By Christian Caple The Spokesman-Review
PULLMAN — The bevy of players riding exercise bicycles on the sidelines of Washington State’s football practice field gained a new member on Monday.
Wearing a brace on his right leg, quarterback Jeff Tuel seemed to walk just fine but didn’t participate in practice, instead riding a bike and observing from the field at times during the two-plus hour practice.
Tuel was hit low early in the fourth quarter of WSU’s 24-20 win over Eastern Washington on Saturday. He didn’t return to the game and was seen on the sidelines with an ice wrap on the inside of his right knee.
Head coach Mike Leach doesn’t comment on, speculate about or acknowledge injuries, so the severity of Tuel’s ailment is unknown. Redshirt sophomore Connor Halliday took all of the snaps with the first-team offense on Monday during scout work.
Leach was asked if a quarterback needs to practice at least once to have a chance to play in that week’s game.
“We practice them whenever we think’s best and helps us the best,” Leach said. “It typically works out pretty good. We’ll see how it goes.”
So if a quarterback — say, for example, Tuel — doesn’t practice at all during the week, can he still play on, say, Friday?
“If we decide to,” Leach said.
Leach made it clear on Saturday that WSU’s offensive line would be properly punished for a series of costly holding calls on Saturday.
He was not lying.
“It wasn’t real taxing on the legs, but it was taxing on other aspects of the body,” Leach said of the workout conducted Sunday by strength coach Jason Loscalzo.
“We did some maneuvers in the sand to work and develop some focus skills.”
Offensive line coach Clay McGuire said the group responded with a decent practice, though they played a man short. Starting right guard Dan Spitz had a class issue, McGuire said, so Gunnar Eklund rotated in at left tackle while John Fullington moved to left guard and Jake Rodgers played the other guard spot.
As for the holding penalties, McGuire said it’s not a complicated matter.
“These guys are in good enough shape,” he said. “It’s just a lack of technique; their fundamentals broke down late and it’s just not doing their job, not focusing in the fourth quarter.”
“We just had some bonehead dumb ones that are just off-the-charts dumb that we have to have better technique on,” Leach said.
Furney in limelight
It’s not often that a kicker is made available to the media in a group setting.
But it’s also not often a kicker commands as much respect from his team as does Andrew Furney.
Furney, WSU’s junior kicker who made a 60-yard field goal on Saturday — the second-longest in school history —- was all smiles when he met with reporters in the Bohler athletic complex on Monday, answering questions for about 13 minutes.
He said he’s watched the replay of the kick a few times, joining roommates Corey and Jeremiah Laufasa, Gordy Anderson and Brent Anderson in a good-natured mocking of his sprinting, arm-flailing celebration after the kick cleared the crossbar.
“Life’s too short to take it that serious,” said Furney, who was a team captain for WSU’s season-opener at BYU. “Just go out, enjoy the moment and soak it all in.”
Colorado game time set
WSU announced Monday that its Sept. 22 game against Colorado in Pullman will kick off at 1 p.m., and will be televised by FX.
The game is also WSU’s homecoming.