Seen & Heard on Planet Coug 7/7

TRAVIS LONG

COUGAR DEFENSIVE END Travis Long's surgically repaired shoulder is fully healed and he'll hit the proverbial ground running when Washington State opens fall camp Aug. 7, Cougar head coach Paul Wulff told CF.C this week.

Long injured the shoulder as a freshman in 2009 and tried to rehab it sans surgery, but it became apparent during the 2010 campaign that he would need to go under the knife at season's end.

He subsequently missed all of this year's spring workouts, but is now fully cleared, Wulff said Wednesday. Long led the Cougars in tackles-for-loss last season, with 10.5, and posted 51 total tackles.

Wulff said the Cougars' overall health picture is excellent. Offensive lineman Alex Reitnour (back) is a question mark for August, while RB Carl Winston (knee) and C Andrew Roxas (foot) are working through some irritation but both are expected to be fully ready.

DeANGELO CASTO WILL SEE AT least one familiar face when he turns pro in Turkey later this year. Jacob Pullen, who helped fifth-ranked Kansas State rally to a 63-58 win at Washington State last December, has joined Casto in signing with Antalya in Turkey's top pro league. Pullen, a guard, averaged 20.2 points per game as a senior at K-State last season. Antalya finished 14-16 last season to take eighth in a 16-team league. Antalya the city, with a population of 1 million, is a gorgeous resort destination on the Mediterranean Sea in southwestern Turkey.

FINALLY, TERRELL DAVIS IS GOING to be playing running back for Washington State. It's just not THE Terrell Davis. The recent news that a younger Terrell Davis, out of Mount Douglas High in Victoria, B.C., committed verbally to WSU's 2012 recruiting class rekindled memories of the former NFL All-Pro of the same name who ranks with Troy Polamalu as the biggest would-be-Coug who got away. But unlike Polamalu who decided at the last minute to take a USC offer, the loss of the now-famous Davis was just a case of bad luck.

The memory fades as to the details, but in 1990 Mike Price and the Cougs were in the driver's seat for the future Broncos star and two-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year when they had to cease recruiting him, per the NCAA, because of one-too-many visits with Davis at his high school. Again, the memory fades, but the "extra visit" wasn't anything nefarious, just a flukey bit of happenstance that WSU self reported. With the Cougs forced to bow out, Davis wound up going to Long Beach State for two seasons before transferring to Georgia.

ANOTHER WSU VERBAL COMMIT FOR 2012, quarterback Austin Apodaca of Longmont, Colo., comes by his talent naturally. His dad Mike, who also is his high school head coach, played ball at Wyoming back in the day. Frequent CF.C message board contributor CWaldburger recently found an interesting feature piece on Apodaca and his recruitment in the Daily Times-Call newspaper in Longmont. Here's the link.

IF THE COUGARS' NEWEST VERBAL commit, defensive end Maurice Bennett of Madison, Miss., is anything like the last Cougar I remember hailing from Mississippi then Coach Wulff has done himself well. Remember middle linebacker Don Jackson from Natchez, Miss.? He was a standout on WSU's 10-win teams of 2002 and particularly 2003. The guy had a motor and determination that wouldn't quit. Loved him.

HERE'S A FUN PIECE OF TRIVIA that figures to stump forever. Who was the last player to sink a basket at Pauley Pavilion? The question is relevant because the storied home of Goodrich, Alcindor, Walton, etc. is going under the wrecking ball and in its place will rise a $136 million modern version. The answer is notable because it isn't Reeves Nelson or Tyler Honeycutt. In fact, it's neither a Bruin nor a male.

The final basket at old Pauley was made by WSU women's forward Katie Calderwood. That fact was pointed out recently by the newspaper in Broomfield, Colo., where the spirited Calderwood grew up. Calderwood played in only 10 games this past season, her last at WSU, and scored just five points. But that's all it took to etch her name into history. In the final contest of the regular season on March 5, Calderwood hit a layup with 5 seconds left on the clock to cap the scoring at Pauley. Junior forward Rosie Tarnowski had a big hand – literally – in the memorable bucket because she stole the ball with 8 seconds left and then passed to Calderwood.

THE MAJOR LEAGUE ALL-STAR GAME is next week, marking the 10-year anniversary of the last time a Cougar was in the mid-summer classic. John Olerud's second and last All-Star appearance came in 2001 in his second year with the Seattle Mariners. Olerud is one of four Cougars who have played in the All-Star game. Aaron Sele was named to two, in 1998 with the Rangers and 2000 with the Mariners. Ron Cey, the Dodgers great, appeared in six consecutive from 1974-79. And Gene Conley was a four-time selection while with the Braves. In 1955, when there were two All-Star games – one in the summer and one at the end of the season – he was picked both times and was the winning pitcher in one of them.

The absence of Cougar representation in the All-Star game over the last 10 seasons is yet another painful reminder of the abyss the program fell into after Bobo Brayton stepped aside in 1994. The most telling evidence of how far the program fell after Bobo, though, is the fact there are no Cougars currently in the bigs – the first time since 1947 that has occurred. At the rate Donnie Marbut is building the program, however, I expect the steady parade of Cougs to the Majors to resume soon. Marbut has said he thinks newly drafted lefty pitcher Adam Conley could be in The Show as soon as 2013.

JEREMEY THIELBAHR, THE FORMER WSU running back and Idaho assistant coach who is taking over for Jason Gesser as head man at Eastside Catholic in Sammamish, isn't the only old Cougar who is becoming a head coach for the first time this season. So is Tom Griggs, who was a backup lineman on WSU's Sun and Rose bowl squads a decade ago. Griggs is the new boss at Rochester High south of Olympia. He got his coaching start while still a student at WSU. After an injury shelved him as a third-year Cougar sophomore, he became a volunteer assistant at Pullman High.

FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF little-known nuggets comes this ironic fact. When CF.C columnist and former WSU All-American Ryan Leaf was a high school senior, the University of Miami was one of his top five choices for college. The Canes were coached by Dennis Erickson at the time and one of Dennis' young assistants did much of the point work in Leaf's recruitment. Here's the irony: That coach was none other than Eric Price, Mike's son (and, eventually, the Cougars' quarterbacks coach).

I cringe at the idea of what could have been (or not been!) had the elder Price not prevailed over in the fight for Leaf. Of note: one of Leaf's hosts on his official visit to Miami was Dwayne Johnson -- a.k.a. The Rock -- who has since achieved big things on the silver screen. Leaf plans to share some of the entertaining details of that Miami recruiting trip in the book he's in the process of writing about his college career. The book is due out the day of the WSU-Stanford game, Oct. 15.

NOTABLE NOTES:

Former WSU offensive line coach Harold Ethridge has been promoted to offensive coordinator at Indiana State. He joined the Sycamores last season as OL coach after being replaced at WSU by Steve Morton ... Did you realize that former Palouse Posse safety John Rushing is now wearing a Super Bowl ring? He's entering his third year as an assistant coach with the reigning champion Green Bay Packers. Rushing concluded his WSU career in 1994 but still ranks No. 4 in career tackles at WSU with 343 ... Rushing isn't the only Palouse Posse defensive back to win a ring last season. His old battery mate, Torey Hunter, is an assistant coach at Eastern Washington, which of course won the Division I-AA (FCS) national championship ... Jason Gesser is newest assistant coach at Idaho but not the only Vandal newbie on staff with deep crimson roots. The new OL coach in Moscow is John McDonell, who served in the same role at WSU under Price from 1989-2000.

Howie Stalwick contributed to this report.

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