Seen & Heard on Planet Coug 5/18

THE BAY AREA GRAPEVINE has it that former Cougar safety Eric Frampton was drafted last month by Oakland because of a high-powered recommendation. New Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin, most recently the offensive coordinator and receivers coach at USC, was so impressed with what he saw of Frampton against the Trojans the last two seasons that he wanted the San Jose native on his side of the field.

And for good reason. Frampton posted a collective 20 tackles in the two WSU-USC games, plus had two pass breakups and forced a fumble.

Another Cougar looking to make some NFL hay this year is Mkristo Bruce, who signed a free agent deal with the Dolphins shortly after the draft concluded. Miami general manager Randy Mueller was quoted recently in the Miami Herald as saying Bruce reminds him of long-time Dolphins defensive end David Bowens.

"I'm not going to say an undrafted free agent will make the team, but there's a chance the guy can fit in," Mueller said. The Dolphins reportedly envision Bruce playing what they call the "Jack" linebacker -– the same role that All-Pro Jason Taylor fills on the Miami D. San Diego and Cleveland also wanted to sign Bruce, but Miami's relative lack of depth on the line made the Dolphins a good fit for Bruce.

FOR THE FOURTH-STRAIGHT season, the Cougars will feature their four team captains on the cover of the football media guide, WSU sports information boss Rod Commons reports. Head coach Bill Doba is a firm believer in spreading the limelight, and so likes the team captains approach rather than the single-player motif.

This year's captains, as voted on by the players, are seniors Alex Brink, Husain Abdullah and Michael Bumpus, and junior linebacker Greg Trent. Trent, the middle linebacker from Keller, Texas, is the second junior in the Doba Era to be elected a captain. The other was Brink, last season.

Speaking of the 2007 football season, this year will mark the 100th time the Cougars and Huskies have faced off. The series began with a 5-5 tie in 1900. There were several years in the early days when they didn't play at all. And there was one season, 1945, in which they played twice (splitting, with a combined 13 points being scored in the two contests).

The most memorable game in the series, in my estimation, was the 1997 battle in Seattle that clinched a Rose Bowl berth for the Cougars for the first time in 67 years. The Cougs won 41-35 and thousands of crimson-clad fans poured onto the rain-soaked Husky Stadium turf to celebrate.

That game also featured one of the most memorable plays in Apple Cup history: Chris Jackson's catch and sideline run to paydirt with a Ryan Leaf pass. You'd be hard-pressed, though, to come up with an Apple Cup play as spectacular as Drew Bledsoe's 1992 bomb -– intended for C.J. Davis -- that was caught by Phillip Bobo, who wound up in a pile of snow in the back of the endzone.

LONG-TIME COUGAR FAN and travel agent Linda Finch is out with her CougAire home-game travel packages for 2007. Flights will operate for all home games as long as there is a minimum of 20 persons participating. The cost for a round-trip game-day flight to Pullman from Sea-Tac will be $320 per person. Flights generally depart SeaTac between 9 andr 10 a.m. and return 1 1/2 hours after the end of the game. For reservations or more information, contact Linda at linda.finch@gmail.com or by phone at 1 800 682-2251.

I JUST REALIZED the date today: May 18. This marks the 27th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens. For anyone in Pullman at the time (especially those of us who weren't ready for final exams), it was an unforgettable event.

ON A FINAL, SOMBER note, anyone driving these days through the Montlake neighborhood of Seattle can't miss the outpouring of love for former WSU soccer player Liz Duncan. On the corner of 23rd and Boyer are cards, letters, photos, a "COUGAR FOREVER" sign – even a pair of soccer cleats -– in remembrance of the vibrant 26-year-old Richland native who ranks fifth on the WSU's career assists list. She was killed, while jogging, at that corner earlier this month when a 16-year-old girl apparently lost control of her car while turning. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Liz, her family and friends.


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