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Cougars in the NFL

Questions or comments? Please direct them to Joe Nickell, Assistant Director, Athletic Media Relations, Washington State University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, at jnickell@wsu.edu.

2008 Season Archive

April 29 (11:25 a.m.)

Lesuma, Mullennix Named to Hampshire Honor Society

Washington State University's Vaughn Lesuma and Matt Mullennix were each named members of the 2009 National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame Hampshire Honor Society, the organization announced recently.

For the complete story, click HERE.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


April 29 (10:10 a.m.)

Gibson Story...

Vince Grippi of the Spokesman does an outstanding job of finding WSU related stories. If you are a Cougar football fan, and you haven't already done so, you should definitely add his blog to the list of links you check everyday...

Vince found a link to a story on Brandon Gibson from a Philadelphia-area site, and I wanted to pass it along to you all. Click HERE to read the story.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


April 28 (2:50 p.m.)

Trent Gets an Invite, Nwachukwu Named President...

Former Cougar middle linebacker Greg Trent received an invitation to mini-camp with the Washington Redskins, and will leave for the nation's capital later this week. Trent joins tight end Devin Frischknecht, who was signed to a free agent contract, on the Redskins' roster.

Dating back to his freshman year, Trent made 37 consecutive starts at middle linebacker. The four-year letterwinner completed his WSU career ranked seventh on the all-time tackles list with 323. He is only the 10th individual in school history to amass 300 tackles in a career

At the season-ending banquet, Trent received a trio of team awards: Fred Bohler Award for Cougar Inspiration, Tim Petek Award for Strongest Man and Defensive Most Valuable Player.

In other Cougar football news, rising junior safety Chima Nwachukwu was named WSU's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) President for the 2009-10 academic year.

For the complete story, click HERE.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


April 27 (12:36 p.m.)

Frischknecht Signs...

Former Washington State tight end Devin Frischknecht signed a free agent contract with the Washington Redskins, the team announced Monday.

Frischknecht lettered with the Cougars each of the last two seasons after transferring from Snow College, appearing in 22 games and making eight starts.

As a senior in 2008 he caught 17 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown. His 13 yards-per-reception average was the highest of any Cougar with double-digit catches. He caught a career-long 53-yard touchdown pass against Portland State en route to a career-high 110 yards.

As a junior Frischknecht caught 18 passes for 191 yards and three touchdowns. He caught five passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns against Washington in the Apple Cup.

Frischknecht is the second Cougar to join a National Football League roster, as wide receiver Brandon Gibson was drafted in the sixth round by the Philadelphia Eagles.

Congratulations to Devin!

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


April 27 (10:49 a.m.)

Post-Draft: What They're Saying...

I talked to Brandon Gibson after he was drafted yesterday by the Philadelphia Eagles, and here is what he had to say:

"I feel blessed to be an Eagle," Gibson said. "I've worked hard and left the rest up to God. Even though I was taken late, I'm thankful for this chance in Philadelphia."

To hear his thoughts straight from his mouth, check out the team's MULTIMEDIA PAGE, and click on the "Meet the Pick: Brandon Gibson" link on the right side of the page...

ESPN's Todd McShay broke down the NFC's draft selections, and called Gibson a "steal" in the sixth round.

Vince Grippi of the Spokesman also HAD THIS POST...

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times WROTE THIS PIECE...

Congratulations Brandon, and Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


April 26 (2:03 p.m.)

Gibson Drafted by Eagles

Former Washington State University wide receiver Brandon Gibson was selected in the sixth round of the National Football League Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday.

Gibson was the 21st pick in the sixth round, and the 194th overall selection in the draft.

The Cougars have had at least one player selected in each of the last 15 NFL Drafts, a longer streak than Arizona, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA and Washington.

I will have a story up shortly...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


April 25 (12:29 p.m.)

Closing Spring Football...

The Cougars held their final scrimmage of Spring Football today at Martin Stadium. If you weren't there, you missed out...

The Cougar defense looked good. For the complete story, CLICK HERE...

For a photo gallery, CLICK HERE...

There should also be some video highlights posted soon. Check back later for that.

There were a number of Cougar greats in attendance. Jack Thompson, Chad Eaton, Ryan Leaf, Jason Gesser, Michael Bumpus...the list goes on and on. New Cougar men's basketball coach Ken Bone brought his squad out to the scrimmage as well.

For the first time this spring, WSU had officials on hand. In 51 plays, I only counted a few penalties; a great sign heading into next season...

The play of the day went to Xavier Hicks, who absolutely leveled a WSU wide receiver to break up a pass. We didn't take an official attendance count, but every single fan in attendance was on his/her feet...

Offensively, Dwight Tardy and Logwone Mitz each made amazing plays on the ground. On one play Tardy hurdled a defender to pick up 10 more yards, and on another, Mitz reversed field and hurdled another defender en route to a 21-yard gain.

After the scrimmage, the Cougars signed autographs on the freshly-printed 2009 WSU Football schedule poster.

Enjoy this weekend's NFL Draft, and Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


April 24 (1:30 p.m.)

Gibson Story...

Vince Grippi's story on Brandon Gibson will run in tomorrow's edition of the Spokesman, but you can read it on his blog now...

CLICK HERE...

In the story Gibson talks about how playing for the Seahawks would be a dream come true...I am also in that camp. I would like nothing more than to see him don a Seahawks uniform next year.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


April 24 (1:11 p.m.)

Discussions of Apple Cup at Qwest Field End

Regarding the ongoing discussions about the possibility of moving future Apple Cups to Qwest Field, Washington State University Director of Athletics Jim Sterk released a statement Friday.

To read the release, click HERE.


April 24 (1:06 p.m.)

Gibson Draft News...

I had the opportunity to talk to Brandon Gibson yesterday about this weekend's NFL Draft, and thought I would share a little bit of his plans with the rest of Cougar Nation...

Brandon will be watching the draft with friends and family back home in Puyallup. He said he doesn't have anything big planned; that they will probably go out to dinner after everything is over.

He has been working out and staying in shape so that he can be ready to show up to mini-camp for whatever team drafts him.

All-in-all, he is excited about the process, and excited about the weekend.

Vince Grippi of the Spokesman will have a story on Brandon running in Saturday's paper. So keep your eye out for that.

Brandon is a great person and has been a lot of fun to work with since I came back to Pullman a couple years ago. I want to personally wish him the best of luck this weekend.

Good Luck Brandon, and Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


April 23 (6:08 p.m.)

Getting Closer to the End...

The Cougars just got done with their final practice before their final scrimmage of Spring Football. The team is in the middle of their fifth week, but there was just as much excitement today as there was on the first day. CHECK OUT A PHOTO GALLERY HERE.

The offense made most of the noise today, beginning with a couple of Dwight Tardy rushes during inside run. Tardy broke a couple of big-gainers, one of about 20 yards and another of 30-plus, the second of which went for a touchdown.

They got a little bit louder during skelly, when Daniel Blackledge fell down at the end of his route. With the ball already in the air, Blackedge got up and snatched the ball away from Aire Justin.

When Dan Wagner hit Zach Tatman for a touchdown during scrimmage, the entire offense erupted and ran to the end zone to congratulate Tatman.

That' about it from practice, but I go have a video for you...

CHECK OUT COACH WULFF ON ABC'S WORLD NEWS TONIGHT...

He's only on there for a split second, but the video is about a WSU alum, so it's worth watching regardless.

I talked to Brandon Gibson today about this weekend's draft. Check back tomorrow for some more on that...

Don't forget about Saturday's scrimmage from 10-11 a.m. at Martin Stadium. It is your last chance to see the Cougars in action before the fall.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


April 21 (6:28 p.m.)

Final Week...

It's the last week of spring practice, and today marked the last day of Spring Football with no pads. It was a good day to not have to wear a bunch of equipment...It was 80-plus degrees out there...

If this is the first time you heard that it was the final practice with no pads, you obviously aren't following Coach Wulff on Twitter. He informed everyone via his Twitter site earlier today. If you aren't following him, CLICK HERE, and then click "Follow."

Adding to the nice day in Pullman was linebacker Myron Beck, who returned to practice and participated in most, if not all, of the Cougars' drills. Beck had a pass break-up during scrimmage, which resulted in a couple players shouting, "He's Back!"

During goal line skelly, both sides of the ball made plays. Stepping up for the defense was Xavier Hicks, who intercepted the first pass thrown during the drill. Jeffrey Solomon closed out the drill with an amazing catch in the back of the end zone. He made the catch between two defenders and got his foot down just in time for the score. Despite the fact that I'm a homer, and I still think Brandon Gibson made the catch in the end zone against Arizona State in 2007, Coach Sears called it a touchdown - so it stands.

In other news...

Nick Daschel of Buster Sports broke down the top defensive tackles in the Pac-10 headed into 2009, and TOBY TURPIN CHECKED IN AT NO. 8.

Also, you can still register for the Second Annual Women's Huddle with the WSU coaching staff. The event will take place Friday (April 24), from 6-9:30 p.m. For more information, CLICK HERE.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


April 20 (4:43 p.m.)

Another Twitter Announcement...

You can now follow Coach Wulff on Twitter. Check out THIS ADDRESS, and click "Follow" beneath his picture.

You can also FOLLOW ME by following the same protocol.

The Cougars are back in action tomorrow, kicking off the final week of Spring Football. Practice will be from 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


April 18 (2:59 p.m.)

Second Scrimmage in the Books...

There are a number of things to check out from today's scrimmage:

We have a story...CLICK HERE.

We also have a photo gallery...CLICK HERE.

But that's not all...

With all of the talk about the Apple Cup, Director of Athletics Jim Sterk addressed the media after the scrimmage. We have a video of that...CLICK HERE. We also have a Q&A with Sterk HERE.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


April 17 (2:32 p.m.)

Friday Links...

With no practice today, I have a couple of links for you this afternoon...

Nick Daschel is breaking down the top 32 draft picks of the last decade, and MARCUS TRUFANT CAME IN AT NO. 22.

Ted Miller of ESPN.com talked to James Montgomery this week. Click HERE to read the story.

Don't forget about tomorrow's scrimmage from 12-1 p.m. at Martin Stadium.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


April 16 (6:32 p.m.)

Back to Work...

My apologies for missing Tuesday's practice. I went to Seattle to watch Griffey's return to Safeco in a Mariners uniform with some friends. They are big fans of the blog, so shout outs to Mike, Tom, Leigh, Jeff and David...

While I was gone I didn't just miss practice, I missed Kevin Night-Pipe's Hole in One at Palouse Ridge. Pipe, our football video coordinator, aced No. 16 at Pullman's new course, so congratulations to him.

On to football...

A few more high school coaches showed up to practice today, including a few from Moses Lake High School, my old stomping grounds. Good to see Coaches Kittrell, Hymes and Griffith.

Aire Justin was making plays in one-on-one drills today. For those of you wondering who that is...Aire Justin is Tyrone Justin. He had gone by Aire, his middle name, for most of his life and didn't tell anyone until about the middle of last season. I told him we could switch this year, and he wants to make the change now. So from here on out, I will oblige.

The play of the day went to Cory Mackay, who stuffed a running back three yards behind the line of scrimmage. The hit might have been the loudest of spring practice thus far...

The Cougars closed out practice with the hurry-up, and both Dan Wagner and Kevin Lopina led the offense within field goal range. Nico Grasu hit field goals on both drives.

For those of you planning on attending Saturday's scrimmage, it will run from 12-1 p.m. in Martin Stadium. It's supposed to be sunny and warm, so I hope to see you all out there...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


April 13 (12:42 p.m.)

In My Own Words...

No practice today, but you can still get your Cougar fix tonight on FSN Northwest...

Beginning at 8 p.m., FSN will debut its "In My Own Words" features with Head Coach Paul Wulff and former Cougars Robbie Tobeck and Jack Thompson.

The complete schedule follows:
In My Own Words: Paul Wulff - 8:00 p.m.
In My Own Words: Robbie Tobeck - 8:30 p.m.
In My Own Words: Jack Thompson - 9:00 p.m.

There probably won't be a blog update tomorrow after practice, as I will be in Seattle for the Mariners' home opener. Hopefully you can all forgive me for a day...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


April 11 (1:54 p.m.)

Quotes and Notes from the Scrimmage...

The Cougars held their first practice of Spring Football this morning at Martin Stadium. Click HERE to read the story...

As I stated in the story, the running backs stole the show...Dwight Tardy had a long of 27 yards on his first rush of the day, but his most impressive gain was on a 16-yard cutback where he shucked one tackle and evaded another. James Montgomery's 33-yard touchdown run was the longest play of the day for the Cougars. Logwone Mitz also had an impressive rush, running over a few people en route to a 17-yard gain.

Kevin Kooyman was suited up, but he only participated in individual drills.

That is about all I have for notes, as I was keeping track of stats the entire scrimmage. However, we do have some extra quote from Coach Wulff that were not included in the story...

On becoming more physical...
"We definitely want to become more physical. We feel like that is an area we can control. There's no question we feel like that is an area we need to improve on. We're going to continue to do that until we become the physical type of team we need to be to be successful in this conference."

On James Montgomery...
"He's been very consistent through the first nine practices. He's doing a great job. He's a very well-rounded football player. He blocks well, catches the ball well and runs the ball well, so he's doing a nice job."

On the team's attitude this spring...
"I like that our players are starting to show some consistency in practice. There are a lot of young players getting a lot of opportunities to take reps, which is going to help them and help our team as we keep moving forward. I think our attitude is good. They're coming with a mindset that is allowing them to grow and develop and improve."

WSU's next scrimmage will be a week from today (April 18) from 12-2 p.m. at Martin Stadium.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


April 10 (11:47 a.m.)

No Practice Today, But Here are Some Links...

Vince Grippi of the Spokesman wrote a feature on WSU cornerback and Spokane native Shane Thomas. Click HERE to read the unedited version on Vince's blog.

Nick Daschel of Buster Sports has a Q&A with WSU Head Coach Paul Wulff HERE.

Daschel also has a podcast with safety Xavier Hicks HERE.

Tomorrow's scrimmage is from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Martin Stadium.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


April 9 (7:14 p.m.)

Practice Recap, Women's Huddle...

Before we get to today's practice notes, I wanted to let everyone know about the Second Annual Friday Night Lights Women's Huddle. The Women's Huddle will be held Friday April 24, the night before the final scrimmage of spring football. For more information, click HERE.

On to today's practice...

To view photos from this afternoon, CLICK HERE.

Last week there were a few guys out with the flu, and there have been a few guys nicked up here and there. But a number of players were back in uniform this afternoon, including: Jason Stripling, Cory Mackay, Alex Hoffman-Ellis, Anthony Laurenzi and Jessy Sanchez.

The team was only in shells, but there was still quite a bit of contact, some of which came during pass blocking drills. You would have to ask Coach Broussard who he thinks the best pass blocker among the running backs is, but today it looked like Marcus Richmond. Not many guys got by him today.

Remember Brandon Jones' near-interception I told you about on Tuesday? He got one today, and it hit him right in his wrapped hand first. It was Daniel Simmons' turn for near interceptions today...he made plays on three passes, but couldn't quite bring one in.

Brandon Gibson stopped by practice this afternoon, and he said all of his pre-draft preparation is going well. Wish him luck Cougar Nation...the draft is only a couple weeks away.

Don't forget to check out our Twitter page at www.twitter.com/WSUFootballBlog. And don't forget about the change in time of Saturday's scrimmage. Read the post below if you missed it earlier.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell • April 9 (1:40 p.m.)

SCRIMMATE UPDATE...

This Saturday's scrimmage has been pushed back an hour. The first of three scrimmages during Spring Football will now run from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Saturday (April 11) in Martin Stadium.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


April 7 (6:48 p.m.)

Photos and Practice Notes...

The mercury crept above 70 degrees today...Wouldn't be surprised if I have a nice sunglass tan going on...Check out photos of today's practice HERE.

Coach Wulff said that the team executed and did some good things today. It wasn't as "rah rah" as most of the practices have been thus far, but they got a lot of things done.

There were a number of high school coaches on hand, taking a peek at the way WSU coaches run their practices. Zach Enyeart (Skyline) was talking to his former high school coach prior to warm-ups...

Brandon Jones was out of the yellow jersey this afternoon, and he had a near interception during scrimmage. Had he not had padding around his hand, it is very safe to say he would have made the grab. And if he did make the grab, which I assume he would have, he also would have taken it to the house...

Everyone is talking about how fun the running back competition is going to be this fall. I think it is already exciting...Marcus Richmond, Dwight Tardy and James Montgomery each broke 20-yard touchdown runs during scrimmage today. Tardy also broke a 40-plus-yarder.

Safety Chima Nwachukwu has been stepping up as one of the leaders on defense this spring, calling out plays and getting people in the right spots. Louis Bland has also been getting people lined up where they need to be.

The play of the day went to Zach Tatman during a run-blocking drill. Tatman picked up the defender across from him and slammed him to the turf. The biggest pancake of the year thus far elicited an eruption of cheers from the offense.

Don't forget to check out First and Crimson's Twitter page. Check out twitter.com/WSUFootballBlog to see the page. If you're already on Twitter, the user name is WSUFootballBlog. If you haven't tried Twitter yet, it is a great way to keep up on everything Cougar Football.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


April 6 (2:44 p.m.)

A Monday "Tweet" for Everyone...

...And I'm not even talking about Griffey's first regular season game back in a Mariners uniform, though I am extremely excited.

As I am sure many of you are aware, there is a service out there called Twitter, and you can use it to track what people are doing. Twitter is a micro-blogging service that allows individuals to post "tweets," or status updates, to keep everyone informed of general goings-on, etc.

Millions of users later, I thought it might be a good time to jump on the Twitter Train with this blog. Pretty much all of my time during football season (and the rest of the year as well) is spent working with the WSU football team. This blog is a great way to keep everyone informed with what is going on in Pullman, but I believe Twitter is a great way to improve and expand communication with everyone interested in Cougar Football.

If you already have Twitter, the user name for the account is WSUFootballBlog. If you don't have Twitter yet, check it out and follow along.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


April 4 (12:10 p.m.)

Saturday Brought the Hitting...

It's Mom's Weekend in Pullman, so I'm not sure if everyone was trying to impress their moms or if everyone was just happy to be hitting, but to quote Vince Grippi: The pads were popping in Pullman this morning.

"The guys came out wanting to practice, so I was very encouraged," Coach Wulff said. "We played real physical football today, which is something we have tried to address in the offseason."

It was a beautiful day on the Palouse, which brought a number of fans out to Martin Stadium. Check out this PHOTO GALLERY from Jason Krump.

There was hitting galore from start to finish. Toward the beginning of practice during inside run, Marcus Richmond set the pace, laying a huge block that sprung Dwight Tardy for a nice gain. Later during scrimmage, safety Chima Nwachukwu made a couple of nice plays in the secondary, separating receivers from the ball with hits that had those in attendance making noise.

Offensively, the play of the day had to go to tight end Zach Tatman, who went over the top of perfect coverage to pull down a 20-plus-yard reception...Even the DB coaches were psyched about Tatman's grab.

Defensively, the play of the day was actually two plays. Defensive tackle Dan Spitz sacked the quarterback on consecutive plays, halting the offense's drive.

All-in-all, not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning...The team won't practice again until Tuesday afternoon.

Keep in mind that the team will be scrimmaging each of the next three Saturdays. So if you missed today, there is still time this spring to get out and watch the Cougar football team...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


April 2 (6:53 p.m.)

Thursday Recap...

It turned out being a pretty nice afternoon here in Pullman, but the temperature was perfect inside the bubble, where the Cougars spent Thursday's practice.

A couple of big names in the coaching realm were also on hand in the bubble: former Seattle Seahawks wide receivers coach Keith Gilbertson, whose son David will be walking on this fall as a quarterback, and former Western Washington Head Coach Robin Ross, who lettered for WSU in 1974 and 1975. Ross also coached defensive line for WSU in 1986.

I spent most of the day watching Coach Etheridge and the offensive linemen, so I really don't have a lot of notes from practice other than these three things...

1) Coach Wulff said afterwards that it was a great practice and they were able to get a lot done.
2) Cory Mackay was in the quarterback's face all day long during thud...If I had to pick a Player of the Day from scrimmage, it would be him.
3) Though he was in a yellow jersey and did not participate in thud, cornerback Brandon Jones was coaching up the young defensive backs from the sideline. He wasn't just shouting at people either. He was by himself on the sideline, opposite the rest of the team, so that the DBs could hear what he had to say.

A number of receivers stayed after practice to run routes with Marshall Lobbestael, though Tony Thompson, Jeffrey Solomon, Jared Karstetter and Daniel Blackledge were all still there half an hour after Coach Wulff blew the whistle.

Solomon talked a little about his fellow receivers...According to him: Blackledge and Kevin Norrell run the best routes of the group, Johnny Forzani would smoke all of them in a race and the battle for playing time at wide receiver is going to be the second-most enjoyable to watch after the running backs.

After taking tomorrow off, Saturday's practice will be held in Martin Stadium from 9:30-11:30 a.m. The team is going to close out practice with some live action, so be sure to bring the moms by...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


April 1 (6:33 p.m.)

Apple Cup Week?

April showers bring May flowers...But apparently the weatherman had his way with Pullman to celebrate April Fools' Day, because those weren't showers.

It may have been cold, it may have been snowing, but it was still intense from start to finish...This is the kind of weather Cougars relish, even during Spring Football. There was no standing around shivering - it was smash-mouth Cougar football all day long.

You want examples?

Jesse Feagin put an exclamation point on what has thus far been an impressive camp. After knocking people around all over the place in drills and in thud, he picked off a pass and ran it back for a touchdown. If you're hearing pads popping and helmets cracking these days in Pullman, Jesse Feagin is usually right in the middle of it...

Cory Mackay got up four times in today's lane drills (where an offensive player tries to block him while a running back tries to get by him), and all four times Mackay won, and a couple times it wasn't even close. If you thought Mackay looked big when he arrived for fall camp last year as a wide receiver, wait until you see him this spring, at defensive end...

Zack Williams had his helmet knocked off in the middle of a play during thud, and he ran 10 yards up the field...still blocking and still hitting everyone in sight...

Check out TODAY'S PHOTO GALLERY.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


March 30 (6:56 p.m.)

Busy Day in Pullman

I don't know if you heard...

...But today was the first day of Spring Football in full pads.

Oh, and Tony Bennett is taking the head coaching job at Virginia.

Not quite football news, except Coach Wulff commented on the development after practice:
"Obviously, when you lose someone within your family for another opportunity, it's always sad to see that occur. No question, he will be missed. These things happen in all our businesses right now. But if he felt it was something good for him and his family, then congratulations to him."

Coach Wulff also talked about today's practice:
"I thought practice went pretty good. We've got a lot of guys not practicing, but for the guys who were out here, we did a great job. We can take some good things from practice today and put it toward our next one."

What looks good specifically?

"The defensive line is definitely showing some signs of physical strength. They are very improved."

And...

"Offensively, we completed some balls and we did some things that we didn't necessarily do all the time in the past. The running back situation is going to have great competition, so every day those guys are going to have to compete."

A mistake-free mentality is being preached at practice, and it is even showing up in the pre-practice stretching lines. Strength and Conditioning Coach Darin Lovat stopped warm-ups a couple of times today because someone wasn't doing a particular stretch perfectly. The whole team did up-downs and started the stretch from the beginning.

It was the first day of full pads, but it was pretty quiet on the field for a while as far as the sound of pads cracking goes. There was team (offense and defense separate), stretching , then individual drills...and finally (I believe it was exactly 4:10 p.m.)...

BAM!

That was the sound of Jesse Feagin and Zack Williams colliding during tackling drills.

I don't care if it is spring. It is finally football season again...AND HERE ARE THE PICTURES TO PROVE IT...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


March 27 (7:05 p.m.)

Day Two...

It wasn't as warm as it was yesterday, but I brought gloves today...

Click HERE for a photo gallery from today's practice.

I told you to check back today for information on the two new walk-ons...Click the names to see bio information on OMARI GUIDRY and MICHAEL PFEIFF.

Guidry is from Seattle and played high school ball at Ingraham with Jeffrey Solomon and Myron Beck. Guidry started his collegiate career at Eastern Washington (for a year), where Solomon played before arriving at WSU, and then played at Glendale for a year, where Beck played before coming to Pullman. The Ingraham High crew is apparently pretty tight...

If you take a look at the online roster you will see that Zach Enyeart is no longer listed as an offensive lineman...He is now listed as a long snapper. It only took three years, but he is finally being classified where he wants to be...

Cory Evans joined the list of former Cougars stopping by practice today...He all but promised an old fashion Louisiana crawfish boil before he leaves town...

A couple of notes from the field today...

Wide receiver Johnny Forzani had more than a step on his defender and caught a deep touchdown pass in skelly....

Alex Hoffman-Ellis closed quickly and nearly picked off a pass in the flat (the fact that he was even able to get close was amazing to watch - he is going to be fun to watch Cougar fans...)...Check out Vince Grippi's blog at Spokesman.com to read more about Hoffman-Ellis...

Reid Forrest was routinely dropping punts inside the five-yard line in a drill, and Michael Vandenkolk and Kevin Norrell each caught a couple of them for nice special teams plays...

FSN will be debuting the newest slate of WSU-related "In My Own Words," April 13...
Paul Wulff - 8 p.m./9:30 p.m.
Robbie Tobeck - 8:30 p.m.
Jack Thompson - 9 p.m.

That is about all I have for today. WSU will be in full pads Monday....Have a good weekend.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


March 26 (7 p.m.)

Spring Football...Day One...

It was a perfect day in Pullman for the first practice of Spring Football...It was warm, the sun was shining, there was hardly a cloud in the sky. Seriously, it was perfect. If you don't believe me, check out THESE PHOTOS.

There is also some video footage of the first practice of Spring Football HERE.

But then the sun set over the library and now I can't feel my hands anymore...

Coach Wulff was impressed with what he saw from the first day:
"This was a lot better than a year ago after the first practice. You can tell the kids are in good enough shape to participate and do well in spring practice as a group. I feel really good about that. Things are a lot crisper and a lot smoother."

The biggest thing I took from today's practice was how good Marshall Lobbestael looked. It was only skelly, but he was running around in the pocket, hitting receivers in stride and doing a little bit of celebrating with his teammates...including a running chest bump that he was asked about by the media after practice.

"That probably wasn't the smartest thing," Lobbestael said. "But I've been careful with it."

Lobbestael also talked about how it feels to be back out on the field:
"When we were doing skelly on our own in the winter, it felt good to go out there and throw and run around. It feels even better to come out to organized practice and not miss out. I am pretty excited."

For anyone on number watch...tight end Zach Tatman ditched No. 71 for No. 82, and defensive back Shane Thomas is wearing No. 31 instead of No. 19.

There were also a couple new faces at practice today...Omari Guidry and Michael Pfeiff. The team held a tryout earlier this week, and Guidry and Pfeiff were invited to walk on. I am hoping to get their bio information back tomorrow so I can tell you a little more about them.

There were also some old faces at practice...Greg Trent and Alfonso Jackson stopped by the field for a bit. Trent said it felt weird to be out there not practicing, but he is keeping busy with school.

Day Two of Spring Football is tomorrow from 3:30-5:30 p.m. The team will be in helmets only once again.

Go Cougs!

Joe NIckell


March 25 (3:35 p.m.)

Prospectus and Quotes...

As promised, here is the link to the 2009 WSU Football Spring Prospectus...

You can read a whole series of quotes from Coach Wulff HERE. The link will take you to today's chat at wsucougars.com.

And then here are some quotes from this afternoon's press conference...

On what he wants to get accomplished...
"Obviously, we want to take a big step as a football team. What does that mean? We want to come out and play better football at all the positions. I think the players have done a great job of preparing themselves to do that. I think a majority of this team has taken great strides as individuals. Now, we'll try to bring the whole team together to go out and execute and be sharper in all our assignments."

On whether or not a single position is a major focus...
"Every position is going to get every bit of focus that we're allowed to give. We're working to get everything better at every position."

On bringing back the no-huddle...
"Our intent is to do more no-huddle. It's without question what we want to do and get accomplished. I think we've cleaned a few things up to help that in the offseason. Again, it's all back to the comfort level of the players and the experience that we have back, that hopefully mentally will allow us to do that."

On who he expects big things from this spring...
"Several kids have done some really nice things to improve. Daniel Blackledge has had a good offseason in the weight room. B.J. Guerra has done a nice job in the weight room to improve himself. Marcus Richmond did a nice job. On defense, Andy Mattingly did a nice job working hard. Xavier Hicks did a nice job. Just to name a few, they have improved themselves physically."

On the quarterback situation...
"Kevin Lopina and J.T. Levenseller are cleared fully for practice along with Dan Wagner. I think Marshall Lobbestael will be cleared to throw, but just in individual drills and some 7-on-7 sessions. He won't be allowed to be in the team sessions where there are a lot of people around him...At this point he is about where they expected him to be."

I will be back tomorrow after the first spring practice of 2009...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


March 25 (2:10 p.m.)

Depth Chart...

I am sure the only reason you are here today is to take a gander at the Depth Chart entering Spring Football. Before we get to that, you can all join me in wishing my brother Jeff a Happy Birthday...

Now...without further ado, HERE IS THE SPRING DEPTH CHART...

Before you go, I wanted to give you a heads up on a couple other items that will be coming later today...

The first of which is our Spring Prospectus, which we will send out to the media today. The Spring Prospectus includes everything from the spring schedule to updated player bios (so if you looked at the roster I posted yesterday, and want to read up on a name you didn't recognize, this will get you by until I finish updating the Web site). The Spring Prospectus will be posted on the football page, but I will be back later with a link to make it easier.

We will also hold a teleconference with Coach Wulff today to get his thoughts headed into Spring Football. I will post a few quotes a little bit later today...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


March 24 (5:10 p.m.)

Spring Roster Today, Depth Chart Tomorrow...

Knowing that many of you out there need something football related to keep your blood pumping, I am releasing the spring roster today. Click HERE to take a look...

Cougar Football diehards will notice a couple changes on this roster...But I will point some of them out anyway...

Easton Johnson has moved to wide receiver from safety.
Cory Mackay has moved to defensive end from linebacker.
Andy Mattingly has moved from defensive end to linebacker (though if you were paying attention in the Apple Cup, you knew that...).
Jesse Sanchez has moved from defensive end to defensive tackle.
Dan Spitz has moved from defensive end to defensive tackle.
Jarred Walker has moved from safety to linebacker.

You will also notice a couple of new guys on the roster, including quite possibly my new favorite Cougar football name of all-time...Remy Martin (I am a cognac guy). Remy is a junior college running back from Westhills JC.

The roster on the site still reflects the end of last season. Not to worry...I will have all of that updated sometime tomorrow afternoon.

Tomorrow I will release the OFFICIAL Cougar Football Depth Chart headed into spring practice. Stay tuned...

Also tomorrow...don't forget to check out Head Coach Paul Wulff's chat at noon here at wsucougars.com. Click HERE for more information.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


March 23 (3:45 p.m.)

Spring Practice Schedule...

My apologies for the delay in getting this up here...I have been out of town quite a bit recently...

WSU's spring football practices are starting this week (March 26), and will culminate five weeks later with the final scrimmage April 25. Here is a look at the schedule...

Week One
Thursday, March 26 - 3:30-5:30 p.m. (Helmets Only)
Friday, March 27 - 3:30-5:30 p.m. (Helmets Only)

Week Two
Monday, March 30 - 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 1 - 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 2 - 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 4 - 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Week Three
Tuesday, April 7 - 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 9 - 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 11 - 9:30-11:30 a.m. (First Scrimmage)

Week Four
Tuesday, April 14 - 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 16 - 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 18 - Noon-2 p.m. (Second Scrimmage)

Week Five
Tuesday, April 21 - 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 23 - 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 25 - 10 a.m.-Noon (Final Scrimmage)

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 11 (9:33 p.m.)

A Video and Combine Info...

Check out THIS VIDEO TO HEAR COACH WULFF TALK ABOUT LAST WEEK'S SIGNING DAY...

ALSO, BRANDON GIBSON HAS BEEN INVITED TO THE 2009 NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SCOUTING COMBINE. THE SIX-DAY COMBINE WILL RUN FROM FEB. 18-24, AT LUCAS OIL STADIUM IN INDIANAPOLIS, IND.

WIDE RECEIVERS ARE SCHEDULED TO WORK OUT SUNDAY (FEB. 22), AND THE NFL NETWORK WILL BE COVERING THE COMBINE LIVE.

GO COUGS!

JOE NICKELL


FEBRUARY 5 (1:27 P.M.)

THE DAY AFTER...

SIGNING DAY, THE FIRST OFFICIAL DAY PROSPECTIVE STUDENT-ATHLETES CAN SUBMIT THEIR NATIONAL LETTERS OF INTENT, HAS COME AND GONE. NLIS CAN STILL BE SUBMITTED, THOUGH COACH WULFF SAID HE GOT ALL OF THE ONES HE EXPECTED TO RECEIVE YESTERDAY.

THOUGH I DON'T HAVE ANY MORE NEWS, I DO HAVE A RADIO LINK FOR YOU.

YESTERDAY KJR'S IAN FURNESS HAD COUGAR SIGNEES GINO SIMONE AND NOLAN WASHINGTON ON HIS RADIO SHOW.

CLICK HERE to listen to the interviews.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (4:10 p.m.)

Signing Day Party...

This will probably be my last post of the day...This was a lot of fun, and I hope you all enjoyed it.

Don't forget about the Signing Day party at Northern Quest Casino tonight at 7 p.m...

Coach Wulff will discuss each member of his signing class, show video of each future Coug, and take questions from the audience at the National Letter of Intent Signing Day Party at the Northern Quest Casino in Airway Heights, Wash. The program will begin at 7 p.m., and admission is free. There will be great food, as well as a free chance to win great WSU Football prizes, so don't miss this opportunity to receive an inside look at the WSU Football program. We hope to see you Feb. 4!

What: WSU Football National Letter of Intent (NLI) Signing Day Party
Where: Northern Quest Casino, Airway Heights (N. 100 Hayford Road, Airway Heights, Wash. 99001)
When: Wednesday, February 4, 2009, 7-8 p.m.
Price: Free
Includes: Great food, free raffle prize ticket, highlight videos, and plenty of WSU Football excitement!

Thanks again for reading!

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (4:01 p.m.)

Gray Shirts, Scholarship Additions and an Invited Walk-on...

A few guys from last year's team have been given scholarships beginning this semester, and they count toward this year's 25 initial scholarships: linebacker Myron Beck, kicker Nico Grasu and wide receiver Jeffrey Solomon. Congratulations to all three of them!

