Seen & Heard 9/5

PULLMAN --- With all due respect to our country kin in Moscow, Nakoa McElrath's performance against Idaho Thursday night was eerily similar to the coming out party he had in the final spring scrimmage in Spokane back in April when he lit up the second- and third-unit defense for 10 catches, 182 yards and three TDs.

His tally against Idaho was 10 catches, 141 yards and two TDs. And if that picture perfect play action bomb late in the second quarter hadn't been nullified by a penalty, his numbers would have been damn near identical to what he did in April.

Am I saying that Idaho's first-unit defense is about on part with WSU's second- and third-team?

Not at all. In fact, I think WSU's second-team defense could run circles around the Vandals.


High atop section 26 in Martin Stadium last Thursday, a question arose: Who is No. 55?

The owner of said jersey wasn't in the starting line up. But his agility, unbridled enthusiasm and penchant for giving chase to Idaho QB John Welsh soon had Cougar partisans taking notice. When all was said and done, Nate Mallory had two sacks and a fumble returned for one of the many apparent-but-not-to-be-touchdowns the Cougars "scored" against the hapless Vandals.

Mike Price may have lost Kai Ellis to the Huskies, but this "other" kid from the Kent Valley and San Francisco Community College has served notice that he, too, will have an impact in the Pac-10 this season.

The 6-3, 297-pound left tackle gives the Cougars' already-deep defensive line an embarrassment of riches.

Mallory's road to No. 55 is uniquely his. The brother of former Husky lineman and assistant coach Rick Mallory, Nate came to WSU as "Northwest Nugget" in 1997 out of Kentridge High. As a redshirting freshman, he served as scout team fodder for the likes of Fat Fivers Jason McEndoo and Rob Rainville. He did not return in 1998, instead enrolling at Bellevue CC before transferring to San Francisco CC in the spring of 2000 to resume his grid career as starting DT for the powerhouse Rams..

He returned to WSU this past January and started to make waves in spring workouts. In August, he worked his way up to No. 2 left tackle behind Tai Tupai.


Do you realize that Boise State's season-opening loss to No. 21-ranked South Carolina was BSU's first setback since losing to WSU last season in Pullman? That's right --- the Broncs rattled off seven straight, including a Humanitarian Bowl win over UTEP, to close the 2000 campaign.

The 2001 match up between the Cats and Ponies kicks off this Saturday at 6 pm Mountain Time in Boise. Two members of rookie head coach Dan Hawkins' staff are former Cougar players, both from the Jim Walden era: defensive coordinator Bob Gregory of Spokane and linebackers coach Ron Collins of  Cashmere.

Despite the lopsided score against South Carolina, Gamecock Head Coach Lou Holtz said after the game that BSU has the potential to win 9 games this season.


Have you ever stopped to consider how many great legs the city of Spokane has sent to WSU? It's really quite amazing. Jason Hanson, Joe Danelo, Chuck Diedrick, Ted Gerela and Tim Davey come immediately to mind. And if memory serves, two DB stars for the Cougars, Bud Roffler of the 1950s and Bill Gaskins of the 1960s, also booted PATs. Holiday Bowl kicker Ward Leland, like Gaskins and Roffler, was from Spokane's Lewis & Clark High. This Lilac City leg tradition extends back at least to the 1931 Rose Bowl team, whose kicker and back-up kicker --- Lyle Maskell and Mentor Dahlen --- also were Spokane products.

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