Monday nights are getting a bit colder this time of year and the number of players who watch the installation of the game plan due to injuries or hurts seems to be growing. Read on for more.
• The list of players watching Monday included many who will play for sure on Saturday, including defensive tackle Brandon Rankin, cornerback Aire Justin (knee) and linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis (hip), all of which were either resting or letting little hurts heal up. ... Back to the practice field and walking through the game plan included linebacker C.J. Mizell, returning from a one-game suspension, linebacker Mike Ledgerwood, back from his neck injury, and defensive end Casey Hamlett, who had a concussion. ... Defensive end Adam Coerper would have returned tonight but he got sick and was not available. ... Defensive tackle Steven Hoffart (mono) was doing cardo work as he gets closer to getting the OK to return. ... Running back Chantz Staden (chest) was doing more tonight but was still watching much of practice. ... Cornerback Damante Horton (knee) watched practice from crutches. Receiver Jeffrey Solomon (knee) was off his crutches but still just watching. Both are trying to make it back this season. ... On the field, Mizell returned to the middle, joined by Sekope Kaufusi at Will and Myron Beck at Sam for all the reps with the ones. Freshman Eric Oertel worked at the Sam and he should see action this weekend as Arthur Burns made a move today. The former running back is now a running back again, moving to that side of the ball in an attempt, coach Paul Wulff said, to add some speed and explosiveness to the group. Burns probably won't be ready for this week but will be giving a chance to play the same spot Hallston Higgins has been filling the past few weeks. ... Burns wasn't the only player to try a new position today. Tight end Skylar Stormo, who hasn't seen much time with the offensive using spread sets most of the time, moved to right tackle and will be prepared for an emergency if needed, Wulff said. That was one of many changes to the offensive line made in the wake of David Gonzales' broken arm. The first group including freshman John Fullington at left tackle and Micah Hannam (concussion), sporting a yellow jersey for the first time in his career, back at right tackle. The second group has Wade Jacobson at left tackle, Andrew Roxas at left guard and Stormo at right tackle. Wulff said nothing was decided during Monday's non-contact scrimmage, but guys were given the opportunity to get comfortable with whatever changes they are being challenged to make. ... One area of concern continues to be Zack Williams' low snaps. Wulff, when asked about them, didn't pull punches. He said bothers the heck out of him, that Williams knows he has to get better and he is working on it. But it doesn't help the quarterback to have to start a play looking down at the ground. There really isn't another equal option at center, though, so Williams is being challenged to improve. ... Finally, Wulff was asked about the recent commitments, and how he felt recruiting was going. He believes this class will rival the best class in school history, which is last year's, he said. The number of commitments in mid-October is unprecedented, he said. Early in the day, Wulff told a Spokane luncheon crowd that running back Devontae Booker-Butler, who signed a letter-of-intent last February, but did not qualify academically, is meeting his requirements and it looks as if he will enroll in the spring. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Booker-Butler, from Sacramento's Grant High, would join a group of young running backs next year that includes Rickey Galvin, out with a broken arm, and commits Demarcus James, from Alabama, and Spokane's Bishop Sankey. Logwone Mitz and Carl Winston also return next year. ... We have our first look at Stanford.
• That's all for now. We'll be back in the morning. Until then ...