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Sat., Sept. 3, 2011, 12:14 p.m.

Pregame post from Martin Stadium

COUGARS

We got here early today because there is one truisim in college football: Something will always be messed up for the first game. And that happened, as there is a new way to get on the Internet in the Martin Stadium press box and I'm locked out. Luckily, we always have a backup plan. So we're able to present our pregame notes. Read on.

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• We'll start the pregame rant – OK, I rarely ever rant unless it's about doughnut shops or hamburger stands, and I won't today – by passing along some news. Not crucial by any means but news. The captains today are seniors Jared Karstetter and Alex Hoffman-Ellis and juniors Jeff Tuel and Travis Long. See, I said it was not crucial news and I meant it. But think about this, most of the past three years the pregame post had something to do with a player who was missing or hurt or whatever. That drama has been generally missing from preseason camp this season. There have been a couple dings, for sure and we'll cover those in a second, but nothing major to anyone that was counted upon to play a big role. This is when the Cougar fans reading this should find a piece of wood to rap their knuckles on. Me, I root for one thing in every football game I cover. I root that – quick aside, because there is a policeman riding a Segway through the stands; never seen that before – no one on either team gets injured. Usually, that doesn't happen but I hate to see kids get hurt on any level. Oh, and I root for fast games. So there are two things I root for. ... As for the dinged up players, I expect Travis Long and Nolan Washington to both start, though depending on the game flow who knows how long they will play. I don't expect Jordan Pu'u Robinson to play, but he might. If he does get in the game, expect to see him backing up Adam Coerper at left defensive end. And I don't believe Jake Rodgers, the backup left tackle, to suit up. Rico Forbes, the 6-foot-6, 283-pound junior college transfer has been running with the twos at that spot while Rodgers has been out, but if anything happens to David Gonzales, I expect to see Dan Spitz, the 6-7 300-pound junior move into that role. I think WSU will try to redshirt Forbes if it can. ... Speaking of redshirts, in the spring and early in fall camp, 6-2, 238-pound Ian Knight was running with the ones at defensive end. But the goal now is to redshirt the junior, another JC transfer, to allow him to gain weight and to spread out the defensive ends on the roster. If Knight plays, WSU could have five senior defensive ends next year and that's not the best situation. As another JC transfer, Lenard Williams, is, at 6-2 and 250-pounds, more advanced physically and also a little more solid in technique, Knight was the candidate to redshirt. ... One number change today. Logwone Mitz will wear No. 6 today. It's in honor of Cory Mackay, who was injured in an accident in early May of 2009. Mackay, a defensive end, is in a wheelchair after rolling his truck on the way home from WSU after his freshman year. ... If you are a Cougar football fan, you probably realize WSU has not won a season opener since 2005. That's five consecutive 0-1 starts. Part of the reason is WSU has not had very good football teams in those years. Another aspect is the teams WSU has played. They were, in order, at Auburn, at Wisconsin, versus Oklahoma State in Seattle, home versus Stanford and at Oklahoma State. Not a patsy in the bunch and only one in Pullman. Opening against Idaho State in Martin Stadium seems to be a better way to post a 1-0 mark. ... So what happens today? Another quick aside as the students just began to enter Martin Stadium, staking out the best seats. Now back to what happens. I think my track record as a predictor of these openers took a big hit last year when I thought WSU would play with the Cowboys in Stillwater (where it was a lot warmer than here). The Cougars did for a while. But just a while. Then OSU rolled to a 65-17 victory and knocked two WSU players – Rickey Galvin and Jared Byers – out for the year. So we'll refrain from making too many predictions, other than to say WSU should win this game and win it fairly easily. The unknown factor ISU presents, what with a new coaching staff and new schemes, should show early and the Cougars might struggle to get going. But WSU has the better athletes, has more of them and it should win going away. ... If it doesn't, I'm not one to believe that means it's going to be another long year. There should be some growth as the season wears on, especially on defense with two new but veteran assistant coaches working with the front seven. ... One last note. It's a bit weird to watch the Cougar specialists warm up without seeing Zach Enyeart and Reid Forrest on the field. It's a first for me.

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• That's it for now. We'll be back, as usual, after the game. Until then follow us on Twitter @vinceg55. ...




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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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