Pac-12: James Montgomery

Pac-10 lunch links: 'Faking' injuries part of Cal's plan

November, 17, 2010
11/17/10
2:30
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I will let you go, Ricky. But first, I want you to say..."I... love... crepes."

Pac-10 Q&A: Washington State coach Paul Wulff

August, 27, 2010
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Washington State has won just one Pac-10 game over the past two seasons -- three overall -- and the Cougars are a consensus pick by media pundits to finish last in the conference in 2010.

That has many believing third-year coach Paul Wulff is on the hot seat, even though it's been widely acknowledged that he was handed a monumental rebuilding job in 2008 when he returned to his alma mater from Eastern Washington.

The expectations outside the program aren't just low: Many tweak the Cougars as among the worst BCS programs in the nation.

[+] EnlargePaul Wulff
Chris Williams/Icon SMICoach Paul Wulff identified running back as a prime area of competition on his football team.
It shouldn't be surprising that, in Pullman, the view is quite different. Wulff sees a strong offseason, improved recruiting and a more experienced depth chart. He sees potential.

What does he keep saying? "We're going to surprise some people."

The Cougars face a tough opener at Oklahoma State on Sept. 4, so it seemed like a good time to check in and see how the rebuilding is going on the Palouse.

The pundits have you guys pegged at 10th in the conference: How do you deal with that negative outlook when you address your team?

Paul Wulff: A lot of that is based on what happened in past years. It's a new year. We're a new team and we've changed a lot. The players know we've worked hard and we know we are getting better. The people predicting don't know what's happening in the offseason. But it is what it is. We probably deserve to be picked there. I don't know if that's a surprise. It doesn't mean that's where we're going to end up. We sure don't think so. We'll keep working hard. And we believe we will be able to put ourselves in position to surprise a lot of people and win a lot of ballgames and take that step to a bowl game.

I know we've talked about this before and I know you are tired of the topic but there's a general perception that you are on the proverbial coaching hot seat: What's your feeling on that perception?

PW: My feeling again is that's a natural thing for people on the outside that don't understand the situation to think when you have a major rebuilding job. It's never pretty. You go back to Mack Brown, who was 1-10 his first two years at North Carolina. There are a lot of examples: Randy Edsall and Connecticut. We [Eastern Washington] actually beat them as a I-AA school in 2001. We went back there and beat them. We've had to build something here, and like John Wooden says 'good things take time.' We're trying to build something special for the long haul. We're not trying to bring in a bunch of transfers and JC kids to try to win a few games one year. I'm not here to do that. I'm here to build a program that can compete for the Pac-10 title and be in the Rose Bowl and win one and put ourselves in position for a national title. Those programs in those situations didn't get there in one night. It's a five- to six-year building process. You've got to climb a ladder. I care about this university because it is my school. I came here to do that. If I have to take the bullets, as [former WSU basketball coach] Dick Bennett told me I would, I'm just going to have to do that. He was a guy who knew the situation. So I'm doing it and I'll continue to do it. But it's going to turn and when we turn we're going to be an awfully good football team.

On the football side of things: What is better about QB Jeff Tuel in Year 2 after he was forced into action as a true freshman?

PW: His comfort level with the offense and comfort level with some of the players who he's had the offseason to work with. There's a little better continuity there. He's making better decisions, he stronger. Things are happening at a quicker pace for him in his own brain. Obviously that helps our offense. We think highly of Jeff, but he's still got to prove lot of things in ballgames on a consistent basis. But there's no question in practice we see flashes of some really great things.

Where are some prime areas of competition on your team that have yet to be resolved?

PW: Running back is definitely one. We feel like a lot of guys are battling in there. We're hoping two or three really emerge come game day. Because we've got a lot of guys, no one has gotten a tremendous amount of reps. We're hoping that kind of sorts itself out in the first few games. At wide receiver, we're still battling through there, getting a lot of guys time, trying to see who's going to make the plays when the games are live. But we like the young nucleus we have. We think we have a couple special ones that are going to great players here the next four years.

