Cougar Football nearer than you think

SUMMER OFFICIALLY BEGAN today, with rejoicing heard near and far. Not by me. Summer used to be one of my favorite times of the year. But now it's just this annoying little chore that has to be traversed before Cougar Football can begin.

This summer will be particularly difficult, because it feels to me like there will be many wins on the other side of it. And after this summer goes by, we'll finally know the answers to so many crimson-hued questions of the offseason.

But for now, for rabid CougFans like myself, summer has now become a lot like sitting in the back of the proverbial family station wagon, asking ‘Are we there yet? Are we there yet?' as we amble our way towards Pullman.

The good news is that fall camp begins sooner than many realize – about six weeks stand between us and the crack of the pads on the Palouse. Six weeks. May they go swiftly.

Once fall camp gets underway on Sunday, Aug. 7, we'll start to get some answers.

Will WSU's running game be more of a weapon this season? Will the offensive line hold their own, or better, in 2011? Will Jeff Tuel and the vaunted wide receiving group rip off huge chunks of yardage and on a consistent basis?

Will the defensive line push people around more this year? Will the yards allowed after contact take a huge dip, as the defensive staff furiously worked towards in the spring? Will the WSU secondary turn out to be a strength?

Full and complete answers, by definition, can't be answered until the season begins and Saturday's battle are concluded.

Will WSU blow by Idaho State in the opener, or will the two teams look green out of the gate? Will San Diego State in Week 3 be a Top 25 caliber foe as they were last year and if so, will the game be a measuring stick for just where the Cougar Football program is at?

How will those two weekends in October play out, with WSU going against a UCLA team that many prognosticators think is suspect, and a Stanford squad those same prognosticators peg as Top 10.

With the first half of the schedule holding the easier tests on paper, will the Cougs come out of the gate hot? Will the media, almost all of whom are tabbing WSU to finish sixth in the Pac-12 North, have to eat their words?

All eyes will be on guys like Tuel, Marquess Wilson, Jared Karstetter, Rickey Galvin, Travis Long and Deone Bucannon. But who will be the unsung, the players behind the scenes who tip the scales and make victory a reality?

Will WSU lose a game they should have won? Will the Cougs win a big game everyone predicted they would lose?

Will the major story of the second half of the WSU season be all about the Cougars becoming bowl eligible?

Nice of you to show up summer. Now hurry up and get the hell out of here.

William Sherman is a 1991 graduate of Washington State and travels to as many Cougar games, home and away, as his schedule allows.

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