Seen & Heard 11/30

ARE THESE GLORY days, or just what? The regular season is over. The bowl games aren't for another month. And the hoops season is too young to get excited about. But here we are in the tired days between Thanksgiving and Christmas and you can't keep up with all the goings on in and around Cougar football. Let us count the ways.

For starters, Mike Price and his coaching staff are burning the midnight oil on the recruiting trail right now with in-home visits and a plethora of campus trips coming up over the next three weekneds with some very high-profile prospects, including star receive James Finley of Los Angeles.

On the prep front, the bounty of verbal commitments Price already has secured from some top-drawer in-state athletes is enough to keep a guy high-steppin' for days. And have you noticed how many stars from the talent-rich South Puget Sound League the Cougs have landed so far? It's a veritable constellation of talent in QB Carl Bonnell, RB Steve Dildine, WR/DB Wes Rainwater and, most recently, Kentlake's multi-purpose Chris Jordan.

AND SPEAKING of talent, did anyone's jaw hit the ground on Monday when they saw choices for the All-Pac-10 teams? Nineteen Cougars made first-team, second-team or honorable mention. Repeat: 19 Cougars made the list. That's a tribute to great recruiting, great coaching and great player dedication.

What's scary is that ten of those kids will be back in crimson next season, including first-teamers Derrick Roche and Drew Dunning and second-teamers Jason Gesser and Rien Long. Scroll below for the complete list of Cougars. And let's not forget that Price was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year.

Hat's off also to the 14 -- repeat, 14! -- Cougars who earned Pac-10 All-Academic plaudits this season. First team honorees were Jeremey Williams, Serign Marong, Brian Hollenberg, Alan Cox and Collin Henderson. Scroll below for the complete list.

When the all-conference choices and the all-academic picks are combined, WSU is represented with a whopping 33 positions -- tops in the league. Now that's what I call Cougarrrr-iffic.

OF COURSE, NO crimson discussion these days can pass without mention of the Sun Bowl, one of the oldest and best organized grid galas in the nation. WSU has 8,000 tickets ready to sell at 1-800-GOCOUGS. So start dialing. Also, WSU has contracted with Dodds Tours to provide complete packages for Cougfans flying out of Spokane and Seattle. You can access the Dodds Web site at or toll free at 1-866-533-0074.

The Big Ten opponent in El Paso will be either Michigan State, Iowa, Purdue or Penn State. If it was my call, I'd vote for Penn State. After all, JoePa isn't getting any younger so an opportunity to show your stuff against college football's all-time winningest coach would be something to treasure. Besides, we Cougars have been waiting 53 years to avenge that 7-0 loss the Nittany Lions hung on us in Tacoma back in ‘48.


* The Sun Bowl will be Mike Price's fourth different bowl game as a Cougar. In 1992 he guided WSU to the Copper Bowl in Tucson, and two years later had his club playing in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. In 1997 WSU won the Pac-10 title and met Michigan in the 1998 Rose Bowl. A couple of near misses were the Freedom Bowl in 1989 and the Alamo Bowl in 1993.

* The payout for the Sun Bowl is $1 million, although that money will not go directly to WSU, but to a broader pool of bowl money that's split among all Pac-10 schools. "We submit a budget to the conference office and that budget, once approved, comes out of the bowl revenue the conference receives from all of the bowls," explains AD Jim Sterk.

* WSU will begin bowl practices next week and hold about 18 workouts prior to the Dec. 31 kickoff. "We will begin practicing Dec. 6 and hold practices each Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday," Coach Price said. "That allows our coaches to recruit for the next couple of weeks. Then we'll probably practice just about every day during finals week (Dec. 15-21). We want to have about 18 or 19 practices, maybe 11 of them before we arrive in El Paso."

* According to Brady Crook, WSU's associate athletic director, 1,000 Sun Bowl tickets are available to Cougfan between the 40-yard lines for $45 and $55, and an additional 7,000 seats are between the goal line and 35 yard line for $35.


First Team:
Lamont Thompson, senior safety
Derrick Roche, junior guard
Drew Dunning, sophomore kicker

Second Team:
Jason Gesser, junior quarterback
Nakoa McElrath, senior receiver
Rien Long, sophomore defensive tackle
Raonall Smith, senior linebacker

Honorable Mention:
D.D. Acholonu, sophomore defensive end
Isaac Brown, sophomore defensive end
Tupo Tuupo, senior defensive end
Billy Newman, senior safety
Marcus Trufant, junior cornerback
James Price, senior linebacker
Joey Hollenbeck, senior guard
Josh Parrish, sophomore offensive tackle
Mike Bush, junior receiver
Dave Minnich, senior running back
Curtis Nettles, junior specialist
Alan Cox, senior punter


First Team:
WR Collin Henderson, 3.81 GPA
OL Brian Hollenberg 3.54
DL Jeremey Williams 3.60
LB Serign Marong 3.57
P Alan Cox Sr. 3.31

Second Team:
TE Mark Baldwin 3.34 GPA
C Alex Johnson 3.27
DE Tupo Tuupo 3.10
DB Cole Sheridan 3.28
PK Drew Dunning 3.16

Honorable Mention:
QB Jason Gesser 3.14 GPA
LB Mike Isaacson 3.07
OL Billy Knotts 3.16
DB Karl Paymah 3.06

CF.C Pullman correspondent Justin Kanton contributed to this report.

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