The comeback of James Montgomery is pretty cool: How is he doing?

PW: He's doing great. I think it's got be one of the best stories in the country to do what he's done. He didn't just battle compartment syndrome. He battled a knee surgery that was a pretty extensive one. To do both and to come back and to perform where he is right now is impressive. He's not 100 percent, not in shape and as crisp, as sharp, as he's going to be. We're hoping by the time he gets to Game 3 or Game 4, he'll have caught back up with all that. But where he is today, he's a very good player. He's going to play and be our starter in the opening game and were hoping he progresses from there.

Who are your playmakers in the passing game?

PW: I think Jared Karstetter will be back -- there's no question we can rely on him. We're taking a hard look at Marquess Wilson, a true freshman. He's as dynamic a true freshman receiver as I've been around. Even coach [Mike] Levenseller, who's been here for 19 years, thinks Marquess is a special talent. I think Isaiah Barton and Gino Simone, our slot receivers, will make a difference, along with Jeffrey Solomon and Daniel Blackledge. Those guys will be good players for us. I'm excited to see how they will perform for us.

What have you seen out of your offensive line this spring? How close are they to breaking through as a quality unit?

PW: They're close. Coach [Steve Morton] has done a great job melding those guys together. We're getting better, no question. I'm excited. I think we have some raw talent. It's a relatively young unit -- we really have two seniors who will be contributors on a consistent basis. We have 15 others who are younger. If we can stay healthy there, we're going to surprise a lot of people with our production on the offensive front.

Let's look at defense: How are things stacking up at linebacker?

PW: The thing that's hurting us is two players who aren't playing this fall, who we have high hopes for, and that's Louis Bland, who we're going to redshirt, and Andre Barrington, a redshirt freshman for us, who is academically ineligible this fall. But I do like Alex Hoffman and Myron Beck, those guys have done well. Mike Ledgerwood, Hallston Higgins, Arthur Burns and CJ Mizell -- he's come along. We feel like we've got some makings there. It's a young unit from an experience standpoint, but I like our speed there. If we can stay healthy, it will be a big improvement from where we've been.

And the defensive line: Has tackle Brandon Rankin continued to impress?

PW: He has. He's a good player. He has a chance to show a lot of people what he's all about this fall. He's already doing things in practice that make it pretty obvious. We need him to have a big year. I think he's going to do extremely well. Bernard Wolfgramm is back and it's the first time he's healthy for us. Those two at defensive tackle are probably as athletic at pass rushing as we've had here in years. They will be quality pass-rushing D-tackles that you don't get a lot. They are not just pluggers, they're fairly active guys. I'm very encouraged about those two guys.

You guys are pretty salty on the defensive line. There's four pretty good players.

PW: I think our front four is right up there right now with most people in the Pac-10. We got two fifth-year seniors and a fourth-year junior in Brandon Rankin and a second-year kid, an excellent player, in end Travis Long. It's our most experienced group on our football team. It's probably the best unit we have right now. It goes back to having fifth- and fourth-year players in your program. When you have that consistently throughout, you have a chance to be pretty salty. Right now, if those guys can stay healthy, they give us the most experienced group on our football team.

Finally, the secondary: It sounds like there's some depth back there.

PW: It's been good -- good, healthy competition. It's a young, young group, but there's some really good football players. We've kind of been hit a little bit over the last couple of days with the injury bug. LeAndre Daniels is going to battle a neck issue that we're still working through. We don't know that he'll be healthy at safety. Nolan Washington has been a little nicked up with his hip at cornerback. If those guys can come back, I'm not sure, but I like our talent there. It's a young and green group but we have some kids who can run for the first time in a while. We need to stay relatively healthy because we're youthful back there. I like the group. Our team speed on defense is far and away faster than we've been. I think people are going to notice that pretty quickly.

What is your expectation for this team: What would be a successful season?

