Couldn't get to Paul Wulff's media conferences before we headed out to practice, so now we're playing catch up. We have what he had to say along with a note about an injury to an offensive lineman. Read on.
• Talked with Wade Jacobson prior to practice and the senior right tackle told me he's headed to Stanford tomorrow for an appointment that will ultimately lead to season-ending back surgery. Jacobson said the surgery will fix his back problem and he should be able to play next season without any pain. Which means, of course, he will be applying for a medical hardship waiver and should get it. Under NCAA rules, the cutoff for a waiver is 30 percent of a school's scheduled games, but it's rounded up, so having played in four of the Cougars' 12 games keeps Jacobson within the NCAA rules. Jacobson has never redshirted in either JC or at WSU. ... As for the rest of practice, which started in warm, bright sunshine and ended in the cool of the evening, the only injury news among the active players was about those that returned to practice. Linebacker C.J. Mizell was suited up and went through the entire practice, while safety Tyree Toomer only skipped some running drills. Speaking of running, the Cougars did their perfect 10-sprint drill and had a couple of screw ups. They ended up running some 16 to 18 10-yard sprints instead of 10. ... Jordan Pu'u Robinson started practice in full pads but didn't finish, though the reason was unclear. ... Backup center Andrew Roxas missed practice due to academic obligations. ... One redshirting player, defensive tackle T.J. Poloai, looked to turn his left ankle and did not finish practice. ... Now on to what Wulff had to say. ... I asked him who his offensive and defensive MVPs were halfway through the season. On the offensive side of the ball, Wulff mention Carl Winston and Marquess Wilson. The Wilson pick comes as no surprise, but Winston wasn't on everyone's radar when the season started. Though he's only averaging 3.9 yards a carry, Winston's consistency and physical running style have earned his coach's respect. ... On the defensive side, Wulff mentioned Alex Hoffman-Ellis and Travis Long. Hoffman-Ellis won't be at practice tomorrow as he has to fly to LA to attend his grandmother's funeral. He flies back Thursday. ... The one thing that has surprised Wulff about the Pac-12 this year is Arizona's record and the school's decision to sack coach Mike Stoops. Later, Wulff said the firing has opened up the Wildcats' recruits to everyone – WSU is involved with some – and the change could really hurt UA down the road. ... Wulff once again reiterated Jeff Tuel needs to play to get rid of the rust. Saturday was a start, but he's only going to get better as he gets more playing time under his belt. ... This week if different for Tuel, as he hit practice Monday knowing he was starting on Saturday. That's a big difference Wulff said. ... Oregon State may not have the best record (the Beavers are 1-5) but they have one of the conference's best receivers in Markus Wheaton according to Wulff. He also said WSU tried to recruit starting quarterback Sean Mannion. ... Getting pressure on Mannion is crucial, Wulff said, and the Cougars have to get there rushing four. ... I asked him about Malcolm Agnew and Wulff said he's quick, has good strength and is nowhere near the football player he will be. ... Wulff talked a lot about the improvement in the team, some of which I used in my Pac-12 notebook for tomorrow's paper, but he also mentioned one reason why this group is so much improved over the past. This group comes to practice every day ready to go hard and comes to each game the same way. ... Wulff also talked with the West Coast media on the Pac-12 call today. There wasn't a bunch of different answers, but he was asked a few questions on different subjects. One of which is how much does one outstanding defensive player make to the game plan. Wulff answered the offense has to be aware of a player like that and then the game plan has to reflect that knowledge. ... Asked why the Cougars' pass rush hasn't been as effective lately, Wulff mentioned the last two teams WSU has played feature a strong running attack, and that slows a pass-rush down. But the Cougars have to figure out how to get to the passer on a more consistent basis. ... Before we go, here's where you can find the text of Bill Moos' live chat with the Seattle Times. He says that there have been 43,000 tickets sold for Saturday's game with the hope of a crowd in the mid-50,000 range. ... We also have a link to the early version of our Pac-12 notebook. ... We can pass along a video from the WSU athletic department. It's of Wulff's local press conference ...
• That's it. We'll be back in the morning. Until then ...