The reinforcements continue to arrive for the Washington State Cougars, and this time it's the biggest of the reserves: All-Pac-12 left tackle Joe Dahl has returned to practice and is expected to play in the Sun Bowl against Miami, according to Jacob Thorpe.
Dahl has missed the past four games after suffering a broken foot during practice before the home game against Arizona State. Given Leach's stated policy to never talk about injuries, it was never quite clear if Dahl would return for the team's bowl game.
But the policy on reporting on injuries appears to have been relaxed in the postseason, and offensive line coach Clay McGuire said, "His conditioning has always been good. I have no problem with that. He'll be ready to step in and play 70, 80, 90 plays, whatever it may be he should be OK with that."
It's a huge boost to get Dahl back for the Sun Bowl. While redshirt freshman Andre Dillard performed admirably in place of Dahl (at least, until the final game of the season), Dahl is the Cougars' best lineman, and it's awesome to get to see him finish his career on his own terms before heading off to the Senior Bowl and then off to the NFL.
"I didn't find the same joy I had," Dahl told Thorpe. "I didn't get that one game a week. You only get 12, 13 games a year for all this hard work. That was the toughest part, putting in all this time all year long and I just didn't have the games to really show off what all the hard work was about and be out there with my teammates."
It was reported earlier in the week that Gabe Marks also returned to practice. No word yet on River Cracraft -- which, given the reports on Marks and Dahl, would seem to indicate that he is not practicing.