To paraphrase the Jackson 5, one bad practice didn't spoil the whole week. After drawing coach Paul Wulff's ire about the focus on Tuesday, Washington State had a much better practice this afternoon. For more, read on.
• Wulff stopped short of calling Wednesday's effort excellent, but would concede it was better than the day before. Most of the team work was based on situations, with the offense faced with a, say, third and two, and the play had to be made on either side. Much of the time it was the defense making the play. Wulff said he's encouraged about how more often the defense is getting its hands on balls, deflecting passes, making plays. The best was turned in by backup safety Kyle McCartney, who made a diving interception in the end zone. … Much of the team play during the day was spent matching up the ones vs. the twos, as WSU tries to lower the volume of hitting as the season inches ever closer. The Cougars will hold a scrimmage in Martin Stadium at 7:30 on Thursday night, but there is a good chance the ones won't participate all that much and there might not even be live hitting. The idea is to go through all the pregame items, from touching the Cougar pride statue to warm ups to the buildup of crowd noise. The players that need that the most are the youngsters who haven't been through it before. … We counted today and there are 30 true freshmen on the roster – including Rahmel Dockery and Alex Mitchell, who were at practice today but still not cleared – though right now about 25 percent of them are slated to play this year. That, by the way, is our story for tomorrow's S-R, looking at the elements that go into deciding whether to redshirt a freshman or not. … The defensive line was a bit thin today. Jordan Pu'u Robinson is still out with tendonitis in his surgically repaired knee, Steven Hoffart was not in pads, Adam Coerper was not at practice, David Davis had ice on his left shoulder at the end of the day and Lenard Williams, who has been battling a dental problem, left with stomach cramps that were cleared up in the training room. None of the injuries seemed major, but the depth is being tested. … A little inside baseball for you. With school back in session, the Cougars don't start practice until 4:15 (it was 2:30 before school started). That means they are not off the field until at least 6 and then we do interviews that usually take about a half-hour. Our first priority is our story for the newspaper, which this time of year we write after practice. Then we get to this blog post. If I can get it done by 8, I feel happy.
• That's all for tonight. We'll be back in the morning. Until then …