A feisty, fun day at WSU


Football practice is done. Paul Wulff's press conferences are done – despite someone's best efforts to disrupt his local one. For more on all that, read on.


• We were about six minutes into Wulff's press conference today when the fire alarm started blaring. And continued. After a moment's indecision, we all grabbed our jackets and cell phones and headed for the stairs. The equipment room guys fell on their swords, saying their dryers overheated, but I'm thinking it was a residue of Connor Halliday's performance Saturday setting off the smoke detectors. After about 10 minutes of standing outside in the cold, the alarms ended, we were allowed back in the building and Wulff's press conference finished up. ... Asked Wulff a lot of questions about Utah and especially about the Utes' defensive front, the subject of a story we're doing this week. He was adamant the offensive line will have to play at its best for the Cougars to move the ball consistently. ... As for Halliday and what he's doing different now as compared to a few weeks ago – in other words, what signaled his readiness to play? – Wullf said it was Halliday's improvement in practice and his consistency in those workouts. ... After the fire-alarm-induced break, Wulff talked about Utah's commitment to the running game and how that's helped John White improve as the year's worn on. ... Wulff isn't sure about changes on the kickoff coverage team yet and I'm pretty sure I know why, which I'll share a bit later. ... Long snapper Zach Koepp is still out with his concussion, so Alex Den Bleyker will fill that role this week. ... Finally, Wulff said the morale on the team is high and has been all year. The chance the Cougars still have at bowl game helps that as well, since we are 10 games into the season and this is the first year since he's been here that's the case. ... That's it from the local one, though we have a video below with more. ... I listened to the Pac-12 conference call en route to Pullman this morning – we were in Spokane last night with the basketball game – and didn't hear anything that was all that different from the local one. Though I can't tell you for sure because tape of 11 coaches is available right now and one isn't. Guess which one. ...

• As for practice, it started with one of the funniest things I've ever seen before warmups. The defense kicked it off by gathering into a large huddle and jumping up and down, screaming loudly. The offense followed suit, gathering about 10 yards away and going nuts. In between were three kickers and a long snapper, with their miniature group jumping about Colfax phone book height and making the amount of noise usually heard at a fifth grader's birthday party. ... In the course of practice – it was cold, let me tell you – there were three or four altercations, a couple pretty serious, a couple kind of comical. The last one came right at the end of team work in the last session. Defensive tackle Brandon Rankin and guard John Fullington squared off, with Rankin finally tossing Fullington to the ground. But Fullington didn't stay there. In fact, you would have been amazed how quickly the 6-foot-5, 290-pound man was able to roll over and bounce to his feet. My jaw dropped. It was like something out of a Bruce Lee film. With that as a backdrop, Wulff blew his whistle and ended practice. But the players weren't having it. They started chanting "one more play" and wouldn't stop. Wulff gave in. One play for the win. Connor Halliday dropped back and fired a bullet that Jared Karstetter wrestled away from the defensive back. The offense won. ... The list of players not at practice or in sweats was pretty deep for the first time this year. Most of them, however, will be available Saturday. Defensive end Lenard Williams (knee) probably won't go and neither will long snapper Koepp (concussion). But Sekope Kaufusi (shoulder), C.J. Mizell (shoulder), Marquess Wilson and Daniel Simmons will be available, with Kaufusi practicing Monday and Mizell suiting up for the end of practice today. ... One player who might be limited this week is safety Deone Bucannon, who sat out after rolling an ankle Monday on the tight turf in the indoor facility. He was limping pretty good Tuesday. ...

• Ken Bone also held his press conference Tuesday and he got done before the fire alarm went off. ... The basketball coach expressed his pleasure with the way his team fought back against Gonzaga on Monday night, never giving in despite the circumstances or pressure. He wasn't pleased how they handled the inside part of the game, saying playing better inside is a hurdle they must overcome to be better. ... He thought some guys allowed the game to come to them but others tried to force things. This group is better if everyone plays within the system. ... The zone trap the Cougars broke out last night was born of desperation, nothing more. ... There is a quick turnaround before Sacramento State comes to Pullman on Thursday and that might make it tough. The GU is so full of emotion, it may take the Cougars a while to flush it, Bone said. ... Abe Lodwick may have helped last night, but he wasn't going to play despite going through warmups. That decision had been made Sunday.



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

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to SportsLink

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

Follow Vince online:





Contact the Spokesman

Main switchboard:
(509) 459-5000
(800) 338-8801
(509) 459-5400
(800) 789-0029
Customer service:
(800) 338-8801