PW: I don't want to put any limitations on them. These guys have trained so hard since the end of last season. They've done everything right to get better. We finally got the culture changed to what we expect. So when you work that hard, I refuse to put a limitation on what they are capable of doing. Right now we truly are trying to take it just one game at a time. But we're going to break this thing up into four segments. We've got 12 games, with three games in each quarter. We're going to take it one quarter at a time. We're going to block it like that, and move our way up the chain. I think this team is capable of surprising a lot of football teams, a lot of people out there. I really believe people are going to see a much improved team from what you saw last year. How many wins that's going to equate to, I'm really not sure. It just depends on a few breaks here and there and staying healthy at the right spots.

Pac-10 lunch links: Big news for OSU's Langsdorf

August, 18, 2010
8/18/10
2:30
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Forget your lust for the rich man's gold
All that you need is in your soul,
And you can do this if you try.
All that I want for you my son,
Is to be satisfied.

Opening camp: Washington State

August, 8, 2010
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Washington State opens preseason camp today. Here's a quick look.

Who's back: Eight starters on offense, six starters on defense and both specialists.

Big names: Quarterback Jeff Tuel, defensive end Travis Long, receiver Jared Karstetter and punter Reid Forrest.

What's new: Coach Paul Wulff made two coaching changes. He hired veteran offensive line coach Steve Morton, who's coached five Pac-10 Morris Trophy winners, and special teams/running backs coach Dave Ungerer.

Key competition: The only two "ORs" on the depth chart are on the offensive line between Wade Jacobson and Micah Hannam at left tackle, and David Gonzalez and Hannam at right tackle. The pecking order at running back probably still remains open, too.

Breaking out: Long, a sophomore, and senior Kevin Kooyman should give the Cougars a solid tandem at defensive end. Junior college transfer Brandon Rankin was impressive during the spring. Cornerback Daniel Simmons has all-conference ability, and safety LeAndre Daniels and linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis also will lead the defense.

Quote: Kooyman on the Cougars being picked 10th: “The last two season’s have been really rough. You just kind of have to ignore it. We are going to shock some people ... this season. We don’t really care about the rankings. It is more of a distraction.”

Notes: James Montgomery is back in position to start at running back after a harrowing battle with illness and injury. He required emergency surgery last year for acute compartment syndrome -- which can be life-threatening -- and then missed spring practice because of micro-fracture surgery on his right knee ... Speedy linebacker Louis Bland continues to struggle with a knee problem. He might end up redshirting ... Former Cougars star Chad Eaton is serving as a graduate assistant working with the defensive line ... Backup defensive tackle Dan Spitz will be ineligible for the first nine games because he violated NCAA policy on banned substances. The Cougars previously lost senior defensive tackles Toby Turpin and Josh Luapo because of academic issues ... Redshirt freshman linebacker Andre Barrington is academically ineligible.

Pac-10 lunch links: WSU's Montgomery smiling over comeback

August, 3, 2010
8/03/10
2:30
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I been silent so long now it's gonna roar out of me like floodwaters and you think the guy telling this is ranting and raving my God; you think this is too horrible to have really happened, this is too awful to be the truth! But, please. It's still hard for me to have a clear mind thinking on it. But it's the truth even if it didn't happen.

Preseason position reviews: running back

July, 22, 2010
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Another year, another strong collection of running backs, even with the departures of Toby Gerhart and Jahvid Best.

While Pac-10 quarterbacks will grab most of the preseason headlines -- that's what happens when the two best NFL prospects at the position play in the same conference -- the class of running backs is nearly as strong.

Three 1,00o-yard rushers are back, and that doesn't include California's Shane Vereen, who piled up 952 yards as a backup, nor does it including Arizona's Nic Grigsby, who rushed for 1,153 yards in 2008. Six of the top-nine running backs will return this fall, and more than a few teams are decidedly deep at the position.

By the way, you might note there is more mention of incoming freshman at this position than others. Two reasons: 1. The Pac-1o had a strong haul of RBs in recruiting; and, 2. RB is often the easiest place for a young player to break into the lineup.

