For starters, Marquess Wilson has maintained a modest, low-key persona since arriving at Washington State last season. Secondly, Wilson said he didn't even know his 143-yard average led the nation until a reporter told him Tuesday.
"It's a shocker," Wilson said, "but I've still got a lot to work on."
Wilson was a first-team Freshman All-American last season. The Tulare, Calif., native set or tied WSU freshman records with 55 catches, 1,006 receiving yards and six touchdown receptions.
Despite seeing limited action in two blowout wins this season, Wilson has caught 15 balls for 429 yards (a 28.6 average) and four TD's in three games. His career-best, 236-yard effort at San Diego State earned him National Wide Receiver of the Week honors from College Football Performance Awards.
Wilson said it "feels great" to lead the nation in receiving, but he added, "I don't really look at that. I just feel as if I've got to work hard and get better for myself and the team."
Every WSU player and coach seems to agree with Wilson that last week's bye helped the Cougars re-focus and place even more emphasis on the importance of pushing through all four quarters.
"We have to finish and work through our aches and pains," Wilson said.
Senior offensive tackle Wade Jacobson said some starters did not respond well after not playing much in the second halves of the romps over Idaho State and UNLV. Then came the loss to San Diego State, when the Aztecs scored the final 28 points.
"We weren't used to playing a full game," Jacobson said. "We weren't used to battling that long. We go into the fourth quarter, and the game's still going. I just felt like some of the guys gave up (mentally). It's a mindset.
"That opened our eyes a lot, actually. We've been doing a lot of drills (in practice), fourth-quarter drills."
Jacobson originally planned to quit football after high school and enroll in a culinary school. He made a last-minute decision to go out for football at California's Gavilan (junior) College in 2008, but he still loves to cook.
"Instead of watching NFL games and college games, I'll be sitting in front of that TV watching the Food Network," Jacobson said.
"I do, when I go home after practice. I'll be sitting there with the pen and paper writing down recipes."
Defensive end Travis Long is another Cougar who prides himself on his cooking skills.
"I'm really good at barbecuing chicken," Long said. "That's my specialty."
Long lives with four teammates. The average weight? A mere 234 pounds.
"We have two refrigerators in the kitchen," Long said casually.
WSU tight end Andrei Lintz grew up outside St. Petersburg, Russia. Lintz and his mother moved to Bellingham when he was 6 years old.
Galina Lintz had a degree in chemical engineering, and she quickly found work at a waste water treatment plant. She soon gave up that job to work with local schools, and Lintz said he understands why his mom left her first job.
"She was just working with crap," he said with a straight face.
WSU running back Rickey Galvin has Psalm 23 tattooed down the side of his left arm.
"I'm deep in the Bible," Galvin said.
Galvin said his faith became more important to him after he came to WSU last year and joined the campus branch of Athletes in Action. Galvin redshirted as a freshman when he suffered a broken arm on his first college carry last season.
"It (AIA) was really helpful with my injury," Galvin said.
Colorado's press release for Saturday's home game with WSU includes a list of player responses to questions provided by the school's Sports Information Department.
Asked to name their "fantasy date," most of the Buffaloes came up with the usual suspects: Beyonce, Jessica Alba, Alicia Keys, Megan Fox, Mila Kunis, etc.
Parker Orms was more imaginative.
"Jennifer Aniston and Shakira pillow fight," he said.
Anthony Perkins played it safe.
"My wife," he said.
Vince Ewing played it anything but safe.
"Jon Bon Jovi and his feathered bangs," he joked.
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