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WSU opens preseason practice

COUGARS

Washington State's first practice of 2011 is in the books. From the pre-practice walk-through to Paul Wulff's post-practice talk, the players sweated their way through a warm Palouse afternoon. We have notes, observations and comments from the day, so read on.

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• Our story for tomorrow's S-R focuses on the new, from the new uniforms (I'm still on the fence about the Cougar font Nike designed) with the new gray helmets (not on the fence about those; I like the crimson ones much more) to a couple new drills the Cougars were able to do. But before we get to the new players that caught Wulff's eye as he was walking around practice, we should probably share a couple notes from practice. ... Two players were noticeably absent, defensive back Anthony Carpenter, whose flight from Los Angeles was late, and linebacker C.J. Mizell, who Wulff said was taking care of some important personal business and had been excused. Both are expected to be at practice Monday. ... A group of freshmen, all but one walk-ons, were in street clothes, waiting on paperwork, more often than not medically related. ... Alex Reitnouer was not on the field after undergoing offseason back surgery and Wulff said it was uncertain if the offensive lineman would be able to play again. He may, Wulff said, only be able to return in a long-snapper role. ... Freshman defensive lineman Xavier Cooper, who enrolled in the spring after grayshirting, will redshirt this season. As a partial NCAA qualifier, Cooper can accept financial aid but has to sit out the year. ... Wulff said he's confident Rahmal Dockery and Alex Mitchell, two of five freshman who spent the summer trying to get eligible, will be cleared to enter school and practice come Aug. 22 when school starts. Two others, Demetrius Cherry and Brock Lutes, are examining JCs, while Wendell Taiese's status is still to be determined. ... Former Cougar great Rueben Mayes was at practice with his wife and younger son, watching oldest son Logan go though his first WSU practice. ... Kyle Lappano, son of longtime college assistant Tim, is a walk-on running back. ... When asked which new players caught his eye, Wulff said it's hard to see how the linemen are doing from his vantage point – that's what film is for – but he thought receiver Dominque Williams showed quickness on the outside, running back Marcus Mason displayed the speed and elusiveness expected and junior college defensive end Lenard Williams was explosive. ... Backup offensive tackle Rico Forbes took it easy today, riding the stationary bike at times and not taking any live reps. ... Fullback/H-back Jared Byers, whose knee was torn up in the Oklahoma State opener last season, was back on the practice field. ... There are now two Simones on the roster, as junior receiver Gino has been joined by younger brother Jordan, a freshman walk-on safety. ... Finally, if I had to make a list of the newcomers that impressed me the most on this first day, I know linebacker Chester Sua (size and speed), defensive lineman David Davis (quickness), Mason (speed) and tight end Mansel Simmons (build) would be on it. ... Skylar Stormo, who played tight end his first three years here, has put on 10 pounds, but it looks like more. At 260 pounds, he now looks the part of a defensive lineman.

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• Here is some practice video, courtesy the WSU athletic department ...

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• That's all for now. Until later ...




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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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