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WSU begins game week with spirited practice

COUGARS

Washington State is off the field after its first workout of the Idaho State game week and there was a different feel to tonight's practice. Read on.


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• Talking with defensive tackle Toni Pole after practice, he made it clear how different tonight was. “You could feel it in the body language of this team, how we performed today,” he said. “You know how at fall camp, people are dragging a lot. But today, it's like we were coming off a three-month vacation. It's like that first day of school and you're just pumped.” The Cougars, dressed in shorts and shoulder pads, spent much of the 75 minute practice in individual drills, then spent the final 25 minutes going over the game plan against the scout team. That last part has, in years past, been lackluster at times. Not this night. The defense was flying around on the east practice field, the offense on the west. And there was a lot more whooping and hollering on both. … We tweeted early this afternoon – follow us at vinceg55 – the news the NCAA had granted defensive tackle Brandon Rankin a waiver of an academic requirement and declared him eligible for this football season. That news was met with lots of smiles around the defensive side of the ball, from the assistant coaches to the players. Rankin's presence gives the Cougars more depth at the tackle position, something they haven't had a lot of the past three years. Coach Paul Wulff talked about the Rankin news some after practice, first addressing what it meant to the football team and then talking some about how hard Rankin has worked academically to get where he's at. The NCAA seems to have recognized that. … Injury news: Travis Long was still not at practice, but his right knee was not in a brace – it was wrapped with an Ace bandage – and he ran some prior to practice. Cornerback Brandon Golden also ran some on his sprained ankle. Defensive linemen Lenard Williams (tooth) and Steven Hoffart were also back, with Williams jumping immediately into Long's spot. … No, there was no news on Rahmel Dockery and Alex Mitchell. If I were a betting man, I would bet Mitchell will end up at a JC and Dockery will eventually get cleared by the NCAA, though I'm not sure now if it serves Dockery better to redshirt and have four full years, or try to play this season. That's not a decision I have to make. … We don't have any practice video for you today, but instead we have some video from off the field, courtesy of Bobby Alworth in the Cougar sports information office. …

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• That's all for now. As always, we'll be back in the morning. It's the first Tuesday, which means Pac-12 coaches calls in the late morning, a Paul Wulff press conference in the early afternoon and then practice. Until then …


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Jim Allen (@srjimallen) Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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