Also, three gray shirts from this past season will also count toward the 25 initial scholarships from this year's recruiting class: offensive linemen Alex Reitnour and Timothy Hodgdon, and defensive tackle Josh Luapo.

Here are their bios and some comments from Coach Wulff from last year's Signing Day:

HODGDON, TIMOTHY OL 6-3/287 FR Ladera Ranch, Calif. (Tesoro HS '08)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Led FRESHMAN team to an undefeated record en route to captain and lineman of the year honors...was a varsity starter for head coach Brian Barnes' Pacific Coast League and Division III State champions as a SOPHOMORE...earned All-South Coast League and lineman of the year accolades at offensive guard as a JUNIOR...in the winter made the Nike All-Combine Team in Long Beach...team captain was named first-team All-South Coast League as a SENIOR...Titans went undefeated in league play...also earned first-team All-Orange County and first-team All-CIF SS Pac-5 Division in his final prep season...CALHISPORTS.COM All-State Third Team honoree...Scout.com named him to their San Francisco All-Combine Team...named one of the top offensive guards in the country by Rivals.com (No. 42).
PERSONAL: Timothy Richard Adams Hodgdon...parents Mark and Amy...younger brother Tanner and older sister Emily...father played collegiate soccer at UMass and was on the National Team in 1978...enjoys surfing and golfing...was a National Football Association and College Hall of Fame Scholar Athlete...received the Torch of Excellence in 2005 for math...principal's honor roll member all four years at Tesoro High...plans to pursue a degree in business or international finance.
WULFF COMMENTS ON HODGDON: "Timothy is a nice big, tough offensive lineman that's going to help our program a lot in the future. He's someone that is going to give us a solid foundation for the future. He'll give us some attitude and a nice physical presence inside."

REITNOUER, ALEX OL 6-5/235 FR La Canada, Calif. (St. Francis HS '08)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Two-way player and two-year letterwinner for head coach James Bonds was named Mission League Most Valuable Lineman following his SENIOR season...also garnered first-team All-CIF Southern Section honors and was named first-team all-area and first-team All-Mission League on the offensive line...recorded 38 tackles and two sacks at defensive end...named St. Francis High's Most Valuable Lineman...Glendale YMCA QB Club MVP...also lettered twice in track for the Golden Knights.
PERSONAL: Alexander John Reitnouer...parents John and Susan...older sister Katherine...enjoys snow boarding, shooting, fishing, hiking and golfing...is an Eagle Scout...planned program of study is undecided.
WULFF COMMENTS ON REITNOUER: "Alex is a very athletic player with the opportunity to grow. He's a little under-sized right now but he's so athletic and so quick-footed that with his frame and time, he's going to develop into one of those players who are a 280-290 pound player that is as athletic as any offensive lineman on the field. He has the ability to possibly play all five positions on the offensive line and that's what is intriguing."

JOSH LUAPO DT 6-0/295 JR Carson, Calif. (Torrance '06 / LA Harbor)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Four-year letterwinner played fullback, linebacker and defensive end for head coach Rock Hollis...only FRESHMAN in school history to score a touchdown...received the team's Nails Award as a SOPHOMORE as the team's hardest hitter...rushed 98 times for 678 yards and eight touchdowns as a fullback...recorded 58 tackles and six sacks on defense...once again received the Nails Award as well as the Coaches' Award as a JUNIOR...named first-team All-Pioneer League as a fullback, second-team All-South Bay (athlete) and second-team All-Area Daily Breeze as a SENIOR...played in the All-South Bay Lions All-Star Game...team captain was named team's most valuable player and once again earned Nails Award recognition...gained 783 yards on 102 carries...scored eight rushing touchdowns...on defense recorded 54 tackles, including 11 tackles-for-loss and seven sacks LOS ANGELES HARBOR COLLEGE: Named to the all-conference honorable mention team as a FRESHMAN defensive end/defensive tackle...also named to the All-Southern California Combine Team...earned all-conference honors once again (second team) as a SOPHOMORE team captain for head coach Andrew Alvillar...also garnered team's most inspirational player award.
PERSONAL: Joshua Pona Luapo...born in Long Beach, Calif...parents Junior and Ramona...brothers Marcus and Lucas...sisters Hanikah Olana Alofa...cousins Noris and Matthew Malele play football for California...was a member of the ASO Student Senate...enjoys spending time with family and friends...plays bass guitar for church praise team...plans to pursue a degree in criminal justice.

And finally...The coaching staff would like to announce the addition of David Gilbertson to the roster. Gilbertson, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound quarterback from Redmond High, is an invited walk-on, and will join the Cougars this next fall.

Here is his bio:

DAVID GILBERTSON QB 6-2 / 200 Woodinville, Wash. (Redmond)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Three-year letterwinner for head coach Mike Pluschke...SOPHOMORE year led the Mustangs to the state playoffs...JUNIOR year was named honorable mention All-KingCo 4-A...threw for 1,247 yards and six touchdowns...also rushed for two scores...SENIOR year was team captain...second-team All-KingCo...threw for 1,977 yards and 13 touchdowns...scored four rushing touchdowns...threw for 323 yards and three touchdowns against Eastlake...set the school record for completions in a game with 26 against Eastlake...named an alternate to the All-State Game...also played basketball and track and field, serving as team captain for both.
PERSONAL: David Michael Gilbertson...father Keith is a football coach...mother Barbara...sisters Anne and Krissy...grandfather Keith, Sr. played football for the Cougars...his mother and great uncle George also attended WSU...sister Krissy currently attends WSU...enjoys basketball, golf, video games and the piano...high school grade-point average of 3.17...in ASB as a senior...plans to pursue a degree in communication.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (2:21 p.m.)

Johnny Forzani...

Most of you probably already know about Johnny Forzani. But for those of you who do not, here is some information on him...

Forzani enrolled in January and is currently attending classes. Here is his complete bio:

FORZANI, JOHNNY WR 6-1 / 200 RS-SO Calgary, Alberta, Canada (Dr. EP Scarlett)
WSU (2009):
Enrolled in spring semester and worked out with the team...rated the No. 3 sleeper prospect by The College Football Place...has three years of eligibility remaining.
DOUGLAS COLLEGE (Canada): Played basketball in 2006-07 and team won the Canadian National Championship. HIGH SCHOOL: Did not play high school football, as program folded his sophomore year...three-year letterwinner and two-year team captain in basketball...JUNIOR year led city of Calgary in scoring with 30 points per game...SENIOR year led province in scoring with 42 ppg...set city record against St. Francis with 64 points.

PERSONAL: Member of the CFL's Calgary Stampeders practice squad during 2007-08...played with the Stampeders' junior team, the Calgary Colts...led league in yards-per-catch (21.0)...named first-team all-star, Rookie of the Year and Most Outstanding Receiver...team lost in championship game...father Tom played football in the CFL for 12 years and is in the CFL Hall of Fame...father and two uncles played collegiate football for Utah State...mother Sue...sisters Stevie and Kelsey...plans to pursue a degree in communications.
WULFF COMMENTS ON FORZANI: Johnny is a player we found and very fortune to have him in with three seasons and a spring ball in front of him. Johnny gives us some size at receiver and some speed that we have lacked consistently. I'm excited about his potential. He's another guy who can jump leaps and bounds in his performance as he gains experience.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (2:21 p.m.)

Wulff Teleconference...

We are holding a press conference here at the office for Coach Wulff, and the TV stations are already starting to file in.

Thus, I need to step away from my desk for a bit. However, when I get back I have a couple more guys to talk about.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (2:16 p.m.)

Rankin Bio...

Complete Brandon Rankin bio:

RANKIN, BRANDON DL 6-5 / 260 JR Shallotte, N.C. (Butte College/West Brunswick HS)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Played for head coach Jim Fletcher...SENIOR year named the 2006 Star-News Defensive Player of the Year following a season which produced 93 tackles, eight sacks and six blocked kicks.
BUTTE COLLEGE: As a FRESHMAN notched 17 tackles, 2.5 tackles-for-loss and two sacks...SOPHOMORE year collected 62 tackles, 19 tackles-for-loss and an astounding 24 sacks in helping Butte to the national JC championship...named 2008 National and California JC Defensive Player of the Year...2008 All-America First Team and All-California First Team...Northern California Conference Defensive Player of the Year and voted MVP following 17-9 victory over Mount San Antonio in California State championship game... ranked as the No. 7 defensive end prospect in junior college by Scout.com.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (2:13 p.m.)

We Have Another One...

Junior college transfer Brandon Rankin, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound defensive lineman, has submitted his NLI.

Rankin, who played at Butte college the last two seasons, terrorized quarterbacks last year as a sophomore, racking up 24 sacks. He led Butte to the Junior College National Championship, and was named All-America First Team.

I will have his complete bio up shortly.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (12:58 p.m.)

We're Not Done...

The NLIs have started to slow down, but we will have more coverage from signing day this afternoon.

Stay tuned...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (11:48 a.m.)

Video Updates...

Check out the Signing Day Central page (link is at the top of this page) to see video footage on the following signees...

Carl Winston
Gino Simone
Quayshawne Buckley
Travis Long
Jordan Pu'u-Robinson

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (11:45 a.m.)

Chat With Coach Rasmussen in 15 Minutes!!

Don't miss the chat with Recruiting Coordinator Rich Rasmussen here in 15 minutes!

Get your last-minute questions in by clicking HERE!

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (11:39 a.m.)

Pu'u-Robinson Bio...

Complete bio on Jordan Pu'u-Robinson :

PU'U ROBINSON, JORDAN DL 6-4 / 256 FR Wailuku, Hawaii (Baldwin)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Two-year letterwinner...JUNIOR year started at both tight end and quarterback at Kamehameha Maui High...garnered second-team All-Maui Interscholastic League honors...SENIOR year transferred to Baldwin High...named team captain for head coach A.J. Roloos...played both defensive end and tight end...garnered all-state honors...named first-team All-MIL...rated No. 54 on Scout.com's Northwest Hot 100...rated No. 14 amongst tight ends in the West by Scout.com.
PERSONAL: Jordan Pu'u-Robinson...father Keaka...mother Leslie...brothers Pono and Kainalu...enjoys sports, the beach and family and friends...plans to pursue a degree in business at WSU.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (11:33 a.m.)

WSU Adds Another Defensive Lineman...

Jordan Pu'u-Robinson has signed his NLI, giving the Cougars a 6-foot-4, 256-pounder on the defensive line.

Very versatile, he played tight end and quarterback as a junior, and defensive end and tight end as a senior. He was named all-state this past season and first-team All-Maui Interscholastic League while at Baldwin High.

I will have his complete bio up shortly.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (11:24 a.m.)

Long Bio...

Complete bio for Travis Long:

LONG, TRAVIS TE / DE 6-4 / 245 FR Spokane, Wash. (Gonzaga Prep '09)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Three-year starter for head coach David McKenna...played tight end, defensive end and linebacker for the Bullpups...played four years of varsity basketball and one year of baseball....SOPHOMORE year named All-Greater Spokane League Second Team as a linebacker...team posted 12-1 reord and finished third in State...had three blocked punts and three interceptions...averaged 12 points per game on basketball court...JUNIOR year was a repeat All-GSL pick at linebacker...named Junior All-State by Ron Siegel...helped team to 7-3 record, blocking one punt and recording one interception...averaged 10 points per game on the basketball court and was voted team captain...SENIOR year named Tacoma News Tribune Northwest Nugget honorable mention and Seattle Times Red Chip prospect...Associated Press 4-A All-State First Team and Seattle Times All-State as a defensive linemen...TNT All-State as a tight end...GSL Co-Defensive Player of the Year with fellow Cougar signee Chris Mastin...first-team All-GSL at defensive line...team captain...rushed for 350 yards and and three touchdowns, while catching six passes for 141 yards and one score...named preseason all-state at tight end by MaxPreps...rated No. 13 amongst Washington prospects by Rivals.com...rated No. 70 on Scout.com's West Hot 150...member of TNT's Western 100...rated No. 17 on Scout.com's Northwest Hot 100...rated No. 5 amongst tight ends in the West by Scout.com...rated No. 42 at tight end nationally by Scout.com....on the basketball court has started every game this season and was voted team captain.
PERSONAL: Born Travis Marshall Long at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Wash...parents Alan Long and Kathleen Cronquist...stepfather Michael Cronquist...younger sister, Anna...has two uncles, two aunts and stepfather who attended WSU...cousin Chris Snyder played football at Montana in the NFL...uncle Steve Snyder played football at Montana State...enjoys listening to music, swimming and boating...3.89 high school GPA...U.S. Army Scholar-Athlete Award as a junior...National Honor Society member...plans to pursue a degree in engineering at WSU.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (11:19 a.m.)

Cougs Add Another Spokane Defensive End...

Travis Long, a 6-foot-4, 245-pound defensive end/tight end out of Spokane's Gonzaga Prep, has signed his NLI.

Long was named Associated Press 4-A All-State First Team and Seattle Times All-State as a defensive linemen, and was a Tacoma News Tribune All-State as a tight end. He was also named GSL Co-Defensive Player of the Year with fellow Cougar signee Chris Mastin.

I will have his complete bio up shortly.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (11:15 a.m.)

Buckley Bio...

Complete bio on Quayshawne Buckley:

BUCKLEY, QUAYSHAWNE DL 6-4/285 FR Ontario, Calif. (Colony)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Earned three varsity letters in football under head coach Anthony Rice...also earned two letters on the basketball court...JUNIOR year named to the 2007 All-Southern Section Central Division First Team...All-CIF Second Team...first-team Mount Baldy League...helped team to 12-2 record and CIF title...collected 11 sacks on season while earning team Defensive MVP honors... following SENIOR season earned team MVP honors with seven sacks and 61 tackles...first-team all-league, all-county and all-CIF...rated No. 99 amongst California prospects according to Scout.com... ranked alphabetically (11-31) among the best offensive guard prospects in the West by Scout.com.
PERSONAL: Quayshawne Buckley...born in Ontario, Calif...parents Kamonte and Roshine...has two brothers and a sister...enjoys listening to music and weightlifting...plans to pursue a degree in sociology at WSU.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (11:12 a.m.)

Big D-Lineman Signs NLI...

Quayshawne Buckley, a 6-foot-4, 285-pound defensive linemen out of Ontario, Calif., has signed his NLI.

The Colony High signee was named All-Southern Section Central Division as a junior, and was named All-CIF as a senior. He racked up 11 sacks as a junior and seven sacks as a senior.

I will have his complete bio up shortly.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (11:09 a.m.)

Video Updates...

Video footage of William Prescott and Arthur Burns has been added to the Signing Day Central page.

Go check it out!

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (11:07 a.m.)

Simone Bio...

Complete bio on Gino Simone:

SIMONE, GINO WR 6-0 / 170 FR Sammamish, Wash. (Skyline '09)
HIGH SCHOOL:
earned three varsity letters under head coach Mat Taylor...SOPHOMORE year named first-team all-league as a wide receiver...caught 38 passes for 549 yards and seven touchdowns...scored eight touchdowns total on the season...had nine catches for 243 yards and four scores against Liberty...All-State Honorable Mention...JUNIOR year led Spartans to the 3-A state championship...was named Associated Press 3-A All-State First Team, Tacoma News Tribune All-State and Seattle Times All-State...Seattle Times Star Times and Seattle PI All-Area...first-team all-league at both wide receiver and defensive back...KingCo 3A Offensive Player of the Year caught 49 passes during the regular season for 1,042 yards and league-leading 14 touchdowns...had a 99-yard reception...also had four two-point conversions...SENIOR year led Spartans to the 4-A state championship...Seattle Times Blue Chip prospect and Tacoma News Tribune Northwest Nugget...named All-State by the Seattle Times, TNT and AP...TNT State Player of the Year...once again named all-league on both sides of the ball...named preseason all-state by MaxPreps...selected for East vs. West All-Star game...caught 54 passes for 862 yards and 13 touchdowns...also returned four kickoffs for touchdowns...holds school records for touchdowns in a career (40), season (19) and game (4), and career recieivng yards (2,827)...rated No. 72 at his position nationally by Rivals.com...rated No. 2 amongst Washington prospects by Rivals.com...rated No. 44 on Scout.com's West Hot 150...rated No. 295 on Scout.com's National Top 300...rated No. 7 in the west at his position by Scout.com...member of TNT's Western 100... rated No. 18 on Scout.com's Northwest Hot 100...rated No. 39 at his position nationally by Scout.com...received a rating of four stars by Scout.com.
PERSONAL: Born Gino Simone in Bellevue, Wash...parents Ronnie and Patty...has one cousin who will attend WSU beginning in 2009...father played football at Arizona State...enjoys bowling and playing basketball...summer prior to senior year member of 7-on-7 team that won national title, along with future Cougar teammates Nolan Washington and Casey Locker...Scholar-Athlete.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (11:04 a.m.)

Simone NLI Received...

Gino Simone, considered by many recruiting services to be the top prospect in the state of Washington, has submitted his NLI.

The 6-foot-0, 170-pound receiver out of Skyline High was named all-state by every list in Washington this past year, and was one of the Seattle Times' Blue Chip prospects. He was also named a Northwest Nugget by the Tacoma News Tribune, and led the Spartans to the 4-A Championship this past season, their second consecutive state title.

I will have his complete bio up shortly.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (11:00 a.m.)

Burns Bio...

Complete Arthur Burns bio:

BURNS, ARTHUR RB 5-10/210 FR Corona, Calif. (Centennial)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Earned three varsity letters in football under head coach Matt Logan, and three letters in track...SENIOR year rushed for more than 1,800 yards, leading Centennial to the State Division I Bowl...rated No.54 amongst California prospects by Scout.com...rated No. 48 amongst California prospects by Rivals.com...rated No. 39 at his position nationally by Rivals.com...rated No. 84 on Scout.com's West Hot 150...rated No. 11 in the west at his position by Scout.com...rated No. 8 at his position in California...SectionSports.com All-Southern Section First Team. PERSONAL: Born Arthur Steven Burns in Glendora, Calif...parents Larry and Carmen Reed...younger brother Miles and younger sister, Saivana...uncle Artis Houston played at UC Berkeley and in the NFL.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (10:54 a.m.)

Cougars Add Another Running Back...

Arthur Burns, a 5-foot-10, 210-pound running back out of Corona, Calif., has signed his NLI.

Burns rushed for over 1,800 yards this past season while at Centennial High, leading the team to the State Division I Bowl and garnering All-Southern Section First Team honors from SectionSports.com.

I will have his complete bio up shortly.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (10:45 a.m.)

Rasmussen Chat on Tap in Just Over an Hour...

Don't forget Cougar fans...Recruiting Coordinator Rich Rasmussen will hold a live chat here at wsucougars.com from 12-1 p.m. So submit your questions in advance, click HERE.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (10:42 a.m.)

Prescott Bio...

Complete bio on William Prescott:

PRESCOTT, WILLIAM OL 6-5/277 FR Riverside, Calif. (Martin Luther King HS)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Earned three varsity letters in football under head coach ken Mushinske...JUNIOR year garnered All-Ivy League Second Team honors as team reached CIF semifinals...SENIOR season earned All-Big VIII League First Team honors, Riverside County All Star and All-Region honorable mention honors...named winner of Wolfpack Award, the top team award at MLK...ranked alphabetically (11-25) among the best offensive tackle prospects in the West by Scout.com.
PERSONAL: Born William Prescott in Point Roberts, Wash...goes by Will...parents Tom and Suzanne...has one older brother, Robert, who played football at East Central Oklahoma...father played football at Snow College...3.1 high school GPA.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (10:36 a.m.)

Cougs Add Another O-Lineman...

William Prescott, a 6-foot-5, 277-pound offensive lineman out of Riverside, Calif., signed his NLI.

Prescott was named All-Ivy League as a junior, and was All-Big VIII League First Team as a senior. He was a Riverside County All-Star and also named all-region this past season.

I will have his complete bio up shortly.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (10:34 a.m.)

Video Footage Update...

Check out the Signing Day Central page for video footage on the following signees...

Chris Mastin
Anthony Carpenter
Nolan Washington
Jamal Atofau

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (10:30 a.m.)

Winston Bio...

Complete bio on Carl Winston:

WINSTON, CARL RB 5-9 / 200 FR Harbor City, Calif. (Serra)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Three-year letterwinner and two-year captain for head coach Scott Altenberg...SOPHOMORE year named Serra High's Rookie of the Year...garnered first-team All-Del Rey League honors...JUNIOR year named league's most valuable player...garnered first-team all-area and first-team all-league honors...named All-CIF...SENIOR year named second-team California Division 3 All-State by MaxPreps...named All-CIF...first-team all-area and first-team All-Del Rey League...led team to a 13-1 record and a runner-up finish in the Northwest Division of the Southern Section...gained 1,630 yards on 217 carries...had 26 total touchdowns...completed his varsity career as Serra High's all-time rushing leader with 4,820 yards on 618 carries...also had 61 career touchdowns...was also a three-time captain for the track and field team.
PERSONAL: Carl Winston III...father Carl, Jr. played football for New Mexico...mother Lisa...sister Carlissia...grandfather played professional football for the Cleveland Browns...enjoys playing sports, movies and Playstation...plans to pursue a degree in business at WSU.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (10:28 a.m.)

Atofau Bio...

Complete bio on Jamal Atofau:

ATOFAU, Jamal DB 5-10/185 FR Bellevue, Wash. (Bellevue)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Earned three varsity letters under head coach Butch Goncharoff...SENIOR year was named a Tacoma News Tribune Northwest Nugget honorable mention...Seattle Times Red Chip prospect...garnered KingCo 3-A Defensive Player of the Year honors...also names Seattle PI Defensive Player of the Year...named preseason all-state by MaxPreps...rushed for two touchdowns and caught three passes for 77 yards and a touchdown in state semifinal game against Capital...rated No. 5 amongst Washington prospects by Rivals.com...rated No. 40 at his position nationally by Rivals.com...rated No. 97 on Scout.com's West Hot 150...rated No. 27 on Scout.com's Northwest Hot 100...rated No. 57 at his position nationally by Scout.com.
PERSONAL: Jamal Atofau...born in Long Beach, Calif...mother Janet Atofau...uncle Jack Thompson played at Washington State and in the NFL, while cousin Tony Thompson is a current member of the Cougar football team.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (10:24 a.m.)

WSU Signs Running Back...

Carl Winston, a 5-foot-9, 200-pound running back out of Serra High has signed his NLI.

The Harbor City, Calif., native garnered first-team all-league honors as a sophomore, junior and senior. He was named the Del Rey League's Most Valuable Player as a junior, and completed his varsity career as Serra's all-time leading rusher with 4,820 yards on 618 carries. He also racked up 61 career touchdowns.

I will have his complete bio up shortly.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (10:10 a.m.)

Atofau Signs with Cougs...

Sorry for the delay everyone. Coach Niekamp came down to talk about the class with myself and the professor (my boss, Bill Stevens). Coach Niekamp had great things to say about his linebackers coming in next year.

While I was away from my desk, Jamal Atofau signed his NLI. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound defensive back out of Bellevue was named Defensive Player of the Year by the Seattle PI this last year, and was also the KingCo's Defensive Player of the Year.

I will have his complete bio up shortly.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (9:45 a.m.)

Carpenter and Washington Bios...

Complete bios on Anthony Carpenter and Nolan Washington:

CARPENTER, ANTHONY S 6-1 / 177 FR Los Angeles, Calif. (Serra)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Four-year letterwinner for head coach Scott Altenberg...three-year captain for the Cavaliers...FRESHMAN year was the first frosh in school history to play varsity football...team finished second in the Del Rey League...SOPHOMORE year started five games at quarterback...earned second-team all-league after throwing for 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns...also picked up 400 yards and two touchdowns on the ground...team went 9-3 and finished second in league...named team's offensive rookie of the year...JUNIOR year started at safety, garnering first-team all-league honors...recorded 74 tackles, 15 pass break-ups, one interception and two fumble recoveries, one of which was returned for a touchdown...also passed for 80 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 350 yards and four touchdowns...team went 10-2 and won the league title...SENIOR year was once again named first-team all-league at defensive back...recorded 60 tackles, six pass break-ups, two sacks and one fumble recovery...also returned an interception 85 yards for a touchdown...on offense threw for 74 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 250 yards and two touchdowns...named to first-team All-Del Rey League on defense...team went 13-1 and lost in the championship game...rated No. 75 amongst California prospects by Scout.com... rated No. 82 amongst California prospects by Rivals.com...rated No. 59 at his position by Rivals.com...rated No. 117 on Scout.com's West Hot 150...also lettered three times in track, serving as team captain as a senior.
PERSONAL: Anthony Sean Carpenter...father Alvin...mother Lori...brother Alex...cousin Ronnie Smith played baseball at CSU-Northridge...enjoys making model cars, art, video games and reading...member of Serra High's Leadership and Letterman and Young Black Scholars Clubs...maintained a high school grade-point average of 3.1...plans to pursue a degree in sport management.

WASHINGTON, NOLAN DB 5-10 / 175 FR Burien, Wash. (Kennedy '09)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Three-year starter and two-year captain for head coach Bob Bourgette...lettered all four years at Kennedy...SOPHOMORE year named first-team All-Seamount League at kick returner and second-team all-league at defensive back...led state in kickoff and punt return yards and touchdowns...had more than 1,000 all-purpose yards...JUNIOR year named Junior All-State by Ron Siegel...also named first-team all-league as a defensive back and a quarterback, despite being on a running team...completed 22-of-36 passes for 288 yards and four touchdowns...rushed for 396 yards on 81 carries...scored seven rushing touchdowns and had 35 all-purpose touchdowns...won the national 7-on-7 championship while representing the Seattle Seahawks at the NFL 7-on-7 Combine...SENIOR year named a Tacoma News Tribune Northwest Nugget honorable mention and a Seattle Times Red Chip prospect...Associated Press 3-A All-State First Team at defensive back...Seattle Times Star Times Team...first-team all-league at defensive back, second-team all-league at running back and third-team all-league at quarterback...named preseason all-state by MaxPreps...played quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back for the Lancers...rushed 84 times for 748 yards and 11 touchdowns...also a three-year letterwinner for the Lancers' basketball team and lettered once as a member of the track and field team...rated No. 55 at his position nationally by Rivals....rated No. 4 amongst Washington prospects by Rivals.com...rated No. 89 on Scout.com's West Hot 150...rated No. 25 on Scout.com's Northwest Hot 100...rated No. 51 at his position nationally by Scout.com.
PERSONAL: Nolan Lyndell Washington...father Nelson, Sr. played football at Idaho...mother Audrey...brother Nelson, Jr. and sister Natasha...cousin Brandon Jones is also a member of the WSU football team...uncles Aaron and Rodney both played football at Boise State...enjoys fishing, basketball and video games...member of high school's ASB staff.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (9:40 a.m.)

Chalk Another Defensive Back Onto the List...

Nolan Washington, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound defensive back out of Kennedy High has signed his NLI.

Washington was a three-year starter for Kennedy, garnering all-league honors as a defensive back, a quarterback, a running back and a kick returner. He led the state in kickoff and punt return yards and touchdowns as a sophomore, was named first-team all-league as a defensive back and a quarterback as a junior and garnered Associated Press 3-A All-State First Team at defensive back as a senior.

His complete bio will be up shortly.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (9:30 a.m.)

Cougars Add Safety...

Anthony Carpenter, a 6-foot-1, 177-pound safety out of Serra High in Los Angeles, has signed his NLI.

Carpenter was a three-year captain at Serra, and the first freshman in school history to play varsity football. He earned all-league honors as a quarterback at a sophomore, and was all-league at safety his junior and senior seasons.

I will have his complete bio up shortly.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (9:25 a.m.)

Mastin Bio...

Complete Chris Mastin bio:

MASTIN, CHRIS LB / DL 6-2 / 210 FR Spokane, Wash. (Lewis and Clark '09)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Three-year letterwinner for head coach Tom Yearout...JUNIOR year led the Tigers to the 4-A state championship...named All-Greater Spokane League First Team at defensive line...named team's best defensive linemen...SENIOR year was a team captain...named Seattle Times Red Chip prospect and Tacoma News Tribune Northwest Nugget honorable mention...named to all-state teams at defensive line by the Associated Press, the Seattle Times and the Tacoma News Tribune...GSL Co-Defensive Player of the Year...named preseason all-state by MaxPreps...honored with team's Most Inspirational award...rated No. 14 amongst Washington prospects by Rivals.com...rated No. 100 on Scout.com's West Hot 150...rated No. 28 on Scout.com's Northwest Hot 100...rated No. 55 at his position nationally by Scout.com...also played basketball for the Tigers.
PERSONAL: Christopher Mastin...father Chris Mastin...mother Kristie Jordan...brothers Haki and Xavier Mastin and Jyvon Tauda...grandfather Ervin Mastin played baseball at Tennessee...enjoys movies and traveling...plans to pursue a degree in pharmacy at WSU.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (9:19 a.m.)

Spokane Defensive End Signs NLI...

Lewis and Clark's Chris Mastin, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound defensive end, has signed his NLI. Mastin was named Co-Greater Spokane League Defensive Player of the Year this past season, and is one of the state's top prospects. He was named all-state by the Associated Press, Seattle Times and Tacoma News Tribune.

I will have his complete bio up shortly.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (9:11 a.m.)

Valenzuela Footage Also Up...

That was quick...Sebastian Valenzuela's video is already up on the Signing Day Central Page.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (9:09 a.m.)

Kaufusi Video Uploaded...

Click the Signing Day Central link at the top of the page to view video footage of linebacker Sekope Kaufusi.

You will need to be an All-Access member to see the video footage.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (9:07 a.m.)

Valenzuela Bio...

Complete bio on Sebastian Valenzuela:

VALENZUELA, SEBASTIAN OL 6-2 / 315 FR Burbank, Calif. (John Burroughs '09)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Three-year letterwinner for head coach Keith Knoop...SOPHOMORE year named second-team All-Pacific League...JUNIOR year named league's most valuable offensive linemen...Burbank Leader All-Area First Team...named team's most valuable linemen...SENIOR year team captain was named All-CIF Southern Section First Team...repeated as Pacific League's Most Valuable Linemen...Daily News All-Area First Team...Burbank Leader first-team All-Area...first-team all-league...team's most valuable linemen...also lettered once in track and field in the shot put...rated No. 80 at his position nationally by Rivals.com.
PERSONAL: Sebastian Valenzuela...born in Allen, Argentina...father Ricardo and mother Alicia...sister Miriana...enjoys snowboarding and fishing...plans to pursue a degree in either history or criminal justice at WSU.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (9:03 a.m.)

Offensive Lineman on the Way...

John Burroughs High's Sebastian Valenzuela, a 6-foot-2, 315-pound offensive linemen, signed his NLI.

Valenzuela was a three-year lettwerwinner for John Burroughs, and was named the Pacific League's Most Valuable Linemen both his junior and senior years. This past season he was also named All-CIF Southern Section First Team.

I will have his complete bio up shortly.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (8:59 a.m.)

Kaufusi Bio...

Complete Sekope Kaufusi bio:

KAUFUSI, SEKOPE LB 6-4 / 230 FR Palo Alto, Calif. (Woodside)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Played linebacker and tight end for head coach Steve Nicolopulos...also punted and returned kicks...JUNIOR year was named first-team All-Peninsula Athletic League at defensive end...also garnered team's defensive most valuable player...SENIOR year was team captain...PAL's Defensive Player of the Year...San Mateo County Defensive Player of the Year...first-team all-metro, first-team all-county and first-team All-PAL...earned team's defensive most valuable player for the county's top-ranked defense...rated No. 11 in the Contra Costa Times' Cream of the Crop...also played basketball and was a two-year captain...named most improved player on the hardwood as a sophomore.
PERSONAL: Sekope T. Kaufusi...father Leon Gage and mother Loisi Tulono...brothers Eddie and Piula Gage...twin sisters Lupe and Mele Kaufusi...cousin Will Taufoou plays football at California...enjoys hanging out with family and friends and playing piano...president of Woodside's Polynesian Club as a senior and vice president as a junior...member of Stanford's Upward Bound Program...also a member of Students Offering Support...plans to pursue a degree in business.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (8:57 a.m.)

Hosea and Markle Video...

Video footage of Asi Hosea and Darren Markle is now available on the Signing Day Central Page.

The link is in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (8:54 a.m.)

Cougs Add Another Linebacker...

Sekope Kaufusi, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound linebacker out of Palo Alto, Calif., has signed his NLI, and joins Andre Barrington, Darren Markle and Terell Thompson to the list of 2009 linebacker signees.

Kaufusi, who played both tight end and linebacker at Woodside High, was the San Mateo County Defensive Player of the Year and the Peninsula Athletic League Defensive Player of the Year.

I will have his complete bio up shortly.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (8:47 a.m.)

Markle Bio...

Complete Darren Markle Bio:

MARKLE, DARREN LB 6-1 / 232 FR Meridian, Idaho (Mountain View '09)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Three-year letterwinner for head coach Judd Benedick...SOPHOMORE year was the only sophomore named first-team All-Southern Idaho Conference...led SIC with 8.5 sacks as a defensive end...was the only sophomore starter for the Mavericks...team made playoffs...recorded 61 tackles (48 solo), four tackles-for-loss, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries...JUNIOR year selected to Nike Football US Underclassmen All-America Team (honorable mention)...named first-team All-SIC at linebacker for league's top-rated defensive squad...named team's defensive most valuable player...recorded 107 tackles, six sacks and forced a fumble...also rushed four times for 61 yards and a touchdown...won the Treasure Valley Linemen Challenge...SENIOR year led squad to a third place finish at state...named first-team 5-A All-State at linebacker by the Idaho Statesman and the Idaho Press-Tribune...named all-region by the Press-Tribune...repeat selection to the All-SIC squad...named team's defensive player of the year...registered 101 tackles in nine games...also recorded 13 TFLs, two sacks four forces fumbles, two blocked PATs and an interception...completed his career as school's all-time leading tackler...named Tacoma News Tribune Northwest Nugget honorable mention... ...rated No. 51 at his position nationally by Rivals.com...rated No. 2 amongst Idaho prospects by Rivals.com... rated No. 57 on Scout.com's West Hot 150...member of TNT's Western 100...rated No. 32 on Scout.com's Northwest Hot 100...also wrestled one year at 198 pounds as a freshman, finishing sixth at districts...ran track as a sprinter, and was a member of the 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams that won the district championship.
PERSONAL: Darren Joseph Markle...father Parry won the NCAA powerlifting championship at BYU...mother Kareen was a member of BYU's golf team...sister Devin is currently a member of Utah State's gymnastics team...has another sister Casey...grandfather Frank Gibson played basketball at San Jose State and Stanford...enjoys football, weight lifting, friends and playing NCAA Football...honor roll student every semester...four-year member of the All-SIC Academic Team...boasts a 3.9 grade-point average...selected to the 2007 US Junior National Powerlifting Team...won the national championship in the 242-pound weight class at the US High School Powerlifting Championships (2007), breaking the national total record...won the state championship in the 220-pound weight class at the Idaho State Powerlifting Championships (2007), claiming the Best Lifter of the Meet award and setting two Idaho records...national champion in the bench press for his age group at the 2006 US High School National Powerlifting Championships (finished fourth overall)...active in church youth program...class president...two-time student of the month...voted Homecoming Junior Prince.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (8:43 a.m.)

