Notes from San Diego

SAN DIEGO -- At the rate the injuries were piling up, it's a good thing yesterday's Cougar practice was a low-key affair with just helmets and shoulder pads. And it's even better yet that today's <I>workout</I> will be limited to meeting rooms and chalk boards.

The Cougars wrapped up their last on-field practice yesterday without an injury --- a rarity in a week in which backups Don Turner (broken finger), Josh Shavies (broken hand), Hamza Abdullah (knee bruise) and Patrick Afif (knee scope) all hit the injured list.

Shavies, a senior defensive tackle who has seen considerable action this year, is the only one who appears to be out of the Holiday Bowl for sure. Turner, a fixture in nickel situations, may be replaced on those downs by Alex Teems.

Another Cougar who has seen his share of time in the trainer's room this season --- senior QB Matt Kegel -- is still not 100 percent with his throwing shoulder. He's in better shape that he was in November, putting beautiful touch on shorter throws, but looking uncomfortable on the deep balls.

LOYAL FAN'S VOICE WILL BE MISSING

WSU has sold out its allotment of Holiday Bowl tickets and countless more fans will be tuned in to ESPN for the Tuesday kickoff. But one long-time loyal fan's voice will not be heard. With deep sorrow, we report that James A. Shull, a passionate Cougar fan and WSU graduate with a degree in criminal justice, was killed in a friendly fire accident in Iraq on Nov. 17, two days after his beloved Cougars had defeated Arizona State. A product of Kirkland's Juanita High, the 32-year-old Army captain served in the first armored division's field artillery regiment. He is survived by his wife Alice and three children.

NOTABLE NOTES:

While visiting the aircraft carrier USS Stennis on Saturday, Rob Oviatt, who guides WSU's strength and conditioning program, was awarded the Admiral U.S. Grant Sharp Trophy. The trophy recognizes a member of the football program for each team who shows "unselfish commitment, motivation and teamwork that resulted in little acclaim for him, but helped contribute to the team's overall success." The recipient for each team is chosen by a secret ballot by the players.

San Diego is no stranger to the Cougar way. WSU was at the Holiday Bowl in 1981. In addition, WSU has produced 11 players that have gone on to play for the San Diego Chargers. Tom Erlandson (1968), Kenny Graham (1964-1969), Ken Greene (1983-1984), Bob Gregor (1981-1984), Bernard Jackson (1980), Ryan Leaf (1998-2000), Keith Lincoln (1961-1966, 1968-1969), Lewis Bush (1993-99), Don Sasa (1995-1996), Tony Savage (1992), and Kitrick Taylor (1991) have all spent time in the Chargers' blue and gold. Greene, WSU's secondary coach, closed out his seven-year pro career with the club.


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