PRACTICE REPORT: Time 'to pull together'

PULLMAN -- Washington State does not face a ranked opponent this weekend. But that does not mean the Cougars' energy level was any lower when they returned to the gridiron Monday night in preparation for their 3:30 p.m. game Saturday at California (TV: Root Sports). CF.C caught up with LB C.J. Mizell to capture his emotions on the upcoming contest.

Mizell said WSU (3-5 overall, 1-4 Pac-12) is looking to bounce back from Saturday's 43-28 loss at No. 7 Oregon.

"We're feeling good," he said. "We're in the last quarter of our season and we just feel like we have to pull together."

The Golden Bears (4-4, 1-4) are coming off a 31-14 loss at UCLA.

"Any game is going to be a big game for us with our goals from the start of the season," he said. "It's definitely a winnable game, but we have to come out and fight."

The Cougars did have some players missing from the action Monday night, including DT Kalafitoni Pole. Pole suffered a pinched nerve in practice last Wednesday and did not play at Oregon. After practice Wulff said the redshirt freshman likely will be out Tuesday as well, but he remains hopeful Pole can return for Wednesday practice.

With Pole out, senior DT Brandon Rankin jumped in with the 1s, while fellow DT Justin Clayton also saw plenty of work running with the first team.

ON THE OTHER side of the line, starting RT Dan Spitz also missed practice because he was sick. With Spitz out, redshirt freshman Jake Rodgers jumped in with the starting unit. Fellow redshirt freshman Kristoff Williams also remains out with a stinger. The WR missed all of last week with the injury and it's unclear when he'll return. LB Mike Ledgerwood was able to return from the same injury and was in a yellow no-contact jersey Monday night.

The defensive unit looked sharp throughout practice. During 7-on-7 drills, the defense almost hauled in two interceptions, one on QB Marshall Lobbestael and another on QB Connor Halliday. They broke up several passes and we're getting to their assignments in a hurry.

CAL COACH Jeff Tedford said Sunday that he was wavering on who he would start at quarterback. Usual starter Zach Maynard threw four interceptions Saturday, opening the door for Allan Bridgford to possibly get the nod.

Regardless which one starts, Wulff said that it won't affect the defense's preparations.

"We can't let it affect us," Wulff said. "We just have to go based on what we've seen. We have to prepare for what we think we're going to see."

The last time the two teams faced was last November when California escaped Pullman with a 20-13 win. One of the game's highlights was when Mizell supplexed former Golden Bear RB Shane Vereen to the turf. Mizell told CF.C it wasn't the first time he had made such a play.

"I mean, it felt very good," Mizell said. "I was watching the replay with all my friends and they called me telling me it was nothing new and they were used to seeing that. It felt good to get back to the old me and know that I could still make those kind of plays at this level."

NOTABLE NOTE:
  • Freshman WR Dominique Williams had an exceptional practice. He spent his evening working with the scout team, but had an outstanding performance against the starting defense. Williams had several receptions, including a 40-yard TD from fellow freshman QB Cody Clements.

    As previously reported by CF.C, Wulff said Williams will redshirt this season, however it appears Williams can provide the Cougars another threat next season and step in with the losses of WRs Jared Karstetter and Isiah Barton to graduation.

    RUNNING WITH THE 1s
    OFFENSE
    QB: Marshall Lobbestael
    X receiver: Marquess Wilson
    Flanker: Isiah Barton (Note: Bobby Ratliff also seeing action running with the 1s)
    Z receiver: Jared Karstetter
    TE Andrei Lintz
    LT: David Gonzales
    LG: John Fullington
    C: Matt Goetz (Andrew Roxas also getting reps)
    RG: B.J. Guerra
    RT: Jake Rodgers
    RB: Rickey Galvin (Carl Winston and Logwone Mitz also seeing action)
    DEFENSE
    LE: Lenard Williams
    LT: Brandon Rankin (Justin Clayton also getting reps)
    RT: Anthony Laurenzi
    RE: Travis Long
    SAM: Sekope Kaufusi
    MIKE: C.J. Mizell
    WILL: Alex Hoffman-Ellis
    CB: Nolan Washington
    SS: Deone Bucannon
    FS: Tyree Toomer (Casey Locker also seeing action running with the 1s)
    CB: Damante Horton (Daniel Simmons also seeing reps)

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