Seen & Heard on Planet Coug

KYLE McCARTNEY

WHEN WASHINTON STATE tied SMU at 14 last week courtesy of Kyle McCartney's endzone recovery of a Mustang return man's muffed handling of a punt, you could almost hear the collective Cougar Nation ask: Who is Kyle McCartney? The short answer is that he's a third-year sophomore walk on from Edmonds. The long answer is more impressive.

McCartney's special teams TD last week was almost destiny fulfilled. McCartney, you see, is a special teams mainstay. He was named the Cougars' special teams player of the week against Oklahoma State two weeks earlier. And he took honors again last week after hitting paydirt in Dallas.

Word out of Pullman this season and last is that the 6-0, 190-pound safety's work ethic and focus could have him on track toward a scholarship.

And while he's heretofore been largely unknown to the Cougar Nation, he's far from unknown to high school football fans north of Seattle. He was an All-WesCo South quarterback and defensive back as a junior and senior at Edmonds-Woodway High. He was invited to walk on by Paul Wulff in his first recruiting cycle at WSU. McCartney led Edmonds-Woodway to two consecutive trips to the Class 4A state semifinals in 2006 and 2007. He also lettered three times in basketball.

As a prep junior, he was featured in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd" after completing 13 of 15 passes for 306 yards and four touchdowns in a 56-7 win over Mountlake Terrace.

ASIDE FROM A COUGAR VICTORY over USC, the most welcome news that could arrive for Cougars living in Greater Seattle this week landed on Thursday. Radio station KIXI, 880 AM, is joining the Cougar broadcast network. This is great news because KIXI has some serious wattage coming down and with the loss this season of 1090 AM from the Cougar network, fans on the Westside were struggling to get consistent radio coverage throughout the I-5 corridor. KIXI will join the network in time for Saturday's game against USC. In all, WSU fans in the Greater Seattle area now have four options to listen to the Cougars: KIXI 880, KKOL 1300, KRKO 1380 and KHHO 850.

THE PRESSING QUESTION IN in Cougar basketball circles – What about the lack of depth in the post? – was answered this week in Ken Bone's interview with CF.C. Sophomore Brock Motum, the rail-thin, face-to-the-basket forward from Down Under has grown and inch over the last year – to 6-foot-10 -- and gained 25 pounds. He now checks in at 230 and will play post.

Motum is smooth with the basketball, but whether he has enough bulk and temperament to knock heads night in and night out with the conference's big bodies in the paint will be the new question du jour for Cougar hoops fans.

The Cougars' one proven post presence – shot-blocking and rebounding ace DeAngelo Casto – has also bulked up this offseason. He's at 255, up from 229 a year ago. Six-10, 220-pound junior center Charlie Enquist will come off the bench. And 6-11, 240-pound sophomore Steven Bjornstad will hopefully be ready to come off the bench too, but has been battling patellar tendinosis ("jumper's knee") all off season.

ON THE WOMEN'S SIDE OF THE Cougar basketball court, June Daugherty apparently continues to tear things up on the recruiting trail. The newspaper in Gillette, Wyoming, reports that standout guard Jordan Kelley has verbally committed to WSU. In addition, sources up Canada way indicate that 6-4 post player Shalie Dheensaw of Victoria, B.C., also has verbaled to the Cougs. The early signing period for basketball letters of intent begins in November.

FUNNIEST MESSAGE BOARD POST OF THE DAY:
From FnuLnu comes this suggestion for the Pac-12 on how to divide itself into two divisions: Base it on the mascots. More specifically, the Dangerous Animals Division and the Humanoids, Objects & Small Animals Division. The Dangerous Division would shape up with the Cougars, Wildcats, Bruins, Bears, Buffaloes and Huskies (if you assume the husky is a malamute hopped up by Dr. Feelgood). The other division would be Ducks, Beavers, Sun Devils, Trojans, Utes and Cardinal.

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