Markle Signs NLI...

Mountain View High's Darren Markle signed his National Letter of Intent. The 6-foot-1, 232-pound linebacker out of Boise is literally one of the strongest individuals in the country pound-for-pound. He won the national championship in the 242-pound weight class at the US High School Powerlifting Championships (2007), breaking the national total record. He can also tackle, racking up 107 stops his junior year and 101 his senior year (despite missing two games). He was named first-team 5-A all-state this past season by both the Idaho Statesman and the Idaho Press-Tribune.

I will have his complete bio up shortly.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (8:38 a.m.)

Video Footage Posted...

Check out the Signing Day Central Page for video footage on Justin Clayton, Jeff Tuel, Casey Locker and Andre Barrington.

The link is in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (8:33 a.m.)

Barrington and Hosea Bios...

Complete bios on Federal Way High's Andre Barrington and Cottonwood High's Asi Hosea:

BARRINGTON, ANDRE DB / LB 6-1 / 205 Federal Way, Wash. (Federal Way '09)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Three-year starter for head coach John Meagher in football...also lettered four times in basketball and track...JUNIOR year was named All-South Puget Sound League North Division on both sides of the ball...garnered first team accolades as a running back after rushing for 1,028 yards and 13 touchdowns...scored 15 total touchdowns and four two-point conversions...second team honors as a defensive back...SENIOR year was named honorable mention Tacoma News Tribune Northwest Nugget and a Seattle Times Red Chip prospect...Associated Press 4-A All-State honorable mention at linebacker...was also named to the TNT All-State Team, the Seattle PI All-Star Team and the Seattle Times Star Times Team on defense...TNT All-Area First Team at linebacker...All-SPSL on both sides of the ball once again, first team at running back and second team at linebacker...named preseason all-state at running back by MaxPreps...rushed for 1,171 yards and nine touchdowns during the regular season...also played basketball for the Eagles, and is currently averaging 9.5 points per game as the team's starting guard...rated No. 12 amongst Washington prospects by Rivals.com...rated No. 141 on Scout.com's West Hot 150...rated No. 48 on Scout.com's Northwest Hot 100...rated No. 59 at his position nationally by Scout.com.
PERSONAL: Roderic Andre Barrington...goes by Andre...born in Fort Lewis, Wash...parents Roderic and Brenda...has an older brother, Travis, and younger sister, Brittany.

HOSEA, ASI DB 5-10/178 FR Salt Lake City, Utah (Cottonwood)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Earned two varsity letters at Cottonwood under head coach Cecil Thomas...also lettered in wrestling and track...SOPHOMORE year won the Hawaii State 300 meter hurdle championship...moved to Salt Lake City prior to JUNIOR year where he recorded 58 tackles with three interceptions and eight pass break-ups...Salt Lake Tribune All-Region selection...Deseret News honorable mention...earned Hardest Hitter and Newcomer team awards...SENIOR year was 4-A All-State Second Team by Deseret News, along with All-Region pick by Salt Lake Tribune...recorded 53 tackles on the season (39 solo)...also recorded one interception and nine PBU's...had 19 tackles and two PBU's in State championship game...also recorded 19 tackles in State semifinals against Pineview...rated No. 79 on Scout.com's Northwest Hot 100.
PERSONAL: Amipeliasi Lemeki Hosea...goes by Asi...born in Nuku'alofa, Tonga...parents Charles and Vinise...has three brothers and three sisters...cousin Stanley Havili plays football at USC and cousin Haloti Ngata currently plays for the Baltimore Ravens...enjoys music, dancing and camping...plans to pursue a degree in business at WSU.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (8:29 a.m.)

Hosea Signs NLI...

Asi Hosea has signed a National Letter of Intent. A 5-foot-10, 178-pound defensive back out of Salt Lake City, Hosea was named all-state by the Deseret News and all-region by the Salt Lake Tribune. He had 19 tackles each in both the state championship and the state semifinals. He is also a burner, winning the Hawaii State 300 meter hurdle championship before moving to Utah.

I will have his complete bio up shortly.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (8:18 a.m.)

Barrington Signs NLI...

Federal Way High's Andre Barrington has signed his NLI. Barrington, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound linebacker was a three-year starter and played both running back and linebacker. This past season he was named all-league on both sides of the ball, as well as all-state on defense by the Associated Press, Tacoma News Tribune, the Seattle PI and the Seattle Times.

I will have his complete bio up shortly.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (8:13 a.m.)

Locker Bio...

LOCKER, CASEY DB 5-11 / 175 FR Ferndale, Wash. (Ferndale `09)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Four-year letterwinner and three-year starter for head coach Jamie Plenkovich...played both quarterback and safety...two-year captain for the Eagles...FRESHMAN year team went a perfect 14-0 and won the state championship...SOPHOMORE year named first-team All-Northwest League at safety...team went 10-1...JUNIOR year named Northwest League's Most Valuable Player, and garnered all-league accolades on both sides of the ball...Associated Press 3-A All-State honorable mention...completed 63-of-121 passes for 1,115 yards and 10 touchdowns with only three interceptions...also rushed for 675 yards and 12 touchdowns...SENIOR year was named Tacoma News Tribune Northwest Nugget honorable mention and Seattle Times Red Chip prospect...Seattle Times and TNT All-State on defense... AP 3-A All-State quarterback... Whatcom County Herald All-Area and MVP...was again named league MVP, as well as first-team all-league at both quarterback and defensive back...team went 11-1...named preseason all-state by MaxPreps...completed 65-of-113 passes for 1,256 yards and 14 touchdowns...once again threw only three interceptions...rushed for 693 yards on 87 carries, and scored 11 touchdowns and a two-point conversion... rated No. 70 on Scout.com's Northwest Hot 150...Scout.com also has him at No. 35 on Washington's Top 40 list...also lettered four times in baseball and three times in basketball...garnered first-team all-league honors on the diamond as a freshman and was named the league's most valuable player as a junior...was also named all-state first team as a junior.
PERSONAL: Casey Lee Locker...father John and mother Traci...brothers Riley and Brady...sister Haley...Brady plays baseball for Skagit Valley...cousin Jake Locker plays quarterback for Washington...grandfather Ed Brown went to WSU...enjoys hanging out with friends.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (8:10 a.m.)

Add Locker to the List...

Ferndale High's Casey Locker has submitted his National Letter of Intent. Locker, the cousin of Husky quarterback Jake Locker, was a four-year letterwinner for Ferndale, starting at both safety and quarterback. This past season he was named all-state by the Seattle Times and the Tacoma News Tribune on defense, and was named all-state at quarterback by the Associated Press.

I will have his complete bio up shortly.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (8:03 a.m.)

Clayton and Tuel Bios...

Below are complete bios on both Justin Clayton and Jeff Tuel:

CLAYTON, JUSTIN DT 6-4 / 250 FR Napa, Calif. (Justin-Siena)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Three-year letterwinner for head coach Rich Cotruvo...played both offensive and defensive line... SOPHOMORE year team went 8-3...JUNIOR year garnered first-team all-county on defense...was also named first-team all-league on both offense and defense...named team's Rock Award winner...team went 6-5 and made the playoffs...SENIOR year was team captain...team went 9-4 and won the North Coast Division IV Championship...named Marin County Athletic League's Linemen of the Year...Napa County Defensive Player of the Year...CalHiSports small schools first-team all-state...named third-team All-Golden State by Scout.com...named second-team all-metro by the San Francisco Chronicle...second-team California Division 3 All-State by MaxPreps...rated No. 33 amongst Northern California recruits by Rivals.com...Scout.com ranks him No. 10 among defensive tackles in the West...once again garnered team's Rock Award...also lettered once in both baseball and basketball.
PERSONAL: Justin Guy Clayton...father Richard...mother Kimberly...sister Katie...enjoys working out, playing video games and watching movies...plans to pursue a degree in either business or criminal justice.

TUEL, JEFF QB 6-3 / 207 FR Fresno, Calif. (Clovis West)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Three-year letterwinner...FRESHMAN year played at Salpointe Catholic in Tucson, Ariz...JUNIOR year served as backup quarterback to Beau Sweeney (California)...played wide receiver and caught six passes for 68 yards...also rushed 14 times for 59 yards and one touchdown...was 6-for-6 on two-point conversions...SENIOR year led Clovis West to the California Division I Central Section Championship...named Valley Championship's Player of the Game...named first-team all-valley and first-team All-Tri-River Athletic Conference...named team's offensive player of the year...completed 136-of-271 passes for 1,714 yards and 12 touchdowns...rushed 152 times for 674 yards and five touchdowns...2,379 all-purpose yards accounted for 56 percent of team's total offense...also accounted for 43 percent of team's scoring...rated No. 88 amongst California prospects by Scout.com...rated No. 137 on Scout.com's West Hot 150...also lettered three times in baseball.
PERSONAL: Jeffrey Tuel...born in Boca Raton, Fla...father Jeff...mother Valerie...sister Amanda...grandfather Dave Hurm was an All-American in baseball at Duke...uncle Mark Hurm played football at Florida...enjoys hunting, fishing and cars...honor student every semester of high school...won the 2008 Scholar-Athlete Award...carries a 3.6 grade-point average in high school.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (8:01 a.m.)

Thompson Video...

If you look up at the top, right hand corner of this page, you will see a link for Signing Day Central.

Click on the link, and it will take you to a page where you can view video footage of Terell Thompson. Just click the video icon...

You will need to be an All-Access member to view the video.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (7:52 a.m.)

Two More NLIs...

Justin Clayton and Jeff Tuel have each submitted valid National Letters of Intent, joining Terell Thompson on this year's list of signees.

Clayton, a defensive tackle out of Napa, Calif., is 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, and was named Napa County Defensive Player of the Year and the Marin County Athletic League's Linemen of the Year.

Tuel, a quarterback out of Fresno, Calif., led Clovis West High to the California Division I Central Section Championship and was named first-team all-valley and first-team All-Tri-River Athletic Conference. A threat through both through the air and on the ground, Tuel completed 136-of-271 passes for 1,714 yards and 12 touchdowns, and rushed 152 times for 674 yards and five touchdowns. His 2,379 all-purpose yards accounted for 56 percent of team's total offense.

I will have complete bios on these two up shortly.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (7:45 a.m.)

Thompson Bio...

Here is the complete bio on WSU's first official signee...

THOMPSON, TERELL LB 6-2 / 215 Aurora, Colo. (Eaglecrest '09)
HIGH SCHOOL:
Earned four varsity letters in football under head coach Tom Doherty...also lettered three times in basketball for coach John Olander...SOPHOMORE season gained 1,896 total yards and scored 18 touchdowns...JUNIOR year rushed for 963 yards and eight touchdowns ...earned All-Centennial League Second Team honors...named team and offensive MVP...team captain...SENIOR year began by rushing for 399 yards and six touchdowns in 47-26 win over Arapahoe, shattering both Eaglecrest and Centennial League records... rushed for 1,368 yards and scored 18 touchdowns on season...named to 2008 Aurora Sentinel All-City First Team as a running back and was an All-Centennial League First Team selection...repeated as team captain.
PERSONAL: Terell Markis Thompson...parents Clinton and Jennifer Carruthers...uncle Gary Richard played football at the University of Pittsburgh...has two sisters, one older and one younger...plans to pursue a degree in sport management or business at WSU.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 4 (7:39 a.m.)

The First NLI is In!

Terell Thompson was the first to submit his National letter of Intent this morning.

A linebacker out of Aurora, Colo., Thompson also played running back at Eaglecrest High. He garnered All-Centennial League First Team honors as well as first-team Aurora Sentinel All-City accolades. In one game this season he rushed for 399 yards and six touchdowns.

I will have his complete bio up shortly.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


February 3 (1:20 p.m.)

THIS...Is Signing Day Central...

Hopefully by now you have all heard the news. If not, here it is...

WSUCOUGARS.com is the go-to place for everything signing day. We have a team of people working to bring you everything you could want from signing day - and ONLY here will you be getting everything live and in real-time.

This is where we are going to be releasing the exclusive first look at each of WSU's signees. As soon as National Letters of Intent (NLIs) are received and approved by the WSU administration, you will see it here at First and Crimson.

You want more?

How about video footage? We will have that HERE.

How about a chat with recruiting coordinator Rich Rasmussen? We will have that HERE.

As soon as I get the approval, I will release the names. Then I will bring you the bios. I will let you know when video footage of the signees has been posted.

Come early and come often, I will be here all day...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


January 26 (3:50 p.m.)

Check Out the Fan Poll...

Vote for your favorite Cougar football day of the year on the front page of wsucougars.com.

Signing day is just around the corner (Feb. 4)...Is that your favorite day? Or do you like the excitement that surrounds the fresh beginning of a season on the first day of fall camp?

Cougar Football Saturday is another choice, but personally, I am partial to the Apple Cup.

Feel free to vote for whatever you like...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


January 22 (12:03 p.m.)

Checking in at the Senior Bowl...

Well, Cougar fans. I have some good news and some bad news out of the Senior Bowl...

I will start with the good news. Chris Steuber, Scout.com's NFL Draft Analyst, had some great things to say about Brandon Gibson:

"Washington State wide receiver Brandon Gibson was the most consistent offensive player at Tuesday morning's North team practice. Gibson flashed exceptional hands and only dropped one pass during the hour and a half session. He ran smooth routes and was quick out of his breaks. Gibson was excellent in seven-on-seven drills. On one play, he showed good awareness on the left sideline when he pulled in a high Graham Harrell pass, while his momentum was pulling him out of bounds, and was able to tap both feet in bounds."

Now...on to the bad news, also from Steuber:

"Another receiver that shined this week was Washington State's Brandon Gibson. After a solid showing on Tuesday, Gibson left practice early with an apparent hamstring injury to his right leg. He was seen on the sideline with an ice wrap on the back of his leg."

Brandon is more than likely done for the week, but he made a great impression on all of the NFL personnel at the Senior Bowl while he was able to go.

Good luck to Brandon and the rest of the Cougar seniors in their pre-draft preparations.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


January 13 (4:48 p.m.)

Gibson to Play in Senior Bowl...

I will be sending this out to the media here pretty soon, but I wanted to give you all the first look...

Washington State senior wide receiver Brandon Gibson has accepted an invitation to play in the Under Armour Senior Bowl, bowl officials announced today.

An honorable mention All-Pacific-10 Conference selection following the 2008 season, Gibson completed his Cougar career as WSU's all-time leader in career receiving yards (2,756) and ranked second on the school's career receptions list (182). Gibson's 17 career touchdowns rank sixth all-time at WSU.

Kickoff for the 60th game is set for 4 p.m. (PT), Jan. 24, at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala. The game will be televised by the NFL Network.

The Under Armour Senior Bowl is college football's premier pre-draft event, annually featuring the nation's best senior collegiate football stars and top NFL draft prospects on teams coached by NFL coaching staffs. Senior Bowl practices and game week festivities are attended by more than 800 general managers, head coaches, assistant coaches, scouts and other front office personnel from all 32 National Football League teams.

For more information on the 2009 Under Armour Senior Bowl, or for ticket information, please visit the bowl's website at www.seniorbowl.com.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


January 13 (11:55 a.m.)

TV Programming Alert...

It has been a while my friends...

I wanted to give everyone a heads up on a one-hour special that will be airing on ESPNU during the month of January. The Pac-10 Football Season in Review will air today at 2:30 p.m. (PT), and will be re-aired Jan. 16 (1:30 a.m. PT), Jan. 19 (2 a.m. PT) and Jan. 20 (12:30 p.m. PT).

Hope you all are doing well and looking forward to another season of Cougar football...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


December 11 (2:19 p.m.)

Some Television You Won't Want to Miss...

Beginning this weekend, Fox Sports Northwest will be featuring "In My Own Words" segments with former Cougar greats Rueben Mayes and Jason Gesser.

Mayes' segment will air Saturday (Dec. 13) at 7 p.m., while Gesser's will air Sunday (Dec. 14) at 1 a.m.

If you miss the first run, or want to watch again, here is a schedule of when you can see the shows...

Mayes:
Dec. 15 - 1:00 a.m.
Dec. 17 - 8:00 p.m.
Dec. 25 - 1:30 a.m.
Dec. 27 - 10:30 p.m.

Gesser:
Dec. 15 - 12:30 a.m.
Dec. 25 - 1:00 a.m.
Dec. 27 - 11:00 p.m.
Jan. 4 - 1:00 a.m.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


December 8 (2:21 p.m.)

All-Pac-10 Team...

The Washington State University football team had a trio of student-athletes receive All-Pacific-10 Conference recognition, the league office announced today.

Senior wide receiver Brandon Gibson, senior middle linebacker Greg Trent and redshirt junior center Kenny Alfred were each named All-Pac-10 honorable mention.

Keep an eye out for my release, which should be posted on the site within the next hour or so.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


November 28 (11:49 a.m.)

This Day in History/Five Reasons to Believe...

I hope you all had an outstanding Thanksgiving spent with friends and family.

The Cougars haven't played a game on Nov. 28 in the last 60-plus years, so we are going to go with a game from yesterday's date...

Nov. 27, 1999
There wasn't a lot of scoring in the first half of Washington State's game at Hawaii to close out the 1999 season, but the second half turned into a shootout...

Jason Gesser was making his first career start in his home state, in front of 45,382 fans on a very windy day in Aloha Stadium. WSU got on the board early with a 41-yard Rian Lindell field goal with 12:10 remaining in the first quarter, but that would be the only points either team would score during the first half.

On the opening drive of the third quarter, the Cougars put three more points on the board with a 36-yard field goal from Lindell. Two Hawaii possessions later, the Rainbows took a 7-6 lead on a Dan Robinson to Dwight Carter 75-yard pass.

On Hawaii's next possession, Marcus Trufant intercepted a Robinson pass and took it back 45 yards to give the Cougars great field position at the Rainbow 46. Two plays later Adam Hawkins scored on a 30-yard rush to put WSU back in the lead at 12-7.

LeJuan Gibbons picked off another Robinson pass to get the ball back for the Cougars on the next possession, but Nian Taylor fumbled the ball on WSU's ensuing possession and the Rainbows' Anthony Smith returned it 38 yards for a touchdown to put Hawaii back in the lead (14-12).

With 7:26 left in the game, the Cougars marched 73 yards and scored on a 24-yard Lindell field goal to regain the lead. WSU would score once more on a Hawkins touchdown for a final margin of 22-14, but the field goal from Lindell gave the Cougars the lead for good.

Five Reasons to Believe

5. WSU Seniors
Four of WSU's seniors will be captains for the game against the Warriors: Matt Mullennix, Greg Trent, Devin Frischknecht and Ben Woodard. The Cougar contingent leads a group of seniors who want nothing more than to win their final two games as Cougars.

4. Hawaii's Last Victory
This will only be the fourth meeting between WSU and Hawaii, but the only victory for the Warriors over the Cougars was in the first meeting - more than 83 years ago (Jan. 1, 1925).

3. Hawaii Against the Pac-10
The Warriors are 13-34 all-time when squaring off against Pac-10 teams, including 1-2 against the Cougars.

2. Games Following the Apple Cup
Since the institution of the Apple Cup in 1962, the Cougars are 7-2-1 in games played that season following the Cougars' intra-state rivalry. WSU has won four consecutive games played after Apple Cup match-ups: Texas in 2003, UCLA in 2002, Purdue in 2001 and Hawaii in 1999.

1. Winning Against the WAC
Washington State has won its last 10 games against schools which were members of the Western Athletic Conference at the time of the meeting. WSU's last loss was 50-36 at No. 5 BYU, Sept. 15, 1990.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


November 25 (2:51 p.m.)

Getting Ready for the Finale...

The WSU football team will leave tomorrow for Hawaii, stopping in Seattle for the evening before flying out to the Aloha State Thursday.

The team practiced this morning in the indoor practice facility, and will practice tomorrow morning once again before flying out.

Head Coach Paul Wulff announced his game captains for the final game of 2008, and for the first time this season the Cougars will have four players meet at midfield, all of which are seniors: Matt Mullennix, Greg Trent, Devin Frischknecht and Ben Woodard.

Coach Wulff and the seniors have made it the team's goal to win each of the Cougars' last two games. Step one was accomplished last week with the double-overtime victory in the Apple Cup.

There are a number of photo galleries to check out from the Apple Cup by clicking HERE.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


November 24 (4:47 p.m.)

Still Reveling, But Looking Forward...

Before we take a look ahead at Saturday's game against Hawaii, let's continue to look back at the double-overtime Apple Cup victory...

Can you guess which play was the Sterling Savings Play of the Week? Click the link to find out...

In my opinion, the greatest postgame note from the game was this one: Paul Wulff became the first WSU head coach to win his Apple Cup debut since Jim Sweeney in 1968.

Now...on to Hawaii...

WSU-HAWAII SERIES
Saturday's matchup marks the fourth meeting between the two teams and the first since a 22-14 WSU victory in Hawaii, Nov. 27, 1999. The Cougars hold a 2-1 advantage all-time, having dropped the first meeting 20-11 in 1925. Four years later WSU evened the series with a 28-7 victory and the only other meeting came in 1999. All three previous games have been played at Hawaii. Satur?day's contest is the first of a three-game agreement between the two schools, with Hawaii traveling east for the game in 2009 and the Cougars returning to Hawaii during the 2011 season.

NOTE OF THE WEEK
This weekend's game against Hawaii to conclude the 2008 season will mark the fifth time in the past 50 years the Cougars have ended their regular season with a team other than Washington (2002 UCLA, 1998 Hawaii, 1987 California and 1959 Houston)...Including bowl games, the Cougars have won the final game of their season in five of the last seven seasons.

To read this week's release in its entirety, click HERE.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


November 22 (5:25 p.m.)

Double-Overtime Glory...

Simply one of the greatest Apple Cups of all-time...Here are the postgame notes...

- With the victory over the Huskies, WSU Head Coach Paul Wulff became the first head coach to win the Apple Cup in his debut season with the Cougars since Jim Sweeney in 1968.

- WSU's victory over Washington gives the Cougars four Apple Cups in the last five years, the first time in the history of the rivalry that WSU has accomplished the feat...the victory is the fi rst in Martin Stadium for the Cougars since 2004 (28-25).

- With the victory, WSU defensive end Matt Mullennix won the fourth Apple Cup of his career...Mullennix is the first player in school history to be a part of four Apple Cup victories.

- With sophomore cornerback Romeo Pellum's first quarter interception - his second of the season - the Cougar defense has now prevented its opponent from scoring on its first possession in each of the last three games...prior to the stretch, WSU had allowed scores on first possessions in seven of nine games to start 2008 (five touchdowns and three field goals)...Pellum's first interception of 2008 ended Arizona's first drive two weeks ago at Martin Stadium.

- WSU held Washington scoreless in the first quarter, the second consecutive week WSU's opponent failed to score in the opening stanza...WSU also held Arizona State without a first quarter score last week and UCLA scoreless in the first quarter earlier this season.

- With his five receptions, senior wide receiver Brandon Gibson claimed sole possession of second place on WSU's career receptions list, passing Hugh Campbell (176; 1960-62)...Gibson now has 181, and trails only Michael Bumpus (195; 2004-07) on the all-time list.

- Redshirt sophomore punter Reid Forrest's 28-yard rush in the second quarter was the third-longest rush of the season for the Cougars at the time (now fourth-longest following Mitz's 57-yard rush)...only Logwone Mitz (36 and 42 yards) had longer rushes this season prior to Forrest's run.

- Mitz's 57-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was the Cougars' longest rush of the season, and WSU's longest scoring play in 2008...the touchdown ended a six-quarter scoreless streak for the Cougars...Mitz's 70 yards was a career high...previous career high was 62 yards against both Portland State and Stanford earlier this season.

- Tyree Toomer's third quarter sack was the first of his career...after going four consecutive games without a sack, the Cougars have four sacks in their last three games.

- With 12 tackles, senior middle linebacker Greg Trent passed Gary Larsen (317; 1971-74) to move into seventh place on the WSU career tackles list...Trent now has 321 career tackles.

- Washington State won the Apple Cup for the first time in overtime...Washington won the previous two Apple Cups (1996 and 2002) that went into overtime.

- The Cougar defense held the Huskies to zero or negative yards on 14 rushing plays including the sack by Toomer.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


November 22 (1:35 p.m.)

Halftime Update...

Well the score is 10-0 in favor of the visitors, but WSU gets the ball to start the half.

One of the biggest plays of the first half, if not the biggest, was Reid Forrest's 28-yard run on the fake punt. The 28-yard run was the third-longest of the season by a Cougar...only Logwone Mitz (36 yards and 42 yards) has a longer run.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


November 22 (11:40 a.m.)

ALL CRIMSON...

Hopefully you all have seen Cougar Pride, the new 15-foot Cougar monument. If you have yet to see it, CLICK HERE.

Well it's about 30 minutes until kickoff...The Cougars are wearing all crimson uniforms. WSU is wearing the Cougar script on a crimson helmet, with crimson pants and crimson jerseys.

If I have any updates before the game, I will be sure to pass them along.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


November 21 (4:02 p.m.)

Five Reasons to Believe/This Day in History...

I absolutely love Apple Cup week...I hope to see a packed Martin Stadium tomorrow...

5. Seniors
The Cougar faithful want the last Martin Stadium memory for WSU's seniors to be a good one. What would be better than beating the Huskies?

4. Kenny Alfred and Xavier Hicks
Your game captains for this week...Alfred is the leader of the Cougar offensive line and will be instrumental in the offense getting off to a good start against the Dawgs. In only eight games this season, Hicks has racked up the second-most tackles for the Cougars (63), and leads the team with two interceptions.

3. They talk history. We talk RECENT history...
WSU has won three of the last four Apple Cup games. Enough said...

2. Winless in conference? Not anymore...
Neither team enters tomorrow's game with a conference victory. Since the formation of the Pacific-10 Conference in 1978, only three times has the Apple Cup featured a team without a win in conference play heading into the rivalry game. The only team able to stop the bleeding? The Cougars, who started the 2005 season 0-7 in the Pac-10, but finished the year with a victory over the Huskies in Seattle.

1. Playing for Pride
When all that is left to play for is pride, the Cougars have more of it. When neither team has an opportunity to reach .500 with an Apple Cup victory - there have been eight of these Apple Cup games - the Cougars have won five times, and lost three. The Cougars have won each of the last three Apple Cups when pride is all that is left to play for.

Nov. 21, 1992
How could we pick any other game played on Nov. 21, 1992? One of the most memorable games in school history, today is the 16th anniversary of the Snow Bowl.

I was in Boise, Idaho, last night having dinner and got to watch it on one of the big screens at The Ram. It never gets old...

If you are unfamiliar with one of the greatest Apple Cups of all time, click HERE to get caught up. For those of you who remember it well, but like me never get tired of seeing footage from the game, there is also a highlight video on the page.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


November 19 (5:21 p.m.)

More Apple Cup...

We have a number of videos for you to check out today. Each of the following videos features Cougars talking Apple Cup...

Coach Wulff

Greg Trent

Kevin Lopina

Matt Eichelberger

Brandon Gibson

I am sure most of you have heard about Cougar Pride, a 15-foot tall monument commissioned by Gary Schneidmiller (WSU class of '71) and created by artists Mike and Chester Fields. Cougar Pride will be dedicated during a ceremony at the Martin Stadium plaza, Saturday, Nov. 22 at 10 a.m., two hours prior to kickoff of the Apple Cup, proudly sponsored by Boeing.

For more information on Cougar Pride, click HERE.

And if you haven't been keeping up with the greatest moments in Apple Cup history, you might want to check THIS PAGE out. Jason Krump has put together everything you could imagine on the most storied football rivalry in the state of Washington.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


November 18 (6:38 p.m.)

Everything Apple Cup...

Well, we missed yesterday's entry (I was on my way back from Lubbock, Texas), so let's get on with everything...

WSU-UW SERIES
Dating back to the first meeting between the Huskies and Cougars in 1900, a 5-5 tie in Seattle, Washington leads the 100-game series by a 64-30-6 margin. From 1934-61 the winner of the cross-state rivalry was awarded the Governor's Trophy. In 1962 the Apple Cup trophy was instituted, and Washington holds a 32-13 record in Apple Cup games since. WSU has won three of the last four Apple Cups, however, including last season's 42-35 Cougar victory in Seattle. Washington holds a 15-12-1 advantage when playing in Pullman, including a 35-32 victory in 2006, the last time the Apple Cup was played at Martin Stadium.

NOTE OF THE WEEK
If the Cougars are able to earn a win over Washington, the WSU will have won four of five Apple Cups for the first time in school history. Redshirt senior defensive end Matt Mullennix, who was granted a sixth year of eligibility prior to 2008, would be the first Cougar in school history to be a part of four Apple Cup victories

Click HERE to view this week's release in its entirety.

Tuesday Teleconference
Coach Wulff talked to the media today at his weekly press conference.

On the difference between coaching and playing in the Apple Cup...
"Obviously, as a player your mindset is a little bit different than as a coach. You have a more physical part that you're demanding yourself to do. As a coach, it's truly all mental. So it is different."

On this year's match-up...
"The one thing about this game - you hear people say it all the time - you throw out the records. And that is true regardless of what the records are now. I don't think it's ever really been about the records, before now and in the future. That's how we're looking at it."

On the importance of this game...
"I think that both teams - and obviously us, I can't speak for the other team - we want to win it. It will help kill some of the sting from the season. I think it's important that we have the opportunity to do that, and you go into the offseason feeling a little bit better about yourself. I don't know that the outcome of the ballgame is going to affect the future of the programs, I don't think that's the case. It's not going to make a program worse, and it's not going to make a program better. But it does make you feel a little bit better. So I think it's very important that we try to get that accomplished for ourselves, our team and our alumni."

If you would like to see video footage from today's teleconference, click HERE. You will need to be an All-Access member to view the video.

As of yesterday there were still 1,800 tickets left for the Apple Cup. You can purchase tickets to the game by clicking the graphic in the upper right-hand corner of the front page of our site.

Some injury news...an MRI confirmed a torn ACL for running back Chantz Staden. He will have surgery early next month.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


November 14 (2:17 p.m.)

This Day in History, Five Reasons to Believe...

Before we take a look back, your game captains for this week are seniors Vaughn Lesuma and A'I Ahmu.

Nov. 14, 1981
WSU had reached as high as No. 14 nationally, but the loss to the fourth-ranked Trojans Oct. 31, 1981, dropped the Cougars out of the top 25. A win over Oregon the following week jumped WSU back up to No. 17 for its game against California in Spokane.

It was cloudy and winds were gusting as much as 53 miles-per-hour for the game, perfect conditions for the Cougar defense.

The Cougars forced the Golden Bears into punting on each of their first two possessions, but were unable to get any offense of their own going until late in the first quarter. With 3-minutes, 45-seconds left in the opening quarter, the Cougar ground game took control. WSU ran the ball on nine of 10 plays before the end of the quarter.

On the 11th play of the drive, and the first of the second quarter, WSU quarterback Clete Casper kept the ball on a sneak, scoring from the one-yard line. WSU missed the extra point, but still led 6-0.

The Cougar defense forced California into a three-and-out on its next possession, and California's punter was only able to advance the ball six yards. WSU's offense was given great field position at California's 32-yard line, and six plays later - all rushes - the Cougars scored once again to go up 12-0.

The Cougar defense continued to stifle the Golden Bear offense in the second half, as California was unable to get into Cougar territory the final two quarters.

WSU would add another Casper touchdown in the fourth quarter, knocking off the Golden Bears 19-0 en route to an appearance in the Holiday Bowl, WSU's first bowl game since the 1931 Rose Bowl.

Five Reasons to Believe

5. When They're Down
The last time Arizona State entered its game with the Cougars with a losing record was in 2003. ASU was 4-6, and WSU handed the Sun Devils a 34-19 defeat. ASU enters this game with a record of 3-6...

4. Is This the Week?
Senior wide receiver Brandon Gibson needs only 35 yards to become WSU's all-time leader in career receiving yardage. The feat could spark the Cougars in Tempe.

3. The Cougar Offense
Led by quarterback Kevin Lopina - who Coach Wulff says is really coming into his own - the WSU scoring attack is beginning to take shape. WSU scored 28 on Arizona last week - the second-most allowed by the Wildcats this season. How many can the Cougars put up on the conference's seventh-ranked scoring defense?

2. Vaughn Lesuma and A'i Ahmu
Your Cougar game captains for this week, Coach Wulff said yesterday that Lesuma has stepped up his game these last couple weeks, and Ahmu played every snap last week against Arizona, registering four tackles and a sack.

1. Redemption
ASU won last year's meeting on a 37-yard field goal with less than a minute remaining. The last team to defeat WSU on a last-minute field goal was Oregon in 2005 - a 19-yarder with 0:01 remaining. You all remember what happened the following year...WSU defeated a 16th-ranked Oregon team 34-23 in 2006, avenging the previous season's loss.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


November 13 (3:21 p.m.)

Teleconference Notes and Some Long Snapping Talk...

Much of the focus of today's teleconference was directed toward the offensive line...

Coach Wulff thinks his offensive line will look like this for the ASU game:

LT - Vaughn Lesuma
LG - Steven Ayers
C - Kenny Alfred
RG - B.J. Guerra
RT - Micah Hannam

"I think that Vaughn has picked up his play the last two weeks," Wulff said. "Steven Ayers and Andrew Roxas have gone back and forth with inconsistency. B.J. is coming into his own, and he's doing a nice job. I think he's got a big upside. And Micah has been battling a shoulder injury. He's been real tough. He's been battling through it all season. And of course Kenny, at center, has been solid.

"We feel like there is a flickering of light in the offensive line. We need that to keep going."

On Steven Ayers' future...
"I think guard, ideally, is where he is best suited by his god-given abilities. A lot of that will depend on some of the players we're redshirting now, and how they fit into the tackle position, and where that all comes to fruition next fall."

On this week's practice...
"It's been good. Tuesday and Wednesday have both been pretty solid practices. We've turned a corner in terms of we're practicing better. We're practicing more consistently the last two weeks than we have all year. There's some improvement in some of these players, particularly the young guys. It's been a good week of practice so far."

