Mike Graise's Diary: Week Three

PULLMAN -- What's up Cougs? Mike Graise here. I know some of you want greater detail about what all the d-line does in the summer, beyond lifting and watching film, to prepare for the season. I can't offer you all the nitty gritty stuff because I don't know if it's a good idea to tell our opponents "Hey, here's exactly what we do, and how we do it." What I will tell you is that we ...

...defensive ends and tackles, in addition to all of the other things we're doing as a team, meet as a group and put in extra work.

Some of that extra work centers around technique, like shedding blockers, that we believe will come in handy against the Badgers in our season opener.

During our extra d-line sessions, we'll also go off into two groups, ends and tackles, and go over key moves, ones that we will need for certain game situations. We're putting our hands down, and we're putting in extra time on our first step and our burst off the line. And we, as a front four, are also getting together once a week at one of our homes -- to eat and watch film together.

Speaking of eating, I see, with a chuckle, there are concerns in the Cougar Nation about my weight and some of my teammates'. All I can tell you is I am doing and eating everything I can to get myself at the best playing weight possible for the season.

For a guy with my metabolism, it is a little harder for me to keep on weight -- especially in the summer -- when we do so much intense conditioning. However, I predict that if I keep working hard and smart, if I keep pushing more weights each week for the rest of the summer, then when everything slows down before fall camp, I should be real close to right where I want to be.

There have been some questions on the CF.C message boards about special teams, and I'd like to toss in my two cents. As most football fans know, special teams are key to an offense or defense's momentum for the upcoming drive. And special teams are also ways for younger players to get on the field for that one play and then give it all they have for the battle for field position.

I have talked to a couple of our special teams players. Right here, right now, they strongly believe we should have one of the best units in the Pac-10 this upcoming season. And I do too. Who can disagree when on the return units you have Michael Bumpus back there for punts, not to mention Brandon Gibson and Charles Dillon ready to run one back on the kick return team. And then with all of these assassins we're going to have, all we have to do is build around them, and we're going to do just that.

Our mindset on special teams is this: The battle for field position, it will be ours.

Through all of our conditioning and workouts, we are getting better each week, and we'll be ready when we open the season at Wisconsin.

Thanks for the questions and comments, and keep them coming, just post them on the Cougfan.com message boards and I'll try to answer as many as I can.


Mike Graise finished the '07 spring season as WSU's starting weakside defensive end. The 6-3, 216-pounder will be a fourth-year-junior in 2007. He hails from the Los Angeles area, where he earned both first-team all-conference and All-Area honors at Inglewood High. He's played in 19 games over the past two seasons at WSU as a backup end and special teamer, recording 21 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Graise also realized every lineman's dream when he returned an interception 33 yards for a TD last year. He graciously volunteered this summer to give CF.C readers an inside look at the world of pre-season football preparations with a weekly diary.

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