Seen & Heard on Planet Coug 8/25

PULLMAN -- The Washington State Cougars won't be game planning for Stanford at practice until Sunday, but coach Paul Wulff is already trying to figure out who he's going to use to imitate powerful Toby Gerhart, the "keg with legs" who passes for a running back for the Cardinal.

"I don't know," Wulff said with a smile. "Maybe me. But that wouldn't be too good."

Wulff was a standout center during his playing days at Washington State, but now he's considerably leaner than the 6-foot-1, 235-pound Gerhart, who pummeled the Cougs for 137 rushing yards and four TDs in the Card's 58-0 win last season in Palo Alto.

The WSU-Stanford game -- Sept. 5 in Pullman -- marks the first time the Cougars will open the season with a Pac-10 game since they lost 24-10 to the Cardinal on Sept. 2, 2000.

"Ideally, we all want to start with a nonconference game," Wulff said. "It's not what ourselves or Stanford probably wants to do, but we're in the same situation. I'm just glad we have it at home. We'll be ready."

Kickoff is at 3 pm, and the game will be televised on FSN-NW and in HD.

BOB ROBERTSON, the legendary broadcast voice of the Cougs, shared a funny -- and heretofore little known -- story the other day. The star of the tale was Paul Sorensen, the former WSU All-American and periodic CF.C columnist who spent many years in the booth as Bob's color analyst.

Robertson, who is now 80 years old, wasn't sure he was going to make it past 59 after Paul riled up the University of Houston's coaching staff at the 1988 Aloha Bowl.

Sorensen, a high-energy guy and unabashed crimson "homer," angered Houston's coaches -- who were working in an adjacent booth in the press box -- with his antics as his beloved Cougars bolted to a 24-9 halftime lead.

"I thought Paul Sorensen was going to get us into a fistfight post-game with the assistant coaching staff from Houston," Robertson said. "We kind of ran it up on them in the first half and Paul was banging on the window -- they were right next door to us. Paul's banging on the window and pumping his fist after we scored.

"They came back pretty hard in the second half, so they started giving it to us from the other side of the glass. We won the game (courtesy of Tuineau Alipate and Artie Holmes causing and recovering a Houston fumble on the WSU 5-yard-line in the waning minutes). But I thought there was a good chance they're going to be waiting for us in the hall ...

"Our lives were saved. I wasn't in shape to be fighting young assistant coaches with Paul."

The Cougs won 24-22.

GREAT DEBUT: The 21st-ranked WSU women's soccer team returns all 11 starters off an NCAA tournament squad, but four freshmen and a junior college transfer started last Friday when the Cougars opened the season with a 3-0 rout of Idaho.

"We're obviously very dangerous with the personnel we have," coach Matt Potter said.

The Cougars outshot Idaho 21-4, and Potter said he was delighted with the "great crowd -- great atmosphere." The match drew 1,007 fans, the third-largest home crowd in the program's 20-year history.

WSU BASEBALL COACH Donnie Marbut says he's excited about the promising group of recruits that he'll mix with a solid core of veterans off last season's NCAA tournament team. That said, Marbut thinks the Cougars lost a potential superstar when James Robbins signed with the Detroit Tigers.

Robbins, a first baseman-pitcher out of Shorecrest High School in suburban Seattle, had signed a letter of intent with WSU. Marbut said he was more impressed with Robbins coming out of high school than he was with a couple other two-way prep stars who have enjoyed considerable success at WSU: Former pitcher-outfielder Jared Prince and sophomore Derek Jones, a slugging outfielder.

"I thought James was a better pitcher and better hitter than either one of them," Marbut said. Robbins, a 30th-round draft pick, shocked Marbut when he signed with the Tigers last Monday.

"He wanted 350 (thousand dollars to sign)," Marbut said. "He took 220. I thought they'd give him a hundred max."

FORMER COUGS RULE: The Puget Sound Roxx, coached by former Cougar catcher Quientin Poil, won the Senior Babe Ruth League World Series last Saturday in Moses Lake. Players were 18 years old and under. Poile was assisted by ex-Cougar Tony Banaszak, who played for Marbut at Edmonds Community College.

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