Talk about baking in the mid-summer sun. The fact the intensity during Washington State's second practice wound down in the final 20 minutes or so was understandable if you were standing out on Rogers Field. Read on for more.
• We're starting our position previews a bit early this year and have our first one for tomorrow's S-R. You can read our first one here. The position we are highlighting is one of the most important, the offensive line. We put together a two-deep which will run with the story in the morning, but to be honest, trying to identify some of the backup spots has been difficult, as a couple players have moved in and out. According to offensive line coach Steve Morton, he wants three tackles, three guards and two centers he can count on for the Idaho State game. From there, he'll continue to bring guys along. Well, I think WSU is getting close to identifying the backups. The backup center is easy. Though Andrew Roxas is the starter, Taylor Meighen has shown he can handle the role as well. The guard that has seemed to show the most in a backup role is former walk-on Elliott Bosch. As for the tackle, either converted defensive lineman Dan Spitz or redshirt freshman Jake Rodgers will fill the role. The interesting thing about that is all three of those guys are from up the road in Spokane. … There wasn't much in the way of team work in the afternoon as the Cougars were in shells, so they had no lower body pads. But in one short session, there were two standout plays turned in on back-to-back snaps. The first was from cornerback Damante Horton. Jared Karstetter went up for a perfectly thrown fade from Jeff Tuel in the back right corner of the end zone and Horton, giving up six inches to Karstetter, rose up, timed his jump perfectly and stripped the ball from Karstetter, who had two hands on it. As good a defensive play as you'll see. On the next play Tuel went to the other side, where Marquess Wilson was blanketed by safety Deone Bucannon. The throw was a bit short and Bucannon was able to tip it enough that Wilson couldn't grab it at its highest point. So Wilson didn't try. He just tipped it himself backward and caught the rebound as he was falling down. Touchdown. … There were a lot of guys watching the afternoon workout, but many of them were not hurt. Because of NCAA rules, they didn't have enough practices in to go twice in one day yet. The group included C.J. Mizell and Anthony Carpenter. … One player in street clothes was redshirt junior safety Jay Matthews, and in his case it was due to injury. After starting two games as a redshirt freshman, Matthews sat out last season recovering from shoulder surgery. He came into the season with high hopes he could get back in the rotation at safety but the first week of camp revealed his shoulder just couldn't stand up to the stress of football. Two days ago Matthews was in a yellow jersey but the pain only got worse. Today he came out in street clothes and began to do what he did last season, help Chris Ball coach the safeties. It looks as if Matthews' college football career may be over. It's hard to fathom sometimes how much these young men – and young men all over the country – put into playing this physically demanding and at times debilitating game. So when their body won't let them continue to do something they love, it's easy to understand how hard that hits them.
• That's it for this evening. We'll be back in the morning with our usual post. Until then …