PRACTICE: Who wants to win, who wants to run?

PULLMAN -- The watchword for the Cougars as they began the Notre Dame practice week -- competition. Starting practice, it was plain and simple. If the Cougar offense gained a first down on three plays, the defense would run. But if the defense could put up a stop, the offense would run the gasser.

Paul Wulff moved the Cougs to the indoor practice facility for Tuesday's practice in an effort to get ready for Wazzu's first game in a dome this season. WSU will be in San Antonio's Alamo dome to take on Notre Dame on Saturday.

Wulff had the offense and defense in 11-on-11's out of the gate, with the offense and defense trying to have the other unit run gassers the width of the football field.

During the two series, the first team offense bested the first team defense, while the second team defense won their battle with the second team offense. Quarterback Jeff Tuel, WR Gino Simone and DT Dan Spitz, who "sacked" QB Marshall Lobbestael, were among those turning in the key plays during the series.

AS EARLIER REPORTED on CF.C, Wulff announced that there would be some battles at position on offense and defense this week to decide who will start.

On the offensive line at LT, Tyson Pencer and Alex Reitnouer both saw an equal amount of time running with the 1's, and both did a good job on protecting Tuel. The same could be said about Micah Hannam and Steven Ayers, who split reps with the 1's at RT.

Throughout practice, offensive line coach Harold Etheridge saw something he hasn't seen in quite some time, a relatively healthy line.

Excluding Brian Danaher, not participating due to concussions, the offensive line had it's big hosses back in the mix with Ayers and Guerra back and participating full go, and the result on Tuesday was both Tuel and Lobbestael had more time in the pocket.

There were a few occasions times where DE's Travis Long and Casey Hamlett were able to break free and put some pressure on the the quarterbacks, but for the most part the o-line looked good.

OVER ON DEFENSE, at the MLB position, Wulff had announced that Alex Hoffman-Ellis, and Mike Ledgerwood would also be battling one another this week to start on Saturday. Ledgerwood, who got his first career start last week against Cal, got plenty of reps in with the 1's on Tuesday.

With Louis Bland already out, (see earlier CF.C stories), SLB Andy Mattingly also did not practice on Tuesday because of a bruised left knee. Myron Beck saw increased reps as a result on Tuesday. Mattingly's injury does not look to be serious however, and he's likely to play this Saturday against the Fighting Irish.

Beck made good use of his time, he had the hit of the day when he leveled WR Jeffrey Solomon to break up a would-be catch from Tuel.

Strong safety Xavier Hicks said the Cougs should be up for the national broadcast on NBC on Saturday.

"The whole team is excited and I think we're going to be able to execute," said Hicks.

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