrew Roxas with the ones yesterday or Taylor Meighen, are, pardon the pun, right in the middle of it. I know this spot was a concern of Paul Wulff and his staff going into spring, but the emergence of a dedicated, fit Roxas, Meighen's ability to compete at this level and the potential of incoming JC transfer Matt Goetz (who started his college career at Texas Tech) has eased those concern immeasurably. ... So is the O-line better? Really that's not a question that will be answered for sure until the fall. The defensive line is without some of its best players in Travis Long and Brandon Rankin, so making a judgment based on these practices would be fool's gold. But the coaching staff likes the new alignment, it seems to be working and my guess is, if everyone stays healthy, it will be the group we see in the opener. And it should be a more physical unit than its been in the past couple years. ... The announcement yesterday JC defensive end Eli Edwards signed a letter of intent was accompanied by this note: "This brings to 28 the number of players in WSU’s 2011 class." That's three more than a school is allowed to sign. So how does WSU get down to 25? Well last year there were only 23 players who ended up enrolling, so there might be a little wiggle room there, as the three Florida freshmen who are in school now could, according to the NCAA rules, be applied to last year's class if WSU still has space. But that doesn't have to be the case if one or two or three of this year's group either grayshirts (allowing them to be applied to next year if WSU wants) or does not qualify academically (there are a couple players in this class that will come down to the wire) as happens at most schools most years. In the end, 25 players will be on the paperwork WSU sends the NCAA. ... And that's about it this morning.
• Around the Pac-12: Jon Wilner has more on the television negotiations including this gem: "AJ Maestas of Navigate Marketing, which has done media rights deals for Arizona State and Ohio State, told me that he has revised his estimates for a Pac-12 TV deal to approx $220 million annually, up from $175 million six months ago.That equates to approx $18.5 million/yr for the schools and would be the equivalent of a walk-off grand slam for Scott." What do you think a school like WSU could do with another $18 million a year. Heck, that is more than half of its current athletic budget. The bad news for us? Though Bill Moos said recently travel partners were important in basketball, Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott seems to rule that out in this story. Such a development, with single road games, would probably make it too expensive to cover WSU basketball the same way we have in the past. ... ESPN.com's Ted Miller had his mailbag yesterday. ... Washington: The Huskies moved part of their practice indoors. ... The special team coverage units used a lot of starters last season. ... Oregon State: Nothing here. ... Oregon: The Ducks send Joevan Catron out a winner. ... Colorado: The Buffs will have a different offense this year under new football coach Jon Embree. ... Utah: The Utes have a new basketball coach, who is the subject of a couple columns, but they will be without their best player. ... The football team has a few new assistants... California: Nothing here. ... Stanford: Same with the Cardinal. ... USC: Injuries are slowing things in LA. ... UCLA: Bruins speed things up. ... Arizona State: The injury news is awful for Sun Devils. ... Arizona: The changing face of college basketball.
• UPDATE: Jared Prenguber of WSU's athletic video department put together this video of the Cougars' trip to New York.
• That's it for now. We'll be back if events warrant. Until later ...