Mike Graise's Diary: Week Four

PULLMAN - What up Cougs?! Sorry for the delay on this diary, we were off last week for the Holiday, I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July with family and friends. But now that we are back, we can continue to take care of business. A lot of you had great comments and questions last week, so let me answer a few of them on the young guys on the d-line, the secondary and the fastest DEs and DTs.

We have some definite young and up and coming talent on the line this year. Two of them, Mr. Kevin Kooyman and Mr. Asly Jean-Jacques, are working hard as ever this summer.

We have different workout groups and times, but I've been hearing great things about Kooyman from our strength coaches and then other players who have had the pleasure of working with Jean-Jacques say the same things. These two will be difference makers in our games and especially when one of the starters needs a breather. We are pushing for no differences in the game when someone goes out.

Our secondary -- talk about a group of hard workers. Husain Abdullah, chosen by his peers to be one of our leaders out there on the field, is something else. His work ethic is unbelievable and I have the privilege of being in his work group two mornings a week. This man feeds energy to everyone he talks to, especially me. I can't wait to see him on the field for his final season.

Markus Dawes, what can you say? He just wants to win more than anyone I have ever met. Back in May, he was coming around every other day asking everyone to run hills with him at 7 a.m. and whenever I see him, he has gym clothes on and a water bottle in his hand. He's ready to run at any time.

Though he is not in the secondary, linebacker Cory Evans is a guy who also needs to be mentioned. Cory is constantly working on improving his game and his body. I expect big things from him this year as a starter.

Last but not least, the D-line. Who is the fastest DE and DT, someone asked?

I would love to say me, but I can't. Lance is faster than I am even though we have not raced yet this offseason. I can just tell just by the way he runs, he is holding his true speed back. But there's a good reason for that.

Coming out of high school, Lance was a linebacker before becoming a defensive end. He knows that if you are that fast, you can also run up the field too far and you're not able to slow down quickly enough, and then people will run right under him. I think when he uses his true speed and smarts on the line this year, he's going to run by a lot of tackles and he's going to pick up a lot of sacks.

Jean-Jacques is pretty fast as well, and I can't wait to see him run someone down this year.

Out of the DTs, Matt Eichelberger is pretty fast and he does make his share of tackles in the backfield and a couple yards of the line of scrimmage. But I would have to say the fastest is either Ropati Pitoitua or A'i Ahmu. I have seen all of them run and those two are able to make tackles 20 yards down the field.

Time to get back to work. I can't wait to read any more questions that you have for me. Post them on the Cougfan.com message boards and I'll try to answer as many as I can.

I'll leave you with this thought -- On defense, we are 11-strong out there on the field but with all of you as our 12th man, we can't lose!! GO COUGS!!!

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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