NOTEBOOK: Gibson, Broadus return; Apple Cup

PULLMAN -- Southern California has long been a prime breeding ground for Washington State players, but most of those players arrive in Pullman with little or no knowledge of the Apple Cup. Jim Walden speaks, plus Gibson and Broadus take the field in Wednesday's practice update as the Cougs move outdoors.

"I had no idea," said Bumpus, a senior from Culver City, on the college football rivalry known as the Apple Cup.

"The first time I heard of it was when I came up here," said Byrd, a senior from Oceanside.

Free safety Husain Abdullah, a senior from Pomona, learned about the Apple Cup from older brother Hamza, who played at WSU from 2001-04.

One of the Abdullahs' first and worst memories of the Apple Cup was WSU's 51-3 loss to Washington in 2000 in Pullman. Husain said that provided extra motivation for him when the Cougars won in Seattle in 2005.

"When you go over there and you go into their house and beat them … they're supposed to be U-Dub. They're supposed to be good. They're (perceived to) get everything first, and we're just second."

Abdullah said his appreciation of the Apple Cup has grown from watching tapes of past games. Bumpus and Byrd said it didn't take long to learn how important the game is to fans, players and coaches.

"There's so much passion and intensity surrounding it that you instantly respect the rivalry," Byrd said. "You kind of figure out what it's about real quick."

-- Practice report: Pac-10 receiving leader Brandon Gibson and starting defensive end Lance Broadus practiced with the team outdoors Wednesday. Both watched in street clothes Tuesday.

Third-string running back Marcus Richmond did not practice Wednesday. He left Tuesday's practice on crutches after injuring his left knee.

The Monday and Tuesday practices were held in the team's indoors practice facility due to snow.

-- On the Brink: Alex Brink termed his final home game "a nightmare," and for good reason.

WSU's all-time leading passer threw six interceptions; he was booed lustily at his final home game; and Oregon State hammered the Cougars 52-17 in the rain before a tiny Thanksgiving break crowd.

Brink's reaction?

"I put it away pretty quick," Brink said. "As tough as that game was, I can't go back and win the Oregon State game. I can only win the Washington game."

If he does, Brink will become the first Cougar quarterback in history to beat Washington three times. That would be rather ironic, since critics of Brink have long pointed to WSU's losing record (16-23) since Brink began his 39-game string of starts midway through his freshman year of 2004.

As usual, Brink downplayed the importance of his individual accomplishments and stressed how much he wants a victory for his team Saturday. He's always expressed disappointment in not leading WSU to a bowl game, but Brink said he's proud of the effort he gave and of his relationship with teammates.

"I don't have any ‘What if's?'" Brink said. "My time here has been awesome."

Brink said "we can't really worry about" the job status of Bill Doba. The coach's job would be safe if Brink was in charge.

"He deserves another year, no doubt in my mind," Brink said.

-- Walden explains: Cougar radio analyst Jim Walden said he was "just joking" when he told last summer (see here) that he would stop going to Apple Cups if WSU lost to a weak Husky team this year.

"If I thought it would make a difference (help WSU win), I wouldn't go," Walden said Wednesday.

Walden said the addition of more quality defensive linemen, not the replacement of Doba, would help the Cougars most. The former WSU head coach also said he would like to see the offense become more diversified.

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