Zach Enyeart
Coach Wulff talked about Zach Enyeart, WSU's redshirt sophomore long snapper. Long snappers don't get a lot of attention - unless they mess up. One of the bright spots on the Cougar football team this year has been Enyeart's play.

Thus far in 2008 WSU has punted 67 times, attempted eight field goals and attempted 18 PATs - and Enyeart has snapped for all 93 total kicks. His number of bad snaps? Zero.

Enyeart has been battling a bit of a shoulder injury, and Coach Wulff said that he should be able to snap this week.

"We need him to snap," Wulff said.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


November 12 (6:34 p.m.)

A Blistery Wednesday...

It was a bit windy today, so the Cougars headed inside to the Indoor Practice Facility...

Running back Chris Ivory was at practice again today and fellow RB Logwone Mitz also returned to the field. Mitz was in a yellow jersey, and Ivory laid a huge block on a defensive end. He has missed some time, but he looked pretty good today.

A bit of news on the jersey front...Shane Thomas will be wearing No. 19 instead of No. 31. Thought you would like to know...

If you missed any of today's radio interviews on KJR, check out their Web site (www.kjram.com) and listen to the podcasts. James Montgomery was on with Ian Furness, and Xavier Hicks was on with Mike Gastineau. Coach Rasmussen taped a podcast with Jason Puckett tonight after practice, so look for that tomorrow.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


November 11 (10:46 a.m.)

Weekly Release, Veterans Day Story...

If you haven't checked out THIS STORY written by our own Jason Krump, you really should. It's a great Veterans Day read about former Cougar Darrin Friberg. Darrin is a really, really bright guy, and I'd like to wish him a safe tour once again.

On to this week's release...

WSU-ASU SERIES: Arizona State leads the all-time series by a 20-12-2 margin, including a 12-5-2 advantage when playing in Tempe. The Cougars have dropped the last four meetings in the series after winning the previous three. Last year Thomas Weber kicked a 37-yard field goal with less than one minute remaining to lift ASU to a 23-20 win, a game in which WSU recorded seven sacks. The last time these two teams met in Tempe, ASU came away with a 47-14 win in 2006. WSU's last win in Tempe occured in 2001, a 28-16 victory. This week's game also marks the third straight season the Cougars have faced ASU the week after playing Arizona, and WSU is 0-5 against the Arizona schools in that span.

NOTE OF THE WEEK: Senior wide receiver Brandon Gibson needs only 35 yards to become WSU's all-time leader in career receiving yards. Gibson currently has 2,670 yards during his four-year career, trailing only Jason Hill's 2,704 career yards.

Speaking of Jason Hill, how about his performance last night on Monday Night Football? A team-high seven receptions for 84 yards...Watching him catch that touchdown pass a couple of weeks ago against the Seahawks made me realize how Kevin Night-Pipe must have felt last year in the playoffs when Marcus Trufant returned an interception for a touchdown against the Redskins. Night-Pipe is one of our video guys, and he is a huge Washington fan. You want to be mad, but you just can't make yourself!

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


November 8 (5:55 p.m.)

Postgame Notes...

- Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Toby Turpin and redshirt freshman running back Logwone Mitz each made their first career starts today against Arizona...through the first 10 games of 2008, WSU has had 26 student-athletes register their first career start...Turpin is the ninth defensive player to register his first career start this season, and Mitz is the 17th player on offense.

- Running back Dwight Tardy's 18-yard first quarter touchdown run ended a scoring drought that lasted a total of 159-minutes, 18 seconds of game time...WSU had been held scoreless the previous 10 quarters...the touchdown gave the Cougars their first lead of the season against a Pacific-10 Conference school.

- WSU's first quarter touchdown were the first points off of a turnover since Louis Bland's 16-yard interception return for a touchdown against Oregon State...Cougars added a touchdown after recovering a third quarter fumbled punt...WSU has now scored 37 points off turnovers this season.

- With 10 tackles, Greg Trent became the 10th student-athlete in school history to record 300 career tackles...equaled season-high 10 tackles (set at Oregon State)...Trent also recorded his first fumble recovery since the 2007 Apple Cup.

- Sophomore cornerback Romeo Pellum's first quarter interception was the first of his career...Pellum's 32-yard return was the longest by a Cougar this season.

- Sophomore safety Chima Nwachukwu recorded 13 tackles against Arizona to tie his career high...first double-digit tackling performance since he set a career high with 13 tackles against USC in 2007...Romeo Pellum also recorded 10 tackles for the second time in his career to tie his career high.

- Logwone Mitz's 42-yard run at the end of the first quarter was the longest rush by a Cougar in 2008.

- Quarterback Kevin Lopina's four-yard second quarter touchdown and six-yard fourth quarter score were his second and third rushing touchdowns of the season, respectively...Lopina is the first Cougar quarterback to rush for two touchdowns in a single game since Ryan Lead did it against Washington in 1995.

- WSU's four rushing touchdowns were the most since the second game of the 2006 season (Idaho)...WSU also scored four rushing touchdowns against the Vandals.

- Senior wide receiver Brandon Gibson caught four passes for 37 yards, extending his streak of consecutive games with a reception to 33...entering today Gibson's reception streak was tied for the 13th-longest in the nation and tied for the longest in the Pac-10 with Arizona's Mike Thomas.

- Senior defensive tackle A'i Ahmu's third quarter sack was the first by a Cougar since Kendrick Dunn recorded a sack against Oregon earlier this season.

- With seven kickoff returns, Chantz Staden became the WSU single-season record holder...Staden now has 40 on the season passing Victor Wood (1988) and Sammy Moore (2003)...last week Staden set the WSU single-season record for kickoff return yards...Staden now has 905 kickoff return yards this season.


November 8 (3:31 p.m.)

Halftime Update...

The Cougars trail 35-14, but it was an exciting first half...

Romeo Pellum recorded his first career interception, which led to WSU's first score in nearly 160 game minutes - an 18-yard touchdown by Dwight Tardy. The touchdown gave the Cougars their first lead over a Pac-10 school this season.

Logwone Mitz broke a 42-yard run - the longest by a Cougar this season - which set up a four-yard rushing score by quarterback Kevin Lopina.

Greg Trent already has eight tackles, and needs only two more to become only the 10th player in school history to record 300 career tackles.

Enjoy the second half...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


November 8 (1:43 p.m.)

Pre-game in Pullman...UPDATED AT 2 p.m.

It's about 50 degrees and wet in Pullman. The showers have subsided, but only after a good couple of hours of rainfall...

We have about 30 minutes until kickoff. No TV for this game, but those of you listening to Bob Robertson on the Cougar Sports Radio Network are going to hear a new name in the Cougar defensive starting line-up.

At this point, I can tell you that Toby Turpin will be making his first career start as a Cougar.

Redshirt freshman running back Logwone Mitz will also be making his first career start today.

The Cougars will have had 26 different first-time starters through the first 10 games this season.

I will check back in at halftime with some news and notes...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


November 7 (3:32 p.m.)

This Day in History, Five Reasons to Believe...

Nov. 7, 1992
No. 25 Washington State cranked up the offense in the third quarter to score two field goals and a touchdown in handing Arizona State a 20-18 loss at Martin Stadium. ASU jumped out to a 10-0 first quarter lead, but the Cougars scored 20 straight before a late Sun Devil score pulled the visitors within two points.

The Sun Devils' first score came after a Drew Bledsoe pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage and after being batted around, was finally grabbed by the Sun Devils' Greg Kordis, who took it 10 yards to the WSU nine. On the next play, ASU's first play from scrimmage, Kevin Galbreath put ASU ahead with a nine-yard touchdown run.

Later in the first quarter ASU drove 44 yards in 11 plays en route to a Mike Richey 27-yard field goal that game the Sun Devils a 10-0.

Early in the second quarter WSU drove 56 yards for their first touchdown, a 25-yard Bledsoe pass to Deron Pointer. The Cougars tied the game on their first possession of the second half when Aaron Price hit a 28-yard field goal following Kurt Loertscher's interception at the 29-yard line.

A Robert Turner interception and 27-yard return set up WSU on its next possession at the ASU 21-yard line, leading to a 31-yard Price field goal that put the Cougars ahead 13-10.

On their next possession, Bledsoe led the Cougars 80 yards, the final 31 on a pass to C.J. Davis. WSU led 20-10, but ASU would not go away.

In the fourth quarter, ASU's Shante Carver blocked a Steve Johnston punt that went through the end zone. The safety put the Sun Devils within eight. Then with 2:29 left in the game, Benton hit McCoy on a 29-yard touchdown, and ASU was within two. The Sun Devils would fail on their two-point attempt however, and the Cougars would go on to win 20-18.

Five Reasons to Believe

5. Dad's Weekend
The Cougars have won four of the last seven games played in front of Dad's Day crowds.

4. Making Strides
Led by Tyree Toomer, one of this week's game captains, WSU's freshmen have been seeing quite a bit of action and are improving every week.

3. Late in the Series
Though the Wildcats lead the all-time series 22-13, the Cougars have won four of the last six games played against Arizona.

2. Kevin Lopina
WSU's other game captain for this week, Lopina is looking to have his breakout performance as Cougar quarterback. After missing three games due to a back injury, Lopina is in his third game back as the WSU starter and is getting into a rhythm with his receivers.

1. Record Watch
Needing only 72 yards to become WSU's all-time leader in career receiving yards, senior wide receiver Brandon Gibson would like nothing more than to break Jason Hill's record and get a win in front of a home crowd at Martin Stadium.

GO COUGS!

Joe Nickell


November 6 (4:25 p.m.)

Coach Wulff Teleconference...

At this afternoon's teleconference, Coach Wulff talked about election night with the Cougars and the rebuilding process...

On election night...
"The election was going on, and we had a team meeting at 8:30 p.m. Of course the coaches had been watching film. We didn't know what was going on. We had our team meeting, and when we break we always give a 1-2-3, Go Cougs. We said 1-2-3, and everyone said Go, then one half said Obama, and the other half said Cougs. I didn't know what was said. It was also mumbled to me and then I asked. So I said, `Oh, he won.' That is when I first found out."

On the rebuilding process...
"Regardless when there is change, even if you have a heck of a team coming back - a tremendous amount of experience and players - the change is enough is just enough to be out of the comfort zone where sometimes it can mess up the chemistry that was going on there. But it does take time. You can look at Arizona as an example. In my mind, I would like to think we're going to get things turned around quicker than that. There is no question. I believe that and that's how we're going to try to do it. That's really all of our focus; getting ourselves as good as we can as quick as we can."

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


November 5 (6:09 p.m.)

Gary Rogers Update, Practice...

The Cougars were in Martin Stadium for practice this afternoon, and it was a bit chilly - I had to put both the gloves and the beanie on...

Tight end Devin Frischknecht returned to practice this afternoon, though his status is questionable for this weekend's game.

Gary Rogers also made an appearance at practice - sans neck brace. The Cougar quarterback got to take the brace off as of this past Thursday. He said he is a little sore, but overall he feels good. He can begin throwing in a couple weeks and he has already started lifting two days a week.

If you missed today's interviews on KJR with Kevin Lopina and/or Vaughn Lesuma, you can listen to the podcasts on their Web site (www.kjram.com).

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


November 4 (6:28 p.m.)

NFL News, Wulff Teleconference...

Before we get to today's notes from Coach Wulff's teleconference, let's take a look at this past weekend's slate of NFL games. There were some exciting performances from former Cougars...

Karl Paymah made his first start of the season for the Denver Broncos (fourth of his career) and led the team with 12 tackles (11 solo), had an interception and two passes defensed.

Tyron Brackenridge was re-signed by the Kansas City Chiefs, and he recorded six tackles (four solo; one special teams) and forced a fumble.

Coach Wulff talked about developing leadership at today's teleconference...

"If you've coached team sports before, and you've been around successful teams and teams that aren't successful - successful teams always have strong personalities and leadership, not only as coaches, but as players. We need that maturity and players who have been there and done that. We need more of that and we're trying to foster that as we speak. We as coaches are trying implement that as much as we possibly can. As coaches we can scream and holler all we want. We can keep them motivated and use all the tactics. But ultimately they'll have to do it together. It's definitely an element we need to grow and foster in our team right now."

Today's practice was moved into the bubble because of the rain.

Tonight's coaches show was moved to tomorrow night due to the election.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


November 3 (6:15 p.m.)

This Week's Release, Some TV Info...

If you would like to see this week's release in its entirety, CLICK HERE.

Series Information...
Arizona holds a 22-13 ad?vantage in the all-time series, although the Cougars have captured four of the last six games. The Wild?cats earned a 48-20 victory last season in Tucson as quarterback Willie Tuitama threw for five touchdowns. The Wildcats hold an 8-4 edge when playing in Pull?man, which includes a 27-17 victory in 2006, when WSU entered the game ranked No. 25 in the nation. Arizona has captured the last two games in the series after the Cougars had taken the previous four.

Stat of the Week...
This week's game against Arizona marks the 75th Dad's Day game in Cougar history. Dating back to the first Dad's Day game - a 61-0 trouncing of Montana - WSU is 34-35-5 in Dad's Day games. The Cougars won last year's Dad's Day game against Stanford (33-17), and has won four of the last seven Dad's Day games

Next week's WSU-Arizona State game was not selected for television and has been set for a 3:30 p.m. local (2:30 p.m. PT) start time.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


November 1 (5:05 p.m.)

Postgame Notes...

Well, that was a tough loss. Here are the postgame notes...

- For only the third time in nine games this season the Cougars started an offensive line combination that had previously started together...the combination of Vaughn Lesuma (LT), Andrew Roxas (LG), Kenny Alfred (C), BJ Guerra (RG) and Micah Hannam (RT) also started against Oregon State.

- Wide receiver Brandon Gibson hauled in five passes for 64 yards...Gibson has now caught a pass in 32 consecutive games...entering today's game, Gibson had the 14th-longest streak in the nation and second-longest streak in the Pacific-10 Conference.

- Kick returner Chantz Staden returned eight kickoffs against the Cardinal, setting the school's single-game record...previous record was seven, set by John Davis (1969; Iowa) and Eric Johnson (1972; USC)...Staden also became the WSU record-holder for single-season kickoff return yards...Staden racked up 132 return yards against Stanford, and now has 751 on the season...Staden surpassed Bernard Jackson's mark of 744, set in 1971...Staden's 33 returns this year are tied for first on the all-time single-season list, initially set by Victor Wood in 1988 and matched by Sammy Moore in 2003.

- True freshman JT Levenseller completed the first pass attempt of his career in the second quarter, a 14-yard pass to tight end Tony Thompson...Levenseller's father (Mike) and Thompson's father (Jack) played together at WSU from 1975-77...Jack Thompson completed 97 passes to Mike Levenseller during that span...JT, whose real name is Michael Jack Thomas Levenseller, was named after the elder Thompson.

- Sophomore defensive tackle Toby Turpin blocked a Stanford PAT in the third quarter...WSU has blocked PATs in consecutive games, as senior defensive end Matt Mullennix recorded a block against USC.

- Redshirt junior safety Xavier Hicks recorded 10 tackles against the Cardinal, his second double-digit tackle game of the season and the fourth of his career.

- The last time WSU was shut out in back-to-back games was in 1969...the Cougars were shutout by 18th-ranked Stanford (49-0; Oct. 18) and California (17-0; Oct. 25)...WSU has failed to score in 10 consecutive quarters...WSU's 280-game scoring streak, the fourth-longest Football Bowl Division streak all-time, was snapped two weeks ago against USC.


November 1 (3:35 p.m.)

Halftime Update

The score is 31-0 in favor of the Cardinal. It has been pouring rain all game, and it has contributed to some fumbles and dropped passes...

The bounces aren't going the Cougars' way. WSU has fumbled three times and lost two. The Cardinal has fumbled twice, but lost none. The first interception thrown by Lopina slipped through the hands of wide receiver Brandon Gibson, and went right into the hands of Bo McNally.

JT Levenseller saw his first action as a Cougar and completed his first career pass attempt. An interesting note...the pass was caught by tight end Tony Thompson, whose father Jack is JT's namesake. JT's real name is Michael Jack Thomas Levenseller.

I will have my game notes here for you all after the game.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


November 1 (1:34 p.m.)

Nearly Game Time in Palo Alto...

Just over half an hour until kickoff...We have a steady rain falling, and at this point there looks to be more people in the press box than in the stands.

I have a little bit of down time before kickoff, and there were some questions about starters at a few positions, so I thought I would give you all an update: Vaughn Lesuma will start at left tackle, BJ Guerra will start at right guard and Kevin Norrell will start at wide receiver opposite Jeshua Anderson.

Since there won't be any television for this game, I will try and update the goings-on at halftime and post my game notes afterward.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


October 31 (9:33 a.m.)

This Day in History, Five Reasons to Believe

Happy Halloween to you all...

Halloween hasn't been all that kind to the Cougars over the years. WSU is 4-7 on All Hallows' Eve. WSU's last win on Oct. 31 came way back in 1959. And that is where we will go for today's look back...

(NOTE: What a difference a day makes. WSU may be 4-7 on Halloween, but Nov. 1 - the date of tomorrow's game against Stanford - has been a successful one. The Cougars are 10-6 on the first day of November.)

Oct. 31, 1959
There were 17,601 people on hand in Corvallis, Ore., to witness the Cougars face Oregon State. Washington State was riding a three-game winning streak, looking to extend it to four. The Cougars had shut out the Beavers the previous season (7-0), and the orange and black were looking for revenge this year on Halloween.

Quarterback Mike Agee got the Cougars started on the right foot, scoring on a nine-yard run in the first quarter. Agee then hit halfback Don Ellersick for the two-point conversion to give the Cougars an early eight-point lead.

After a scoreless second quarter, WSU halfback Perry Harper scored from five yards out to put WSU ahead by 14. The Cougars failed to score on a second-two-point attempt, but it didn't matter as neither team would put any more points on the board.

The Beavers were only able to muster 129 yards of total offense against the Cougar defense, and WSU kept OSU out of the end zone for the second consecutive season.

Led by halfback Keith Lincoln's 116 yards rushing, WSU racked up 380 yards of total offense en route to its fourth Halloween victory in 11 games played.

Five Reasons to Believe

5. It's a New Season
Forget what has transpired prior to this week. There has been a new level of intensity at practice all week, and the Cougars are hungry to get that first conference win.

4. Ben Woodard and Louis Bland
Your game captains for this week, expect Woodard (tight end) to be a major contributor this week with Devin Frischknecht out, and Bland has been on fire since taking over as the starter at outside linebacker four games ago.

3. Two Straight; Five of Seven
WSU has knocked off Stanford each of the last two times they have played, and five of the last seven. Stanford's two wins were by a combined nine points, while the Cougars outscored Stanford by 83 points in their five wins.

2. Road Success
The Cougars have won four straight over the Cardinal on the road. Stanford's last home win over the Cougars came in 1999.

1. Better with the Bye
The Cougars are 11-9 in games played following the bye week since 1990. Stanford, on the other hand, is 3-9 following their byes since 2000.

We're headed to Palo Alto and will have walk-thru this afternoon. You won't be able to see tomorrow's game on TV, but you can still listen to Bob Robertson, Jim Walden and Bud Nameck via the Cougar Sports Radio Network.

Have a safe Halloween!

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


October 30 (3:10 p.m.)

National College Football Day, Lobbestael Update and Scout Team Travels...

Before we get to notes from this afternoon's teleconference with Coach Wulff, I wanted to fill everyone in on National College Football Day, which is this Saturday.

Here is an excerpt from the National College Football Day Web site:

Nearly 100 spectators gathered around a field in New Brunswick, N.J., Nov. 6, 1869 to witness a game unlike anything seen before. The competition between Rutgers and Princeton was "replete with surprise, strategy, prodigies of determination and physical prowess," to use the words of one player. On that day 139 years ago, the Scarlet Knights defeated Princeton, 6-4, but more importantly, the players left a lasting legacy that would evolve into the great spectacle of intercollegiate football. To honor the birth of an American institution, the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic created a holiday held annually on the first Saturday of November.

Last year, the holiday took on added significance when the Classic teamed up with The V Foundation for Cancer Research. The V Foundation, based in Cary, N.C., was founded in 1993 by ESPN and legendary coach and commentator Jim Valvano.

Last year the Cotton Bowl helped raise nearly $20,000 for the V Foundation, and they are hoping to build on that success. If you are interested in making a donation to the V Foundation on behalf of National College Football Day, click HERE.

Now, on to Coach Wulff's teleconference...

On Marshall Lobbestael's surgery...
"I understand it went well. It went a little longer than thought, just because there was some work that needed to be done on his MCL. But he went through it fine. He is still in the hospital; he might be there another night."

On the team's freshness following the bye...
"I think that there is definitely a freshness now compared to what there was against Oregon State and USC. The physical piece and the mental piece - probably more mental than physical - but both are more fresh. Stanford will be as well; they're coming off a bye week. But we seem to be better - no question - than we were headed into the previous two."

Coach Wulff also announced that freshman safety LeAndre Daniels and freshman tight end Skylar Stormo will be traveling to Stanford. Both players are redshirting this year, but because of their hard work on scout team this week, Coach Wulff is rewarding them with a trip to Palo Alto.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


October 29 (6:24 p.m.)

Wednesday Practice

Before we get to today's practice notes, just thought I would update everyone on a former Cougar playing in the National Football League. Jed Collins was signed to the Chicago Bears' practice squad yesterday.

On to practice...

This is being touted as a new season for the Cougars, and the level of intensity has skyrocketed since the bye week.

WSU ended today's practice just like they ended yesterday's - with the first-team offense facing off against the first-team defense, and it was just as excitable today as it was yesterday.

Adding to the excitement was the brass section of the Cougar band, which played the Jaws theme music from the library as the Cougar defense did the "Cougar Chomp." (NOTE: I have no idea if this is what it is actually called. I went to school here, but still have no idea what people actually call it. Feel free to e-mail me if you know what the "official term" is.)

Midway through today's practice the coaching staff went back to a drill from fall camp, and it is obviously a team favorite. Vaughn Lesuma squared off against Matt Eichelberger in a sumo drill, the victor saving 10 up-downs for his side of the ball. In what was probably the longest battle in sumo I have seen, Eichelberger came out the winner and the offense had to do 10 up-downs.

The Cougars will hold their last practice tomorrow before flying to Palo Alto.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


October 28 (7:05 p.m.)

Teleconference and Practice Notes...

The big news at practice today was the fact that Michael Jack Thomas Levenseller, or JT, will play against Stanford this weekend.

The opportunity to play as a true freshman is pretty exciting for the quarterback:

"Ever since I was a little kid, stepping foot onto Martin Stadium, it's always been what I've wanted to do and it's finally here. It's kind of surreal right now."

It was a lively practice, especially toward the end. The first team offense squared off against the first team defense, and a 30-yard touchdown run by Logwone Mitz ignited the Cougar offense into an excited frenzy. On the next series Tyrone Justin swatted a pass away on third down to stop a drive, throwing the defense into a frenzy of their own.

The Cougar defense was named the victor and the offense had to run two gassers. On the second gasser, cornerback Romeo Pellum rounded up the defense and the team ran the second gasser together.

Following practice, Coach Wulff announced that a scout team player from both offense and defense would be making the trip to Stanford.

On to today's teleconference with Coach Wulff...

On the bye...
"It came at a good time for our players and coaches. It gets you back on track a little bit. You lose sight of some things when you get in the middle of the season. It allowed us to kind of regroup in every phase of what we're trying to do."

"There are a few guys that obviously feel better. A lot of these guys are already playing nicked up. We don't talk about those things. So it allows those guys to get healthy and feel better even though they were playing. And obviously the ones who were already hurt have an opportunity to get back, so that's going to help our team."

On Stanford's running game...
"If we can find a way to neutralize that run game of theirs, which a lot of people have struggled to do, it will give us a good chance in the ballgame."

On JT Levenseller...
"The number one guy hasn't been healthy to this point completely. I think to expect that he would take every snap for the rest of the year might be a little presumptuous on our part. It's an opportunity for JT to play and see how he does."

Coach Wulff also talked about freshman linebacker Cory Mackay. He joked that he would have liked to have had the 6-foot-4, 246-pound linebacker play running back for the scout team this week to give them a good look, but Mackay will be having knee surgery this week and will be out for a few weeks. Coach Wulff hopes to have Mackay back by the end of the season.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


October 27 (1:56 p.m.)

Back in Action

The Cougar football team didn't exactly have last week off (though they were given Friday and Saturday off from practice), but I pretty much took the week off from blogging.

Now somewhat caught up with everything I have been ignoring since the 2008 season began, let's get back to football...It's Stanford week...

Series Information...
Stanford leads the all-time series between the teams, 32-25-1, though the Cougars captured last year's meeting 33-17 in Pull?man. WSU has won each of the last two meetings and five of the last seven. The Cougars also have captured the last four meetings played at Stanford, beginning with a 45-39 win during the 2001 season. The Cougars trail in the series 17-15 when playing at Stanford. The last Stanford win at home came during the 1999 campaign, a 54-17 victory.

Click HERE to view this week's release in its entirety.

Your stat of the week...
Since the start of the 1990 season, Washington State is 11-9 in games played following a bye week. The last time the Cougars had a bye week came last season and WSU put the extra rest to good use, defeating UCLA 27-7 in Pullman.

WSU's game against the Cardinal will not be televised, nor will next week's game against Arizona. Both the Stanford and Arizona games are slated for a 2 p.m. kickoff.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


October 23 (12:00 p.m.)

Checking In...

Good afternoon Cougar fans...

It has been a few days since my last post, as I have been trying to get to a number of things I didn't have time for prior to bye week.

The team has been working extremely hard in the Indoor Facility, and will have a conditioning session this afternoon. After today, the Cougars have been given a couple days off to rest up for the week leading up to the Stanford game.

Co-Defensive Coordinator/Cornerbacks Coach Jody Sears has a chat lined up with Jason Krump Monday (Oct. 27) at 11 a.m. If you have any questions you would like to submit to Coach Sears, keep your eye on wsucougars.com for instructions on how to do so.

Hope you are all enjoying the week...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


October 18 (8:28 p.m.)

Game Notes, Scoring Streak

Waiting for the last of the writers to trickle out of Bohler, so I thought I would post some of the positive game notes from today's match-up...

Senior middle linebacker Greg Trent moved into 10th place on the WSU career tackles list...with five tackles against USC, Trent now has 286 on his career...Trent passed Don Hover (281; 1973-75, 77) and Steve Gleason (282; 1996-99).

Senior defensive end Matt Mullennix's blocked extra point was the first by a Cougar since Xavier Hicks blocked a PAT against 16th-ranked Arizona State, Oct. 6, 2007.

Senior wide receiver Brandon Gibson's reception extended his consecutive games with a catch streak to 31...the streak is tied for the longest in the Pacific-10 Conference and entered today's slate of college football games tied for the 12th-longest in the country.

Now...let's talk about the most notable of all notes...the Scoring Streak.

Every Cougar fan is obviously disappointed that the scoring streak came to an end, myself included. I thoroughly enjoyed writing that note week after week. At some point though, all good things come to an end...and this good thing ended at 280 games. WSU's last shutout was in 1984 - the streak is the fourth-longest in the history of college football.

BYU's streak lasted 361 games, Michigan's current streak is at 295 games and Texas' streak lasted 282 games. Those are the only three college football programs to post streaks longer than WSU's 280.

Knowing that the streak was eventually going to end, take solace in this: the fifth-longest streak all-time belongs to Washington at 271. At least it didn't end before the Cougars got to game 272...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


October 17 (2:52 p.m.)

Five Reasons to Believe, This Day in History

Oct. 17, 1992
The Cougars were off to a 5-0 start to begin the 1992 season and were ranked for the first time in nearly three years. It had been four years since the Cougars had defeated the Bruins, but WSU was ranked 22nd in the nation and looking to climb even higher with a game against UCLA at Martin Stadium.

A Homecoming crowd of 32,208 was on hand for the game, and linebacker Rob Childs got the fans cheering with a 17-yard interception return for a touchdown, the game's first score with 4:21 remaining in the first quarter.

Later, Childs' fumble recovery at the UCLA five-yard-line set up a three-yard scoring strike from Drew Bledsoe to Brett Carolan. A two-point conversion put the Cougars ahead 14-7.

UCLA came back to take a 17-14 halftime lead, but Deron Pointer took the second half's opening kickoff 98 yards to re-gain a Cougar lead at 21-17.

That same quarter, DeWayne Patterson forced a fumble with a quarterback sack and Lewis Bush recovered at the UCLA two. The turnover set up a one-yard touchdown run by Bledsoe to extend WSU's lead to 28-17. WSU forced a safety in the fourth quarter, making the final margin 30-17.

WSU's defense held the Bruins to 29 yards passing and minus-three yards rushing over the final two quarters. The Bruins gained 86 yards rushing on the day, but most of that came on a 78-yard touchdown by Kevin Williams in the first quarter.

Five Reasons to Believe

5. Emerging Youth
I talked about it last week, but I'll talk about it again...WSU's freshmen are making an impact. Two weeks ago Louis Bland had a career-high eight tackles. Last week he returned an interception for a touchdown. As the youth on the WSU squad continue to improve, what is next?

4. Kendrick Dunn and Micah Hannam
Your game captains for this week, Dunn ranks sixth on the team in tackles (25), despite missing a game. Hannam has been solid for the Cougars this season, one of only two offensive linemen to start every game this season at the same position.

3. Ground Game
Head Coach Paul Wulff said to be successful against USC, the Cougars are going to have to run the ball. It looks like Chantz Staden may get the start for the Cougars, and he has a knack for picking up yardage. In 38 carries this season, Staden has only lost five rushing yards.

2. Back in the Saddle
Kevin Lopina returns this week after missing the last three games with a back injury. In his three appearances this season, Lopina completed 54 percent of his passes, the highest completion percentage amongst Cougar quarterbacks.

1. Never Overlook
Stanford in 2007. Oregon State in 2008. The Cougars could be the next team to upset the Trojans...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


October 16 (5:13 p.m.)

Game Captains and Teleconference Quotes...

Head Coach Paul Wulff held his weekly Thursday teleconference this afternoon, and talked a bit about WSU's current state at left tackle and USC's core of linebackers...

On WSU's left tackle position...
"Right now Joe Eppele will probably be playing there. At this point, I don't know if Steven Ayers will be 100 percent ready or not. That's our plan right now."

On Kevin Ellison, Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga...
"All three of them are seniors. (Ellison) is a very productive football player, and I'm sure he is going to be able to move on and play at the next level. The other two guys are just first rounders. They're high-pick guys, which is why the get so much recognition. They're fairly mature on defense and obviously very talented. They have a heck of a linebacking core that runs the ship on that defense."

Coach Wulff also talked about JT Levenseller and his plans for the freshman quarterback...

"I think what we would like to be able to do is not play him this week no matter what. ... We'll see, and then have the bye week to refocus our team and our goals and exactly where he fits. That is what we'd like to do, so that is our plan headed into this game."

Your game captains for this weekend are linebacker Kendrick Dunn and offensive tackle Micah Hannam.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


October 15 (6:18 p.m.)

Practice...

Not a lot of notes from practice today, but I can tell you that it is starting to get a bit chilly in Pullman. Once the sun goes down over the library, it is definitely time to put the gloves on...

Tight end Tony Thompson had an outstanding day of practice, making two separate over the shoulder catches for touchdowns.

The wide receivers spent more time than usual working on route-running technique with wide receivers coach Mike Levenseller. Coach Levenseller sang the praises of not only his group of receivers on a number of occasions, but he was also extremely pleased with the locations of passes from Cougar quarterbacks.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


October 15 (12:30 p.m.)

Radio Interviews

Here is today's run down of radio interviews...

Redshirt freshman offensive lineman BJ Guerra will go on with Chad Vaughn on ESPN 960's Cougar Corner at 1:05 p.m. The Cougar Corner is a daily segment of The Bull Pen in the Tri Cities.

Junior defensive end Kevin Kooyman will be on with KJR's Ian Furness this afternoon. If you can't listen via 950 AM, check out their Web site (www.kjram.com) and click Listen Live at the top of the page. The interview will also be podcast later on their site.

Sophomore linebacker Myron Beck will be on with KRKO's The Fish this afternoon. If you can't listen via 1380 AM, you can listen online at www.thefishonradio.com, and the interview will also be posted at www.krko.com for playback.

Sophomore cornerback Romeo Pellum will be taping a podcast with KJR's Jason Puckett. Check out KJR's Web site to listen to the interview.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


October 14 (6:13 p.m.)

Gary Rogers Interview and A Little Practice Info...

We held a teleconference with Gary Rogers this afternoon, and here is some of what was said...

Are you in pain?
Not really, not right now. The only time it gets painful is if I'm out in the cold or standing too long. But that's really mostly it right now.

How much longer are you in the brace?
Three more weeks.

What is the hardest thing for you to do right now?
Really the toughest thing with the neck brace is sleep. That's definitely not the easiest thing to do with this thing on. One of the hardest things for me is watching us play on TV. When we played UCLA, that was the first time I ever watched us play on TV since I've been here. That was extremely difficult for me. Knowing I can't be out there to help my teammates; it was just a weird feeling for me to watch us play on TV.

How do you feel after waiting four years for your shot?
That's the biggest frustration I have, just knowing I'm not going to be able to go out and play again and help the team. That's difficult because I've waited so long here. Just to know I'm not going to be playing anymore this year is tough. On the other hand I just try to stay positive and know that I think I'm going to get a shot to play somewhere, sometime, so I'll just look forward to that and the opportunities that are going to come.

Are you hoping to play football again?
I definitely want to try to play. The doctors, so far, said everything should heal 100 percent. I'm just looking forward to getting these four months over. Then I can start having contact again. Hopefully when I get the neck brace off I can do some light workouts - probably not as much weights - and start throwing again. I definitely want to get ready for pro day and continue to play football. That's definitely what I love to do and this injury isn't going to hold me back.

Head Coach Paul Wulff commented on Gary Rogers during his teleconference this afternoon as well...

"When it happened, my stomach just felt so bad for him and his family. I still feel the same way. I don't know what to say because I don't have something that will allow him to come back and do what he wants to do. I wish I did, it's just unfortunate."

At this afternoon's practice, quarterback Kevin Lopina was fully active, though it was not a hard-hitting day.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


October 14 (2:40 p.m.)

Wulff Teleconference, Mid-Season All-Conference

WSU Head Coach Paul Wulff addressed the media this afternoon at his weekly teleconference. Coach Wulff talked at length about the rash of injuries WSU is facing. Here is an excerpt...

