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WSU FALL CAMP: Day 8 Roundup, And Some Early Camp Observations

The Cougs have the day off today before getting back at it with another two-session day tomorrow. With a week in the books now, it feels like we're finally starting to get a sense of what this team has and where it might be heading. As we've cautioned repeatedly, it's tough to read too much into what you see in practice this time of year. But I think there are  a couple of things that we can take from the reports of this first week.

We can allow ourselves to get excited about the defense. Think back to a year ago. The offense was playing the defense essentially even with Kevin Lopina and Marshall Lobbestael at the helm. Jeff Tuel was just a rumor. And we all know what that offense -- and defense -- did after that.

So, let me ask you a question: Which of you think the offense is better now than it was a year ago? All of you? If that's the case, and the defense is now dominating that improved unit -- where it was merely holding its own a year ago -- doesn't it stand to reason that the defense isn't just improved, but vastly improved? 

This doesn't mean you should be letting visions of the Palouse Posse dance in your heads. (At least not yet.) But it does give hope that the defense could be good enough to keep the Cougs in more than a few games this year. And that, my friends, is a recipe for an upset somewhere along the line.

Rickey Galvin might be this year's Jeff Tuel. Remember how we kept hearing whispers out of camp a year ago that the best quarterback on the roster might just be the true freshman? It seemed like every day or two we'd hear a report of him making some throw or read that the more experienced quarterbacks just weren't making.

This year, we're hearing the same sorts of things about Galvin. Seems like just about every practice, we hear a report about how the true freshman running back broke off a big gain. Galvin is a guy we identified almost a year ago as a potential immediate contributor, and while he's still small (just 5-foot-8, 162 pounds), it sure sounds like he could bring something to the table on situational downs or special teams.

Remember: Good defense + a big play or two = upset. It's been a while since we've had a true home-run threat, and it's possible Galvin is that guy.

On to this morning's links:

Sunday finally done for WSU - SportsLink - - Aug. 15, 2010
The 2-minute drill – or in this case, the less-than-1-minute drill – was won by the defense as neither the one or two offense could score. But, for the last play of practice, coach Paul Wulff had the ball put on the 5-yard line and declared it fourth down, one play to win or lose the game. The offense won as Daniel Blackledge got inside Nolan Washington and Tuel found him.

FOOTBALL: Practice No. 10 Recap - First and Crimson
If you were in Pullman, and you heard the Martin Stadium speakers blaring, that was for the football team. To keep things lighter during pre-practice drills and stretching, the Cougars now have a little music to pump them up. Redshirt senior Zach Enyeart said that this morning the team was a little sluggish, and all of a sudden the music came on, and everyone woke up.

One practice down for WSU - SportsLink - - Aug. 15, 2010
Jamal Atofau ... didn’t participate, but did ride the stationary bike – one-legged of course – and said he’ll be back in a couple days. Gino Simone also rode the bike and expects to be back soon. As for the rest of the walking wounded, only Tyson Pencer, who wasn’t at practice, Tim Hodgdon, Bernard Wolfgramm and Jared Karstetter didn’t participate. Justin Clayton, Andrew Roxas and Bernard Rankin all were out there going full speed.

CGB Pre-Season: Washington State University Roundtable - California Golden Blogs
This might be the year Washington State finally breaks through. Wulff is finally starting to get a large pool of players he has recruited. They have more than 40 players with starting experience. It's not inconceivable that Washington State will surprise someone and steal a Pac-10 win this year. Will it be Cal? Most definitely not, but their QB Jeff Tuel may be looking forward to this one.

You can catch Paul Wulff's post-practice chat with reporters after the jump.