All of a sudden, Washington State's football players had broader shoulders. Yes, the Cougars added shoulder pads Tuesday under the incremental steps of padding the NCAA enforces. And, with more pads on, there were more popping noises heard on Rogers Field. Read on.
• Not everyone could put on the shoulder pads, however. Those first-year players that had paperwork trouble and couldn't practice Sunday were still running around without them. And a couple of players were nursing injuries or sitting out for precautionary reasons. Defensive end Pu'u Robinson sat out to rest his surgically repaired knee while offensive tackle Rico Forbes is nursing an abdominal strain and won't be able to deal with contact for a while. ... Each day like all teams Washington State works on special teams. Today, I spent some time watching the group of players who were working on catching punts and kickoffs. The group consisted of Rickey Galvin, Henry Eaddy, Marcus Mason (all three either redshirt or true freshmen), Leon Brooks and Isiah Barton. Barton was the Cougars leading kick returner last season, averaging 22.1 yards on kickoff returns. The two true freshmen, Eaddy and Mason, are intriguing because though neither is large (5-8, 163 and 5-9, 176 respectively) both are about as fast as WSU offers. We'll see where this goes as camp wears on. ... Speaking of speed, we mentioned the obvious improvement in that category. Today, with the shoulder pads added, there wasn't a dropoff. Coach Paul Wulff said after practice he does feel there are more players at more positions that run better than in the past and that seems to be true. Will it mean WSU will be better? In and of itself, no. But it does help. A lot. ... Finally, we went a little esoteric today in our story out of camp. I just noticed a lot of players wearing different numbers this year (there are 15 changes among the returning guys) and decided to examine the love affair with numbers. We'll have a link for you in the morning.
• That's all for tonight. We'll be back in the morning as usual. Until later ...