"I've been through some years where we've had a tremendous amount of injuries, but not this many. Based upon the offseason and fall camp - we were having some nicks and bruises along the way - it doesn't necessarily shock me that we've had a ton of injuries. It's been a little bit of a pattern, so we obviously continue to work through those things as we currently speak, and put ourselves in the position to become healthier as we move to the future. As we speak, we're playing with a lot of kids who are hurt, unfortunately. And I feel bad for them, I feel bad for the kids that are missing opportunities to play; and their teammates, who don't have their teammate on the field with them. All of us are disappointed for those kids who are losing opportunities. I think that is only natural because everyone is working so hard, and you don't want to see that happen."

On Marshall Lobbestael's injury...
"Marshall's injury is a very tough one. We have a good, young player that we could build upon for the future. It hurts his growth a little bit this year, so it will carry into the next. That is tough for him and everybody."

Phil Steele released his mid-season All-Pacific-10 Conference team today, and Brandon Gibson and Chantz Staden were each named to his list. Gibson was named All-Pac-10 First Team at wide receiver and Staden was named All-Pac-10 Third Team at kick returner.

We also held a teleconference with Gary Rogers this afternoon, his first media availability since suffering a season-ending back injury against Portland State. Check back later for some questions and answers with the senior quarterback.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


October 13 (3:27 p.m.)

Weekly Release

This week's game against USC will be televised by FSN, with Barry Tompkins calling play-by-play, Petros Papadakis serving as analyst and Jim Watson on the sidelines. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.

WASHINGTON STATE vs. USC - THE SERIES: The Cougars have a record of 8-55-4 against the Trojans dating back to 1921. In games played at home the Cougars are 4-18-2, including a 4-11-2 mark when playing in Pullman (WSU is 0-7 in Spokane). The Cougars have lost each of the last five games to USC, with the Trojans recording a 47-14 win at the Coliseum last season. WSU's last win in the series came in 2002, a 30-27 overtime victory in Pullman. The last time these two teams met in Pullman the Trojans escaped with a 28-22 win, Sept. 30, 2006.

Keeping in mind the recent news about redshirt freshman quarterback Marshall Lobbestael, here is your vote of the week...

INJURY BUG HITS COUGARS: Through the first seven games of the 2008 season, the Cougars have not been able to avoid the injury bug on either side of the ball...16 of WSU's 43 players to start a game in 2008 have combined to miss 33 games this season due to injuries...that includes an injury-riddled offensive line, which has used five different lineups through the first seven games...this past week the Cougars were without offensive tackle Steven Ayers, who started three games earlier this year, guard Brian Danaher, who started each of the first six games, running backs Dwight Tardy and Chris Ivory, and wide receiver Daniel Blackledge...during the Oregon State game starting left tackle Vaughn Lesuma was lost to a shoulder injury, starting tight end Deven Frischknecht suffered a high ankle sprain and quarterback Marshall Lobbestael left in the third quarter with a knee injury.

To read this week's release in its entirety, click HERE.

Jerome Harrison and the Cleveland Browns face the New York Giants tonight on Monday Night Football. Newly-signed defensive back Hamza Abdullah could also play for the Browns tonight. In other news relating to Cougars in the NFL, former Cougar quarterback Alex Brink was signed to the practice squad by the Houston Texans.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


October 13 (12:16 p.m.)

Marshall Lobbestael Injury Update

Washington State University freshman quarterback Marshall Lobbestael suffered a torn ACL and torn MCL in his left knee during the Cougars game at Oregon State last Saturday, according to WSU Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Training Bill Drake. Lobbestael was injured during the fourth quarter at Oregon State and did not return. Initially diagnosed as an MCL tear, further tests Sunday revealed both the ACL and MCL were torn. Lobbestael will not play again this season and his recovery is expected to take approximately nine months.


October 10 (8:53 a.m.)

This Day in History, Five Reasons to Believe...

We're getting ready to leave for Corvallis here in the next hour or so. Here is this week's installment of This Day in Cougar History, as well as Five Reasons to Believe...

I will try and get my postgame notes up here after the game against the Beavers, but depending on how quickly we have to get out of Reser Stadium, that may or may not (like last week against UCLA) happen...

October 10, 1981
It was partly sunny and around 58 degrees for kickoff in Corvallis, and Head Coach Jim Walden's Cougars were looking for their fifth consecutive victory to open the 1981 season. WSU had won the last two games played against the Beavers, and after two straight home games against Arizona State and Pacific, WSU had to hit the road for its second Pacific-10 Conference game of the season.

The first two quarters weren't pretty for either offense. The Cougars committed four turnovers - three fumbles and an interception - and the Beavers' Ed Singler was picked off by Paul Sorensen. Though the Cougars entered halftime without scoring, thanks to the efforts of the Cougar defense, the Beavers were also scoreless after the first two quarters.

The WSU offense got on track right from the start of the third quarter. On the first possession, WSU quarterback Ricky Turner ripped off a 49-yard touchdown run. A failed two-point conversion attempt left the Cougars up 6-0.

Neither team would score again until the fourth quarter. Running back Mike Martin scored on another touchdown run for the Cougars, this one from 10 yards out. The two-point attempt was good this time, and the Cougars led 14-0.

Kevin Morris hit three fourth-quarter field goals, and the WSU defense completed its shutout of the Beavers. The Cougars left Corvallis with a 23-0 victory.

"When you give a team four or five turnovers and you still shut them out, you're defense is doing a hell of a job," Walden said.

The victory was the Cougars' third consecutive win over the Beavers, and part of an undefeated 13-0-1 stretch that lasted from 1979-93.

Five Reasons to Believe

5. Last Time in Corvallis
The Cougars were victorious in their last trip to Reser Stadium, knocking off the Beavers 13-6 in 2006.

4. Cory Evans and Marshall Lobbestael
Your game captains for this week, Evans returns to the lineup after missing the last three games, and Lobbestael is getting more comfortable as WSU's staring signal caller.

3. Coming of Age
At the halfway point of the season, WSU's underclassmen are starting to make an impact. Freshman Louis Bland (eight tackles) and sophomores Romeo Pellum and Myron Beck (nine tackles each) are coming off a game that saw career highs in tackles.

2. Improved Run Defense
The Cougars held UCLA to 100 yards rushing, 31 of which came on a run late in the fourth quarter.

1. Can't Stop Gibson
Senior wide receiver Brandon Gibson has caught a pass in 29 consecutive games, tied for the 12th-longest streak in the nation. Gibson is also on pace to match Michael Bumpus' school-record 195 career receptions. The two have exactly the same number of career grabs (161) through the first six games of their senior seasons.


October 9 (6:20 p.m.)

Game Captains, Wulff Teleconference and A Weather Forecast...

An excerpt from Head Coach Paul Wulff's Thursday teleconference held earlier today...

On the week of practice leading up to Saturday's game against the Beavers... "It's been a good week. Just a little bit on Sunday, and then Tuesday and Wednesday were good practices. You know, we turn on the film and we just keep seeing flashes of improvement. It's encouraging, and I think that is what is keeping all of us going and excited. You can just see the kids are still working hard - we're all working hard - and we're getting better. It's fun to come to work when you know that is the approach and that's what's going on."

Your game captains for this week are linebacker Cory Evans and redshirt freshman quarterback Marshall Lobbestael.

The Weather Channel's Web site predicts a high of 63 degrees and mostly sunny skies Saturday in Corvallis...Perfect weather for a football game...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


October 8 (6:26 p.m.)

Wednesday Practice

If you missed any of today's radio interviews on KJR, check out www.kjram.com to take a listen. Each interview is podcast on their Web site. Brandon Gibson was on with Ian Furness and Kenny Alfred was on with Mike Gastineau. New addition Peter Roberts is taping a podcast with Jason Puckett tonight.

The WSU football team wasn't in full pads today, but that didn't prevent a couple of big hits. During a three-on-three drill, Greg Trent laid a HUGE hit on a blocker, knocking him into two players, who knocked out the ball carrier...One hit, four guys...

Cory Mackay laid a hit on a blocker during a kickoff return drill, and it was one of the loudest hits of the season during practice.

The Catch of the Day went to Benny Ward, who leapt for a ball in the corner of the end zone and just barely got his foot down before going through the back of the end zone.

I'd like to wish a Happy Birthday to Spokesman Review beat writer Vince Grippi. If you'd like to wish him a happy birthday yourself, go HERE, and click on Vince's most recent blog entry.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


October 7 (7:16 p.m.)

Release, Teleconference, Peter Roberts and More...


It was a busy day here in Pullman...so let's get to everything...

From our weekly release, here is the series information on the Oregon State game...

WASHINGTON STATE vs. OREGON STATE - THE SERIES: WSU leads the all-time series by a 47-42-3 margin, including a 13-6 victory the last time these two teams met in Corvallis during the 2006 season. The Beavers captured a 52-17 win last year in Pullman, snapping a two-game home winning streak for the Cougars. When playing in Corvallis the Beavers hold a slight 21-20 advantage. Saturday's game marks the fourth time in the last five seasons that the game has been played in Corvallis.

Your FSN Northwest broadcast crew for the OSU game includes: Todd Mansfield calling play-by-play, Jason Gesser and Steve Preece as analysts and Cathy Marshall and Jen Mueller as the sideline reporters.

And here is your stat of the week...

STADEN MAKING IMPACT ON RETURN GAME: Through the first six games of 2008, junior college transfer Chantz Staden already has 541 kickoff return yards, breaking a 38-year-old single-season record for a junior...the previous record was 498 yards, set by Bernard Jackson in 1970...Staden ranks fifth on the WSU single-season list...his 25.8 kickoff return average currently ranks fifth on the all-time single-season list, and his 21 returns this season is ninth.

Click HERE to view the release in its entirety.

We had Coach Wulff's weekly teleconference this afternoon. Here is an excerpt...

On the positives he took from the UCLA game...
"I thought our run defense was very consistent in their execution. When I say that, I thought they were all fitted into their gaps where they needed to be. I thought that was very encouraging to see them rally and defend the run really well. Other than late in the game where the one kid slipped a tackle when we had him wrapped around his ankle and then busted it loose, their yardage on the ground was very minimal. I thought how our players were played throughout - I thought they were focused, the sidelines were talking and saying the right things throughout the game, they were in it and supporting each other - those are all little, positive signs that are going to help this team grow and develop as the culture changes."

On to today's practice...

Following yesterday's quarterback tryout, freshman Peter Roberts (Woodinville, Wash.) was added to the WSU roster as a quarterback. Wearing No. 13, he participated in practice today and saw some action with the scout team. Click HERE to see his bio information.

The Cougars practiced in the Indoor Practice Facility this afternoon. Kevin Lopina, Daniel Blackledge, Mike Ledgerwood and Cory Evans all returned to practice today and participated in some capacity.

"Mean Joe" Green was also on hand for practice, scouting for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

WSU's Jared Prenguber taped interviews with WSU's new quarterback Peter Roberts and freshman linebacker Louis Bland. Check out the All-Access portion of our site to see them.

Tomorrow's slate of radio interviews will include Tyree Toomer, Kenny Alfred, Brandon Gibson, Andy Mattingly and Peter Roberts. I will have times on all of the interviews in the morning.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


October 6 (4:56 p.m.)

Scout Quarterback Tryouts ...

There was a lot more going on today than on your average Monday, as WSU held a tryout for a scout team quarterback. With somewhere around 200 people watching from Rogers Field, the new CUB elevator and on top of the library, 29 WSU students tried to earn a spot on the team.

"It's great to have this many kids interested in coming out," WSU Head Coach Paul Wulff said. "It's awesome that they want to try to help the team."

Here is the situation that the WSU football team is in...With Gary Rogers and Kevin Lopina both suffering back injuries, the Cougars currently only have three quarterbacks: Marshall Lobbestael, Dan Wagner and JT Levenseller. The WSU coaching staff would like to have all three quarterbacks taking reps with the offense, but one of them has to run the scout team for the defense; thus the need for a scout team quarterback.

"We just need somebody who can read a card and execute what our defense needs from what an opposing quarterback would give us," Wulff said. "That's really all we're looking for right now. There are no plans for this individual to be a long-term part of our program. Right now it's just get us through the season and then we'll evaluate and see if we want to move forward."

What started out as 29 students was cut to four, and Coach Wulff said they would let them know in the morning if any of them would be making the team.

"We'll sit and talk about it here tonight. We'll probably either pick one or two. We're not sure, but we have an idea with two, and maybe if we decide to go with two we'll just go with two. If we're only comfortable with one, then we'll just go with one."

Either way, if someone did earn a spot on the roster, he could be at practice as early as tomorrow.

Click HERE to see a photo gallery from the tryout.

Be sure to check out tonight's Monday Night Football matchup, featuring Husain Abdullah and Eric Frampton of the Minnesota Vikings against Jason David and the New Orleans Saints. As always, you can track former Cougars playing in the NFL by clicking HERE. The link is also now at the top of this page.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


October 3 (9:21 a.m.)

This Day in History, Five Reasons to Believe...

Before we get to the usual Friday blog stuff, tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator Rich Rasmussen will be joining Jason Krump as part of the Cougar Chats series. Click HERE for information on submitting questions to Coach Rasmussen.

With a game against the Bruins on the docket for tomorrow, I thought we would take a look way back at another meeting with UCLA...

Oct. 3, 1931
In the second meeting between the Cougars and Bruins, 77 years ago today, Washington State College shut out UCLA 13-0 in Pullman in front of 10,000 fans.

The game was the second of three consecutive shutouts over UCLA to begin the series between the two schools, and one of five Cougar shutouts in the 54-game series.

Following a 1930 season that saw WSU's second trip to the Rose Bowl, the win over the Bruins put the Cougars at 2-0 to start the 1931 season. The Cougars had also shut out their first opponent of 1931, defeating the College of Idaho 41-0 in Pullman.

WSU would finish the season at 6-4, the fourth of nine consecutive winning seasons spanning from 1928-36.

As you can imagine, I don't have a box score from the game. However, I did find some photos from the 1931 season, thus have put together a photo gallery.

Click HERE to view the gallery.

Five Reasons to Believe

5. Pasadena
WSU hasn't lost to UCLA at the Rose Bowl since 1998, winning each of the last three games played there.

4. Devin Frischknecht and Xavier Hicks
Your game captains for this week...Frischknecht has caught five passes in three of his last five games and set a career high with 110 receiving yards two weeks ago against Portland State. Hicks is coming off a 14-tackle game against the Ducks and has led the Cougars in tackles in both games he has played this season.

3. Recent Success
The Cougars have won six of the last seven meetings dating back to the 2001 season. The only loss was to a 12th-ranked Bruins squad in 2005, and that game took overtime.

2. Down and Out
UCLA is coming off a 36-31 loss to Fresno State...The Cougars have faced a UCLA team coming off a loss 12 times since the formation of the Pacific-10 Conference in 1978, and in eight of those 12 games the Cougars were victorious. WSU has a record of 8-3-1 against UCLA teams coming off a loss since 1978, including wins in each of the last four such games, and seven of the last eight.

1. The Cougar Offense
The Lobster. Ocho Rojo. Whichever nickname you prefer, redshirt freshman Marshall Lobbestael had a good showing in his first career start last week. He and the rest of the Cougar offense had a good week of practice, and WSU is looking to take another step this week on the offensive side of the ball against a UCLA defense allowing 415.75 yards of total offense and 37.50 points per game.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


October 2 (6:22 p.m.)

The End of an Era...

He has been "retired" for about a year now, but has still been in the office nearly every day working part-time. But on Tuesday, after more than 30 years at Washington State University, former Sports Information Director Rod Commons called it a career, officially retiring.

Many of you know Rod, and many of you may not, as most of the time Sports Information Directors lay low behind the scenes. But he was very well known amongst his peers, serving as the president of College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) during the 2004-05 academic year, and he was inducted into the CoSIDA Hall of Fame in 2007.

Rod has done a lot not only for WSU and its athletic department, but for countless students who have attended this school, myself included. Bill Stevens, the new Director of Sports Information at WSU, is a Cougar graduate. Three of the four assistant directors in this office are Cougar graduates. There are Cougar graduates in sports information offices throughout the country. Each and every one of us owes a great deal to Rod.

We had a retirement party for Rod this afternoon, and he will be honored at a basketball game later this year. But I personally want to thank Rod for everything he has done for me. He has had a major impact on my life, and the lives of many others.

Rod...Your presence will be immensely missed...

If you would like to send Rod a message, feel free to e-mail it to me (jnickell@wsu.edu), and I will gladly pass it along.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


October 2 (3:23 p.m.)

Wulff Teleconference...

Just got done with Coach Wulff's weekly Thursday teleconference, and here is some of what he had to say...

On the WSU seniors...
"Our seniors, a lot of them are just doing a great job. I can't speak highly enough of Matt Mullennix and Ben Woodard, two guys that have their college degrees, both have had knee injuries, both chose to come back and play their last year...Those guys work every single day. They work very, very hard and their effort, they are just making a great impression with the young guys on the team. Those two guys and Greg Trent, they're just great Cougars. They're giving it up for the team and they didn't have to. I think those guys are going to leave a big impression on this football team for years to come."

On where he has seen the biggest improvement this week...
"I think defensively, to start with that, the kids seem to be executing and playing with more of a purpose in practice, which is very good to see. Offensively, the same thing. I think the team came out on days that were pretty warm at practice and they slugged through it and kept focus straight ahead. They just came out to get better and they're working at it. As coaches, we're very excited about their attitude of working hard to get better. Now we obviously want it to show up on game day, but the players are doing a number of things right, and that's all we can ask for right now, and they're doing that."

I'll be back a little bit later to pay homage to a Cougar legend...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


October 1 (6:41 p.m.)

Wednesday Recap...

It was an absolute beautiful day in Pullman, and the pads were cracking loudly out on Rogers Field.

WSU got practice started with the first team offense against the first team defense, and Head Coach Paul Wulff declared the match-up a tie, thus no up-downs for either side of the ball.

It looked like there was an extra emphasis on tackling today, and the scout team took a beating in scrimmage and in a three-on-three drill.

I don't talk a lot about what the scout team brings to this team, but everyone should know how hard they work day in and day out. Come take a look at practice one of these days and see what these guys bring to this team.

Jarred Walker looks to be giving the first team offense a great look from his safety position on scout, and defensive tackle Anthony Laurenzi picked off a batted pass today.

Laurenzi wasn't the only defensive tackle picking off passes today. Toby Turpin also hauled in an interception...which was the "Catch of the Day."

Matt Eichelberger is taping an interview with KJR's Jason Puckett as I type, so be sure to look for the podcast tomorrow at KJR's Web site (www.kjram.com).

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell

September 30 (6:19 p.m.)


QB First Starts, Practice Recap

Here is a note I put together for this week's release...

LOBBESTAEL'S DEBUT: Last week redshirt freshman quarterback Marshall Lobbestael became the 23rd quarterback to make his debut as WSU's starting signal caller since Jack Thompson made his first start against Idaho in 1976...Lobbestael completed 22 of 41 passes for 192 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions...he is only the fourth quarterback since 1976 to complete 20-or-more passes in his debut...of quarterbacks attempting more than 30 passes in their first start, only Josh Swogger (.632; 24 of 38), Jason Gesser (.576; 19 of 33), Steve Birnbaum (.559; 19 of 34) and Ryan Leaf (.667; 22 of 33) had a higher completion percentage than Lobbestael (.537; 22 of 41) in their first start.

With that, I thought it would be interesting to see how Lobbestael's first start stacked up against some of the great quarterbacks in Cougar history...Thus, here are Lobbestael's first start numbers, and the numbers of the top eight quarterbacks on WSU's career passing list, in order of the most recent QB to make his first start.


Player	Year	Opponent	PA	PC	PI	YDS	TD	LG	RATING
M. Lobbestael	2008	Oregon	41	22	2	192	2	25	99.34
Alex Brink	2004	OSU	41	15	2	201	1	39	76.06
Jason Gesser	1999	Hawaii	33	19	1	141	0	22	87.41
Ryan Leaf	1995	UW	33	22	0	291	1	30	150.74
Chad Davis	1994	Chicago	23	11	1	95	0	19	73.83
Drew Bledsoe	1990	OSU	20	10	0	188	3	55	178.46
Timm Rosenbach	1986	Oregon	13	5	1	58	0	22	60.55
Mark Rypien	1983	Arizona	28	15	2	209	0	23	101.99
Jack Thompson	1976	Idaho	25	19	0	265	3	46	204.64

Now, on to practice...

Kevin Kooyman returned to practice after missing the Oregon game. Kooyman participated in contact drills, and intercepted a pass and ran it back for a touchdown in scrimmage.

There was also a scout from the Patriots at practice today.

Tomorrow's slate of radio interviews will include Brandon Gibson, Kenny Alfred, Matt Eichelberger, Xavier Hicks and Tyrone Justin.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 30 (2:30 p.m.)

Wulff Teleconference

Head Coach Paul Wulff talked to the media this afternoon. Here are some excerpts from the teleconference...

On the similarities between WSU and UCLA...
"After watching both teams on film - in the offseason there were two coaching changes in the conference, at UCLA and at Washington State - and if you just watch film you can see why. You understand why there needed to be some changes. Both schools are going through that as we speak right now. That's part of the process. I read a quote where he said, `You have to recruit, and recruit hard.' And I echo that.

"The thing I like about our team though, is there are some young kids playing. They're going to keep getting better. And the veteran players are trying to bring along the young guys, and they're trying too. The thing about our team that is encouraging is they are working hard and they're doing the right things, and that is all I can ask of them."

On where the program is headed...
"Where this team is lacking - and it's very elementary - we lack calorie intake, and we lack living in the weight room and getting ourselves physically big and strong. We lack strength right now. That is a correlation to our performance and it's a correlation to injuries. It's as simple as that.

"What also comes with that is maturity, having fifth-year seniors in your program. I think if you look at somewhere like Wake Forest - I'm going to use that as an example with Jim Grobe - they had some tough years, and they took every kid. Sometimes they don't even practice their freshmen, all they do is lift them the whole year. They develop them and make them all fifth-year seniors and then you get a program that is built up. That's the type of system we're going to have to do here. Get them bigger and stronger and develop them physically."

"I think because of this coaching staff and how hard they work, and how positive they are, and the system we have in place, we are going to make some gains here quick in this program. I have a ton of confidence in that."

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 30 (12:50 p.m.)

Oregon State TV Info...

An excerpt from the release we will send out to the media pretty soon...

Washington State University and FSN Northwest said an agreement has been reached to televise the Cougars' Oct. 11 football game at Oregon State, WSU Director of Athletics Jim Sterk announced Tuesday. The Oregon State contest is set for a 3:30 p.m. start.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 29 (6:49 p.m.)

FSN Crew and the Release...

The Cougars are looking to notch their first conference win this week against UCLA at the Rose Bowl. The game will be televised by FSN Northwest, with Bill MacDonald calling play-by-play, James Washington serving as analyst and Jackie Pickering and Dain Blanton serving as the sideline reporters.

WASHINGTON STATE vs. UCLA - THE SERIES: The Cougars and Bruins have squared off 54 times since the first meeting in 1928, with the Cougars trailing in the series 18-35-1. WSU is 9-20 in Pasadena, Calif., but has won each of the last three games played against UCLA at the Rose Bowl. WSU is 5-6 against UCLA at the Rose Bowl since the Bruins began playing home games there in 1982. WSU has won each of the last two meetings between the two schools, a 37-15 victory on the road in 2006, and a 27-7 win in Pullman in 2007. The Cougars have won six of the last seven meetings dating back to the 2001 season, and 10 of the last 14 dating back to the 1992 season.

NOTE OF THE WEEK: Through the first five games of the 2008 season, the Cougars have not been able to avoid the injury bug on either side of the ball...15 of WSU's 40 players to start a game in 2008 have combined to miss 19 games thus far due to injuries...that includes an injury-riddled offensive line, which has used four different lineups through the first five games.

Click HERE to view this week's release in its entirety.

Keep an eye out for tomorrow's blog entry. Over the weekend I did a lot of looking at WSU quarterbacks and their first starts, and we'll take a look at some comparisons tomorrow.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 28 (9:28 a.m.)

NFL Matchups

Here are this week's NFL matchups featuring Cougars on both teams:

Hamza Abdullah/Karl Paymah (Denver Broncos) at Devard Darling (Kansas City Chiefs) - 10:00 a.m. (CBS)

Jason Hill (San Francisco 49ers) at Jason David (New Orleans Saints) - 10:00 a.m. (FOX)

As always, you can track former Cougars in the NFL by clicking HERE. The page has a new look to it, so check it out...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 27 (8:10 p.m.)

Postgame Notes and Quotes

Seriously, I have no clue why I haven't done this before...Here are some postgame notes and quotes from the Oregon game...

Here is a quote from offensive coordinator Todd Sturdy. To view all of our postgame quotes, CLICK HERE.

WSU Offensive Coordinator Todd Sturdy
On Marshall Lobbestael's performance...
"I was proud of Marshall. It's the first time he's been put into the situation where he had to prepare for a Pac-10 ball game with all the pressures that go along with that throughout the week. I thought he handled it very well. I was impressed with his maturity."

Here are some of the postgame notes we put together. To view all of our postgame notes, CLICK HERE.

- With Marshall Lobbestael making his first career start against the Ducks, WSU has now had three quarterbacks make their debut as the starting signal caller in 2008...in no other season, dating as far back as 1976 when Jack Thompson made his first career start, have three different quarterbacks made their first start for the Cougars in the same season.

- Through the first five games of the season, WSU has had 22 players register the first start of their careers...Lobbestael made his first today against Oregon, as did freshman linebacker Louis Bland.

- With 10 receptions, senior wide receiver Brandon Gibson moved into sole possession of third place on the WSU all-time receptions list with 155...Gibson passed Phillip Bobo (1990-91) and Jason Hill (2003-06), who each had 148 receptions on their Cougar careers...Gibson only trails Hugh Campbell (176; 1960-62) and Michael Bumpus (195; 2004-07) on the all-time list...the 10 receptions were a season high.

- With 103 receiving yards, Gibson also moved into second place on the WSU career receiving list with 2,481 yards...Gibson passed Nian Taylor (2,447; 1996-99) and Hugh Campbell (2,452; 1960-62)...the 100-yard receiving effort was his second of the season and 11th of his career, tying him with current wide receivers coach Mike Levenseller with the most 100-yard receiving games during a WSU career.

- WSU has scored in 278 consecutive games, the second-longest active streak in the nation among FBS schools and the fourth-longest all-time...Cougars have scored in 256 consecutive Pacific-10 Conference games, the longest active streak for any league team...WSU has also scored in 203 consecutive Martin Stadium home games.

- With nine tackles, senior middle linebacker Greg Trent moved into sole possession of 13th on the WSU career tackles list with 268...Trent passed James Darling (1992-96) and Will Derting (2001-05), who each had 260 career tackles.

- Lobbestael completed 22 passes, becoming only the fourth quarterback since 1976 to complete 20-or-more passes in his first start...Chad DeGrenier (1993; 26 completions), Ryan Leaf (1995; 22 completions) and Josh Swogger (2004; 24) also completed 20-plus passes in their first career start.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 26 (12:44 p.m.)

This Day in Cougar History, Five Reasons to Believe

Sept. 26, 1981
Fresh off of victories over Montana State (33-21) in Spokane and Colorado (14-10) in Boulder to kick off the 1981 season, the Cougars returned home to Martin Stadium for their home and conference opener against 18th-ranked Arizona State, who also came in at 2-0.

WSU went three-and-out on its first possession, but that didn't matter, as offensive guard Dan Lynch fell on a Sun Devil fumble during the punt return, and the Cougars got the ball back. Two plays later, the Cougars had a 6-0 lead on a 14-yard touchdown run from Tim Harris.

The Cougars missed the extra point, allowing Arizona State to tie the game (6-6) with two Luis Zendejes field goals from 44 and 39 yards.

The Cougars regained the lead before halftime, scoring 15 consecutive points. A six-yard rushing touchdown by Don Labomme followed by a Jeff Poppe pass to Jamie White for a two-point conversion put WSU up 14-6. A two-yard rush from Mike "Mo" Martin and a Kevin Morris extra point put the Cougars up 21-6 at the end of the first half.

The Sun Devils clawed back, answering with 15 points of their own in the third quarter to tie the game once again at 21-21.

In the final quarter, Morris missed a field goal attempt wide left that would have put the Cougars ahead by three. On WSU's next possession however, the Cougars drove to the Sun Devil 13-yard line and Morris was given another opportunity to give the Cougars the lead. His 29-yard field goal attempt was good, putting WSU up for good with a 24-21 upset of the Sun Devils.

The Cougars went on to win each of their first five games of the 1981 season, and finished the year with an appearance in the Holiday Bowl and a record of 8-3-1.

Five Reasons to Believe

5. The Magic of Mayes
WSU will honor record-setting Cougar running back Rueben Mayes, who was selection for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, at halftime of Saturday's game. One of Mayes' most memorable moments? When he torched the Ducks for an NCAA-record 357 yards rushing in 1984. With Mayes on hand, the Cougars are hoping a little of his magic rubs off against Oregon once again.

4. Ben Woodard and Matt Eichelberger
This week's game captains, Woodard caught a career-high four passes last week and is becoming one of the favorite targets for WSU quarterbacks, and Eichelberger has been manning the interior of the WSU defensive line all season, becoming one of the WSU defensive leaders.

3. Fine-Tuning
The Cougars are 6-2 when playing a Pac-10 opponent the week after a game against a FCS opponent.

2. Marshall Lobbestael
Your reigning Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week, Lobbestael came in when Kevin Lopina and Gary Rogers went down against Portland State. Lobbestael completed 9-of-12 passes for 149 yards, and his first two passes went for touchdowns.

1. Last Time at Martin Stadium
Remember Oct. 21, 2006? The last time the Ducks came to Pullman, they were ranked No. 16 and the Cougars sent them home with an "L." WSU won 34-23. This week the Ducks come in at No. 22, and the Cougars are hoping it is going to be déjà vu for the Ducks...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 25 (5:45 p.m.)

Teleconference, Practice Notes and Game Captains

I'll be honest...There wasn't a lot of media at today's practice, so I wasn't out there a whole lot...

I did see Myron Beck intercept two passes, one of which was returned for a touchdown. I also saw tight end Ben Woodard make a diving touchdown reception.

Woodard and defensive tackle Matt Eichelberger are the Cougar game captains for the matchup with Oregon.

At Coach Wulff's teleconference this afternoon he talked a little bit about what he has seen from quarterback Marshall Lobbestael this week in practice...

"He has taken it very serious. When he's out there we seem to be fairly efficient in what we're trying to get accomplished in practice. That's been a real positive for us - and for him. Like I said before, he's got a nice presence about him. He's obviously still green around the ears, but he does some nice things that are innate, not just coached."

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 24 (6:59 p.m.)

Big Play Wednesday...

As the Cougars got into their stretching lines, safety Xavier Hicks referred to today's practice as "Big Play Wednesday." And that it was...

Offensively, the running backs were hitting holes and scoring at will. Marshall Lobbestael hit receiver after receiver, and a number of the receptions went for touchdowns.

The Catch of the Day went to Brandon Gibson...a defender covering Gibson tipped the ball, and just as he went to intercept the pass, Gibson snatched the ball out of the air for the reception.

The Stat of the Day usually comes in on Monday or Tuesday, but in doing some research, I have another interesting note for you...

When Marshall Lobbestael makes his first career start against Oregon this weekend, he will be the third WSU quarterback to make his debut as the starting signal caller in 2008. In no other season, dating as far back as 1976, have three different quarterbacks made their first start for the Cougars in the same season. Prior to this season, two quarterbacks have made their first start in the same season six times. Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 24 (12:40 p.m.)

Today's Radio Interviews

Here is the rundown for today's slate of radio interviews...

Punter Reid Forrest will be on live with Chad Vaughn on ESPN 960's Cougar Corner at 1:05 p.m. The Cougar Corner is a daily segment of The Bull Pen in the Tri Cities.

Linebacker Greg Trent will be going on with KRKO's The Fish at 3:45 p.m. If you can't listen via 1380 AM, you can listen online at www.thefishonradio.com, and the interview will also be posted at www.krko.com for playback.

Cornerback Romeo Pellum will go on KJR with Mike Gastineau at 6:05 p.m. Once again, if you can't listen via 950 AM, check out their Web site (www.kjram.com) and click Listen Live at the top of the page.

Linebacker Hallston Higgins will also be taping an interview with KJR's Jason Puckett. The interview will be podcast on their Web site tomorrow. Check out www.kjram.com tomorrow to download the podcast.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 23 (7:12 p.m.)

We Have Quite a Bit to Talk About...

Seriously...The weekly press release, Head Coach Paul Wulff's teleconference, injuries, practice notes, tomorrow's slate of radio interviews...there is a lot.

Before we get to all that, a game time has been set for the UCLA game. Kickoff against the Bruins will be at 7:15 p.m., and the game will be televised by FSN.

To view the weekly release in its entirety, click here.

WASHINGTON STATE vs. OREGON - THE SERIES
In the 85 games played against the Ducks since the first meeting in 1901, WSU trails Oregon 38-40-7 in the all-time series. The Cougars are 20-21-2 in Pullman, and are looking for their second consecutive victory at Martin Stadium. In 2006 the Cougars handed a 16th-ranked Ducks team a 34-23 defeat in front of a sold-out home crowd. Oregon, ranked No. 9 at the time, won last year's meeting 53-7 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore. The Ducks and Cougars have split the last six games overall, and are each 2-2 in the last four games played in Pullman. Since the 2000 season, the Cougars are 7-5 against Pacific-10 Conference opponents in September.

NOTE OF THE WEEK
In Saturday's win over Portland State, the Cougars had three quarterbacks that each threw for more than 100 yards in the contest. Marshall Lobbestael (149), Kevin Lopina (109) and Gary Rogers (103) became the first Cougar trio to throw for over 100 in at least 26 years dating back to the start of the 1983 season. The last time the Cougars had two quarterbacks throw for over 100 yards in the same game occurred during the 1999 season, when Steve Birnbaum (118) and Paul Mencke (157) eclipsed the century mark at Oregon.

Quotes From Today's Teleconference
On the game against Oregon...
"Oregon's very athletic. They have great team speed. They have good, solid players around the board. But at the same time, we have to play good, sound football and play hard and play smart. If we do those things, we can be in the ball game - there's no question - with an opportunity to win it. Our home crowd's going to have to be a big factor for us. We need them to be an impact for us, in our favor.

"They have two great running backs, four senior offensive linemen and an All-American tight end. They have all the parts to be extremely successful running the ball, which they've done all year.

