There was something different about Washington State's football practice today, and it wasn't just wrinkle in the offense or a new coverage by the defense. Read on.
• If it were one of those things, we wouldn't pass it along anyway. No, the Cougars did a new drill today. Well new for this year. They last did it a couple seasons ago. Late in practice the offense and defense gathered on the goal line, divided into their respective groups. They had to run 10 perfect 10-yard sprints. No one jumping the gun, no one pulling up early, no mistakes of any kind. Screw up one thing and that sprint didn't count. One bystander called it the Bo Derek drill. The first one didn't go too well and they had to start over. But, after a couple of false steps, they were able to finish the conditioning drill and move on. From that point on the practice took a different tone. The intensity seemed to go up a notch. The scout team work that followed seemed as sharp as I've seen in a while. ... Starting offensive lineman B.J. Guerra did not suit up, resting a sore shoulder. He is expected to play Saturday. In his absence, Matt Goetz, who had been playing center the past week, moved over to right guard and Andrew Roxas, who has been out with a sprained ankle since the Idaho State game, took snaps with the starting group. Roxas isn't 100 percent, but is trying to get back on the field. Another player, receiver Gino Simone, returned to practice today. ... It's Tuesday, so coach Paul Wulff had his teleconferences, first with the Pac-12 and then with the local media. In the Pac-12 call, Wulff said there is a chance Jeff Tuel will be cleared to wear pads at practice next week (he was throwing again today but without pads). That would be consistent, Wulff said, with the expected timeline for his return. When that return to the playing field would be, Wulff would not speculate. ... He also said that there has been no discussion about whether Tuel would be the starter when he returned if Marshall Lobbestael was still playing as efficiently, but finally said he would expect Tuel to step back into the starting role. ... The best thing about the bye week, he said, was it allowed people who were banged up in the San Diego State game to get healthy. ... He added that the players were disappointed after that game, knowing they had a good chance to win in the fourth quarter and let it slip away. ... In his local call, which you can watch below, Wulff talked a bit more about the bye week, saying the team had three really good practices. I followed up with a question about Goetz at center and Wulff said the starter there would be determined this week, based on Roxas' health and Goetz's practice performance. ... After a couple questions about Colorado, Wulff talked about using Logan Mayes at defensive end – by the way, Mayes is up to 230 pounds now – saying it was still part of the plan, based on Mayes' practices this week. ... Wulff said there are no other plans to pull redshirts, but that could change if there were a rash of injuries at one position. ... Asked about Colorado's rebuilding project under coach Jon Embree, Wulff said he could relate, but he thought the Buffs do have some talented players. ... The Buffs, who lead the Pac-12 with 14 sacks in four games, have done most of their damage with just a four-man rush. ... Asked about all the offensive linemen that have committed to WSU this recruiting season, Wulff said the Cougars had a need at the position – there are four seniors starting – and there happened to be a lot of their type of players available this year. ... I finished up by asking about dealing with the altitude of Boulder and how it compared to the trips EWU made to Northern Arizona, which is about 1,000 feet higher. Wulff doesn't think this weekend will affect his team much if the players stay hydrated and they intend to make sure they do. ... Here’s the video from the press conference, courtesy of WSU's athletic department ...
• That's all for tonight. We'll be back, as usual, in the morning. Until then ...