Maybe it was just my imagination, but seemed quite a bit hotter Monday for Washington State's second 2011 practice than it was Sunday. But no matter. The second day was a mirror image of the first, with a few differences. If you want to know what they we were, read on.
• For starters, a couple of possible defensive starters were there. Anthony Carpenter and C.J. Mizell were both on the field, Carpenter after finally arriving in town and Mizell having finished up his family obligations. As I sat – and yes, I found a place to sit in the shade – watching the defense work, I was struck by how much faster this group is, from top to bottom, than the defense was a couple years ago. It's night and day (and we don't just mean defensive end Ian Knight, who is the subject of our story for tomorrow's S-R). When the defense rallies to the ball after a play ends, or when the group is doing a drill where they run down a ball carrier on the sidelines, the players seem to get there so much faster. ... One new defender who bucks that trend a bit is 6-foot-4, 303-pound tackle Chas Sampson. Someone asked on Twitter where Sampson came from and what I can tell you the walk-on has been just about everywhere. After high school, Sampson, a North Carolina native, signed with Winston-Salem, never played there and then went into the Army. He was all over the world, including Iraq, before getting out. And now he's in Pullman. We'll have more on him later in camp. ... Dan Wagner had a standout day punting, and there might be a reason for that. The paperwork for walk-on Tyler McNannay, from just down the road in Colfax, cleared Monday and he and about four others in the same boat, were at practice. With McNannay sharing the practice duties, Wagner's punting load was cut in about half and the fresher leg resulted in a few punts that sailed over the returner's head. Wagner said his leg wore down some in spring because he was doing a lot more kicking than he had ever done before. ... The longsnapping seemed to be improving as well, with Zach Koepp and freshman Alex Den Bleyker getting the ball back to the punters with more authority. ... No injuries as of yet, but guard B.J. Guerra has been sick, so he came to practice for a while then went back in for treatment. ... We mentioned players turning out after their paperwork cleared. The one player at camp who has yet to be able to practice is late-signee Moritz Christ, the German native who played at Leander (Tex.) High. Christ's paperwork is still working its way through the chain. He's been at practice watching the offensive linemen go through their paces.
• That's it for tonight. Tomorrow the Cougars add shoulder pads, which should mean a bit more hitting. Full pads are still a couple days away. Until later ...