Great shape

  • Oregon: While the Pac-10 blog rates Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers ahead of LaMichael James as an individual player, the Ducks have a decided edge in depth, and not only because James' backup, Kenjon Barner, is one of the conference's most explosive players. The incoming recruiting class also features Lache Seastrunk and Dontae Williams, the No. 6 and No. 13 prep running backs in the nation in 2009.
  • [+] EnlargeJacquizz Rodgers
    Rick Scuteri/US PresswireJacquizz Rodgers may be the most talented individual running back in the Pac-10 this year, but Oregon has the best group.
  • Oregon State: Jacquizz Rodgers is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate as the most complete back in the conference. Depth behind him is a little iffy, though Ryan McCants turned in some of his best work during spring practices.
  • Washington: Washington fans often note that Chris Polk gained most of his 1,113 yards last year after contact because he was running behind a young offensive line. That line, with four starters back, should be better in 2010. Good depth with Johri Fogerson and freshmen Deontae Cooper and Jesse Callier, who both participated in spring drills.
  • California: As noted above, Vereen put up impressive numbers as a backup and then starter over the final four games after Best got hurt. 12 TDs on 183 carries shows he has a nose for the endzone. Depth behind him is uncertain. Trajuan Briggs, Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson, Isi Sofele and Dasarte Yarnway are competing for backup touches.
  • USC: Allen Bradford, a neglected talent under Pete Carroll, who was oddly in love with the mercurial Joe McKnight, could end up being a first-team All-Pac-10 back. C.J. Gable also will have a chance to emerge from Carroll's doghouse. True freshman Dillon Baxter was the star of spring practices, while Curtis McNeal and Marc Tyler are major talents who just need to stay healthy.
  • Arizona: The Wildcats welcome back their top three running backs: Grigsby, Keola Antolin and Greg Nwoko. But Grigsby, who averaged 7.2 yards per carry last year when he wasn't hurt, needs to find a way to stay healthy.
Good shape
We'll see

  • Stanford: The Cardinal doesn't have one guy who can replace Gerhart. But who does? The good news for a backfield-by-committee approach with Jeremy Stewart, Tyler Gaffney, Stepfan Taylor and freshman Usua Amanam in the mix is the offensive line in front of them should be outstanding.
  • Arizona State: The Sun Devils must replace leading rusher Dimitri Nance, who didn't exactly scare opposing defenses in 2009. Cameron Marshall is the leading returning rusher with 280 yards. James Morrison and Jamal Miles will provide depth, though an incoming freshman might get into the mix. As has been the case for a while with the Sun Devils, the first order is improving the offensive line.
  • Washington State: Leading 2009 rusher Dwight Tardy is gone. If James Montgomery is healthy -- and stays that way -- he gives the Cougars a quality runner. He was clearly the best guy last preseason before he got hurt. Logwone Mitz, Chantz Staden, Carl Winston and Marcus Richmond will compete for touches during fall camp. Whatever the pecking order, the offensive line is the biggest issue.

Best case-worst case: Washington State

July, 12, 2010
7/12/10
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First in a series looking at potential dream and nightmare scenarios for all Pac-10 teams, starting at the bottom and working up from my vote in the Pac-10 media poll.

Understand: These are not predictions. They are extreme scenarios and pieces of fiction.

Up first: Washington State

Best case

Paul Wulff
Steve Dykes/US PresswirePaul Wulff's Cougars will finish the season with a losing record.
People have long wondered if anything could silence Oklahoma State's mouthy billionaire booster T. Boone Pickens. Well, Washington State waltzing into Stillwater, Okla., and whipping his beloved Cowboys 24-20 seems to do the trick.

The Cougars use five turnovers from a young Cowboys team to notch the upset.

"We're young but this team is growing up," coach Paul Wulff tells reporters.

The Cougars actually get a vote in the AP poll after whipping Montana State, but it becomes clear they aren't a finished product when they lose at 35-24 at SMU and get clobbered 44-10 by USC.

But instead of crumbling after being brought back down to earth, the Cougars shock UCLA when Nico Grasu boots a 51-yard field goal as the clock expires.

"No way did that just happen," stunned UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel says after losing to the Cougars for the first time.