"Defensively, their secondary is awfully good. They're playmakers, not just good players. They have the ability to rush the quarterbacks. They have a lot of good pieces to work with."

Injury News...
This is an excerpt from our release earlier today...

"Washington State University junior quarterback Kevin Lopina suffered a fracture of the L-4 transverse process of his vertebrae, according to WSU Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Training Bill Drake. Lopina was injured during the second quarter of Saturday's 48-9 victory over Portland State at Martin Stadium and left the contest with a deep bruise in his throwing shoulder. Following a series of tests and re-evaluations Sunday, Monday and today, the back injury was discovered. Lopina is out indefinitely and will be reevaluated on a weekly basis.

In unrelated injury news, it was determined Tuesday morning that junior linebacker Jason Stripling will need surgery on his left shoulder and will miss the remainder of the season."

On the bright side of the injury news, offensive lineman Andrew Roxas returned to practice today. His status for the game against Oregon is uncertain.

We will have Greg Trent, Brandon Gibson, Romeo Pellum, Hallston Higgins and Reid Forrest on the radio tomorrow. I will post interview times in the morning.

Until then...Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 22 (1:03 p.m.)

Lobbestael Named Pac-10 Player of the Week


Just got some good news from the Pac-10! Marshall Lobbestael was named Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week. Here is the release we will be sending out...

Washington State University quarterback Marshall Lobbestael was named U.S. Bank Pacific-10 Conference Offensive Player of the Week, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced.

Lobbestael, a redshirt freshman from Oak Harbor, Wash., had thrown only two passes all year before coming off the bench to lead Washington State to a 48-9 win against Portland State.

Entering the game after injuries to the Cougars first two quarterbacks, Lobbestael's first two pass attempts went for touchdowns covering 14 and 53 yards. He ended up completing 9 of 12 passes (.750) for 149 yards and the two touchdowns with no interceptions.

The Cougars scored on the first four possessions after he entered the game. Washington State's offense piled up a school-record-tying 36 first downs and 638 yards total offense (277 rushing, 361 passing).


September 21 (8:46 a.m.)

Today's NFL Matchups

Here is today's list of former Cougars facing off against each other in the NFL...

Devard Darling (Kansas City Chiefs) at Erik Coleman (Atlanta Falcons) - 10 a.m. (CBS)

Jason David (New Orleans Saints) at Hamza Abdullah and Karl Paymah (Denver Broncos) - 1:05 p.m.(FOX)

Jason Hanson (Detroit Lions) at Jason Hill (San Francisco 49ers) - 1:05 p.m. (FOX)

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 19 (2:47 p.m.)

This Day in Cougar History and Five Reasons to Believe

Sept. 19, 1998
Washington State University jumped out early on the shoulders of three touchdown receptions by Nian Taylor en route to a 24-16 win over Idaho in front of 36,770 at Martin Stadium. The game marked the first border clash between the Cougars and Vandals since 1989.

On its second possession of the game, WSU went on a 12-play, 52-yard drive that ended in a Rian Lindell field goal.

It was all Taylor from there for the Cougars...

Midway through the second quarter, Paul Mencke pushed the Cougars downfield to the Idaho 10-yard line, setting up Taylor's first touchdown. Mencke's perfect pass to Taylor in the corner of the end zone gave WSU a 10-point lead.

Two WSU possessions later, quarterback Steve Birnbaum brought the WSU offense from its own 20 to the Vandal 20. On first down, Birnbaum fired a pass into the left corner intended for Taylor, which was batted in the air by cornerback Dennis Gibbs. Gibbs' effort was good, but not good enough, as Taylor still caught the pass for his second touchdown of the day.

Leading 17-0, the Cougars thwarted Idaho's early second half scoring opportunity when Lamont Thompson's first of two interceptions saved a touchdown and crushed some Vandal hopes of a comeback. Two plays later Birnbaum and Taylor connected on a WSU-record 97-yard touchdown reception, giving WSU a 24-0 lead.

The Cougar defensive shutout was snapped when Ben Davis nailed a 43-yard field goal. Just 13 seconds later, Falemao Tosi intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown. Joel Thomas' one-yard touchdown rush on fourth and goal gave the Vandals a chance to pull within seven, but Davis' kick was blocked and WSU led 24-16.

In addition to the three touchdowns and record-setting reception, Taylor finished with 254 yards receiving, one yard shy of Deron Pointer's record set against Arizona State in 1993.

Five Reasons to Believe

5. Retribution
Jerry Glanville's Vikings upset Paul Wulff's Eastern Washington Eagles (28-21) last season in Cheney. With a new team and a new home venue, Coach Wulff is looking to win this time around.

4. Brandon Gibson and Alfonso Jackson
Your game captains for this week, Gibson is looking to continue his ascent up the Cougar receiving record books, and Jackson is returning to safety, where he absolutely punished opposing players last season with his ferocious hits.

3. Some Extra Rest
WSU played Baylor on only six days rest, but that gave them an extra day of preparation for Portland State. The Cougars are 4-2 in games played the week after a Friday contest.

2. Nonconference Foes
The Cougars are 18-3 over the last seven seasons against unranked nonconference opponents.

1. The FCS
WSU is a perfect 13-0 when facing members of the current Football Championship Subdivision, which was established in 1989 as Division I-AA.


September 17 (6:31 p.m.)

Practice Report...

As I am sure you have all read in the papers and seen on the news, the Cougars are trying some new things this week. Players on both sides of the ball are testing themselves at new positions. (Vince Grippi will talk more about this tomorrow in The Spokesman Review, so be sure to check that out.)

Head Coach Paul Wulff talked a little bit about the changes at safety before this afternoon's practice.

"Defensively, in the secondary Xavier Hicks is back and Alfonso Jackson moved back to safety, so those long runs should be held back."

The defense looked great today, forcing the offensive players to do up-downs after scrimmaging.

On the offensive side of the ball, Coach Wulff feels that another week of healthy receivers gelling together should help the passing game.

It seems like I have done a "Catch of the Day" every Wednesday for three weeks or so, so we may as well make it a weekly tradition...Chantz Staden had TWO Catches of the Day this afternoon, one leaping grab and one diving catch, both of which were hauled in for touchdowns.

I will close with another quote from Coach Wulff before practice.

"Watch this team and watch closely. Watch them get better and watch them grow. It's part of the process...we're going to get there."

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 17 (2:57 p.m.)

Radio Interviews...

If you missed Myron Beck's interview with KJR's Ian Furness at 1:20, worry not...you can listen to it at their Web site (www.kjram.com).

Cory Evans will be on KRKO's The Fish at 3:45 p.m. If you can't listen via 1380 AM, you can listen online at www.thefishonradio.com, and the interview will also be posted at www.krko.com for playback.

Catch Daniel Blackledge with KJR's Mike Gastineau tonight at 6:05 p.m. If you can't listen on KJR 950 AM, check out their site and click "Listen Live" at the top of the page.

See you all after practice...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 16 (7:00 p.m.)

Football and Golf...

My apologies for not posting yesterday...I spent the last couple days at Palouse Ridge as the WSU women's golf team hosted its inaugural home tournament. The Cougar women ran away with it, edging their nearest competitor by 22 strokes.

If you're coming to the game this weekend or for any other football game this season, bring your clubs...Palouse Ridge is absolutely beautiful. General Manager Bruce Perisho said they will have a shotgun start Saturday morning so that people can play the course and still make the game, and you can actually reserve your tee time online (www.palouseridge.com). There are still tee times available for this weekend.

Now...on to football...

Series History
Saturday's matchup marks the first time the Cougars and Vikings have met on the football field. Though the teams have never met, this marks the second-straight year the two head coaches have gone against one another, with Jerry Glanville's Viking squad upsetting Paul Wulff's Eastern Washington team, 28-21, last season in Cheney.

Stat of the Week
For the first time since the 2005 season, the Cougars played a Friday night game last week when the Baylor contest was pushed up a day. Since the 1966 season, the Cougars have played six regular-season Friday games in which they are 2-4. Following those same six contests, WSU is 4-2 in its next game, with victories over Grambling State (2005), California (1977), Oklahoma (1967) and Baylor (1966). Not included in this Friday night record was a 38-36 loss to BYU at the 1981 Holiday Bowl, which ended WSU's 1981 campaign.

Click here to read our weekly release in its entirety.

It was hot this afternoon, but WSU's practice was focused and intense. The defense was flying around and the offense was in rhythm. The Cougars are working extremely hard, hoping to get into the win column this week.

At the end of practice the Cougars' defensive coaches ran a gasser...think for a minute and guess who won...Chris Ball? Jody Sears? Malik Roberson? If you guessed linebackers coach Travis Niekamp, you would be correct...

I will have times for you tomorrow, but keep your ears peeled for tomorrow's radio interviews with Daniel Blackledge, Myron Beck, Chantz Staden and Cory Evans.

Until tomorrow...Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 14 (9:48 a.m.)

Cougars in the NFL

Though the Cougar football team doesn't play again until Saturday against Portland State, you can still catch a number of former Cougars in action today in the National Football League.

You can track former Cougars playing in the NFL every week by clicking here.

You can take a look at the schedule for every former Cougar by checking out the link above. What I would like to do here is point out the games where there will be a Cougar on both sides of the field.

Before we get to today's slate, WSU's all-time receptions leader Michael Bumpus was activated to the 53-man roster of the Seattle Seahawks.

Jason Hill (San Francisco 49ers) at Marcus Trufant and Michael Bumpus (Seattle Seahawks) - 1:05 p.m. (FOX)
Rian Lindell (Buffalo Bills) at Rob Meier (Jacksonville Jaguars) - 10:00 a.m. (CBS)

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 12 (6:51 a.m.)

This Day in Cougar History, Five Reasons to Believe

I know we did a game from the 1992 season last week, but how could we leave this game out when looking back on historical games in Cougar history?

Sept. 12, 1992
Aaron Price nailed his third field goal of the day with only 35 seconds to play as WSU overcame an 11-point deficit to beat Arizona on the road in Tucson, Ariz., 23-20. Price, who also connected from 21 and 51 yards in the first half, propelled the Cougars to a victory and a 2-0 record to start the 1992 season with a 47-yard kick after WSU had driven 48 yards in the closing seconds.

The Cougar defense kept WSU in the game, limiting the Wildcats to 58 rushing yards, just 223 yards of total offense and only eight first downs. The Cougar offense ran 90 plays and gained 411 yards, but still trailed 17-6 in the third quarter.

Quarterback Drew Bledsoe and his receivers began to hit their stride, while at the same time running backs Shaumbe Wright-Fair and Derek Sparks began to find some running room. Wright-Fair had his second straight 100-yard rushing game, finishing with 112 yards, while Sparks added 40 yards.

Bledsoe's first touchdown pass came with just under four minutes to play in the third quarter, a 28-yarder to Deron Pointer that pulled WSU to within four (17-13). After an Arizona field goal, he found Phillip Bobo at the goal line for another touchdown, this time from 19 yards. Price's PAT tied the game at 20, and set the stage for his game-winning field goal.

Bledsoe hit 22 of 43 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns. Ron Childs led the Cougar defense with 13 tackles, while Singor Mobley picked off an Arizona pass in the closing seconds of the game.

WSU went on to a 9-3 record that season and was victorious in the Copper Bowl, winning 31-28 over Utah.

Five Reasons to Believe
5. Texans Returning Home
The Cougars have seven players from Texas on the squad, and they all get to play in front of a number of family members this week. Kendrick Dunn, Hallston Higgins, Chris Ivory, Alfonso Jackson, Chima Nwachukwu, Jason Stripling and Greg Trent each want to put on a show in front of a home crowd.

4. Two Time Zones? No Problem
The Cougars have won six of their last nine games when traveling to the Central Time Zone,dating back to the 1988 season, knocking off Illinois (three times), Minnesota, TCU...and Baylor.

3. Playing on a Friday? Again, No Problem
In the last two decades WSU has only played two games on a Friday, but was victorious in both of them. In non-Saturday games, the Cougars are 11-2 since the beginning of the 1988 season.

2. History
The Baylor Bears may hold a 3-2 advantage in the all-time series, but their last win over the Cougars was during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration. WSU has won each of the last two.

1. Brandon Gibson and Alfonso Jackson
Your game captains for this week, Gibson is one of the most polished weapons in the nation at wide receiver, and Jackson is one of the fiercest hitters in the nation after moving to cornerback from safety this season.


September 11 (5:20 p.m.)

Good News!

FSN has found a way to televise the Washington State-Baylor game tomorrow night. Here is a snippet of their release...

"The Washington State-Baylor contest previously schedule for Saturday, September 13th at 9:30 a.m. has been moved to Friday, September 12th at 5:30 p.m. as a result of complications due to Hurricane Ike. FSN announced that the network has made it possible for fans across the country to see the game by pairing the stadium's in-house feed with Baylor's radio broadcast. The modified telecast will air live nationally on Fox College Sports and locally on FSN Southwest. Due to a conflict with the Mariners-Angels game at 7 p.m., FSN Northwest will deliver the game on delay at 11:00 p.m."

You can still watch the game live on www.wsucougars.com free of charge.

Joe Nickell


September 11 (3:48 p.m.)

TV Update...

There will not be any television for WSU's game against Baylor. However, fans can watch the game at www.wsucougars.com FREE OF CHARGE. The game will be streamed on our Web site.

Joe Nickell


September 11 (3:20 p.m.)

Wulff Addresses Game Change, Watching the Game

Head Coach Paul Wulff had his weekly Thursday teleconference, and as you could imagine, most of the questions related to the Cougars' game against Baylor. Previously scheduled to be played Saturday, Hurricane Ike has forced the game to be moved to Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. (PT).

On experiencing these types of situations before...
"Obviously on 9/11, I think everyone in the country did. We found out on Tuesday and there was speculation up until Thursday of that week whether we were going to play the game that I was involved in, and we ended up cancelling it like everyone else across the country.

"But I've been involved in thunderstorms and games have been called or suspended for an hour or two. That was back in 1995 in the middle of a game, of course in Texas - San Marcos, Texas. We played Texas State and had a major thunderstorm come through...but this is a first."

On whether this presents a disadvantage...
"You know, it's all how you handle it. Some people would perceive it (as a disadvantage). We're not really going to worry about it. Adversity is what we talk about here, and we're going to learn to get it ingrained into these guys. There is no better time to do it than now. We need to not worry about all the elements and fluff on the outside, we need to take care of business and play football, and that's what these guys need to learn to do."

Here is some information on the television situation...Not quite sure if the game will be picked up by television yet, but it will be streamed free of charge on our Web site.

Coach Wulff also said he cut back practice today and eliminated any contact because it is the day before a game. There probably won't be any practice notes, but check back for updated information on the Baylor game.

On another note...hope you all enjoy the look of the new Web site. If you have this page bookmarked and bypassed the front page, go to www.wsucougars.com.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 11 (12:40 p.m.)

Baylor Game Change

Due to the complications caused by the approach of Hurricane Ike, WSU's game against Baylor has been moved to Friday (Sept. 12), and will kick off at 5:30 p.m. (PT).

Details on possible television options will be announced as soon as possible.

Joe Nickell


September 10 (6:35 p.m.)

Wednesday Practice Notes, Weather Watch

Before we get to this afternoon's practice, here is an update on the Baylor game's status in light of Hurricane Ike. This came from Baylor's Sports Information Department...

"In light of Hurricane Ike, the Baylor athletics department is monitoring weather forecasts and considering various options for athletics events scheduled on campus this weekend. Baylor's football game vs. Washington State is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Saturday (FSN-TV) at Floyd Casey Stadium. Any potential changes to Saturday's football game or Sunday's soccer match will be announced on BaylorBears.com.

Baylor's campus is scheduled to remain open and operational through Friday."

At this point the game against Baylor will play on as planned. If anything changes, we will let you know.

Now...on to practice...

Greg Trent usually gets the team fired up before the Cougars get into their stretching lines, but today it was fellow linebacker Cory Evans leading the pre-practice cheers.

Off the field, running back Dwight Tardy has become the most vocal leader for the offense, constantly cheering on and encouraging his team mates. On the field, his pass protection has been extremely impressive this week.

The Catch of the Day went to senior wide receiver Brandon Gibson, who leapt into the air in the back of the end zone during one of the individual drills. Gibson came down with the ball and got not one, but two feet in bounds...There were two NFL scouts on hand this afternoon, so I'm guessing they took note.

Earlier today I received an e-mail from the Rimington Trophy committee...the game against Baylor was selected as a Rimington Game to Tivo, as both team's centers - WSU's Kenny Alfred and Baylor's J.D. Walton - are on the Rimington Trophy Watch List.

Keep an eye out tomorrow for Vinci Grippi's feature on WSU's football players from Texas in The Spokesman Review. Todd Milles is working on a feature for tomorrow's Tacoma News Tribune on punter Reid Forrest.

Until tomorrow...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 10 (1:00 p.m.)

Wednesday Radio Interviews...

A rundown of this afternoon's Cougar radio interviews...

Sophomore safety Chima Nwachukwu will be on live with KJR's Ian Furness this afternoon at 1:20 p.m. If you can't listen via 950 AM, check out their Web site (www.kjram.com) and click Listen Live at the top of the page.

Senior linebacker Greg Trent will be on with KJR's Mike Gastineau this evening at 6:05 p.m. Once again, if you can't listen via 950 AM, check out their Web site (www.kjram.com) and click Listen Live at the top of the page.

Wide receiver Brandon Gibson will tape a podcast with KJR's Jason Puckett. The interview will be posted on their Web site tomorrow. Check out www.kjram.com tomorrow to download the podcast.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 9 (8:07 p.m.)

Practice Notes and Radio Stars...

The Cougars switched up their practice look this week. With the Cougars on the road for the first time this season (officially), the offense wore white jerseys and the defense wore crimson jerseys.

I talked to a lot of Cougars from Texas, and they are all very excited to get back to their home state this week to play Baylor. There are six players on the WSU roster from Texas: Alfonso Jackson (Hearne, Texas), Chima Nwachukwu (Allen, Texas), Christopher Ivory (Longview, Texas), Kendrick Dunn (Hearne, Texas), Jason Stripling (Tyler, Texas) and Greg Trent (Keller, Texas).

If you count all of the players from Texas' families, and add Cory Evans', which I do (Louisiana is close enough), there are going to be a lot of Cougars in the stands in Waco.

We have a number of players hitting the airwaves tomorrow: Chima Nwachukwu will be on KJR with Ian Furness, Brandon Gibson will record a podcast with KJR's Jason Puckett, Greg Trent will be on KJR with Mike Gastineau, and Nico Grasu will be on with ESPN 960 AM's Chad Vaughn in the Tri-Cities.

I will get you all of the times for the interview in the morning.

Until then...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 9 (2:00 p.m.)

Wulff Teleconference...

Here are some quotes from this afternoon's teleconference with Head Coach Paul Wulff.

On Baylor...
"I think they're a team similar to ours, where they're in a transition year in regards to a new staff and trying new things. They're breaking in a new quarterback, too, a very athletic one that will definitely hurt people with his feet - he's athletic and he has a strong arm.

"Defensively they've done a nice job of not letting themselves get beat giving up the easy ones. That is something we've been trying to avoid. They've done a good job, allowing them to stay in ballgames. Obviously they won the game this last week.

"It will be a tough game. We have to go on the road and it's an 11:30 game for us, so we have to make sure we are up and ready to go."

On WSU's quarterback situation...
"We have not made a decision on who we're going to start yet. We want to get through the week's practice and see if we feel real comfortable with one of them. At this point we still want to keep our options open."

We'll be back later with a report from practice. Until then...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 8 (7:16 p.m.)

Hitting the Road...

The Cougars are looking to rebound this week, traveling all the way to Waco, Texas, for the first road game of the season. The game against Baylor will have a 9:30 a.m. (PT) kickoff, and will be broadcast on FSN.

Here are a couple notes from this week's release. Click here to read the release in its entirety.

THE SERIES
Washington State and Baylor have previously met five times, with WSU trailing the all-time series 2-3. The Cougars have won each of the last two meetings, and Baylor's last win came more than 40 years ago. WSU knocked off the Bears in 1994 in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio (10-3), and in 2006 at Qwest Field in Seattle (17-15). The Bears were victorious in 1952 (31-7), 1966 (20-14) and 1967 (10-7).

STAT OF THE WEEK
HITTING THE ROAD FOR THE BIG 12:
The game against Baylor marks the 39th meeting between WSU and a school currently in the Big 12, and each of the 39 games will have been played away from the friendly confines of Pullman and Martin Stadium. The Cougars have hosted a total of seven games in Seattle, Tacoma or Spokane, and played at neutral sites in San Antonio, Pasadena and San Diego, but 27 of the previous 38 games have been played at opponents' stadiums.

A couple other things of note...

The Cougars rank 25th in the nation and second in the Pacific-10 Conference in kickoff return average (25.94 yards per return).

WSU ranks 35th in the nation and fourth in the Pac-10 in pass defense, allowing only 153.50 yards per game.

Following this week's game against Baylor, WSU will have played three different games in three different stadiums.

No practice today, but the Cougars did have their photo day this afternoon. Click here to view a couple photos from the shoot courtesy of Jason Krump.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 5 (2:53 p.m.)

This Day in History, Five Reasons to Believe

As WSU prepares for its Pacific-10 Conference and Martin Stadium opener against California tomorrow at 3:30 p.m., lets take a look back on what happened this day in Cougar history.

Sept. 5, 1992
The 1992 season would be a magical one for the Cougars. WSU defeated Utah in the Copper Bowl and knocked off Washington in a game dubbed the Snow Bowl. But it all got started with a win over Montana in the season-opener.

Drew Bledsoe threw three touchdown passes and set four records as the Cougars overcame seven turnovers to hand Montana a 25-23 setback in the season-opener for both schools.

Bledsoe set WSU records for pass attempts (66), completions (37), yards (413) and total plays (74).

The Cougars had a record 36 first downs en route to amassing 525 yards. In addition to Bledsoe's 413 passing yards, Shaumbe Wright-Fair added 111 yards on the ground.

WSU opened its scoring with junior Aaron Price connecting on his first collegiate field goal attempt, a 44-yarder in the first quarter. Four minutes later Bledsoe connected with Calvin Schexnayder from 24 yards out. Add Price's extra point, and the Cougars led 10-0 at the end of the first quarter.

WSU took its 10-0 lead into the second half following a scoreless second quarter, but Montana refused to quit. After Price booted another field goal to give WSU a 13-0 lead, a Montana touchdown pulled the Grizzlies within six.

In the fourth quarter, Bledsoe went to work, first hitting Schexnayder with a seven-yard scoring pass and then coming back late in the game with another scoring toss, this time to tight end Brett Carolan.

Carolan hauled in 10 Bledsoe passes to lead all WSU receivers, while Phillip Bobo and C.J. Davis each had seven receptions. WSU's defense limited Montana to 196 yards through the air and 52 on the ground. John Rushing picked off one Montana pass, the Grizzlies' only turnover.

Five Reasons to Believe
5. Matt Mullennix and Kenny Alfred

Mullennix and Alfred are the Cougar game captains this week. Mullennix, a defensive end from Spangle, Wash., was granted a sixth year of eligibility this season, and at 6-foot-6, 253 pounds, is a monster on WSU's defensive line. Alfred, a 6-2, 300-pound redshirt junior center, has been recognized as one of the best in the business, being named to the Watch Lists for both the Rimington Trophy and the Rotary Lombardi Award.

4. Martin Stadium
WSU has won seven consecutive Martin Stadium openers, and 14 of its last 16. Against California at home, the Cougars lead the series 14-9-1.

3. Greg Trent
WSU's four-year starter at middle linebacker is nearing history. Trent, the leader of the Cougar defense, needs only nine tackles to become just the 17th player in school history to rack up 250 career tackles.

2. A Historical Reunion
The Cougars will be honoring the 1988 Aloha Bowl team at halftime, a squad that ended an 82-year bowl victory drought with a 24-22 victory over No. 14 Houston. Three WSU coaches were on that team (Head Coach Paul Wulff, running backs coach Steve Broussard and co-defensive coordinator Jody Sears), and they want to treat their former teammates to a win.

1. Pullman
Pullman is one of the toughest places to play in the Pacific-10 Conference...Just ask California. The Golden Bears are 1-9 in their last 10 visits to Pullman, and have not defeated the Cougars in back-to-back Pullman games since doing so in 1975 (33-21) and in 1979 (45-13).

Enjoy tomorrow's game Cougar fans!

Joe Nickell


September 4 (6:41 p.m.)

Teleconference, Game Captains and a Special Guest at Practice

At this afternoon's teleconference with Head Coach Paul Wulff, there was a lot of talk about this weekend's Aloha Bowl reunion festivities.

Coach Wulff was a member of the 1988 Aloha Bowl team, a squad that ended an 82-year bowl victory drought with a 24-22 victory over No. 14 Houston. He started three of the Cougars' final four games that season (his junior year) - including the Aloha Bowl - after sitting out the first part of the season with a knee injury.

When asked what he expects the turnout to be of players from that team for the reunion...
"I've heard as many as 40-plus at this point. I don't know if it's going to end up in the 50s or not, but it sounds like a really good number right now. I'm excited to see those guys...I am going to greet them when they report and spend a half hour-plus with them...I'll come back and meet with them again at their session before the game, so I'll definitely have some time with them."

When asked about the offensive line from the Aloha Bowl season...
"I know Dennis (Erickson) talks a lot about that line, and he could probably tell you more about it than me. The thing that was good about it was - one, we had started running an offense so few people had seen at that point or had to defend. The combination of that and the right personnel - you have to remember that we had two first round draft picks at quarterback and at running back in the back end there. The line was good because we had a big, physical presence on one side and a very athletic presence on the opposite side. We used to flip-flop that line, strong and weak, so we could do some things and utilize the strengths of both sides of the line which made it pretty unique. And it was a group that played a lot of football headed up to that point. I think anytime you have success, generally there's something that leads up to that, and it's usually a group of guys that played a lot of football together - and that was the case. If you look at the group as a whole, they all signed NFL contracts - whether it be drafted or free agents - along with both the tight ends that played. So everybody across the board had an opportunity to play in the NFL. I think that speaks volumes in addition to both guys behind them being first round draft picks."

One of the members of the Aloha Bowl team has already made his way into Pullman. Former Cougar defensive tackle Tony Savage was on hand for practice this afternoon. Savage recorded seven tackles in the Aloha Bowl, including a sack for a loss of 12 yards.

Not a lot of notes from practice. The Cougars wore helmets and shoulder pads in Martin Stadium, and worked primarily on special teams and running plays.

WSU's captains for the Pacific-10 Conference opener against California will be center Kenny Alfred and defensive end Matt Mullennix.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 3 (6:47 p.m.)

Wednesday Practice and an Aloha Bowl Reunion...

One more practice down, one day closer to the Cougars' Pacific-10 Conference opener against California.

At halftime of the game against the Golden Bears, WSU will honor members of the 1988 Aloha Bowl team. This season marks the 20th anniversary of WSU's 24-22 victory over No. 14 Houston, ending an 82-year bowl victory drought.

In addition to Head Coach Paul Wulff, running backs coach Steve Broussard and co-defensive coordinator Jody Sears, the following former Cougars will be in attendance...

Randy Gray
David Fakkema
Rob Whorley
Mark Ledbetter
Ed Tingstad
Ron Ricard
Jay Languein
Dave Smith
Rob Myers
Doug Wellsandt
Ken P. Kuiper
Lee Tilleman
Tony Savage
William Pellum
Chris Moton
Mike Wimberly
Mike Utley
Chris Dyko
Tim Downing
Dan Grayson,
Randy McWilliams
Bobby O'Neal (Leading Tackler)
Victor Wood (Aloha Bowl MVP)
Maury Metcalf
John Husby
Mark Smaha (former Director of Sports Medicine and father of graduate assistant Ryan Smaha)

Former Cougar offensive guard Jim Michalczik will also be in attendance, as he is currently the assistant head coach for California.

The Spokesman Review's Vince Grippi spoke with Michalczik this week, and the paper will be running his story tomorrow on the relationship between Michalczik and Coach Wulff. The two played right next to each other on WSU's offensive line and are still great friends. Grippi has a number of interesting notes in the story, but I am not going to spoil them here.

It may have been in individual drills, but freshman wide receiver Kevin Norrell had the most impressive catch of the day. He dove for a pass in the end zone...grabbed the ball with one hand...rolled over onto his back...hit the ground...and pulled the ball in for the reception. Absolutely impressive...

The list of Cougars looking healthier got a little bit longer today. Offensive tackle Vaughn Lesuma and cornerback Markus Dawes were both suited up for practice today.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


September 3 (11:05 a.m.)

Hitting the Airwaves...

Here are the times for the Cougars doing radio interviews this afternoon...

Freshman linebacker Michael Ledgerwood kicks things off with ESPN 960 AM in the Tri-Cities at 1:05 p.m. Ledgerwood will be going on The Cougar Corner segment of The Bull Pen, ESPN 960 AM's two-hour local sports program (Noon-2 p.m.).

Center Kenny Alfred will be going on with KJR's Ian Furness at 1:20. If you can't listen via 950 AM, check out their Web site (www.kjram.com) and click Listen Live at the top of the page.

Wide receiver Brandon Gibson will be going on with KRKO's The Fish at 4:05 p.m. If you can't listen via 1380 AM, you can listen online at www.thefishonradio.com, and the interview will also be posted at www.krko.com for playback.

Rounding things out today will be defensive end Andy Mattingly, who will go on KJR with Mike Gastineau at 6:05 p.m. Once again, if you can't listen via 950 AM, check out their Web site (www.kjram.com) and click Listen Live at the top of the page.

A heads up for tomorrow...Linebacker Greg Trent will be recording an interview with KJR's Jason Puckett this afternoon. The interview will be podcast on their Web site tomorrow. Check out www.kjram.com tomorrow to download the podcast.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell



September 2 (7 p.m.)

Monday and Tuesday All in One...

With yesterday's holiday, it has been a busy Tuesday to say the least...I'll try to get everything in here today that we missed on yesterday...

Click here to read this week's full release.

Stat of the Week
Though California was victorious in the last meeting at Martin Stadium in 2006 (21-3), WSU is 9-1 in the last 10 games played in Pullman. California has not won back-to-back games in Pullman since defeating the Cougars in 1975 (33-21) and in 1979 (45-13).

There is a lot more information in the weekly release, but for the sake of keeping this from becoming a 10-page essay, I'll let you check for yourselves...

NOW...On to your Tuesday information...

We had Coach Wulff's weekly Tuesday teleconference this afternoon. Here are a couple quotes...

On the matchup with California...
"They are a very physical football team on both sides of the ball. Their offensive and defensive lines are physical. They start four senior linebackers that are very physical. They are the strength of their defense. Offensively, they have great speed at running back. They have two kids who are probably the fastest two tailbacks in the league. They have an athletic quarterback. From a talent standpoint there are definitely one of the top teams in the conference...It's going to be a heck of a challenge for us. But we have them at home, and if our kids take the steps that we believe they can take it's going to be a heck of a ballgame."

On returning to Martin Stadium...
"It'll hopefully be a lot of fun. It's going to be nice to have the crowd. It will be the first time I've really been able to experience that. I know in Seattle we had that, but to be able to do that in Martin Stadium, and with the renovations that have gone on - to kind of break that in - it will be a great new change for everyone. I'm excited to get on with it, and it's against a very quality opponent. It will be a heck of a challenge and it should be a great atmosphere in addition to the Aloha Bowl 20th reunion. A lot of my former teammates will be there, and it will be great to be a part of that."

We also had practice this afternoon...

Punter Reid Forrest and wide receiver Jeshua Anderson were both at practice today. Forrest booted punts and Anderson ran routes. Their status for the game against California this week is uncertain.

Rogers Field had a different look to it today, with crimson lines painted going the length of the field. This gives the Cougars a chance to work on a full field for kickoffs and other special teams drills, rather than working on shortened fields.

We will have a number of Cougars hitting the airwaves tomorrow...

Andy Mattingly will be on KJR with Mike Gastineau, Greg Trent will be on KJR with Jason Puckett and Kenny Alfred will be on KJR with Ian Furness. I will get you the time for the Mattingly interview, and Trent's interview will be podcast on their Web site (www.kjram.com), but I can tell you right now that Alfred's interview will be on at 1:20 p.m. If you can't listen on 950 AM, check out their Web site and click Listen Live at the top of the page.

Wide receiver Brandon Gibson will be going on with KRKO's The Fish tomorrow. I will have a time for this as well, but if you can't listen via 1380 AM, you can listen online at www.thefishonradio.com, and the interview will also be posted at www.krko.com for playback.

Coach Broussard will participate in an online chat Thursday at 11:30 a.m. on our Web site. For information on how to submit a question for the chat, click here.

I think that is about it...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell

August 31 (6:14 p.m.)

NFL Practice Squads...UPDATED AGAIN!

A number of National Football League teams have already announced their practice squad additions. I will keep you posted on the status of former Cougars as information becomes available.

Thus far...

Michael Bumpus has been signed to the practice squad for the Seattle Seahawks.

Mkristo Bruce has been signed to the practice squad for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

UPDATED AT 11:14 a.m.
Jed Collins has been signed to the practice squad for the Philadelphia Eagles.

UPDATED AT 10:00 a.m. - Tuesday
Ropati Pitoitua has been signed to the practice squad for the New York Jets.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 31 (10:54 a.m.)

NFL's Cutdown Day...

NFL teams had to trim their rosters to 53 players yesterday by 3 p.m. (PT). In doing so, a few former Cougars were released:

Cody Boyd, Pittsburgh Steelers
Alex Brink, Houston Texans
Mkristo Bruce, Jacksonville Jaguars
Michael Bumpus, Seattle Seahawks
Jed Collins, Philadelphia Eagles
Wale Dada, Denver Broncos
Ropati Pitoitua, New York Jets

NFL teams can designate an eight-man practice squad beginning Monday, Sept. 1, and I would expect to see a few of these guys stick around as a member of the practice squad.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 29 (10:13 a.m.)

Feeding Your Friday...

You have waited a long time for this Cougar fans. The last time you watched your Cougars play, it was Nov. 24, 2007, and WSU won its third Apple Cup in four years. I am sure you remember it like it was yesterday, but it doesn't feel like it was yesterday. It has seemed like forever...

Come this time tomorrow, you are going to be getting ready for the season-opener against Oklahoma State. Fortunately, you can now countdown to game time in hours, rather than days.

I will be at the Seahawks game tonight, so I probably won't be posting again after this morning. We are getting ready to take off for Seattle now, and he have a walk-thru at Qwest Field this afternoon.

To help pass the time, I have a couple things for you that you can expect every Friday...

