Washington State moved practice indoors today, thanks to the morning snow, which threatened to make Rogers Field a mess. The two-hour-plus workout attracted quite a few spectators. Read on for the unedited version of our story.
• Here is the piece that will appear in tomorrow's S-R …
PULLMAN – Some would say there is nothing special about spring practice. Fifteen days of drill after drill with no real game to look forward to.
But Paul Wulff is attempting to make this spring special by concentrating more on special teams.
"We're trying to spend a little bit more time every day than we normally do," Wulff said about the emphasis each day on special teams. "It's just so important."
It's also an important place to develop depth for the fall – and beyond.
"We've got so many young players on this team and the more we can get them ready now, it will just build great depth for years to come," Wulff said. "We're repping every possible kid that could conceivably play on special teams. The more we keep teaching them and teaching them, if we do have injuries and things, we'll have more people ready to go."
Teaching is fine, but much is expected of the groups in the fall.
"I have high expectations for our special teams for a number of reasons," Wulff said. "One, we've got a lot of young players that should be good on special teams, based on their physical skills ... a number of young safeties, corners and linebackers, so there is no reason why that shouldn't improve our depth.
"And then just the fact that we should be settled at punter (Reid Forrest) and kicker (Nico Grasu) and snapper (Zach Enyeart). Those guys, you expect them to be very, very good. There is no reason why those two kickers and snapper can't be as good as anyone in this league."
• With the practice moved indoors due to the inclement weather, the crowd watching seemed to grow. At least the crowd of coaches.
Former Idaho, Cal, Washington head coach and Seahawks assistant Keith Gilbertson brought son David, who will walk-on in the fall, to watch. They were joined by former Cougar assistant coach and Western Washington head coach Robin Ross and former Oregon athletic director Bill Moos, both of whom played his college football at Washington State.
"I talked with those guys before practice," Wulff said. "I respect all those guys, they are good people and good coaches."
SPRING NOTES: Andy Mattingly had an MRI Thursday but the prognosis on his pectoral injury will have to wait until it is read. ... Quarterback J.T. Levenseller was on crutches Thursday after bang knees with a defensive lineman Wednesday. Levenseller said he would be off the leg for no more than a few days. ... The Cougars have been hit hard by a flu bug, with at least three players actually having bad enough cases to warrant sequestering them in their rooms. Six players missed Thursday's practice. ... With most high schools on spring break, Gilbertson wasn't the only future Cougar in attendance. Mead High's Aaron Dunn and North Mason's John Fullington, who have both committed for 2010, joined a group of players observing, including 2009 signee Jordan Pu'u-Robinson, who made the trip from Hawaii with his father. "We always try encourage anybody to swing by as much as they possible can," Wulff said. "It gives them a better chance to know us a little more and actually see the things we are all about."
Meet the new Cougars
Transfer from Foothill College
When Tatman left Oregon's Sprague High four years ago, he was unpolished as a football player. With no junior college football available in his home state, he took his 6-foot-5 frame to the basketball court at Chemeketa Junior College in Salem. But, after one year, he found he missed football and headed to the Bay Area and Foothill Junior College, where his first year there he was a teammate of running back Chantz Staden. Last season he was slated to play tackle but fractured his left wrist, had surgery and sat out the season. Now he's back at tight end, weighs 245 pounds and has a chance to start. "It's what I'm used to, it was what I was born to play, I think," he said of being back at end.
• That's it for now. We'll be back in the morning. Until then …