When Washington State took the practice field Tuesday afternoon, the defense was rested and ready to begin preparing for San Diego State. When it left the field, there was a bit of a gap in the middle. Read on.
• Early in practice the No. 2 offense slid over to the defensive side of the practice field and lined up for some live action against the first-string defense. The idea seemed to be to do a bit of full-speed hitting to get ready for Saturday. Midway through the drill, redshirt freshman tackle Toni Pole limped off. The trainers examined his left knee, put ice on it and he was done for the day. And maybe for the next couple. Early reports have Pole, hit on the side of the knee in a pileup, suffering a sprained medial collateral ligament, which will sideline him at least for tomorrow. Could it keep him out of Saturday's game? Maybe, but it's not certain. It's one of those things that has to play out. I will say Pole was not limping badly, watched the end of practice and seemed to be moving OK as he left the field. ... Other than that, practice wasn't all that eventful, though the defense did a nice job reading and reacting to the scout team's plays, the offensive line did the same with the defensive scout team's efforts to pressure Marshall Lobbestael and Andrew Furney was accurate on his field goal attempts. All in all, a pretty typical Tuesday. ... We didn't have enough time between Paul Wulff's conference calls and practice this afternoon to get our Pac-12 notebook and a blog post on said calls finished, so we opted for pleasing our copy desk and making you folks wait. So here is the summary of his Pac-12 call and the local press interview. ... Starting with this morning's Pac-12 time, Wulff was asked the biggest difference between this year's team and the past few seasons. He mentioned the usual stuff like maturity, depth and confidence. Nothing groundbreaking. ... He then gave a quick scouting report on San Diego State's offense, talking about running back Ronnie Hillman, who he described a bit later as having a "great ability to make you miss," quarterback Ryan Lindley ("a pro prospect") and four seniors on the offensive line. ... Asked if he had to do anything to keep the locker room confident after Jeff Tuel's injury, Wulff praised Marshall Lobbestael and said he took care of it with is attitude and then his effort against UNLV. ... The last question on that call concerned whether he felt pressure to win this season after the struggles of the first three years in Pullman. He said there's always pressure to win, and most of it's self-induced. He doesn't get caught up in the outside pressures. In a followup he was asked about the new planned facilities and Wulff talked about how important they were in keeping WSU competitive. ... I asked Wulff a couple questions to open up the local call about things I need for stories, including the Aztecs' offense. ... I also asked about the cornerback situation, with Nolan Washington and Daniel Simmons starting last Saturday. He said those two and Damante Horton – Wulff passed along the news that besides missing a practice last week, the slight Horton also lost a couple pounds due to the virus that was going around – are so close it really doesn't matter who starts. But he was adamant, it is up to the players to determine who starts. And they do that with their play in practice during the week. They earn the right to play. ... Wulff said he expects Rickey Galvin to have more touches this Saturday. ... He was asked by a San Diego writer about his relationship with former WSU – and current SDSU – athletic director Jim Sterk. Wulff praised Sterk, saying he supported him as he rebuilt the programs the past few years. ... Wulff then gave an injury update, talking about center Andrew Roxas' ankle – Roxas did not practice again Tuesday but did do quite a bit of work on the side – and said everyone else was healthy, though that changed a bit later in Pole's case. ... As for freshman Rahmel Dockery, there is no change there. The NCAA has still not made a final decision on his eligibility. Dockery was at practice, watching, Tuesday. ... And that was that.
• That's all we have for you tonight. We'll be back in the morning with our usual post. Until then ...