Sitting out at practice this evening I was thinking about the Nov. 12 Arizona State game. It wasn't 7:30 yet (still isn't as I write this) but it was getting awfully cold out there. And it's still 11 days yet until the Sun Devils come to Pullman. Eleven days closer to winter. As for the practice Tuesday and Paul Wulff comments on his press conferences (and a special video added attraction), read on.
• Practice was as intense as I've seen it for a while, starting from the offense huddling together, jumping up and down and getting their motors revved and continuing through a defensive session that Deone Bucannon called the best in his two years here. There were mistakes, sure, but the intensity level didn't seem to waver. Maybe the cold had something to do with it. ... The Cougars are getting healthier as well, with Mike Ledgerwood, Toni Pole and Kristoff Williams all back, though all were in yellow, non-contact jerseys. They also took part in practice in varying degrees, from Williams doing almost everything to Pole limited in scope. My guess is they may all play this weekend. ... Dan Spitz was back at practice and back at his usual place at right tackle. ... That's about it from practice. Did I mention it was cold? ... As for Wulff's pressers Tuesday, he covered subjects as varied as Jared Karstetter's career at Washington State in reference to his scholar/athlete award last week ("He's one of the guys who took on the challenge of rebuilding this program," Wulff said) to why WSU hasn't run the ball better this season (he doesn't feel they have the home run back as of yet, though a completely healthy Rickey Galvin may be that guy). In between he talked about the lack of consistency week-to-week among Pac-12 teams and the Cougars' punt formation (in response to two questions asked of most every coach), how WSU wanted to show the Oregon State game was a fluke last Saturday, the challenges the pass defense faces against Cal (and the challenge overall of preparing for a team without knowing the starting quarterback) and the challenges the Cougar offense faces against the Bears' defense. Those last three responses can be summed up easily. Cal will be a tough nut to crack. The Bears are talented and have really only struggled recently in games they've turned the ball over. I checked the Bears' last three games. In the two losses to the LA schools, 10 turnovers; in the rout against Utah, zero. ... There was a lot of discussion in Wulff's local press conference about the high hits that have drawn flags recently (five questions out of an 11-question conference), which sort of dovetailed with my Pac-12 notebook for tomorrow's paper. Other items he covered in depth included his thoughts about playing at AT&T, the differences between Zach Maynard (the runner) and Allan Bridgport (more of a drop-back passer) and Cal's defense. Nothing all that unexpected in any response.
• Here's some video of Wulff's press conference, and below it Ken Bone's. Both are courtesy of the WSU athletic department.
• That's it for tonight's thoughts. We'll be back in the morning. Until then ...