On This Day in Cougar History
Only once has the WSU football team played on Aug. 29, and it was a heck of a game. In the earliest game played by a Cougar football team, WSU kicked off a Rose Bowl season with a 37-34 victory over UCLA Aug. 29, 1997.

Ryan Leaf threw for what was then a career-high 381 yards and three touchdowns, and the Cougar defense made a courageous goal line stand late in the game as WSU handed UCLA a 37-34 setback in the season and Pacific-10 Conference openers for both clubs in front of 26,000 fans and a national ABC television audience.

The Cougars, after falling behind 7-0 and 14-3, scored 27 unanswered points in the second quarter to take a 30-14 halftime lead. Late in the third quarter WSU still held a 16-point advantage, only to have the Bruins ring up two touchdowns to pull within three points.

The Cougar defense then rallied inside the three-minute mark by halting UCLA's fourth down rushing attempt one yard from the end zone. Leaf then hit Shawn McWashington with a pair of key first down passes as the Cougars ran out the clock to win their sixth-straight home opener.

Running back Michael Black rushed 27 times for 102 yards and a touchdown, and wide receiver Nian Taylor had five receptions for 200 yards and two touchdowns.

Five Reasons to Believe
5. Qwest Field

Because of the noise, the home of the Seattle Seahawks has become a nightmare for opposing teams, and Cougar fans can do the same thing to the opposition beginning tomorrow at 12:30 p.m.

4. History
It may have only been two games, and it may have been 50-plus years ago, but undefeated is undefeated, and WSU is undefeated against Oklahoma State.

3. Unranked and Nonconference
The Cougars are 18-1 since the opening of the 2001 season against unranked nonconference opponents. 18-1!

2. Gary Rogers and Greg Trent
The senior quarterback and the senior middle linebacker have been named captains for the season-opener. Rogers has been waiting for three years to have this opportunity, and when he received consistent play during the first three games of 2006, he completed 15-of-23 passes for 175 yards and three touchdowns. Trent is in his fourth year as a starter for the Cougars, and he has reached a new level of intensity this fall camp. The tackling machine has been chomping at the bit to hit someone in a different colored jersey.

1. Paul Wulff
The crimson blood means something...All three previous WSU head coaches that lettered for the Cougar football team won their first game as head coach.


Teleconference Quotes, Alfred Named to Another Watch List...


The Cougars just held their final practice in Pullman before heading to Seattle. There aren't a lot of notes because the team primarily ran through team drills and special teams.

However, Head Coach Paul Wulff did have a teleconference today, of which we can bring you some quotes. Coach Wulff talked about a couple of his offense linemen and his investment in the program.

On offensive guard Brian Danaher... "All fall camp he's been very, very good. He brings some violence to the position. He's an explosive, get off the ball kind of guy. He's very tough and we like those guys. Those guys have an impact on the guys around him. He's really played good football this fall camp."

On offensive tackle Steven Ayers... "He's maybe exceeded our expectations this early. Now, we haven't played a game yet and he's going to have some growing pains in games. But based on practice, he's a very good football player with a tremendous amount of upside. He's a kind of guy that could be a four-year starter in your program. He's fairly mature; he's got a lot of natural offensive line skills that come easy for him. He's a big kid, he's 310 pounds, and he has light feet. He has a lot of the right things you're looking for in the offensive line."

On his investment in this program as an alum... "I know I really feel like a fan; I'm a big fan. Not only am I the coach, but I'm a fan out there. I want to see Washington State win every game like every fan does. There's no question, I have that kind of passion and fire about every game. I know I'm going to, I feel it all the time. There's no one out there that wants to have more success for Washington State football than me. There just isn't. Because I know I have that fire in me, probably because I played here and how good I feel about the place and what it did for me as a person. I do think there's a lot of value to being an alum of a university."

Coach Wulff also talked about the travel squad. Of the 62 players traveling, four are true freshman. WSU will have three kickers and a punter, and Wade Penner will receive the initial nod as place kicker.

Junior center Kenny Alfred was named to the Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List. Every year the Rotary Lombardi Award honors Football Bowl Subdivision's top lineman. Alfred is one of 49 offensive players on the 113-player list. Alfred had already been named to the Rimington Trophy Watch List, awarded annually to the nation's top center.

Members of the WSU women's basketball team will be on hand to sign autographs at the season-opener Saturday. Student-athletes will be present from 9:30-11 a.m. at the Qwest Field Exhibition Center.

The Cougars head to Seattle tomorrow and will have a walk-thru at Qwest Field. Enjoy the first college football games of 2008 tonight.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 28 (2:57 p.m.)

Basketball News...

Good news Cougar basketball fans; Taylor Rochestie has been put back on scholarship for the 2008-09 season. If you recall, Rochestie gave up his scholarship for his senior season in October in order to allow the Cougs to sign an additional player to a National Letter of Intent during the early signing period in November. After two players left in the spring and WSU signed a sixth freshman to an NLI, one scholarship remained and WSU Head Basketball Coach Tony Bennett awarded it to Rochestie. Here is what Bennett had to say:

"We are excited to be able to give Taylor back a scholarship. Obviously, last fall he and his family displayed a great amount of generosity and unselfishness towards our basketball program. When a scholarship became available in May, it was a no-brainer to award it to Taylor."


August 27 (6:58 p.m.)

Newcomer Numbers, Student Tickets for Seattle and Practice Notes...


The first official day of fall isn't until Sept. 22, but with the season-opener only three days away, and the weather we had today, it's starting to feel like fall on the Palouse.

It was about 70 degrees with a cool breeze at practice today - apparently perfect weather for a defensive back. Safety Myron Beck picked off a pass in thud, while fellow safety Chima Nwachukwu and cornerbacks Alfonso Jackson and Romeo Pellum each posted interceptions in scout.

The Cougar offense had a full stable of running backs for the second consecutive day, great news heading into Saturday. Logwone Mitz looked outstanding, hauling in a touchdown pass and ripping off a long run.

The only running back not carrying the ball this afternoon was Marcus Richmond, who has converted to wide receiver. Richmond's fellow wideout Jared Karstetter had the catch of the day, a diving grab in the end zone for a touchdown.

Jared Prenguber posted four new videos on our Web site: Head Coach Paul Wulff's Tuesday press conference, practice highlights from Tuesday and interviews with both Gary Rogers and Brandon Gibson. Check out All-Access to view the videos.

WSU Director of Ticket Sales Dan Meyer said the ticket office distributed 1,859 student tickets tonight, and there are still 3,736 student tickets remaining. The ticket office opens at 8 a.m. tomorrow, so if you are a WSU student and have yet to pick up your tickets, better get there early to make sure you get yours.

Coach Wulff told the media after practice that wide receiver Keith Parr, Jr. has decided to transfer.

With some new faces joining the Cougar football team this week, we should probably run down what number they will be wearing...

Nick Morrison - 50
Nick Proen - 81
Colin Huemmer - 89
La'Dell Carrol - 46
Jared Bjerkestrand - 33
Casey Thometz - 27
Luke Hansell - 74
Nate Lanting - 62
Jordan Burke - 47
Jack Gala - 70

Kicker Nico Grasu (18) and tight end Aaron Gehring (41) also switched jersey numbers.

Keep an eye out for Vince Grippi's feature on offensive lineman Brian Danaher tomorrow in The Spokesman Review. From walk-on to starter, Danaher, out of Colfax, Wash., spoke with Grippi after practice.

That's it for tonight. The Cougars will hold their last practice tomorrow afternoon before heading to Seattle Friday.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 27 (11:34 a.m.)

Keep Your Ears Peeled...

Starting quarterback Gary Rogers will be on with NorthSound 1380 AM's The Fish at 3:45 p.m. If you can't listen via 1380 AM, you can listen online at www.thefishonradio.com. The interview will also be posted tomorrow at www.krko.com for playback.

Rogers will also be taping a podcast with KJR's Jason Puckett. The podcast will be posted on KJR's Web site (www.kjram.com).

Wide receiver Brandon Gibson will be on with KJR's Mike Gastineau at 6:05 p.m. If you can't listen via KJR 950 AM, check their Web site and click "Listen Live" at the top of the page. Gibson's interview will also be podcasted tomorrow at their site.

We will be back this evening with a practice report...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 26 (7:05 p.m.)

New Faces, the Broadcast Team and Some Sad News...


Tuesday evening's practice marked the first official practice of the 2008-09 school year, and the Cougars had some more players on the field...

Jared Bjerkestrand, Jeff Bowen, Nick Cantlon, Luke Hansell, Colin Huemmer, Phillip Jennings, Andrew Kreutz, Nathan Lanting, Nick Proen, Shane Thomas and Casey Thometz each joined the WSU football team this afternoon.

Just as he had all of fall camp, quarterback Gary Rogers looked sharp today. He was throwing an excellent ball, and wide receivers Brandon Gibson and Michael Willis caught everything thrown their way. The defense also looks ready for the season-opener, preventing the offense from scoring in a goal line drill.

Looking ahead to the season-opener, Brian Davis will call the action for FSN and Tony Boselli will serve as the analyst for the WSU-OSU matchup at Qwest Field in Seattle. Dain Blanton will be the sideline reporter.

Persistent, chronic pain in both shoulders has led senior offensive lineman Dan Rowlands to discontinue playing football. Rowlands is a fifth-year senior who played 34 games as a Cougar, 21 as a starter.

If you missed the first edition of the WSU Coaches Show with Head Coach Paul Wulff and legendary broadcaster Bob Robertson, be sure to tune in next week. The show is held at the Hilltop Restaurant in Pullman every Tuesday at 7 p.m. You can listen to the WSU Coaches Show every Tuesday on KXLY 920 AM, as well the rest of the flagship stations of the Cougar Sports Radio Network.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 26 (6:30 p.m.)

WSU Coaches Show to Air in Half Hour...

Head Coach Paul Wulff will join Bob Robertson on this season's first edition of the WSU Coaches Show tonight at the Hilltop Restaurant in Pullman at 7 p.m. You can listen to the WSU Coaches Show every Tuesday on KXLY 920 AM, as well the rest of the flagship stations of the Cougar Sports Radio Network.


August 26 (2:52 p.m.)

Teleconference Day...

Tuesdays are going to be a double-dip in Cougar information here at First and Crimson. Not only will we have a practice report following Tuesday evening's practice, but WSU Head Coach Paul Wulff also has a weekly teleconference, from which we will highlight quotes and bring them to you here.

Coach Wulff responded to media questions about a number of things. Here are his responses...

On building a consistent program at WSU... "I think that you can. I think that you just have to build it with a great foundation and then build on that. All your parts as you build a program have to stay in place over the long haul. Investing in the program and having some constants with the administration and coaching is the key to being able to maintain any program to be quite honest with you. That is where we want to get back to. It was clearly headed that way in the early 2000s, and then there was some changes in personnel, particularly from the coaching area and you saw a decline again. That is not uncommon in programs across the country. We believe we can get some consistency. But to get to that point we have to build this thing the right way and continue to move forward."

On whether having four true freshmen on the two-deep is a testament to those players or a lack of depth... "Probably lack of depth, but we are pleased with those four kids and how they've performed. We are very excited about them as young players. Those are the type of guys that will be very good players in our program. But ultimately we want to get to a point where we don't have to play guys because of depth. But they're playing because of both reasons."

When asked if he saw the Mike Gundy's press conference last year... "You know it's funny, I think everyone in the country has. I have never seen it, I've only seen a quick blurb here and there, but I've never seen the whole thing...I met him at a coaching deal this last summer and he seems like a pretty good guy. What do I think of it? I think that obviously he was frustrated and it sounds like he was frustrated with somebody who wrote an article or two. That happens when you have a lot of things going on as a coach."

On whether he can see the lighter side of the press conference... "Personally I laugh at that kind of stuff. To watch a Bobby Knight...Sometimes people probably go over the top a little more than they should obviously, but they aren't harming anybody, that's the most important thing. And I think it creates good entertainment, and it has for the last year."

On Fall Camp... "I thought we made progress. I thought the last three or four practices we slowed down and kind of got real tired of practicing. We probably didn't respond as much as we would have like, but that's not atypical. We're now in game week mode and our kids are ready to go. I think we've had some growth. They went through camp probably a little harder than they were used to, but that's been the case from the day we got here. Again, just trying to set the bar really high in how we work and what our expectations are on the field of play. They're trying to get to that bar, they're working at it."

On his emotions heading into the season-opener... "I'm excited...I woke up this morning and I had about a three-second flash of excitement in my gut that definitely stood out, about `All right we're finally here, and anxious to get the bench mark of where we're at and let us play. Just go out and play and then take it from there.' I'm starting to get a good feeling that it's time for this test. We'll make our corrections and continue to move forward after that."


August 26 (2:08 p.m.)

Wulff Comments on Andy Roof

In response to the Washington State University Student Conduct Board's decision to dismiss senior football player Andy Roof from the University, Cougar Head Coach Paul Wulff had the following statement:

"I was very disappointed when I heard the decision," Wulff said. "Since I arrived on campus Andy has been a great leader for this program, on the field, in the locker room, in the classroom, and done everything we asked, that we ask of all student-athletes. From where he was a year ago he has changed his life around 180 degrees and as a coaching staff we have seen the positive impact he made on this program."


August 25 (5:45 p.m.)

Monday is Game Notes Day, Men's Basketball Autograph Session at Qwest Field...


Now that we are in game week, there is going to start to be some consistency in this blog. There are now going to be things posted here that you will come to expect on specific days by the end of the season. Monday? Monday is Game Notes day...

Every week, myself and The Professor (my boss, Bill Stevens) put together our press release, consisting of statistics, game notes and historical information. A great deal of what is put in this press release winds up in stories throughout the week and broadcasts on game day. Some of it doesn't, but why should you suffer?

Every Monday you can expect to find interesting factoids to feed your need of everything Cougar football...

The first release of the season is always the shortest, but to read it in its entirety, CLICK HERE. Get Acrobat Reader

Onto the notes...

WSU vs. OKLAHOMA STATE - THE SERIES: The Cougars and Cowboys have met twice on the gridiron, though it has been more than 50 years since the two teams faced each other. WSU and Oklahoma State, currently a member of the Big 12 South, met in back-to-back seasons in 1951 and 1952, with the Cougars coming away with a win on both occasions. WSU won the first meeting 27-13 in Spokane, and won the second meeting 9-7 in Stillwater, Okla.

COUGARS vs. BIG 12: WSU is 3-3 against the Big 12, including a 2-1 record against the Big 12 South, though the conference is entering only its 13th season in its current make-up. The Cougars' all-time record against schools currently in the Big 12 is 12-25, including a 5-12 record against the South. The Cougars have won three of their last four games against the Big 12, with wins over Colorado (47-26) and Texas (28-20) in 2003, and a win over Baylor (17-15) in Seattle in 2006. WSU is 1-1 against the Big 12 in the Cougar Gridiron Classic, falling to Colorado (20-12) in 2004 and defeating Baylor in 2006.

Note of the week (Thanks to Craig Lawson in our office for this one): BIG 12 TRAVELS: The last seven times a team from the Big 12 has traveled two or more time zones for a regular season game, it has lost. Included in that streak is Baylor's 17-15 loss to Washington State in Seattle, Sept. 16, 2006. Over the past six seasons, the Big 12 is 1-10 when traveling two or more time zones for a regular season road game. The lone victory is Oklahoma State's 31-20 triumph at UCLA, Sept. 4, 2004.

For those of you attending the season-opener in Seattle Saturday, WSU men's basketball players Aron Baynes and Taylor Rochestie will be signing autographs at the Qwest Field Exhibition Center before kickoff. The players will be appearing in support of the Cougar Hardwood Classic, which will take place Dec. 13 at Seattle's Key Arena. The players will be available from 10 a.m.-noon, and the new Cougar Hardwood Classic collectible posted will be available at no cost. For more information visit www.cougarsinseattle.com.

The Cougars had today off, but will get back to practicing tomorrow at 3:30 p.m.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 24 (7:26 p.m.)

The Depth Chart...

I told you all we would have a surprise this evening, and here it is...

Click here to view the updated depth chart headed into this week... Get Acrobat Reader

Remember, the Cougars are taking tomorrow off from practice.

Enjoy what is left of your weekend...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 24 (11:20 a.m.)

It's Officially Game Week...


Only six days, one hour and about 10 minutes until the season-opener against Oklahoma State...It is officially game week everyone.

WSU Head Coach Paul Wulff cancelled yesterday's practice, but the Cougars will hit Rogers Field once again this afternoon at 3:30 p.m.

Tomorrow is the first day of school, so the team will once again have the day off.

Since there is nothing to report on, but I am sure you are chomping at the bit for some Cougar information, here are a few links to pass your Sunday until this afternoon's practice recap...

Bud Withers of the Seattle Times wrote a feature on senior wide receiver Brandon Gibson. Click here to read the story.

Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune wrote a feature on another one of WSU's wide receivers, freshman Jared Karstetter. Click here to read the story.

Finally, Vince Grippi of The Spokesman Review spoke with Coach Wulff about his emotions heading into the Oklahoma State game, and previews the 2008 season. Click here to read the story.

Until this afternoon Cougar fans...I hope to have a surprise for you all, so check back later today.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 22 (5:50 p.m.)

The Last Scrimmage...

Ben Woodard caught a scrimmage-high six passes for 74 yards.


The Cougars held their second and final scrimmage of fall camp this afternoon at Martin Stadium. Click here for our story.

Click here for a photo gallery from the scrimmage.

Not a lot to talk about that wasn't in the story...If you look at the statistics portion of the release, you will notice that wide receiver Daniel Blackledge had one reception for eight yards.

Defensive end Bryce Buslach had a sack, and linebackers Sam Tennant and Mike Ledgerwood were all over the field. I counted five tackles each for Ledgerwood and Tennant.

Following the scrimmage, WSU Head Coach Paul Wulff gave the Cougars tomorrow off.

Looking ahead to the season-opener next weekend...KRKO (NorthSound 1380 AM) will be hosting a pre-game party at 88 Keys Saturday morning. Doors open at 10 a.m., and The Fish (Jeff Aaron) will be hosting the event. Show up early, as KRKO will be handing out tons of prizes.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 22 (11:05 a.m.)

Morning Practice, Cougs in the NFL and Player Info...

The Cougars held a quick practice this morning before this afternoon's scrimmage. The scrimmage will be at 2:30 p.m. in Martin Stadium.

Not much to report on from practice. The Cougars primarily ran through special teams, but mixed in some skelly towards the end.

One thing of note...defensive tackle Andy Roof was practicing this morning after injuring his ankle a couple days ago.

I did notice a question on one of the message boards last night (Oh yes, I read the message boards), and thought I could shed some light. An individual was wondering what positions a few of this year's incoming freshmen are playing. We had a couple players on the roster listed at multiple positions, but it is safe to say the following student-athletes are playing the following positions...

Daniel Simmons - Defensive Back
Dan Spitz - Defensive End
Skylar Stormo - Tight End

If there is someone else you are looking to get information for, click here to view WSU's official roster. You can check out player bios, heights, weights, positions, hometowns, etc. We took the head shots recently, and those should be up soon.

Jason Hill caught four passes for a game-high 94 receiving yards and a 37-yard touchdown last night in the San Francisco 49ers game against the Chicago Bears. Catch up with former Cougars playing in the NFL throughout the season here.

I will have a scrimmage recap later this afternoon. Hope to see a lot of people out there...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 21 (5:40 p.m.)

Rimington News, Linebackers, Kickers and Some Things to Watch for Tomorrow...

A Merry Scrimmage Eve to you all once again...

The Cougars host their second and final scrimmage of fall camp tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. in Martin Stadium. But first, some notes from this afternoon's practice...

WSU's new linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis was on the field for practice today. The sophomore transfer from Moorpark College in Los Angeles will wear No. 43 for the Cougars.

Hoffman-Ellis' new teammate in the linebacking core Cory Evans was a full participant in drills and thud, and he's not shying away from contact.

While we're talking about linebackers, Greg Trent has absolutely upped his level of intensity this year. He is flying around 100 percent of the time, whether he's in individual drills or scrimmaging. He looked especially pumped in an individual drill that pitted a linebacker against either a tight end or running back attempting to protect the quarterback. Every time Trent reached the quarterback he showed a lot of emotion. He has been a lot of fun to watch...

It was another great day for tight end Devin Frischknecht. He caught a touchdown pass from Gary Rogers, and was emphatically congratulated by tight ends coach Rich Rasmussen for his blocking on a play in thud.

Wide receiver Jared Karstetter had a number of impressive receptions in thud, but the most impressive grab of the day belonged to Matt Mullennix, who picked off a pass from his defensive end position.

With a couple players resting on the offensive line, B.J. Guerra moved into the first unit to take some reps at left guard.

The kickers had another opportunity to compete today. Wade Penner and Nico Grasu each converted 3-of-4 field goal attempts and Patrick Rooney went 1-of-4. The trio kicked from 40, 43, 47 and 51 yards. Penner's only miss came from 51 yards, Grasu's only miss came from 40 yards and Rooney's make was from 51 yards.

Quarterback Marshall Lobbestael spoke with Bryant Johnson of AM 1340 KWLE "The Whale" after practice this afternoon. The interview will air tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. If you can't listen via AM 1340, check out their Web site (www.1340thewhale.com) and click "Listen Live" on the front page.

Coach Wulff will also be on AM 1340 tomorrow. His interview will follow Lobbestael's. If you can't listen to either of the interviews, the station will podcast them on its Web site.

Marques Hunter of The Peninsula Gateway spoke with Gig Harbor, Wash., products Kenny Alfred and Micah Hannam. His story will run the 27th.

Alfred was named to the Rimington Trophy's Fall Watch List this afternoon. He was also named to the spring watch list a couple months ago. The Rimington Trophy is awarded each year to the nation's top center.

Tomorrow's scrimmage will be preceded with a morning practice at 9 a.m. The Cougars will be in helmets and shoulder pads, working on special teams. The scrimmage will begin at 2:30 p.m., in Martin Stadium.

Hope to see a lot of Cougar fans in the stands...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 20 (5:45 p.m.)

Defensive Player of the Week and a New Face

Despite pouring rain throughout most of this afternoon's practice, Cougars on both sides of the ball were flashing great hands...

Wide receivers Kevin Norrell and Keith Parr, Jr. each caught touchdown passes, Norrell's coming from Gary Rogers and Parr's coming from Kevin Lopina. Running back Logwone Mitz also caught a touchdown pass, making the grab at the goal line and leaping across it for the score.

On the defensive side of the ball, freshman linebacker Cory Mackay and freshman safety LeAndre Daniels each picked off a pass.

The defensive coaching staff named Greg Trent fall camp's week two Defensive Player of the Week.

Punter Reid Forrest may be sitting out following ankle surgery, but that hasn't kept him from contributing. Forrest has been practicing his holding, giving long snapper Zach Enyeart a target so that he can get more work as well.

At the end of practice the team was especially supportive of its kickers, as Wade Penner, Patrick Rooney and Nico Grasu were attempting field goals to eliminate running gassers. For every miss, the team had to run one gasser - down and back the width of the field twice. The trio converted 8-of-9, with the last attempt hitting the upright.

Vince Grippi will be previewing the Cougar special teams units in tomorrow's Spokesman Review, so be sure to look for that.

Finally, the Cougars added Alex Hoffman-Ellis to the roster today, a 6-foot-1, 220-pound linebacker from Los Angeles. Hoffman-Ellis racked up 91 tackles and two sacks for Moorpark College as a freshman outside linebacker this past season. As a senior at Hamilton High School, Hoffman-Ellis was honored with his team's "Most Outstanding Hustle" award, recording 70 tackles, four sacks and one forced fumble in his first season playing football. He was also Hamilton's starting tight end and punter.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 19 (5:40 p.m.)

Offensive Player of the Week, Practice Notes...

WSU students are starting to return to campus and the Cougar band's drum line could be heard in the background of the afternoon session - it won't be long Cougar fans, the season-opener is just around the corner.

WSU Head Coach Paul Wulff, tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator Rich Rasmussen and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Todd Sturdy were all in agreement this afternoon - the Offensive Player of the Week for the second week of fall camp was senior wide receiver Brandon Gibson. We'll get to the Defensive Player of the Week tomorrow...

The first week's Defensive Player of the Week continued what was a great day for the defensive ends. Matt Mullennix recorded a sack in the afternoon session, following Kevin Kooyman's sack in the morning practice.

Running back Chantz Staden and tight end Tony Thompson each shined in thud. Staden ripped off a couple of big runs and Thompson had a number of catches, including a touchdown.

The competition for Cougar kickoff duties is paying big dividends as Nico Grasu and Patrick Rooney continue to push each other. One kicker puts his kickoff three yards into the end zone, the other steps up and puts it four yards deep. But both are consistently booting it beyond the goal line.

There was another NFL scout at practice, and WSU Men's and Women's Golf Head Coach Walt Williams was also on hand.

What to Watch For
The Spokesman Review's Vince Grippi will be previewing the Cougar defensive backs in tomorrow's paper and The Tacoma News Tribune's Todd Milles wrote a feature on defensive tackle Matt Eichelberger.

If you haven't already seen it, click here to read Jim Moore's column on Gary Rogers in The Seattle PI.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 19 (2:06 p.m.)

Rain, Rain Go Away...

Apparently there is no middle ground...it's either 100-plus degrees or it's raining. It was a dreary morning in Pullman, but the intensity was still high for the Cougars...

After getting a day off yesterday, the WSU football team showed a lot of energy in the first of two Tuesday practices, especially in scrimmage.

It was a back-and-forth battle between the offense and defense. Quarterback Gary Rogers fired a couple of touchdown passes, a 15-yarder to wide receiver Brandon Gibson and a 20-yarder to tight end Devin Frischknecht.

Despite the touchdown passes, the secondary looked outstanding. Safety Chima Nwachukwu picked off a pass in the end zone, and linebacker Kendrick Dunn and safety Myron Beck combined for one of fall camp's nicest plays. Dunn nearly had an interception, but it slipped out of his hands. Before the ball hit the ground Beck snatched the ball out of the air for a pick.

It was an all-freshmen core of linebackers in the second unit at one point - Cory Mackay, Louis Bland and Mike Ledgerwood.

The coaching staff said they would like to get quarterback Kevin Lopina some reps with the first unit, and he got his chance today.

Former Cougar quarterback Mark Rypien was on hand this morning. The MVP of Super Bowl XXVI addressed the team at the end of practice. He had his Super Bowl rings on, and yes, they are quite nice.

There were also a couple of NFL scouts on hand to get a look at the seniors. Nearly half the league has had scouts come through Pullman within the last week.

Until this afternoon...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 17 (4:15 p.m.)

It's Definitely Summer in Pullman...

Only one post today...Between practices I was working on some other football-related things...I will fill you in once I get it all done...

The Cougars held their first practice at 9 a.m. at Rogers Field, and their second practice at 2:30 p.m. in Martin Stadium.

The Cougars came out with a lot of intensity in the early session, the morning after their first fall scrimmage. There was a lot of cheering and shouts of encouragement from players and coaches.

One of this morning's individual drills for running backs was quite entertaining. Not quite sure what coach Steve Broussard calls the drill, but "The Gauntlet" sure seems to fit. One running back takes a handoff, and is immediately crashed by two players with bags. Once the ball carrier gets through the two players, another player smashes him with another bag.

In thud, defensive end Kevin Kooyman registered a sack.

Offensive tackle Joe Eppele was suited up for the first time this fall camp. He didn't participate in any contact drills, but the 6-foot-8, 294-pounder did work with the rest of the offensive line pushing the sled.

In the afternoon session, temperatures reached 111 degrees on the field. The Cougars went down to Martin Stadium to work on special teams...no pads, just helmets.

Click here for another photo gallery from yesterday's scrimmage, this one courtesy of Rod Commons.

Be sure to check out The Spokesman Review tomorrow, as Vince Grippi will be previewing the WSU defensive line.

No practice tomorrow, as the team has the day off.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 16 (5:04 p.m.)

Scrimmage No. 1...

The Cougars held their first scrimmage of fall camp this afternoon at Martin Stadium. Click here to read our story.

A few things of note that didn't make the story...

Freshman safety LeAndre Daniels can hit...hard. The 6-foot-1, 198-pound San Leandro, Calif., product had the biggest hit of this afternoon's scrimmage, tackling one of the Cougars' wide receivers.

Redshirt junior Patrick Rooney booted a kickoff through the end zone.

Senior Brandon Gibson and freshman Kevin Norrell each took reps as WSU's punt returner.

Here are some photos from scrimmage taken by WSU's Jason Krump.

If you missed sophomore safety Chima Nwachukwu's interview with KJR's Ian Furness yesterday, click here to listen to it.

Click here to read The Spokesman Review's Vince Grippi preview the WSU quarterbacks.

Less than two weeks until the season-opener...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 15 (5:31 p.m.)

Scrimmage Eve, FSN Preview...

Merry scrimmage eve to all of you...The Cougars will hold their first scrimmage of fall camp tomorrow (Saturday) at 2:30 p.m. in Martin Stadium. Fans are all welcome to attend, but bring sun screen because it is supposed to get hot.

WSU Head Coach Paul Wulff is not expecting the scrimmage to go too long, but he does want to see some efficiency in the team's plays.

Notes from this morning's practice...

The team got a new practice clock that counts down the minutes until the next period, and that was on display this morning. The new clock hangs off the east side of the bleachers from Martin Stadium.

Early on in thud, freshman wide receiver Kevin Norrell had a touchdown reception, continuing the strong play he has shown throughout camp.

On the final play of practice, transfer James Montgomery ripped off a 30-yard touchdown run. And on that note, Coach Wulff ended practice and gave the team the rest of the day off.

Former Cougar coach and current broadcaster Jim Walden was at practice for the second consecutive day. WSU women's basketball Head Coach June Daugherty was also at practice this morning.

Don't forget to check out FSN's preview of the 2008 Cougars tonight at 9:30 p.m. Jen Mueller was in Pullman this past weekend to get a look at the team and talk to some players and coaches. Here are some things you should expect to see in the preview:

-	Key match-ups for this year's team
-	Head Coach Paul Wulff describing his challenges and what he expects this season
-	Brandon Gibson discussing his expectations for this season and his chemistry with starting quarterback Gary Rogers
-	Michael Willis talking about his mother moving in with him in order to be closer as he prepares to finish college
-	Petros Papadakis breaking down WSU and the rest of the Pac-10

Last night Jed Collins had one rush for three yards, picking up a first down for the Philadelphia Eagles. He also had a tackle on special teams. You can track former Cougars playing in the NFL all season by clicking here.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 14 (5:59 p.m.)

Collins Gets the Start, Cougs in the NFL...

I can think of no better time to make this announcement than now...

Former Cougar tight end Jed Collins just made his first NFL start for the Philadelphia Eagles in a preseason match-up against the Carolina Panthers. On the first set of downs for the Eagles, Collins, now a fullback, was given the ball on third-and-short and picked up a first down.

Following the carry, Joe Buck talked about Collins and how he was fighting for the starters' job at fullback.

With that, I bring you a portion of our Web site completely devoted to former Cougars currently playing in the NFL. It is a work in process, but at least this way you can already start keeping up with former Cougs in the NFL.

Click here to check out the page. You can access the page in the future by clicking on "Cougars in the NFL" on the football page side-bar.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 14 (5:05 p.m.)

Martin Was Hot, Uniforms 2008...

For this afternoon's practice, the Cougar football team went inside Martin Stadium. The thermometers in Pullman may only be reading 92 degrees, but the thermometer on the field read 102. It was HOT.

Not a lot of news from practice, as the team worked on special teams for the first half of practice, and ran plays the second half.

We got our first good look at what the team has for kickoff specialists, and all three kickers -Wade Penner, Patrick Rooney and Nice Grasu - can boot the ball pretty well. Each of the trio routinely put the ball inside the 5-yard line with good hang time.

Penner and Grasu kicked field goals at the end of practice, with Penner hitting 6-of-9 and Grasu hitting 2-of-9. The kicks ranged from 39 to 50 yards. WSU Head Coach Paul Wulff said the competition is still wide open.

"We just haven't done enough of it to have an answer," Wulff said. "Game day is different. It may be a bit of time before we get the answers we want."

Since I don't have much from practice, I will make it up with an official announcement on the team's uniforms this season. There have been rumors, but consider this the official announcement.

For home games, the Cougars will wear silver helmets with the script Cougar lettering. The jerseys are crimson, and the pants are silver with a three inch stripes down the side rotating crimson, white, crimson.

For away games, the Cougars will wear crimson helmets with the white Cougar head logo. The jerseys are white, and the pants are crimson with a three inch stripe rotating crimson, white, crimson.

That's not to say it won't be something different for the Seattle game...

Many thanks to Kyle Kensing at the CBS College Sports Network for putting together the new First and Crimson banner this afternoon. I would also like to thank Keenan Bowen of Spokane, Wash., for submitting the winning blog name.

Don't forget about this Saturday's scrimmage at 2:30 in Martin Stadium...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 14 (11:30 a.m.)

Thud...

Practice No. 12 is in the books, and Practice No. 13 will be held this afternoon at 2:30. Here are some notes from this morning's session...

The Cougars held a couple of thud scrimmages - player can wrap up, but no tackling - and with some guys resting, freshman Louis Bland and sophomore Hallston Higgins took some reps with the first unit linebackers. Junior college transfer Bernard Wolfgramm also took reps with the first unit on the defensive line.

After earning Defensive Player of the Week honors from Head Coach Paul Wulff for the first week of practice, defensive end Matt Mullennix continued his strong play this morning with a sack.

Freshman Kevin Frank also stood out this morning, breaking up a touchdown pass in the end zone.

On one series, the offense picked up a big gain on first down, getting the ball to the 6-yard line. The defense stepped up, holding the offense out of the end zone on four plays. Higgins knocked down a pass on third down, and on fourth down defensive end Kevin Kooyman and linebacker Kendrick Dunn stopped the running back at the 1-yard line.

It wasn't all defense all morning, however. Quarterback Gary Rogers hit tight end Devin Frischknecht a number of times, including a 15-yard touchdown.

Running back Marcus Richmond also played well. Richmond, who has been taking reps with the first and second units all camp, broke a tackle to pick up 10 yards and a touchdown.

The Cougars will be in helmets and shoulder pads in today's second practice.

Until this afternoon...Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 14 (8:23 a.m.)

And the Winner Is...

Thank you to everyone who voted for their favorite blog name, and thanks again to everyone who submitted their ideas.

It was close, but once the polls had closed, "First and Crimson" was your favorite.

I will announce who submitted the name once everything has been verified.

