WSU PRACTICE: The big report

PULLMAN—The Cougs continued bowl game prep Friday night in the indoor practice facility - practice lasted about 1 ½ hours. O-line coach Clay McGuire said much of the session revolved around individual and fundamental drills. Mike Leach said it was just a regular work day. And CF.C, well we wanted to know about a particular offensive lineman and what would happen if the Cougs could turn back time.

All of the assistants were back from the recruiting trail and were present at practice Friday evening, the Cougs' sixth of the bowl season.

"It feels good," McGuire said about getting back on the field coaching. "These practices are fun. These are the extra ones you get. I'm just excited to get back out there. There is a lot of rust you have got to knock off, but we've got a few more to go and we have got to get it done before we play."

But just one week from Saturday and the 2013 season will be over for Washington State. The offensive line this year has been one of the most improved, consistent groups for the Cougs – but they will be losing three senior starters in Elliott Bosch, John Fullington and Matt Goetz/Rico Forbes for next year. McGuire was asked to gauge the 2014 prospects up front for WSU.

"It's one of those things where we've got some talent," McGuire said. "The biggest challenge is to figure out a way to get these guys to play as well together as the ones that are playing right now. They don't have the experience…they have a little more talent probably. In a short amount of time, we have got to get them to gel and really come together as a unit by the time we play our first game next year."

ONE OF THOSE young guys is true freshman Riley Sorenson. The 6-4, 304-pounder from Santa Margarita, Calif. is a player who has drawn praise all season. But Sorenson had his redshirt burned early and didn't play much after that -- certainly not as much as the coaches had anticipated when they sent him out there for Saturday duty. asked McGuire if the Cougs had any regrets on burning Sorenson's redshirt given that comparatively small amount of time he played this season.

"We really felt that he was going to continue to develop more throughout the season -- and felt that he had a great shot of becoming a starter halfway through the season to the end of the season," McGuire said. "He hit a freshman plateau and some other kids stepped up and played well.

"It would be great to go back and redshirt him, but we didn't. He got valuable game experience and he'll be able to step right in and hopefully become kind of a leadership role in that type of position."

THE BOWL GAME is seven days away but McGuire offered a glimpse of who his five offensive linemen would be if the Cougs' 2014 spring ball session started tomorrow.

Well, kinda.

He offered up eight names for five spots in looking ahead to the spring.

"Obviously you have to go with Gunnar (Eklund) (LT) and Joe Dahl (LG)," McGuire said. "The guys that I would say thrown in the mix right off the bat, I would say it would be Sam Flor, Riley Sorenson, Cody O'Connell, Cole Madison, Devonte McClain and Jacob Seydel, when he comes back."

WSU does not release injury information but Seydel has been a non-participant on the WSU practice field for some time.

CF.C FINALLY HAD the chance to ask Leach who stood out to him when he watched the young guns take center stage in the first 4-5 postseason practices.

And according to Leach, the Cougs spent a fair amount of time working with the young defensive line.

"I thought (BUCK) Ivan McLennan looked really good," Leach said. "(NT) Daniel Ekuale…I mean a lot of them looked good. Peyton Pelluer (LB), Daquawn Brown (CB) and Theron West (RB) looked good definitely. (O-linemen) Cody O'Connell, Cole Madison…the young o-line in general -- Devonte McClain improved a great deal I thought.

"I thought all three (young) quarterbacks (played well), but (Tyler) Bruggman and (Luke) Falk both looked really good in their work. Dan Lilienthal (WR) looked good at times…he needs to get in shape.

"I thought the inside receivers did some good things as a group. Sometimes Robert Lewis is explosive...consistency is something we are working on (with Lewis). I thought it was good, productive work."

WSU IS HEADED TO Albuquerque to conclude their season but it's interesting to consider what might be if college football instead held a 64-team playoff. USA Today created such a mock 64-team college football bracket for this season -- for what it's worth, they had the Cougs as a 15-seed squaring off against 2-seed Baylor.

Leach, as he's made frequent mention the past two seasons at WSU, is a fan of such a scenario.

"I've been favor of that forever," Leach said. "As a matter of fact, I've been talking about that for 10 years. I hope they do it. I'm whole-heartedly in favor of it. When I started talking about playoffs 10 years ago, everybody thought that me and everyone else who talked about it was crazy. Steve Spurrier has talked about it for a long time.

"I think 64 (teams) would be excellent. The winners play 16 games and (you) guarantee everybody 12 (games) and off we go."

WSU SID Bill Stevens on Friday evening issued a release to media informing them that Saturday and Sunday's practices would again be held in the IPF. Due to the chilly weather, the Cougs will by Sunday have held all eight of their bowl practices indoors.

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