Mike Graise's Diary: Week Two

PULLMAN -- Hey Cougs, Graise here. First off, I would like to tell you all thanks for the posts and great comments you have left on the Cougfan.com message boards. One of those was a question on the defensive line depth and performance the past few years. Here's what I think of that ...

There's no doubt we've had an issue of depth that we have faced for the last couple of years.

But I believe that Kevin Kooyman, Andy Mattingly, Matt Mullennix, Fevaea'i Ahmu, Matt Eichelberger and our incoming freshmen and transfers will take care of that depth problem.

Our mindset is simply this: Everyone who steps foot on the field this year will make a major contribution to our defense and to our special teams.

Some of you had questions about our DBs. A few times during the week, our whole team comes together in Martin Stadium to do our own position workouts. It is similar to what we do before and during our fall practices.

After we feel we have done enough position drills for one day, we (the defensive line) and the offensive line go over plays against each other – half speed though, we don't need anyone getting hurt right now.

And the defensive backs and the receivers do the same.

From what I have seen of the DBs so far, they are maintaining good focus during their drills, mostly working on their breaks to the ball and working to improve their ability to gather in the interception, which could have helped out a lot last year.

Chima Nwachukwu is making great strides towards making himself even better in coverage -- and since he's now a sophomore, he's also showing much improvement in the all important skills of on-field talking. Alfonso Jackson, on the other hand, is one I'm worried about.

I think Alfonso is getting upset every time we go out there because he cannot dip his shoulder on all the receivers flying through the air right now. He loves to hit.

But he and the DBs are dealing with that in their own ways and they're making strides on the things they need to do to get better.

I do apologize in advance for not being able to answer some of the other questions you posted, I will try to get to some of those next week. It's summer but between classes and working out, there's not a lot of free time.

And keep the questions and comments coming because those are great. I will talk to you guys next week.

We will continue to roll, so jump on board for an amazing year with the Cougs.

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 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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