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A pregame post from damp Eugene

COUGARS

So I'm sitting here in the open-air press box at Autzen – note to my replacement: Always bring one more coat to a game here than you think you need – wondering what to write. Then it hit me. Read on.

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• Then I heard what the Oregon band director, or whoever was instructing the band in their pregame practice, tell everyone, "I fully expect this game to be over by the end of the first quarter." Now you can argue that he may be right, but really? ... You know, the student section here is from the 20-yard line to the end zone on one side of the stadium. I understand the business nature of college football, but isn't college about the experience? The guys on the field are peers of the students in the stands, right? And shouldn't those students be right behind their bench, joining them in battle? Seems off to me. And I would write the same thing if WSU decided to move its section. ... Sorry for the pointless digressions. Now back to my original thought. I wanted to talk injuries. We all know Jeff Tuel will not play today, but there are also a couple of defenders that may not play and their absence would hurt as well. I don't believe Toni Pole will play today. The reserve defensive tackle – Brandon Rankin took over the starting spot in Colorado when Pole was late for a team activity and never gave it up – not only adds depth but quickness as well. He suffered a pinched nerve in his neck Wednesday, did not practice Thursday and looked as if he was struggling to move his head. We'll see if he suits up. Also, linebacker Sekope Kaufusi has been struggling with a stinger in his shoulder. He missed practice Wednesday and ran with the twos on Thursday, replaced by Chester Su'a. I presume that was due to injury and that he may be questionable for today. We'll track that as well. Reserve middle linebacker Mike Ledgerwood did not practice all week with a stiff neck and he won't play. That moves Darren Markle up the depth chart and into the role of C.J. Mizell's backup. ... On the offensive side, tackle Dan Spitz looked good Thursday after sitting out the end of Wednesday's practice. Henry Eaddy was in a yellow jersey, so we'll see if he's been cleared to participate today. Kristoff Williams did not practice all week and will not play. ... As far as I can tell, and remember, that's it for the injuries. ... Want to know how the Cougars can win today? The Ducks fumble the opening kickoff, WSU returns it for a touchdown. Two plays into the next possession, Darron Thomas sprains his knee, drops the ball and the Cougars return it for a touchdown. On the next possession, the Cougars intercept and return it for a touchdown. From there, WSU scores just enough to hold on 49-48. In other words, for the Cougars to win, there will have to be a rarely seen alignment of the stars.

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• That's it for the pregame post. With the nice early starting time, we'll be able to tweet throughout the game. A little behind, more than likely, but we will be tweeting (@vinceg55). As for here, we'll be back later. 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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