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Wed., Nov. 2, 2011, 6:16 p.m.

Wind-blown WSU puts together strong practice

COUGARS

In the years I've been doing this job, I don't remember many practice days colder than this one. The wind was blowing, not too hard but it was steady, and it was biting. Despite wearing a sweatshirt and two jackets, I felt it wasn't enough. So how did the Washington State players respond? Read on.

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• No denying it. The Cougars, especially on the defensive side, started slowly. Mainly, I believe, because they were shocked by how sharp the cold wind really was. But that didn't last. The intensity took a sharp upward turn. After coach Paul Wulff called them together at the end of practice, and coupled with a physical effort on Tuesday, WSU had put together its two best back-to-back practices of the season. As Wulff said afterward, he believes they got better as the season wore on last year and the same thing is happening in this one. Saturday will be a good test of that. ... One drill illustrated the intensity. It's the one in which the defensive and offensive lines get together for one-on-one and team pass rush/protection work. Today there were no going through the motions. It was physical, it was fast, it was violent – before and after the whistle. A trio of post-whistle clashes occurred between players, one of which spreading to both groups. ... The play of the day came from Rickey Galvin who made a one-handed catch of a Marshall Lobbestael pass in traffic in a seven-on-seven shell drill. It was so impressive defensive coordinator Chris Ball ran over to help Galvin up and receivers coach Mike Levenseller gave Galvin a standing O. ... Three players returned to practice Wednesday and looked if they would be able to go Saturday. They were Toni Pole, Mike Ledgerwood and Kristoff Williams. All were out of the yellow, non-contact jerseys they wore Tuesday. ... This just in, WSU kicker Andrew Furney is one of 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award, given annually to the best placekicker in the nation. Furney is 11 for 12 in field goals this season and has connected on all five of his attempts from more than 40 yards. ... Remember Wulff's comment we had above, the one about getting better? Wish he would have said it yesterday, because it would have fit in perfectly with our story for tomorrow's S-R.

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• That's it for tonight. We'll be back in the morning. Until then ...




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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