Seen & Heard 8/29

THE SPORTING NEWS never ceases to reaffirm itself as the sports fan's bible. The most recent evidence was found a couple of weeks ago when TSN singled out four teams to return to their former glory: Alabama, Kansas State, Maryland and your Fighting Cougars. In "They'll wake up soon, too" --- a short sidebar that accompanied a feature on K-State's expected rebound in 2005 after a rare down year in '04 --- TSN predicts a 5-0 start for Washington State and an 8-3 overall record.

In another recent issue of the magazine, Cougar sophomore receiver/return man Michael Bumpus was singled out as one of the Pac-10's rising star game-breakers.

HAT'S OFF TO THE New Orleans Saints for thinking ahead. They were scheduled to fly out of town this Wednesday for their game at Oakland, but with Hurricane Katrina bearing down on the French Quarter they had the good sense to fly out yesterday, reports Gail Gleason, mother of Saints safety and 1998 Cougar Rose Bowl great Steve Gleason.

ONE OF THE PLEASURES of being a Coug and living on the West side of the state is Jim Moore's column in the Seattle P-I and his occasional visits with the fellas on KJR-AM. As football season approaches it's great to see him get under the skins of Dawg fans and see how serious they take themselves. Jim's self deprecating humor is always a treat, too. But his offbeat insights into the Cougar Nation are what I like most. Today, for instance, he did a feature on running back Jerome Harrison and how he talks even faster than he runs.

Writes Jim, "Thrown a softball question about the possibility of running for 1,000 yards this year, Harrison could have said something lame like: ‘That would be nice, but I'm all about team goals and winning games.' Instead, Harrison took a swing and went upper deck, saying he can run for 1,800 yards and wouldn't be surprised if he reached 2,000. His linemen have that much confidence in him, and vice-versa …. Right guard Norvell Holmes heard about his goal of 1,800 yards and said: ‘That ain't nothin'! Run harder.'"

WORD OUT OF DALLAS is that the Cowboys are changing the quarterback's receiver progressions from the typical order of looking deep, then medium, then short. The Cowboys are toying with the inverse of that. Concern that fearless CouGreat QB Drew Bledsoe hangs onto to the ball too long, thus putting him on his rear-end often, has them thinking that if Drew looks for the short route first he'll get rid of the ball more quickly.

As much as I love Drew, I don't think I'm going to wait for him in my Fantasy football draft. He should be available in the fourth round, but I'm going to have to go with Eli Manning if I can get him in the first round. His efficiency rating and TD production are impressive, but more than anything I figure a guy with such a resemblance to our very own Paul Sorensen (minus the gray hair) has to be a gamer.

SPEAKING OF ONE-TIME Cougar All-Americans, it was great to read the other day that legendary WSU trackster Bernard Lagat is still making tracks. On Sunday he ran the world's fastest 1,500 meters of the year, winning Italy's Rieti Grand Prix in 3 minutes, 29:30 seconds.

IN THE SHAMELESS PLUGS for good Cougars department, I offer up two for your consideration. First, my ol' buddy and devoted crimsonsite Shaun Lemieux is riding in the "Dam 2 Dam" bike trek on September 24 to raise money for the Mike Utley Foundation. If you donate, he will put your logo or name on his jersey. Go to www.myjersey.org for details.

Second, my neighbor and WSU alum Sue Rahr is running this fall to retain her post as King County Sheriff. She's smart, dedicated and one of the best neighbors you could ask for. So all you King County Cougs need to get out and support our fellow Coug. Besides, it doesn't hurt to have the law on our side.

WATCHING THE TURNSTYLES, it appears the Huskies have sold only 20,000 tickets to their Saturday showdown with Air Force at Qwest Field. Since the Cougars aren't playing that day and two-thirds of the stadium is still open, why not give the Falcons a more vocal contingent? Bring your crimson flags and Cougar gear and Support our Troops! Wait until game day, though, so you don't have to pay Ticketmaster's outrageous $6 processing fee. Also, could someone explain to me why they want another $2.50 to print the ticket on my computer?

Speaking of Qwest Field and college football, the Cougar-Grambling game on Sept. 17 still has lots of good seats available. As of a week ago, about 31,000 tickets had been sold. There's no reason this game shouldn't attract 55,000. The Cougs are always entertaining, Grambling may be Division II but they're not your run-of-the-mill program, and the Grambling marching band is something to behold.

TOUCHDOWN, WASHINGTON STATE!
The Cougar Sports Radio Network will launch the 2005 campaign Thursday evening an hour before the Cougars and Vandals kickoff. His Holiness, Bob Robertson, will be back for his 39th season with the Cougars and Jim Walden will he heading into his fifth season as color commentator. Bud Nameck will be on the sidelines and Dennis Patchin will be doing the half-time and post-game shows. If you happen to be in Las Vegas for any of the games you can pick them up on KLAV-AM - 1230 AM. For a complete listing of stations, CLICK HERE.

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