COUGARS • UPDATED 3 P.M.
The sun will be settling toward the horizon today when Washington State finally takes the field for the day's workout. And that's not the only thing that will be different on this Thursday. Read on.
• Washington State: The Cougars won't be practicing tonight, per se. They'll be going through a pregame schedule, then have a scrimmage in Martin Stadium. My guess is the scrimmage will be truncated, with the hitting limited and the starters' playing time limited. But that's just a guess. The coaching staff will decide in their morning meeting today the particulars of tonight's workout. And after the sun sets on the scrimmage, you can officially put a ribbon on the preseason camp. Most of the position battle have sorted themselves out (with a couple notable exceptions, which we'll mention in a minute) and it's time to start introducing the game plan for the opener, if only in small doses. ... Those position battle I mentioned? Most are for backups spots. On offense, Wulff said Wednesday the competition for the backup quarterback is still ongoing as neither Marshall Lobbestael nor Connor Halliday have distinguished themselves enough to cause a separation. The center question seems to have been answered, with fifth-year senior Andrew Roxas taking over due to a combination of his play and a recent concussion suffered by Taylor Meighen. Still, Wulff would like to see both play at a higher level. On defense, there were a few more questions marks, but C.J. Mizell has answered all of his thus far in camp, with his determined effort having earned the middle linebacker spot. The left defensive end position (yes, Travis Long is playing on the right exclusively) is still unclear, with Adam Coerper's leg injury last week having slowed the redshirt junior down. He seemed to have taken control of the spot midway through the first week of camp, but now I'm not so sure. Converted tight end Skylar Stormo ran with the ones yesterday as Coerper wasn't in attendance and did a solid job (as far as I could tell). Lenard Williams, who has also played there, wasn't able to show his wares in the team sessions after suffering from stomach cramps. Ian Knight has taken snaps on that side but seems better suited as a backup for Long on the other, which is more of a pass-rush position. This is a spot worth watching through the Idaho State game and beyond. Everything else on the defense is decided, with Toni Pole and Anthony Laurenzi starting at the tackles, the linebackers and safeties set and Damante Horton anchored at one cornerback. The other corner is still TBA, with Nolan Washington slowly returning from an injured hamstring, giving Daniel Simmons, Tracy Clark and Brandon Golden a chance to grab the spot. None has thus far. Finally, the other position battles to watch are on special teams. Neither Zach Koepp or Alex Den Bleyker has been perfect as the long snapper – Koepp has been the No. 1 throughout camp – so there is still some question there. Though Andrew Furney is still the go-to kicker, he had a tough day yesterday, missing more than he made throughout his time on Rogers Field. I wonder if that's becoming more of a worry right now. ... One basketball note. Though there has been nothing official announced from Washington State, and there won't be until at least the end of the week, because that's the deadline, we've been told by sources that 6-foot-8 freshman Greg Sequele has not qualified academically and won't be coming to Pullman. Though Sequele was considered a project and probably would not have contributed much this season, the potential to help down the road was obvious. As I said, it's still not official but there should be an announcement soon. UPDATE: WSU sent out a release this afternoon confirming Sequele won't be enrolling. Failed to meet NCAA eligibility qualifications. We will have a short in tomorrow's S-R. ... On to the links. We had our story this morning on the redshirt process, and which freshmen have shown enough to play for WSU this season. They include five scholarship guys and a couple walk-ons. ... We also had a few notes last night. ... Cougfan's Braulio Perez had his practice report and it's free today. ... Found this after I was done with the post. A Q&A with Paul Wulff. ... And this is fun too.
• Around the Pac-12: ESPN.com's Ted Miller begins a video feature entitled "Don't be surprised ..." His first installment? It's about the bottom of the conference. ... Washington: The Huskies defensive line is not a one-man show. ... Receiver Kevin Smith took a path less traveled to football success. ... Oregon State: Another injury – though not major – for the snakebit Beavers. ... Oregon: Even the Ducks have depth issues. ... Camp is about over and the LSU prep is about to begin. ... California: If the Bears are to win, a transfer quarterback will have to lead them. ... AT&T Park is fine with Bear fans but Candlestick? Not so much. ... Stanford: What's ahead for the Cardinal, especially on the offensive line? ... No matter what, more people will be watching. ... Colorado: The Buffs need to pick a backup running back. ... Utah: The kicking game is getting some unwanted attention. ... Jamaica turns out the world's fastest sprinters so why not a speedy cornerback? ... USC: Marc Tyler is back on the field. ... The NCAA gave Lane Kiffin a clean bill of health on his Tennessee stint. ... UCLA: Johnathan Franklin sets his goals high. ... Arizona State: Gerell Robinson is back at practice after his knee sprain. ... Arizona: The offensive line is new, with a redshirt freshman in the key spot.
• That's it for this morning. We'll be back after the scrimmage tonight. Until then ...