There was something different about practice Wednesday. What was it? Can't put my finger on it. Maybe it was Jeff Tuel actually running around and able to be hit – though he never actually was. But he's been cleared to play this weekend and just might. Read on.
• Want illustration Tuel is ready to play, to be hit, to be a football player once again? He took part in the Cougars' ball security drills, one of which includes players diving to the ground. And he had no problems. His clavicle is seemingly as good as it's been. So will he start Saturday? As of Wednesday, coach Paul Wulff was adamant Marshall Lobbestael was the starter and would be Saturday. But Tuel had Wednesday's practice and Thursday and Friday's non-contact workouts to prove to Wulff and offensive coordinator Todd Sturdy he's ready to take over the job. It seemed to me Wednesday's audition went well, though it wasn't perfect. There was some rust, as Wulff calls it, with the sharpness of the offense being affected some. But there were also the throws only Tuel can make. What was really interesting was Marshall Lobbestael's practice. He seemed as sharp as ever, throwing the ball with authority and confidence. No matter which way the die falls this weekend, it will be interesting. … As for the rest of practice, there were a couple player notes of interest. Dan Spitz was still holding down the right tackle spot as Wade Jacobson's back hasn't cleared up enough for him to practice yet. … Starting defensive end Lenard Williams got dinged up Monday night in a non-contact practice and hasn't been able to go the past couple days. He's going to be a game-time decision. … Sekope Kaufusi was still in a yellow, non-contact jersey with a sore shoulder, but he'll play Saturday. Chester Su'a received more snaps due to Kaufusi's limits and made the most of them. After practice Wulff said Su'a been playing well on special teams and seems to have caught on better on the defensive side. … Isiah Barton (ankle) was back at practice and seemed to be moving at full speed. … We have a feature for tomorrow's S-R on offensive tackle David Gonzales. We can share it now.
• That's what we have for tonight. As usual, we'll be back in the morning. Until then …