Still, Washington State is young and the Pac-10 is deep. It loses five of its next six games, managing only a last-second win at Arizona State.

The Cougars have two weeks off before the Apple Cup, and they used the time well. First, they get healthy. Second, let's just say there are lots of wrinkles in the game plan.

Washington arrives in Pullman needing a victory to secure its first bowl berth since 2002. Oh, and it's zero degrees and there's three feet of snow on the ground when the Huskies walk out for the opening kickoff.

Neither team can score a TD, and Washington leads 9-3 late. But an errant shotgun snap in the fourth quarter gets by Huskies quarterback Jake Locker and is recovered at the 1-yard line by Cougars defensive end Travis Long. On fourth down, quarterback Jeff Tuel runs a naked boot and runs smack into linebacker Mason Foster. The ball gets away. It rolls into the endzone. James Montgomery recovers for the touchdown, and the PAT gives the Cougars a 10-9 lead with two minutes left.

Locker isn't done, though. He drives the Huskies to the Cougars 10-yard line. But the snap for the potential game-winning field goal goes over the holder's head.

Cougars win. They finish 5-7. Same record as the Huskies.

"We've come a long way," Tuel says. "But as my favorite band, 'The Carpenters,' sing so sweetly, 'We've only just begun.'"

Worst case

Thank God for Montana State. The FCS foe provides the Cougars their only victory in 2010.

Oh, there are some close calls. Solid showings at Oklahoma State and SMU. Near misses versus UCLA and Arizona State. A surprisingly competitive game with Oregon State.

But the Cougars are too young and too thin to compete in the rugged Pac-10, particularly when the injury bug returns. Oregon crushes them with speed. Stanford with power. USC with a little of both.

Most galling is the tour de force performance produced in Pullman by Washington quarterback Jake Locker in the Apple Cup. Locker's 310 yards passing, 135 yards rushing and seven total touchdowns earns the Huskies an invitation to the Holiday Bowl and Locker an invitation to the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

Further, the 1-11 campaign forces athletic director Bill Moos' hand. Coach Paul Wulff has won only one conference game in three seasons. While the Cougars are far better in 2010 than they were in 2008 and 2009, the results haven't shown up in the record book.

Wulff agrees to resign. "I'll always be a Cougar," he says. "My only regret is we didn't win more games."

A-list position battles: Washington State

May, 24, 2010
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The final post in a series taking a look at top position competitions this fall.

Washington State:

Why the competition? The Cougars leading rusher each of the last four seasons, Dwight Tardy, is gone.

Candidates: Senior Chantz Staden (5-10, 211), junior Logwone Mitz (6-1, 229), senior Marcus Richmond (6-1, 214,), sophomore Carl Winston (5-8, 197), freshman Leon Brooks (5-6, 160) and senior James Montgomery (5-10, 193)

The skinny: One ball, six guys. After reading a bunch about the competition here, my impression is no one knows how this one will play out. Montgomery is the most talented and would have been the No. 1 guy in 2009 if not for a horrible episode with "acute compartment syndrome" with his calf. He also had knee surgery and didn't participate in spring practices. If he's 100 percent and back to his old form in August, count on him pushing hard for the starting job. Further complicating things this spring were injuries to Winston -- 164 yards rushing in 2009 -- and Richmond, who started spring atop the depth chart despite not having a carry in 2009. That left most of the carries to Staden, who missed last season with a knee injury after backing up Tardy in 2008, and Mitz, who rushed for 173 yards in 2009. Staden had 86 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries and Mitz 59 yards on 10 totes with a 16-yard touchdown reception in the spring game. Brooks is a former walk-on who has flashed potential.

