WSU Notebook: Irish eyes, redshirts and more

WHEN WASHINGTON STATE meets up with Notre Dame in Week 8 in San Antonio, the Cougs will be facing a large contingent of Irish fans in the stands. As the road team, WSU's ticket allotment for the game is 5,000. Meanwhile, Notre Dame -- as the "home" team -- has so far sold about 25,000 tickets for the nationally televised Halloween tilt in the Alamodome.

The Cougars have so far sold 2,350 of their 5,000 ticket allotment. If recent road trips to Wisconsin and Auburn are indicative, that number probably will rise to and plateau at around 3,000.

The WSU-Notre Dame game is the first in a series of "home" contests Notre Dame plans to play annually in different regions of the country. The Irish have a huge following all across the U.S. and believe this will be a unique way to energize those fans while at the same time boosting its recruiting effort.

Alamodome spokesperson Rick Hill declined to release total ticket sales for the game, partly because a number of tickets have been put aside for military personnel. The Alamodome seats 65,000 for football.

Pullman is 2,018 miles away from San Antonio, while South Bend measures 1,306 miles.

"We're still hoping for a capacity crowd," Hill said.

Two seasons ago, Notre Dame was 3-9. This year, the Irish are a consensus media preseason Top 25 pick. For tickets or more information, call 1-800-GO-COUGS or click HERE.

-- Young guns: Paul Wulff, like most college football coaches, prefers to redshirt most freshmen. Last year, Wulff tabbed five true freshmen to play at the outset of the season -- LB/S Tyree Toomer, WR Jared Karstetter, LB Mike Ledgerwood, WR Kevin Norrell and LB Louis Bland, with QB J.T. Levenseller's redshirt coming off later in the year due to injuries at the position.

Wulff said this year there are plenty of true freshmen could earn playing time, including wide receiver Gino Simone, defensive end Travis Long, linebackers Darren Markle and Andre Barrington, defensive tackle Justin Clayton and defensive backs Nolan Washington and Anthony Carpenter.

Wulff, however, also noted there's much yet to transpire between the first day of fall camp (Aug. 9) and the season opener (Sep. 5) against Stanford.

"You never know," Wulff said. "Every year someone we think is going to play as a freshman doesn't and someone we didn't think was going to play ends up playing.

"By no means did we think Louis Bland was going to play as a first-year player, and he wound up doing OK."

Bland, the final recruit offered a scholarship in the 2008 class, started at outside linebacker late in the season. He was occasionally dominant even though Wulff said Bland "probably (weighed) about 185" by the end of the season.

"The thing that makes that kid different than a lot is toughness," Wulff said. "He's high-level intensity and a high level of toughness.

"If we had a team full of those guys, we'd be pretty tough to beat on any day."

Bland is continuing his rehab from spring knee surgery and Wulff has said he has some concern Bland won't be fully recovered in time for the Stanford game.

-- Featured state: Washington is the featured state on "College Football Live" on ESPN at 12:30 p.m. PDT Friday.

Fans can vote for the best college team, player and coach in state history at

-- Media matters: Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News wrote that the 2008 Cougars would have been his pick for the worst Pac-10 team of the decade if not for the two-overtime win over Washington.

The 0-12 Huskies earned Wilner's nod as the worst of the worst for the decade, followed by the '08 Cougars. Three of the eight teams ranked by Wilner were Husky squads ('08, '04 and '05).

In Wilner's list of the top seven Pac-10 quarterbacks of the decade, WSU's Jason Gesser came in seventh. All-time Cougar passing leader Alex Brink was one of four players Wilner said were close to making the list. USC's Matt Leinart was ranked No. 1 by Wilner.

-- Vegas odds: The sports betting site pegs the over-under mark for WSU football wins at three this season.

The site hasn't posted odds on WSU or 51 other teams winning the national championship. Defending champion Florida is the 2-1 favorite. At 500-1, UNLV was the last (68th) team listed, one notch ahead of Washington at 200-1.

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