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WSU working to the finish

COUGARS

Yes Jeff Tuel is allowed to throw at practice. But, no, he's not allowed to use his left arm as much as he would like just yet. That, and other notes, from Wednesday practice. Read on.

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• Tuel is one of those folks who want to heal quickly. So he wants to do things. But sometimes the healing process is best served by patience. To enforce that patience with the junior quarterback, Washington State's training staff taped up his collarbone, something I noticed near the end of practice Wednesday. Tuel can throw all he wants, and he is doing a lot of throwing in individual drills. But that's all he can do right now. ... Talked with Paul Wulff a bit after practice and the WSU coach was pleased with the two bye-week practices. The intensity is there, he said, and thus the Cougars have had two solid practices. The intensity has been ratcheted up at the end as well, in an attempt to train the team for the end of tough games. Wulff said that right now the Cougars, who haven't played a lot of tight games the past few years, are just scratching the surface of the tough culture they'll need to be successful in tight games. But, he added, this group wants to be that type of team and are ready to take the challenge. They aren't going to back down from the effort needed to win. ... Also talked with Wulff a bit about the emergence of Matt Goetz, a redshirt sophomore who is holding down the starting center position right now. Wulff said he's an athletic guy who has a chance to do well in the position, a position he's still learning. Goetz, who started out at Texas Tech before transferring to Navarro JC, came on campus in August and immediately began impressing Steve Morton. He quickly became a backup guard, showed he could handle that role, and is now is being asked to play center with the starting group. As Wulff said, if he wants to, Goetz could grab the starting spot. Goetz declined to speak with the media after practice. ... As for the practice itself, the defense had its best day in many months. As far as I could tell, the group picked off five passes in the team sessions, including interceptions by Deone Bucannon, Damante Horton and Mike Ledgerwood. It also came up with two or three fumbles. It was the type of day that makes the defensive coaches happy and the offensive ones upset. ... A couple players weren't at practice, including Casey Locker, who has an infection, and Anthony Laurenzi, who is sick. Others were at practice and didn't take part, including Rickey Galvin, Daniel Simmons (sore knee) and Jordan Pu'u Robinson (resting knee). Sekope Kaufusi went through individual drills but sat out the team sessions, nursing a sprained thumb. He was replaced by walk-on Cyrus Coen with the ones. Ledgerwood hurt a finger in practice but finished. ... The Cougars will go about an hour earlier tomorrow and get off the field so some coaches can get on the road recruiting. They have Friday and Saturday off, will practice Sunday night, take Monday off and get back at it Tuesday. ... This video, from the WSU athletic department, is from Tuesday, but I thought I would pass it along. ...

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• That's all for tonight. We'll be back in the morning. 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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