Washington State notes: Who's in, out, up and down

March, 22, 2010
3/22/10
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Will have lots more from my visit to Washington State, which starts spring practices Thursday, but here are some notes from a conversation with coach Paul Wulff.
  • The Cougars are much healthier this spring than last: 24 players missed offseason workouts last year. This year, just four will sit out spring practices: running back James Montgomery (knee, calf), defensive tackle Josh Luapo (knee), linebacker Louis Bland (knee) and cornerback Anthony Houston (knee).
  • As for Montgomery, he had knee surgery in addition to his scary episode with "acute compartment syndrome" with his calf. Wulff said he won't be cleared to start full-speed running until June. As for the depth at running back Wulff listed Marcus Richmond, Chantz Staden, Logwone Mitz, Carl Winston and Leon Brooks, a walk-on who's made a positive impression.
  • Wulff said there's no hope for receiver Johnny Forzani returning to the program: "He's going to try to play in the CFL." The Cougars have four receivers back who caught at least 20 passes: Jared Karstetter, Gino Simone, Jeffrey Solomon and Daniel Blackledge. Wulff said he expects JC transfer Isiah Barton and perhaps a couple of the four incoming freshmen receivers to contribute, most particularly Marquess Wilson. "Most everybody in the Pac-10 was trying to go on him," Wulff said. "He's a big-time, big-time player."
  • Offensive lineman Brian Danaher, a 12-game starter over the past three seasons, won't be back because of recurrent concussions.
  • Starting defensive tackle Toby Turpin's status is questionable due to an academic dispute, which Wulff said should be resolved -- positively or negatively -- within the next week or two. Turpin will be allowed to practice until his case is resolved.
  • Wulff, perhaps surprisingly, said he believes the offensive line will be the strength off the offense. Andrew Roxas, who missed all of last season due to illness, will step in to fill the void at center due to the departure of stalwart Kenny Alfred. B.J. Guerra, Zack Williams and Steven Ayers will compete at guard. At tackle, two JC transfers will be in the mix this spring -- David Gonzales and Wade Jacobson -- along with Micah Hannam, Tyson Pencer and Alex Reitnouer. Wulff also said the he thinks incoming true freshman John Fullington might be ready to immediately contribute. "I think he was one of the best [high school] offensive linemen in the country," he said.
  • Tight end Zach Tatman was granted a sixth year of eligibility, which means the Cougs will have three experienced tight ends with Skylar Stormo and Andrei Lintz.
  • Redshirt freshman Sekope Kaufusi will see time as a hybrid outside linebacker-defensive end. Wulff said he's been impressed by redshirt freshman end Jordan Pu'u Robinson during the off-season.
  • Touted JC transfer Brandon Rankin -- he was offered a scholarship by Alabama -- will play both end and tackle.
  • Defensive tackle Bernard Wolfgramm continues to struggle with back problems, but Wulff said he was "moving around and participating in drills better since his back surgery. So that's promising." Still, it's likely his action will be limited this spring.
  • Depth at defensive tackle is a question, but sophomore Dan Spitz, who started five games at tackle and end last year, redshirt freshman Justin Clayton and sophomore Anthony Laurenzi are promising prospects.
  • Wulff said the defense will be much faster at linebacker. When he's healthy in the fall, Bland will move to middle linebacker. Mike Ledgerwood also is a top candidate in the middle, along with redshirt freshman Darren Markle. Alex Hoffman-Ellis will move from middle to weakside linebacker. Arthur Burns will move from running back to "Will" linebacker. Myron Beck and Andre Barrington will man the strongside. Incoming recruit C.J. Mizell also could be in the mix.
  • The secondary, hit hard by injuries a year ago, should be much improved with LeAndre Daniels, Tyree Toomer, Chima Nwachukwu, Jay Matthews and redshirt freshman Anthony Carpenter, Casey Locker -- Jake's cousin -- and Jamal Atofau competing at safety and Daniel Simmons, Aire Justin, Terrance Hayward and promising redshirt freshman Nolan Washington at corner.

Pac-10 recruiting wrap: Washington State

February, 4, 2010
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Washington State signed a class of 22 that ranked at or near the bottom of the Pac-10.

Still, coach Paul Wulff was satisfied. He said the class upgraded the Cougars size and speed.

"I think this is as good a class as has come here," he said.

