It rained during practice. And that wasn't the lowlight of the afternoon. Read on.
• To put a nice spin on it, Washington State has had better practices this season. Longer ones too. But talking with coach Paul Wulff after the Cougars finished their last padded practice of the week, he didn't seem frustrated or upset. Six games into the season, he realizes there are going to be days when a handful of the starters will not be available, for whatever reason, as was the case Wednesday. As much as he would like every player to be perfectly healthy all season long, that's not going to happen. So he practiced a bit of preventive medicine, shorting practice by about 15 minutes and letting some players watch. Those included starting left tackle David Gonzales, who was banged up a bit and rested a leg. Wulff expects Gonzales to be back Thursday, but on this day freshman Jake Rodgers took his spot on the line. Wide receiver Jared Karstetter and safety Deone Bucannon took part in a bit of practice but avoided the team aspects. And, as we reported earlier, starting linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis was in Los Angeles for the funeral of his grandmother and right tackle Wade Jacobson was in Northern California for a doctor's appointment. All of those except Jacobson should start Saturday. … The rain – there was a short, hard shower that left everything wet when it dissipated – seemed to slice into the execution on the offensive side of the ball, leading to a few harsh words from offensive coordinator Todd Sturdy aimed mainly at the offensive line, but heard by everyone. The gist of it was practice better. And harder. They did. … One other player was in street clothes, backup kicker Alex Gauper. With his back acting up, freshman Tyler McNannay, also coming off an injury and slated to redshirt, did some kicking and nailed a majority of his early practice field goals. … One last thing. In the answer to a question I said Logan Mayes had played in two of the last three games. That was based on the official participation list included in the game books. But I was informed today the UCLA participation list was revised heavily because the Bruin stats folks had, to quote someone who was at the game, “no clue.” (I'm quoting myself, but don't tell anyone.) Anyhow, film showed Mayes played a few plays against the Bruins so he's played in each of the last three games.
• That's all for tonight. We'll be back in the morning. Until then …