By Josh Wright The Spokesman-Review
PULLMAN — With Connor Halliday absent from practice Monday night, Washington State football coach Mike Leach said senior quarterback Jeff Tuel will “probably start” Friday in the Apple Cup.
Another senior leader for the Cougars, however, might be a spectator against Washington.
Linebacker Travis Long, who’s tied for fourth in the Pac-12 with 91/2 sacks, did not participate in WSU’s 90-minute practice. He was in sweats on the sideline at the end of the soggy evening session, hobbling with an apparent right knee injury.
Defensive coordinator Mike Breske didn’t speak directly of Long’s availability, but he said sophomore Logan Mayes — who would be next in line to start at the rush end position — “is going to play a lot more” against the Huskies at Martin Stadium.
“Logan, in terms of his pass rush, has been very explosive and finds a way to find that littlest crack and get to the quarterback,” Breske said. “He’s just got a knack. We’ve primarily used Logan over the course of the fall in passing situations, but he’s going to play a lot more this Friday.”
Long has started every game for the Cougars since he was a freshman in 2009 — 47 in all. If he’s unable to go, other Cougars have prepared all season to step up, linebackers coach Jeff Choate said.
“I think we’ll have the next-guy-up attitude, and that’s the way it is in all team sports,” Choate said. “It doesn’t matter what the situation. There are a lot of things that come up, and kids have to be ready to play.”
Meanwhile, Leach did not disclose why Halliday was unable to practice Monday, saying only that “he’s working on other stuff.”
Halliday and Tuel have appeared in nine games this season, and both have struggled to take hold of the starting job when given the opportunity.
Redshirt junior David Gilbertson took snaps alongside Tuel in Monday’s practice.