Seen & Heard on Planet Coug

THE COUGS' FOOTBALL OFFSEASON is full of countdowns: to spring ball, fall camp, the season opener. But there's a new countdown for Washington State this year: the days before the Cougars' $61 million Football Operations Building opens its doors.

Last April, when there was little more than a big hole in the ground, WSU senior associate athletic director John Johnson told that May 14, 2014 was target opening for the Football Ops Building.

A few days ago on a WSU podcast, Bill Moos said the 84,192-square-foot facility would be ready to roll in "10 or 11 more weeks." That would put the opening date at either May 9 or 16.

The new facility isn't only smack dab on schedule, said Moos, it is also on budget.


April 2013:

AMONG THE OTHER FACILITIES projects on Moos' to-do list is the indoor practice facility.

"When we've had our recruits in, Bill's talked to the parents, he's had the diagrams, the slides," WSU defensive coordinator Mike Breske told recently. "Hopefully by the end of 2015 there will be a physical structure there instead of the bubble."

The current indoor practice facility (a.k.a. The Rick Dickson Memorial Bubble Abomination) has hard, roll-out turf that Moos has called an ACL injury waiting to happen. But it makes up for it by being small, cold and poorly lit.

"It's better than nothing ... there's just no give or take on that field. But that's a priority for Bill Moos and we all know that. He's in a building mood, which I'm very happy about, very appreciative," said Breske.

THE COUGS WERE IN THE IPF for their Midnight Maneuvers, the two-week winter conditioning program. WSU produced a short but slick video from the early sessions and a number of players could be seen wearing pink shirts. (Pink is awarded when players aren't performing at a high enough level, gray when they're meeting expectations and black shirts are given to the players doing above and beyond what's asked of them.)

But about those pink shirts in the video

"By the eighth session, we had a lot less pink," Breske says. "Coach Leach brought this from (Texas) Tech and it's very important to him and the rest of the staff. It's part of our tradition. And it's all about competition -- it's just a different form of it instead of playing a game on Saturday. It's just one more form of competition. It's about getting better."

So did they? Did they get better?

"We're in pretty good shape now, it's hard on the guys who weren't in shape to start. We're in much better condition than I think we were a year ago. But again, those young guys have to come along, any freshmen and transfers who weren't with us last spring," said Breske.

A NEW POLL WILL BE INTRODUCED before the football season, because the world really needs more college football polls and metrics.

The Super 16 poll, a joint effort of the Football Writers Association of America and the National Football Foundation, is slated to debut in August, with individual weekly votes made public.

College football is going to a four-team playoff this season and while it may not have been the intention, this poll will undoubtedly serve the fan bases who would prefer a 16-team playoff and/or whose team falls just outside college football's new "Final Four."

A SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON A CLASS-ACTION suit involving the NCAA and its ability to sell the likenesses of college athletes with no compensation to the athletes could come down any time now. But most legal observers say it is more likely more legal wrangling will take place as the case moves toward a June 9 trial date.

The plaintiffs, which include Ed O'Bannon and others, are seeking to bar the NCAA from limiting what Division I men's basketball players and Football Bowl Subdivision football players can receive for playing. Regardless of when or which way the decision goes, it promises to have a far-reaching impact for the Cougs, the Pac-12 and across the college sports landscape.

INCOMING COUGAL RAKING IN HONORS: Washington State women's basketball signee Nike McClure of W.F. West High in Chehalis is making up for lost time this season. Forced to sit out last season under a WIAA transfer ruling, the 6-3 post player is filling up the stat sheet this season -- and collecting all kinds of honors. Today she was named All-Area Player of the Year by the The Olympian. That recognition comes on the heels of being named Evergreen Conference MVP. McClure is averaging 12.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3 blocks per game for W.F. West, which just captured the 2A district IV title and now faces Bellingham on Saturday for the regional crown.

ED GAYDA, A WASINGTON STATE BASKETBALL star from 1947-50, will be inducted into the Pac-12's basketball hall of honor at the conference tournament in Las Vegas in two weeks. When he left WSU he was the No. 2 scorer in school history, with 1,061 points, and still ranks in the top 30. He was captain of the 1950 Cougar team that finished the season ranked No. 18 in the nation. He becomes the 13th Cougar to be inducted into the hall of honor since it was launched in 2002. The others are Jim McKean, Steve Puidokas, Ray Sunquist, Paul Lindemann, Ike Fontaine, Mark Hendrickson, Vince Hanson, James Donaldson, Gene Conley, George Raveling, Jack Friel and Craig Ehlo.

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