Mike Graise's Diary: Week One

PULLMAN--Hey, what's up Coug fans around the world! It's time for business, and this is Mike Graise back again this year on Cougfan.com to fill you in. If you are new to the diaries, what I do is give you a week-by-week update, mostly from a defensive perspective, on how we're doing as we prepare this summer for the upcoming season, while Gary Rogers will do the honors from the offensive side.

I also read the questions and comments that you post on the Cougfan.com message boards and I'll try to address as many of them as I can in my upcoming entries, so feel free to ask away!

So to get straight to the point. We have already knocked out almost two weeks of intense strength and conditioning workouts -- with no one left behind. I feel confident my teammates and I are making great progress in the summer program and here's one reason why.

Last year, in retrospect, there were some guys who didn't shine as brightly in that first week due to poor training in May…and I was one of them. But looking around now, I can really see the fire in our eyes. You can see us competing with one another and making everyone better.

And to answer one of your questions that I know will come up: Yes, it is all due to coach Paul Wulff and his staff.

From the moment they stepped foot on the practice field, we as players have found ourselves in uncharted territory -- the winter workouts we had with these coaches were the most intense workouts I have ever done in my life.

But the harder you work the harder it is to give up and the coaches kept pushing me; they continued to push all of the seniors to be the best because this was our last go around.

The hardest part of the workouts? A game called tag. I know what you're thinking, tag…really. Well, try tagging running backs after tagging six other guys with your chest and not your hands. Tag will never again be the fun game I played as a kid.

After winter workouts came spring ball, and the coaches continued to push the team's intensity level up higher and higher. I think we all made great progress throughout the spring on both sides of the ball.

Greg Trent took control of the defense and became a confident leader on the field. And Brandon Gibson continued to shine in every practice.

And two new rising starts were playing at the Pac-10 level we knew they would: senior quarterback Gary Rogers and junior wide receiver Michael Willis.

Willis showed that he could be a great hot route receiver for Rogers as he progressed in spring ball.

Our rededicated commitment and intensity stayed with us throughout May, and this has made us a better team than a year ago. We must now continue to push and get better so we can have a chance at a bowl run this year as well as becoming the new Pac-10 Champs!

I'll see you next week, and post for me your questions and comments and be a part of what looks to be an awesome year for the Cougs. And stay tuned later today for Gary Rogers' first entry.

Mike Graise received his first two career starts last season. The 6-3, 222-pounder will be a fifth-year-senior in 2008. 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 27 games over the past three seasons at WSU as a defensive end and special teamer, recording 35 tackles, 7 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He realized every lineman's dream when he returned an interception 33 yards for a TD in '06. Along with QB Gary Rogers, he graciously volunteered this summer to give CF.C readers an inside look at the world of pre-season Cougar football preparations with a weekly diary.

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