PULLMAN — At least eight Cougars are likely to see time on the defensive line in 2004. Together, they have one career start. Over the last four years, Washington State leads the nation in sacks, featuring fearsome pass rushers at defensive end and NFL-caliber talent inside.
PULLMAN — Middle linebacker Will Derting, a preseason All-American on many lists, suffered a dislocated left wrist during Sunday's scrimmage and will miss at least two weeks. "A little bone came loose, and they had to push it back in," head coach Bill Doba said following the Cougars' practice on Monday morning.
PULLMAN — Washington State's coaching staff did its best to control everything on the field Sunday during the first scrimmage of the fall. After quarterback Josh Swogger led the Cougars down the Martin Stadium field for a score on the day's first drive, four extra points were attempted, two each by competing kickers Graham Siderius and Loren Langley.
PULLMAN — It's said that cornerbacks live on an island. No teammates roam nearby, and wide receivers spend much of the day trying to embarrass them. For Karl Paymah, 2004 has him on an island in every imaginable way. Last season, Paymah found himself the target of Pac-10 passers who were trying to avoid senior Jason David on the opposite side of the field.
PULLMAN — Fresh off their first two-a-day of the fall, the Cougars say they're ready to cap off the first week of practices with today's 2:30 p.m. scrimmage. Washington State coaches have been consistent in saying that their primary concerns in the early days of camp are filling in holes on both lines as well as the secondary. But in the first elongated 11-on-11 session, much of today's attention will also be on quarterbacks Josh Swogger and Alex Brink.
PULLMAN — For four days the Washington State football team moved about its two practice fields without full pads, allowing only for limited contact and quick whistles when collisions near. That ends today.
PULLMAN — It's hard enough to keep a Division I-A head football coach around from one year to the next — just ask the schools that have made a change since last January. So one can only imagine how difficult it must be to keep assistants, who make significantly less money and often move with regularity for new opportunities. At Washington State, however, there's been nothing of the sort.
PULLMAN – Washington State doesn't know how its 2004 season will turn out, but it may have just gotten its first significant piece of good news for the 2005 season. Middle linebacker Will Derting, a first-team all-conference selection in 2003 as a sophomore, said after Tuesday's practice he intends to play for the Cougars through his senior season. There had been some speculation that Derting would jump to the NFL following his junior season.
PULLMAN — Save for an embarrassing lunch-room attempt at the Washington State fight song by one freshman — and the chorus of boos from teammates that followed — the Cougars came out of their first day of practice for the 2004 season smiling. Freshman wide receiver Michael Bumpus burned veteran cornerback Karl Paymah for a big catch, defensive end Mkristo Bruce made a nifty interception and junior college transfer Tyron Brackenridge impressed at cornerback. But head coach Bill Doba cautioned that for at least this day, big plays weren't necessarily the top priority.
PULLMAN — Bill Doba's first crack at being at a head coach in the Pac-10 went awfully well, garnering co-coach of the year honors in the conference and a 10-3 overall mark. Now Doba gets his second shot, with plenty of question marks and a boatload of new starters. And the coach says he's more ready this time around for what's to come.
PULLMAN — Officials at Washington State are touting this season's football ticket sales, which are moving at a pace well ahead of previous seasons. Thanks in large part to three consecutive 10-win seasons, the Cougars have sold 15,216 season-ticket packages as of Friday, up 16 percent from last year at the same date. With student sports passes included, about 27,000 of the 37,600 Martin Stadium seats will be claimed for the season.
LOS ANGELES – One thing is certain about this year's Washington State football team: It won't look much like 2003's edition. With just five combined starters on offense and defense returning from last year's 10-3 squad that defeated Texas in the Holiday Bowl, plenty of new faces will be making appearances in the starting lineup.