Top prospects: Linebacker C.J. Mizell, a former Florida State signee, sort of came out of nowhere. You can read about him here. Offensive linemen David Gonzales and Wade Jacobson, both junior college transfers, should compete immediately for playing time. Bobby Ratliff will upgrade the Cougars receiving corps. Tight end Aaron Dunn will play next year.

Under the radar: There's a lot of that with this class, but it's notable that there were plenty of "under the radar" guys playing their way into the NFL when Washington State was winning. More than a few people think quarterback Connor Halliday is underrated.

Issues? The Cougars took a big hit when tight end Asante Cleveland backed out of his commitment and signed with Miami. Also, Wulff was clearly miffed that committed lineman Maxx Forde -- son of a former Cougar player -- decided to sign with Idaho. It's also a bit worrisome that the class only had one defensive lineman and, of the three offensive linemen, only one is a high school player.

Notes: One of the Cougars best new players may be JC defensive end Brandon Rankin, a 2009 signee who's already enrolled. ... The class features five wide receivers, which should help Wulff run the shotgun, no-huddle spread offense that he brought from Eastern Washington. ... Running back James Montgomery, who missed last season after major surgery on his calf, may be ready to return for the 2010 season. The California transfer was the Cougars No. 1 running back before getting hurt. ... Wulff said told reporters he may still sign a couple of JC players. ... The Cougars signed players from four states, including eight from the Bay Area and three from the Spokane area.

Pac-10 lunch links: WSU's Montgomery visits practice

September, 25, 2009
9/25/09
2:30
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Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Most times you can't hear 'em talk, other times you can.
All same old cliches -- is that woman or a man?
You always seem outnumbered, you don't dare make a stand.

Pac-10 lunch links: Cal's Riley going home to face Ducks

September, 23, 2009
9/23/09
2:30
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Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

It seems that everything's gone wrong
Since Canada came along
Blame Canada!
Blame Canada!

Montgomery's injury was potentially life-threatening

September, 23, 2009
9/23/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller


Washington State running back James Montgomery's leg surgery Sunday wasn't typical by any means. A lot more was at stake than playing football in a week or two.

His life for one.

And his leg.

Consider this from the Tacoma News Tribune:

"Close friend Dwight Tardy, a senior running back, said team doctor Ed Tingstad told him Montgomery “probably could have died” if a Sunday morning operation had been delayed too long. A wait of one to two hours might have led to amputation, Tardy said Tingstad told him."

That should stop you short.

I had never heard of "acute compartment syndrome" before Tuesday. A Washington State spokesperson told me Tuesday afternoon it was a potentially serious issue but that Montgomery's prognosis is good, though it could take up to a year before he will know his football future.

Montgomery remains in the hospital under observation.

Injury woes dampen solid win for Washington State

September, 22, 2009
9/22/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller


Washington State posted a gutty, comeback win in overtime against SMU on Saturday, but it seems like there is generally a "but" after something positive happens with the Cougars these days.

That's the case again.

Junior running back James Montgomery is out for the season after undergoing surgery Sunday morning for acute compartment syndrome in his left leg.

“I feel terrible for James,” coach Paul Wulff said in a statement. “He has worked so hard since the minute he stepped on campus and is the complete package in terms of a student-athlete. He will be missed this season but knowing James he will continue to make a great impact on our program.”

Through the first three games, Montgomery is the Cougars leading rusher, including an 118-yard effort against Hawaii.

Montgomery, a transfer from California, had six carries for 10 yards against SMU. His bothersome knee and some injury woes on the line largely explain why the Cougars only rushed for 37 yards against the Mustangs.

The Cougars now will face USC on Saturday without Montgomery and their top three guards. B.J. Guerra sprained his knee against SMU and will be out four to six weeks, while Zack Williams is still out with a high ankle sprain. In the preseason, returning starter Andrew Roxas was lost to a liver infection.

Freshman Tyson Pencer will start at left tackle, displacing Steven Ayers, who moves inside to left guard. Junior Brian Danaher, a former walk on, will step in at right guard.

Asked if things were thin on the line, Wulff said, "Really thin."

