October 23, 2010 in Sports

2

Minute drill
 

1 When left tackle David Gonzales went down with a broken arm last week vs. Arizona, the Washington State offensive line went into full scramble mode. After patching together a group to finish the game, the Cougars made one big change this week to fill the gap. Freshman John Fullington, at 6-foot-5 and 270 pounds, moved from the right side – where he made his first start vs. UA – to the left. Micah Hannam, who missed a game with a concussion, moved back into the lineup at his usual right tackle spot. The other three starters stayed the same. Now the Cougars must function as a unit, protecting Jeff Tuel from a Stanford defense that has 15 sacks.

2 Since middle linebacker Mike Ledgerwood hurt his neck a few weeks back – he’s now out with a hamstring pull – the unit has been in flux. Freshman C.J. Mizell started in the middle against Oregon, but missed the Arizona game after a suspension. Redshirt freshman Sekope Kaufusi, moved from defensive end to linebacker during the Oregon week, replaced Mizell. This week Mizell is back starting and Kaufusi is backing up he and weakside starter Alex Hoffman-Ellis, who hasn’t practiced much the past three weeks. If this group can be stout against the run and doesn’t miss too many pass coverage assignments, the WSU defense has a shot to slow the Cardinal offense.

3 Coaches are usually effusive about the teams they play each week, but WSU coach Paul Wulff wasn’t blowing smoke when he called Stanford’s Andrew Luck the most complete quarterback in the Pac-10. The redshirt sophomore is fourth in the conference in passing – his 256.3 yards per game is just ahead of Tuel’s 247.9 – but leads in total offense, averaging just less than 300 yards per game. The 6-4, 235-pound Luck, from Houston, has completed 65.7 percent of his passes, has 16 touchdown tosses and just four interceptions, and has run for 242 yards. It’s that last stat that worries Wulff, and WSU’s defense must not let Luck scramble freely.

4 Two years ago WSU traveled to Stanford with a team that would finish 2-10 with more blowouts than a bike race in a thumbtack factory. But the worst day was that Saturday in the Bay Area. But it wasn’t the 58-0 defeat that was the worst of it. It was the constant rain that not only drove away the sparse crowd – there were about 1,000 people at the end – but turned the field into a bog-like mess, complete with an odor straight from your local sewage-treatment plant. The shutout may have been the low point of a low season. Today’s forecast calls for a 60 percent chance of rain, which brings up the specter of another mud-filled day.

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