MARSHAL PIRTZ HAS a new position this week. The linebacker will try on his offensive shoes at Stanford, Paul Wulff said, with the 6-0, 234-pounder practicing this week as a FB/TE type in an effort to shore up the Cougars' running game. "We're just trying to find somebody that can go in there and potentially help us," said Wulff. Meanwhile, more on Mike Graise plus other news and notes.
That doesn't mean Pirtz is up to speed in his new gig, and how much playing time he gets remains to be seen. But he seemed to be holding his own this week, according to Wulff.
"He's been doing okay for a guy learning the snap count and a few plays. He's done a good job," said Wulff.
RB Dwight Tardy (knee) will return to the lineup for the first time since the UCLA game.
"He's better, he's not 100 percent," said Wulff.
The Cougs also may not line up in their base offense (or defense) to open the game so whether he starts or not is unknown but Tardy, Chantz Staden and Logwone Mitz are all expected to see action.
Chris Ivory (hamstring) will not play and will miss his fourth straight game with the injury. Wulff said Ivory has been battling the hamstring injury all season.
With the Cougs low on numbers and depth this year, they've traveled some guys redshirting for each road game as part of the 64-man travel roster. This week, LeAndre Daniels, who is from the area, and tight end Skylar Stormo will travel. In part, it's a reward for how they've been performing. It's also getting them ready for the future.
"Both those guys have practice well, done well, had a good week of practice, earned the right...any time you can take young players on the road and give them just a flavor of how you're supposed to handle it and what it's all about, a road trip, when it is their time to actually play it's not going to be so new to them," said Wulff.
DE Mike Graise, dismissed from the team after a violation of team rules, a Spokane newspaper said it was unauthorized absences from practice during the bye week, remains in school and after completing those is expected to graduate at term's end.
"Mike's got I think just a couple classes and he'll have his degree in December," said Wulff.
Wulff said it will be a game time decision between Vaughn Lesuma and Steven Ayers for who gets the start at left tackle at Stanford.
The other four starting spots up front on the offensive line look to be LG Andrew Roxas, C Kenny Alfred, RG Brian Danaher or B.J. Guerra and RT Micah Hannam.
The defensive tackle rotation is expected , for Stanford, to feature starters Matt Eichelberger and Fevaea'i Ahmu, backed up by Toby Turpin and Adam Hineline.
Facing the No. 2 rushing attack in the Pac-10 in Stanford, Wulff said the Cougar defense will need get a body on a body and that arm tackles for other teams this season have spelled trouble against guys like 230-pound Toby Gerhart.
"Those d-tackles are going to have to step up and play a really solid ball game," said Wulff. "...I think there's definitely a freshness (overall) now compared to what it was for Oregon State and even SC, a physical piece and obviously a mental piece, and probably more mental than physical..but Stanford will be as well, they're also coming off a bye week."
Myron Beck, who Wulff said has a good chance to be put on scholarship in January, has stood out on defense this season in making the transition from safety to weakside linebacker.
The coaching staff thought outside linebacker could fit his capabilities best in spring ball but with Xavier Hicks to miss the first three games and other depth issues at safety, Beck started in the secondary in the early part of the season before moving into the box.
Beck is not a hulking 'backer, he checks in at 5-11, 202 pounds. But what he brings to the table, and it's something WSU needs across the board, is speed.
"He has a bright future in front of him," said Wulff.
The Cougs, who opened the year in the no-huddle before quarterbacks Gary Rogers and Kevin Lopina were injured against Portland State, are expected to stay with using a huddle against Stanford, something they've done since Week 5.
Wulff said the surgery on QB Marshall Lobbestael (torn ACL, MCL) went well but longer than expected. He was expected to be discharged from the hospital Friday. Wulff said earlier this week he would not be surprised if Lobbestael was ready early and in time for voluntary summer workouts.