Maybe not as thin as last year when USC obliterated WSU 69-0. The Trojans outgained the Cougars 625 yards to 116. The Cougars only had four first downs vs. 28 for USC.

Wulff isn't planning to play the redemption card to motivate his team this week.

"We haven't and we don't plan on it," he said. "We're a lot different team and they're a lot different team."

Wulff's primary focus at present is getting his out-manned squad to play hard for all four quarters, which it often didn't do last year. Part of that, he said, is "not getting caught up in the score." That might make some cringe, but the Cougs didn't let a 17-0 first-half deficit vs. SMU keep them from fighting back and finding creative ways to win -- such as returning two interception for long TDs.

Washington State was outgained 504-276. But it still won.

Further along those lines, Wulff also sees reason for optimism in two overtime victories in the last five games.

"I think we're starting to make some headway, and our players are starting to feel good about our improvement," he said.

If the Cougs could just stay healthy, they might show more improvement.

Pac-10 injury update

August, 31, 2009
8/31/09
11:26
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller


Based on news reports and this this useful Web site: The latest on injuries heading into week one.

Arizona
TE Rob Gronkowski, back, questionable
OG Vaughn Dotsy, finger, probable
WR Delashaun Dean, hamstring, probable

Arizona State
OT Tom Njunge, biceps, questionable
C Garth Gerhart, toe, questionable
C Thomas Altieri, concussion, probable
OG Zach Schlink, knee, out
DT Lawrence Guy, biceps, probable
DE James Brooks, suspension, out

California
RB Jahvid Best, toe, probable
TE Tad Smith, knee, out
OT Mitchell Schwartz, leg, probable
S Marcus Ezeff, ankle, questionable
WR Michael Calvin, knee, probable
LB Robert Mullins, knee, out
TE Skylar Curran, ankle, probable

Oregon
WR Rory Cavaille, shoulder, out,
OT Bo Thran, knee, questionable

Oregon State
WR Darrell Catchings, wrist, out
WR Markus Wheaton, NCAA Clearinghouse, questionable
WR Geno Munoz, abdominal, questionable
QB Lyle Moevao, shoulder, out
RB Ryan McCants, knee, out
CB Brandon Hardin, leg, out
OT Timi Oshinowo, knee, out
LB Tony Wilson, knee, out
S Josh LaGrone, knee, out
S Lance Mitchell, hamstring, probable

Stanford
OT Allen Smith, knee, out
S Taylor Skaufel, knee, out
OT Chris Marinelli, shoulder, probable
LB Alex Debniak, knee, out

UCLA
OG Micah Kia, knee, out
OL Nick Ekbatani, knee, out
DE Reginald Stokes, knee, out
DT Jess Ward, knee, doubtful
RB Christian Ramirez, ankle, questionable
DE Chinonso Anyanwu, hip, out
WR Gavin Ketchum, hamstring, questionable
OG Stanley Hasiak, stinger, probable
FB Chane Moline, hip, probable

USC
CB Shareece Wright, knee, academics, questionable
WR Ronald Johnson, collarbone, out
DE Armond Armstead, foot, out
C Kristofer O'Dowd, knee, doubtful
DT Averell Spicer, ankle, questionable
OG Nick Howell, ankle, questionable
LB Luthur Brown, academics, out
TE Blake Ayles, heart condition, probable
QB Aaron Corp, leg, questionable
QB Mitch Mustain, illness, probable
CB Patrick Hall, knee, out

Washington
CB Justin Glenn, knee, questionable
DT Cameron Elisara, shoulder, probable
RB Johri Fogerson, ankle, probable
RB Chris Polk, concussion, probable
WR James Johnson, ankle, probable
DE Darrion Jones, illness, probable
TE Kavario Middleton, hamstring, probable
DE Everrette Thompson, ankle, questionable
S Jason Wells, Achilles, doubtful

Washington State
WR Jeshua Anderson, hamstring, probable
RB James Montgomery, knee, probable
CB Brandon Jones, ankle, probable
WR Jeffrey Solomon, ankle, probable
LB Alex Hoffman-Ellis, foot, questionable

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