We have a couple stories to write, including a look at WSU's football season at the halfway point, but before we get going on those we wanted to share a few links and some notes from this morning's practice. Read on.
• Another early practice, with the Cougars starting at 6 a.m. in the bubble. The format was the same as yesterday's, with a lot of fundamental drills and some prep for next week's opponent, Cal. Team stuff was kept to a minimum, however, partly because, I think, the offensive group that was out there today bears little resemblance to the group that will face the Bears. ... I asked about that and here's what we see across the offensive line for the week ahead. Right tackle Micah Hannam will be at his usual spot. There is a very good chance B.J. Guerra will be back at right guard after missing a few weeks with his knee sprain. Kenny Alfred, whose cut is healing on schedule, will be back at center. Zack Williams will be back from his high ankle sprain and will start at left guard. But the left tackle position is up-in-the-air. Tyson Pencer has a sprained ankle and was also sick Wednesday, so the chances he'll be ready to play are not that good. Steven Ayers might be ready to go off his ankle sprain, but no one is sure just yet. The injured lineman will go through therapy the next three days and then workout with the trainers during practice Sunday. At that point, decisions will be made on where they stand for the week. ... Backup lineman Brian Danaher is going to have to sit awhile after suffering two concussions in three weeks. ... Talked with Alex Hoffman-Ellis – his right arm is all wrapped up – and he's feeling better. But it may still be a while before the middle linebacker is back on the field. ... Kevin Lopina, however, should be practicing again next week and be available for duty. That gives the Cougars some more depth at the quarterback spot.
• OK, now a couple links. We had our Pac-10 notebook in the S-R today. We'll have our Pac-10 picks and a quick look at the Cougars' midway through the season in tomorrow's S-R and on the blog this afternoon. ... Freelancer Howie Stalwick has a story in the Kitsap Sun and other places previewing the beginning of basketball practice Friday. We'll have a story on Friday morning. ... Cal linebacker Mychal Kendricks predicts the Bears will beat UCLA, WSU and everyone else left on their schedule.
• That's it for this morning. We'll be back later. Until then …