We have two practices today, one this morning at 9 a.m., and one this afternoon at 2:30 p.m.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 13 (4:46 p.m.)

Just a Reminder...

Tonight is your last chance to vote for your favorite blog name. Here are the top 10...

First and Crimson
Tunnel Vision
Beyond the Pylon
The GRRRR Spot
The State of State
The No Huddle Blog
My Five Cents
Palouse Pigskin
After the Whistle
The Prowl

Send your votes to jnickell@wsu.edu. I will announce the winner tomorrow morning.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 13 (3:39 p.m.)

Photos...

Sorry about the delay in getting this photo gallery posted...

Practice Gallery

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 13 (1:32 p.m.)

Cougar Offense Improving...

Just one practice today, but it was a productive one for the offense. WSU's offensive unit looked as good as it has all camp.

It was business as usual for Gary Rogers and Brandon Gibson, as the duo connected for a long touchdown. Rogers has looked good staying in the pocket the past few practices, showing trust in his blockers to keep him upright.

Prior to a team scrimmage, the running backs worked on picking up blitzes. Junior college transfer Chantz Staden has looked especially talented in preventing defenders from getting to the quarterback in live action.

The coaching staff got a good look at how their team performs when they are tired. The coaches had the players run about a dozen 10-yard sprints between series.

Today marked the third consecutive practice with multiple NFL scouts on hand to get a look at the Cougar seniors.

FSN will air its WSU Football Preview this Friday at 9:30 p.m., so be sure to check that out.

Something else for you to check out...WSU's Jason Krump wrote a feature on the stadium renovation for Washington State Magazine. Click here to read the story.

A couple of stories to look for in area newspapers tomorrow...Vince Grippi will preview the wide receivers in The Spokesman Review, while the Tacoma News Tribune's Todd Milles talked to redshirt freshman cornerback Tyrone Justin.

A heads up to Cougar fans looking to get a look at the team before the season-opener against Oklahoma State...WSU holds its first scrimmage this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Martin Stadium. Hope to see you all out there.

I should have a photo gallery from today's practice posted within the hour.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 12 (5:48 p.m.)

Dawes' Sweet Pick, Circling the Kickers...

Practice Gallery

Only 18 days until the season-opener against Oklahoma State...Here are some notes from today's practice to help pass the time...

I mentioned earlier that Jason Gesser was at practice this morning. While in town, the former No. 17 (Gesser) gave the new No. 17 (Rogers) some pointers on reading defenses and where to go with the ball.

"Anytime he gives me advice, I'm going to take it," Rogers said.

Cornerback Markus Dawes made an outstanding play in the afternoon session. Safety LeAndre Daniels tipped a pass, which Dawes then tipped with one hand and caught with the other hand for an interception.

I have said it before, and I will say it again...tight end Devin Frischknecht catches just about everything that comes his way. Speaking of tight ends, The Spokesman Review's Vince Grippi will preview the position in tomorrow's newspaper, so be sure to look for that.

There were four NFL scouts at this morning's practice, and a couple more showed up for this afternoon's session.

The team closed practice with the kickers once again. Wade Penner and Nico Grasu each connected on their attempt from 41 yards. For the second attempt the entire team circled the duo, screaming and telling to throw them off. Both Penner and Grasu were unfazed, connecting on their 36-yard field goals.

The Denver Broncos signed former Cougar Wale Dada today. Dada spent the final month of the 2007 season on the Seattle Seahawks' practice squad. He will wear No. 31 for the Broncos.

This morning's photo gallery is linked at the top of this entry.

Voting for the blog name will run through tomorrow. Be sure to get your votes in by e-mailing jnickell@wsu.edu.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 12 (12:15 p.m.)

Exciting Drills, Jason Gesser and NFL Scouts...

With the first of Thursday's two practices out of the way, here are some notes from the morning session...

The most entertaining portion of practice is usually when the offense and defense scrimmage. That was not the case today. The Cougars kicked off practice with a sumo drill, where the whole team forms a circle around one player from offense and one player from defense, and the two players try to knock each other out of the circle. The two sides finished dead even, with the offense winning once, the defense winning once and one called a draw.

After the sumo drill the team held a run blocking drill involving one defensive player, a running back and an offensive player blocking for the running back. The defensive player lined up across from the blocker, and the running back tried to run through a lane about six feet wide. The goal for the defensive player is to get to the running back, and the goal for the blocker is to prevent that from happening.

The team was probably the loudest it has been at practice all season, with the offense and defense rooting hard for their respective brethren.

The trend of legendary quarterbacks returning to Pullman to get a look at the 2008 Cougars continued today, as Jason Gesser was on hand for practice.

Freshmen Mike Ledgerwood and Louis Bland were each taking reps at linebacker with the second unit once again, and freshman Tyree Toomer and redshirt freshman Tyrone Justin each took reps with the defensive backs on the first unit.

After sitting out a few practices, running back Chris Ivory returned this morning, and he picked up right where he left off. On one play Ivory changed directions to avoid a tackle and stiff-armed another defender to score.

Wide receiver Michael Willis also returned to the field today, catching a touchdown pass from quarterback Gary Rogers.

Defensive end Andy Mattingly seems to be picking up his new position quite well. He looked great yesterday in practice, and today he intercepted a pass and ran it back for a touchdown.

Scouts from four different NFL teams were on hand this morning to get a look at this year's senior class.

When the Cougars hit the field again today at 2:30, the team will be in shoulder pads and helmets only.

I will have a photo gallery from this morning's practice a little bit later today.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 11 (5:44 p.m.)

Photos and a Trade...

Practice Gallery

Good evening Cougar fans...

Your daily dose of Cougar football photos is linked above.

While I realize this is not football news, here is a basketball note for all of you Cougar hoops fans. The draft rights to former WSU standout Kyle Weaver were traded from the Charlotte Bobcats to Oklahoma City today. Weaver was selected as the 38th overall pick in the NBA Draft in June. Here's the link to the story.

Have a good evening,

Joe Nickell


August 11 (2:52 p.m.)

Jeshua Anderson Update

Washington State University sophomore wide receiver Jeshua Anderson underwent successful surgery for a hernia this morning. According to the WSU medical staff, the surgery went as expected and at this point Anderson's recovery time is expected to be between six and eight weeks.


August 11 (2:49 p.m.)

Gary Rogers' Neighborhood and more...

Hello again Cougar fans...

You submitted questions for WSU's starting quarterback Gary Rogers, I picked the top five. Here are his responses...

Q. What is the biggest difference for you this season as the starter? A. Taking a leadership role and being the guy to take charge when it's needed.

Q. Who is your best friend on the team? A. Brandon Gibson

Q. Who is your prediction for WSU's 2008 breakout player? A. Dwight Tardy

Q. What is the biggest surprise for you after this first week? A. Kevin Norrell - He understands the game and he picks things up quickly

Q. What is your favorite off-field activity? A. Sleep

Be sure to check out the Tacoma News Tribune tomorrow for a story on B.J. Guerra. The Moses Lake, Wash., product spoke with Todd Milles about switching from defensive tackle to offensive guard.

Don't forget to vote for your favorite blog name. Again, here are the top 10...

First and Crimson
Tunnel Vision
Beyond the Pylon
The GRRRR Spot
The State of State
The No Huddle Blog
My Five Cents
Palouse Pigskin
After the Whistle
The Prowl

The Cougars practice twice tomorrow, once at 9 a.m. and once at 2:30 p.m. If anything comes up before then, I will be sure to let you all know.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 11 (12:51 p.m.)

The Cougs Scrimmage...

Good afternoon Cougar fans,

The Cougar football team held a 40-minute scrimmage at this morning's practice. Here are some notes...

One of WSU's newest linebackers, freshman Mike Ledgerwood, saw some reps with the second unit. Watching him in tackling drills, if he can hit opposing players as hard as he hits tackling bags, he is going to be fun to watch. I'm also looking forward to seeing signs in Martin Stadium that say "Layin' the Ledgerwood."

Tight end Devin Frischknecht said his biggest goal this season was to improve his blocking. After seeing him pancake a couple of players and help open some holes for the running backs, he should be pleased with his performance today.

Defensive tackle Matt Eichelberger is putting a lot of pressure on Cougar quarterbacks. He has at least one sack each of the last three days. Toby Turpin, another Cougar defensive tackle, took reps with the first unit.

Freshmen wide receivers Jared Karstetter and Kevin Norrell continue to impress. Karstetter made a nice catch as he toed the sideline, and adjusted mid-air for a touchdown on another reception. Norrell caught a ball over the middle this morning, was absolutely blasted, held onto the ball and got right up. It was the second time he had done that this week.

Long snapper Zach Enyeart was extremely impressed with WSU's new scoreboard, which was playing video from the 2003 Holiday Bowl as he and the kickers worked out in Martin Stadium.

Keep sending your votes for the blog name to jnickell@wsu.edu. Palouse Pigskin has dominated the early voting...that and the rest of the top 10 names are listed below this post.

I'll post Gary Rogers' responses to your questions and a photo gallery from practice here in a little while.

Until then,

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 11 (8:35 a.m.)

Your Top 10...

Good morning Cougar fans,

As promised, here are your top 10 names for the blog...Thank you to everyone who submitted their ideas. There were a lot of responses with a lot of great names.

First and Crimson
Tunnel Vision
Beyond the Pylon
The GRRRR Spot
The State of State
The No Huddle Blog
My Five Cents
Palouse Pigskin
After the Whistle
The Prowl

Honorable mention to Cougar Gold, which was unanimously loved, but there has to be some trademark issues there so I couldn't add it to the list. Special thanks to my brother Jeff and Mike Martin, who came up with at least 20 names together this weekend. Jeff's favorite, The BobRobBlog, did not make the list...Sorry brother.

You can vote for your favorite until Wednesday, and the winner will be announced Thursday. Send your votes to jnickell@wsu.edu.

See you all after practice,

Joe Nickell


August 10 (6:03 p.m.)

Players of the Week, Practice Notes...

Practice Gallery

With today's two-a-day now complete, the Cougars have officially wrapped up their first week of fall camp. And with the first week of fall camp now behind us, WSU Head Coach Paul Wulff gave me his Players of the Week.

Redshirt junior center Kenny Alfred earned the honor on the offensive side of the ball. Wulff said he has been the Cougars' best player consistently this first week. On defense, redshirt senior defensive end Matt Mullennix garnered Wulff's praises.

"He is a great leader," Wulff said. "He surprised us with more quickness and speed than we anticipated."

Walking on to Rogers Field for this afternoon's practice, out of the corner of my eye I saw a defensive player get hit right on top of the helmet with a punted ball. After a short chuckle, I realized the ball had been booted by junior college transfer Patrick Rooney -- who was standing clear on the opposite end of the field. Rooney's punt easily went 50-plus yards before hitting the helmet.

After senior middle linebacker Greg Trent got the team pumped up before practice in stretching lines --this is becoming a pre-practice staple, and Trent is becoming a very positive, vocal leader for this team - the Cougars hit the field for the last of Sunday's two practices.

The Cougars were only in shoulder pads and helmets, so there were no full-contact drills, but there were plays being made all over the field. On one play junior defensive end Andy Mattingly poked the ball out of the quarterback's hands, forcing a fumble - which fellow junior defensive end Kevin Kooyman recovered. On another, redshirt senior quarterback Gary Rogers hit freshman wide receiver Kevin Norrell, who went between two defenders for a score. And on another, redshirt freshman defensive back Tyrone Justin intercepted a pass that he returned for a touchdown.

Your daily practice photo gallery is linked at the top of this entry.

FSN's Jen Mueller was on hand at both practices, putting together the WSU segment for the network's Pac-10 preview. Mueller and photographer Jon Jussero spoke with Rogers, Mattingly, redshirt junior running back Dwight Tardy and redshirt junior wide receiver Michael Willis. Be sure to check out FSN this Friday to see the Cougar preview.

I received a lot of names for this blog, so thanks to everyone who submitted their ideas. I will post the top 5-10 tomorrow morning and ask everyone to vote on their favorite. The winner will receive an autographed copy of the 2008 WSU media guide.

There is still time to submit questions for quarterback Gary Rogers. Gary will sit down to answer questions tomorrow after practice, so e-mail your questions to jnickell@wsu.edu.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 10 (12:57 p.m.)

Two-A-Days...

The morning session of WSU's first fall camp two-a-day brought some big hits, entertaining drills and famous alumni to the Palouse.

Legendary Cougar quarterback Jack Thompson was on hand this morning to watch his son Tony and the rest of the Cougar football team practice. Jack Thompson, who finished his career as the most prolific passer in NCAA history, is one of only two WSU players to have his jersey number retired (No. 14) -- the other is Mel Hein (No. 7), perceived by many as the greatest center to play the game.

Earlier this week Coach Wulff said he wanted to see what certain players could do at different positions, and that he would experiment with moving players around. Coach Wulff stayed true to his word, as freshman Cory Mackay was working with the linebackers this morning, and freshman Dan Spitz spent some time with the defensive linemen. Both players had been working with the tight ends.

In the most entertaining individual drill of fall camp thus far, the quarterbacks threw fade routes into the corner of the end zone, trying to hit a garbage can. Senior Gary Rogers was the first to make it, hitting the garbage can from four yards out. A couple minutes later redshirt junior Kevin Lopina hit the garbage can from nine yards out.

The Cougars will hit the field again at 2:30, but will only suit up in helmets and shoulder pads. See you all after practice...

Joe Nickell


August 9 (5:52 p.m.)

I almost forgot...

Jared Prenguber took some more video footage at practice this morning. There are two clips to check out. The first video contains footage from practice, and the second video is a post-practice interview with Head Coach Paul Wulff. You will need to be an All-Access member to view the videos. If you are not an All-Access member and would like to become one, click here.

Practice Video

Coach Wulff Interview

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 9 (5:32 p.m.)

Full Pads and the Kevin to Kevin Connection...

Saturday Practice Gallery

Good evening Cougar fans,

The Washington State University football team finally got to go full throttle Saturday morning, practicing in full pads for the first time this fall camp.

In the first completely live action for the team this season, it was back and forth between the offense and defense. The offense got off to a fast start, but the defense had some good series later on.

Here is a name to remember: Kevin Norrell. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound freshman out of Los Angeles (Long Beach Poly) is FAST, and he caught a touchdown pass from redshirt junior quarterback Kevin Lopina in the live action.

In case you were wondering (I was, which is why I checked), there are seven players named Kevin on the Cougar football team.

Michael Willis and Brandon Gibson each had some nice catches, so nothing new on that front.

Chantz Staden, a junior college transfer who did everything except pass himself the ball at De Anza College, had already showed impressive moves running the ball this week. With full pads on, it appears he has another skill - pass blocking.

Senior linebacker Kendrick Dunn missed practice yesterday with a scheduled day off, but was back on the field this morning.

The legendary Rod Commons put his weekend on hold to snap some photos at practice this morning, and the link to the gallery is at the top of this entry.

Tomorrow the Cougars hold their first two-a-day of fall camp.

A reminder...tomorrow is your last chance to win an autographed media guide from Head Coach Paul Wulff. Submit your ideas for the name of this blog by e-mailing me at jnickell@wsu.edu. Tomorrow is also your last day to submit questions for quarterback Gary Rogers, so e-mail those as well.

I hope you are enjoying your weekend,

Joe Nickell


August 8 (12:55 p.m.)

News and Notes, Kickers and an Invitation

Practice Gallery

What started out as a cloudy morning turned into a beautiful afternoon in Pullman. Here are a few notes from this morning's practice, the last before the Cougars put the rest of their pads on and go full contact.

With a few Cougars watching from the sidelines today, a number of players made the most of their opportunities - most notably senior wide receiver Benny Ward, redshirt junior linebacker Jason Stripling and redshirt freshman safety Eric Block.

Ward hauled in a number of passes with the first unit, and Stripling and Block, both also seeing action with the first unit, were all over the field.

Redshirt senior defensive end Matt Mullennix moved over to right end and into the first unit, and junior college transfer Bernard Wolfgramm (junior) also took some reps with the first group at defensive tackle. Before anyone jumps to conclusions about who is playing first team and who is playing second team, read on to see what WSU Head Coach Paul Wulff had to say:

"We're trying to see different guys move positions. We want to see some different combinations, maybe some kid played better on one side versus the other. We want to experiment with those things to maybe get some answers. Sometimes as a coach if you're too closed minded with that, you have a guy at a position and you don't think you can move him. And then you have to for a reason and realize, `Why didn't we do that sooner?', because he actually does that a little better. We need to make sure we're not closing the door on that earlier in camp rather than later in camp."

Redshirt senior cornerback Markus Dawes was limited today, and did not see any contact drills. But he did have his shoulder pads on, seeing his first action since spring football.

The WSU kickers also saw their first action with the entire team watching. The kickers are normally working in Martin Stadium during practice, but today they came up to Rogers Field for a kick-off. Each kicker had five attempts, two from 31 yards, one from 36 yards and two from 41 yards.

Sophomore Wade Penner hit 2-of-2 from 31 yards, 1-of-1 from 36 yards and was 1-of-2 from 41 yards. Junior college transfer Nico Grasu (sophomore), who hit 1-of-2 from 31 yards, 1-of-1 from 36 yards and 1-of-2 from 41 yards. Junior college transfer Patrick Rooney (redshirt junior) hit 2-of-2 from 31 yards, 0-of-1 from 36 yards and 0-of-2 from 41 yards.

It should also be noted that the team was giving redshirt freshman quarterback Marshall Lobbestael a look at holder.

Jarred Walker saw his first action of fall camp. The defensive back out of Moses Lake, Wash., joined the team this morning sans shoulder pads and had an opportunity to work through some drills with the safeties.

That is about it for notes. There is a photo gallery link at the top of the page from this morning's practice.

I would now like to introduce something I plan to make a weekly feature of this blog. Throughout the season we will bring in a player for a question and answer segment, but I would like to invite you, the reader, to submit the questions. To kick this off we'll bring in redshirt senior quarterback Gary Rogers. If you have a question you would like to ask, submit it to jnickell@wsu.edu.

I will take questions through the weekend and post Gary's responses Monday after practice. While you are submitting questions, don't forget to send in your ideas for the name of this blog. Remember, the winner will get an autographed media guide from Coach Wulff.

If something comes up this afternoon, I will let you know. Otherwise, have a great Friday and I will see you all tomorrow.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 7 (8:25 p.m.)

Jeshua Anderson Update Following this morning's practice, Cougar sophomore wide receiver Jeshua Anderson was seen by a team doctor and it was determined he has a hernia. Surgery has been scheduled for Monday morning and a prognosis will be determined following the surgery.


August 7 (2:45 p.m.)

Full Squad, Hard Hits and More...

Practice Gallery

It is official...the WSU football team looks a lot bigger as one group of 100 players than it does as two groups of 50 players. Thursday morning's practice brought a little bit of rain, but it also brought everyone together for the first time this season, and WSU Head Coach Paul Wulff enjoyed having all of his players on the field at once.

"It was good, obviously it was good for the whole team to finally be together from a football standpoint," Wulff said. "It was a lot easier to get our ones and twos and threes together, because we had the bodies to get it done. It was a good first day in a lot of ways. There were a ton of mistakes, but that's typical. There were a lot of nice things."

Not only was everyone together for the first time, but the team finally got to put some pads on. The team was only in helmets and shoulder pads, but we still got our first look at some real contact. At the beginning of practice the whole team, including the offense, worked on tackling drills.

Standing around with members of the media, one of our writers posed this question: Who would you least like to be tackled by on the WSU football team? My response was junior defensive end Andy Mattingly. One reporter said senior linebacker Greg Trent. Another said senior defensive tackle A'i Ahmu.

Because none of us have any experience getting hit by any of these guys, I asked Mattingly what he thought. He broke down the question on a few different levels for me. According to Mattingly, any defender getting hit by junior running back Christopher Ivory running through a hole is going to take some punishment. If you are a linebacker or a defensive lineman, and you are getting hit by redshirt junior center Kenny Alfred, you will be feeling it. Any offensive player in senior linebacker Greg Trent's way is going to feel it as well. And if you are a running back, you don't want to get hit by a defensive lineman, because they all hit hard.

Junior college transfer Zack Williams impressed a number of people Thursday, showing both talent and versatility. The 6-foot-4, 293 pound Pasadena, Calif., native worked his way into the second group, playing both right guard and left tackle. While at right guard Williams rode a defensive tackle 10 yards before pancaking him in the end zone. While at left tackle he was riding defensive ends completely out of the play.

"He's going to need to be versatile. He's going to need to be a five-position player until we figure out his exact home, if we redshirt him or if we play him this year," Wulff said. "I think there's a tremendous amount of potential. There's no question, he's still only 19 years old and he's had two years at a junior college. He's still young, and we want to bring him along right. We'll just kind of gauge that as we move forward."

As I wrote earlier, the Oregon game has been picked up by FSN and will have a 3:15 p.m. kickoff. For the complete release, click here .

I promised a video of yesterday afternoon's Crimson squad scrimmage. Here is the link. To view the video you need to be an All-Access member. If you are not an All-Access member, click here to become one.

At the top of this entry there is a photo gallery from this morning's practice.

Unless something else comes up today, I will see you all tomorrow.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 7 (12:45 p.m.)

Oregon Game Picked Up for TV...

Good afternoon Cougar Nation!

We just got done with practice about an hour or so ago, and I will have a post on that here pretty soon. But I had some good news to share with you first...

Six of WSU's games had already been picked up for television, and now you can add one more. The Cougars' game at home against Oregon (Sept. 27) has been picked up by FSN.

More good news...this also means a kickoff time has been set. The Cougars and Ducks will get things going at 3:15 in Martin Stadium.

I will be putting together a press release here in a little bit, so look for that later on our Web site.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 6 (6:52 p.m.)

Trent Gets Practice Started With a Bang, Rogers Shines, Videos and More...

Good evening Cougar fans...

The second day of Fall Camp has come to a close. Split-squad practices, as of tomorrow, are no more. Thursday will mark the first practice with each of WSU's 100 players in camp all at the same time.

There was a bit more excitement at the beginning of today's practice. As the team started getting into its stretching line, senior middle linebacker Greg Trent stepped to the front of the group and began yelling and jumping around, sparking the entire team to collapse together and follow suit. Trent said something about "Our House." I don't know if he was yelling to protect it, or if it was ours...but he got practice started off with a high level of intensity.

Redshirt senior quarterback Gary Rogers was very impressive today. Not only is Rogers showing he has a cannon for an arm, but he is showing he can put the ball wherever he wants. On one play Rogers hit redshirt junior wide receiver Michael Willis - the ball was thrown over the outstretched hands of one defender and it hit Willis in the numbers with defensive backs covering him both underneath and over the top. It was an absolute thing of beauty, and I wish someone would have been there to paint a picture of it.

WSU Sports Video Assistant Jared Prenguber put together a video of this morning's practice session. If you're an All-Access member, click here to view the footage. If you are not an All-Access member, click here to become one. Jared also put together a video of this afternoon's practice, and I will post it as soon as it becomes available.

A couple of things to watch for tomorrow...Redshirt junior running back Dwight Tardy will be going live with KJR's Jason Puckett at 1:20 p.m. If you live in the Seattle area, tune into 950 AM to hear the interview. If you can't listen to it on 950 AM, you can hear it on KJR's Web site at www.kjram.com. Click the "Listen Live" button at the top of the page.

Also look for a nice story on wide receiver Michael Willis in the Tacoma News Tribune. TNT's Todd Milles spoke with Willis this afternoon, and the feature will run tomorrow.

We have finally fixed the link to this page in the "Cougar Blog" section of this site. You can now click on the graphic with WSU Head Coach Paul Wulff. You can also now access this blog via the Football Home Page. The link is above the countdown clock to the season-opener.

Before I go...Don't forget to send in your ideas to name this blog. I have seen a lot of names come in, so I think we will hold a vote early next week. I will make the deadline to submit your names Sunday at 5 p.m. I will post the top 5-10 names Monday morning, and let you guys vote for your favorite. While you are submitting your names, feel free to give me some ideas of what you would like to see here. Send your e-mails to jnickell@wsu.edu.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


August 6 (1:20 p.m.)

Lucky Lobbestael, Newcomer Notes and Drew Bledsoe

Gray Squad Practice Gallery

Good afternoon Cougar fans...

We completed our morning practice a couple hours ago, and we have some notes before the afternoon session. The Gray squad had its second practice of the 2008 season this morning at 9 a.m. The Crimson squad will hold its second practice today at 2:30 p.m. The two squads will then come together for the first time tomorrow at 9 a.m.

Vince Grippi of The Spokesman Review handed the "Lucky Player of the Week Thus Far Award" to redshirt freshman quarterback Marshall Lobbestael. He practiced with the Crimson squad yesterday during the morning session, and then practiced with the Gray squad in today's morning session. Lucky for Lobbestael, he misses both afternoon sessions. It hit 91 degrees yesterday, and it's already 93 degrees today. I know, I know...it's not even THAT hot yet as far as Pullman summers are concerned. But it sure feels a lot cooler in the morning than it does in the afternoon.

The Cougar football team hasn't even put shoulder pads on yet, but a couple players are already starting to make some noise. Junior college transfer running back Chantz Staden looks good....real good. The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Campbell, Calif., native juked his way into the end zone from 10 yards out - virtually untouched. Someone might have got a hand on him, but he must have made four cuts before he scored. He also caught a pass in major traffic.

"I've seen some explosiveness," running backs coach Steve Broussard said. "It's hard to tell right now, we're not in pads. I think he's trying to get the feel of it right now. But it's one of those situations where it's too early to tell.

"(On film) we saw explosiveness. He did some good things out of the backfield. You can get him out of the backfield and get him in space, and he can do some things on special teams."

I noted yesterday that Cory Mackay looked huge. He was penciled in as a wide receiver, but the Redmond, Wash., product (Eastlake High) measured in at 6-4, 246 pounds. Mackay has officially been moved to tight end. I talked to tight ends coach Rich Rasmussen about the move.

"We used him a little bit at wide receiver today to kind of help get through practice. But yeah, we're definitely going to make the change and move him to tight end. I'm excited about having him move over there. Hopefully he's a guy that can possibly help us this year if he progresses fast enough -- or else he's in great shape to be in the rotation next year...He's put on 30 pounds since we recruited him, so that was part of the premise with the move. He's up to about 245 right now, but he's still very athletic. He's got some field strength, we just need to refine his technique a little bit."

We have a photo gallery at the top of this entry from the morning practice session. The photos are all courtesy of WSU legend Rod Commons. Though Commons has "retired" after more than 30 years as the Sports Information Director at WSU, he is still around taking some photos - and he is doing a heck of a job.

In other news...Cougar quarterback legend Drew Bledsoe and WSU President Elson S. Floyd will be the featured speakers at the 46th annual Northwest Dodge Dealers Cougar Sports Banquet and Auction, Thursday, Aug. 21 at the Mirabeau Park Hotel and Convention Center. For more information check out this story on our Web site. Also in attendance will be WSU Director of Athletics Jim Sterk, and head coaches Paul Wulff (football), Tony Bennett (men's basketball) and June Daugherty (women's basketball).

Until later...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


AUGUST 5 (6:00 p.m.)

Photo Shoot Gallery

Good evening Cougar fans...

I can already hear Bob Robertson's voice, welcoming Cougar fans to his 42nd year of broadcasting WSU football games. I can hear Glenn Johnson announcing, "And that's another...Cougar...First...Down!" Though we still have nearly 25 days until the season-opener against Oklahoma State in Seattle, football season is officially here.

For me, it's time to put down the Nintendo Wii and NCAA 2009. For you, it's time to immerse yourself with every bit of Cougar football information you can possibly get your hands on, and read the time away until game day.

There are still great seats available at Qwest Field for the Cougar Gridiron Classic presented by Washington's Beef Producers. If you haven't already got your tickets for the season-opener, ticket prices range from $7 to $55 and are available through all Ticketmaster outlets and at www.ticketmaster.com, or by calling the WSU Ticket Office at 1-800-GO-COUGS, or online at www.wsucougars.com.

Now...let's talk about the first day of Fall Camp. Coach Wulff, it's your first official practice of 2008. How excited are you right now?

"It's real nice. It's nice to be back on the field. It feels like it's been a couple years since I last coached a ball game. That much has gone on the last eight months. It's fun to be out here and all the coaches have worked extremely hard just to get to this point, and the players. There has been a lot accomplished since last January. Now it's time to hopefully build off what we've done and get ourselves in position to be ready to play our first ballgame."

As I stated in an earlier post, both Jeshua Anderson and Dwight Tardy were present for the first day of camp. I saw our gold medal winner make a couple of catches, and Tardy looked comfortable practicing. I talked to Dwight after practice, and he is pretty excited to be back on the field.

"I am 100 percent. Soreness and stiffness, that's all I'm dealing with. But that won't affect my game at all. I'm more than excited to be back out there. I've been on the injury reserve list too long. I am more than ready."

Tardy also talked a little bit about what he went through this summer to get himself ready to be back by the first day of camp.

"It was a struggle. I did therapy with (Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Training) Bill Drake and (Associate Director for Athletic Training) Brian Oelke, and went over to Pro Performance to do extra therapy. They treated me really well over there. I did underwater treadmill for a couple months, and that sped up the recovery process real fast. I did a lot of feet work and leg work."

A number of Cougar wide receivers made nice first-day impressions - Michael Willis made a diving catch and a great sideline grab; Ben Woodard and Anthony Houston each hauled in a couple of passes resulting in nice yardage; and Devin Frischknecht seems to catch everything that comes his way.

Senior quarterback Gary Rogers was extremely impressed with what he saw from his receivers this morning.

"The receivers are definitely one of the strengths of our offense. They're really polished up. We worked each and every day this summer -- on timing and catching, and it's really paid off."

A couple more quotes from Rogers...

On the first day of fall camp... "It was great. It's been a long time waiting. We got a good workout this summer, and we're trying to transition and take that into the fall."

On the Cougars' no-huddle offense... "Progress is coming along. We continued to work on it this summer, and I can tell it has definitely improved since this spring...It's definitely going to be fun to put it into effect this fall."

Select returners and the newcomers completed their first practice this afternoon, and let me say, a couple of these guys are huge, most notably freshman Cory Mackay. The product of Redmond, Wash. (Eastlake High), currently penciled in as a wide receiver, measured in at 6-foot-4 and 246 pounds.

Spokane native and freshman wide receiver Jared Karstetter (Ferris), another big target at 6-4, 198 pounds, made a number of impressive catches.

As I promised earlier, we had additional number changes of which you should take note. B.J. Guerra switched to 72 (from 79), and Brian Danaher switched back to 79. Danaher was 79, then switched to 72, and is now, again, number 79.

I also spoke earlier about the photo shoot we had this afternoon. Today we took head shots in a jacket and tie. We also took jersey shots for FSN. We have a photo gallery at the top of the page from the shoot.

Even though this is getting to be a lengthy post, there were also some injuries of note. None of the following players participated in practice today, and are out indefinitely:

Steven Ayers - Sick
Markus Dawes - Recovering from shoulder surgery
Joe Eppele - Recovering from left knee surgery
Reid Forrest - Recovering from left ankle surgery

Hopefully I was able to kill some of the time you all have between now and game day. Only 24 days, 18 hours and 30 minutes until kickoff against Oklahoma State.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


AUGUST 5 (12:40 p.m.)

GALLERY

Good afternoon Cougar fans...

Before we get going here, you might want to grab your favorite entrance music. AC/DC, Rage Against the Machine, Tool, Stone Cold Steve Austin's theme song...whatever pumps you up. I'll wait...You're going to want it, because...

(I'm listening to Stone Cold Steve Austin's theme music, so this is where the glass shatters.)

COUGAR FOOTBALL IS BACK!

I was going to do one entry recapping our whole day, but I couldn't wait. Just a reminder...keep those blog names coming. I am seeing some good ones, so we might need to have a vote. E-mail your suggestions to jnickell@wsu.edu.

The Crimson squad (first and second units) kicked off the Cougars' season this morning at 9 a.m. Click on the link at the top of this page to check out a practice photo gallery.

We will talk to Coach Wulff and a few Cougar players a little bit later today to get their thoughts on the first day of camp. For now, I have to get to a photo shoot. We are taking the team's head shots today for both our Web site and FSN. I will have some photos of that later as well.

A couple quick notes that I am sure Cougar football fans will be excited about...sophomore wide receiver Jeshua Anderson, fresh off his summer of winning gold medal after gold medal in track, was back for the opening day of fall camp. Redshirt junior running back Dwight Tardy was also in camp today. He has been cleared to participate in all facets of practice.

The Gray squad (select returners and newcomers) continues the opening day of fall camp at 2:30 p.m. We will be back after that with a recap of the day, quotes and a couple more number changes.

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell


AUGUST 4 (6:28 p.m.)

Fall Camp Release in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

Hello again Cougar fans...

If you click on the above link, you can check out the fall camp preview I sent to our media earlier this afternoon. Included in the release are a few notes, a complete fall camp schedule, a depth chart heading into camp and our most up-to-date roster.

If you are interested in any or all of the information, by all means, click on the link and check it out. However, I thought I would highlight some of the information included in the release...

There are a few changes some of you might be interested in. If you have been paying attention since the 2007 season came to an end, I am sure you know some of our student-athletes switched positions. Just in case you missed it, their new positions are noted below.

B.J. Guerra - Defensive Tackle to Offensive Guard
Alfonso Jackson - Safety to Cornerback
Andy Mattingly - Linebacker to Defensive End
Chima Nwachukwu - Cornerback to Safety
Andy Roof - Offensive Guard to Defensive Tackle

Now that we are all on the same page as where to find these guys, I'm going to throw you another curve ball. No fewer than 20 players have changed their numbers, and the changes are noted below. Last year's numbers are in parentheses.

1 - Alfonso Jackson (18)
2 - Daniel Blackledge (86)
3 - Michael Willis (22)
5 - Eric Block (42)
8 - Marshall Lobbestael (12)
9 - Tyrone Justin (37)
10 - Romeo Pellum (29)
12 - Phillip Jennings (44)
19 - Mike Graise (96)
20 - Marcus Richmond (30)
21 - Darrin Friberg (46)
23 - Christopher Ivory (34)
24 - Kendrick Dunn (49)
27 - Casey Thometz (12)
33 - Jared Bjerkestrand (24)
34 - Logwone Mitz (33)
44 - Aaron Gehring (40)
62 - Brian Danaher (79)
77 - Will Hunter (75)
88 - Nathan Lanting (94)

Consider yourself officially ready for fall camp to begin tomorrow. We'll talk to first-year Head Coach Paul Wulff and members of the Cougar football team and see how things went. Until then...

Go Cougs!

Joe Nickell

Washington State Cougars Athletics