Mark Rypien gives Cougars a history lesson, inspirational talk
Former Washington State quarterback Mark Rypien was invited to practice Tuesday by coach Paul Wulff. Rypien, a Super Bowl MVP, talked to the Cougars players after a morning practice.
Special to The Seattle Times
PULLMAN — History gave the Cougars a little inspiration this morning.
Former WSU quarterback Mark Rypien, a Super Bowl MVP with the Washington Redskins in 1992, watched the team's morning session from the sidelines and gave a lengthy speech to the team afterward.
It caught the players off guard, but his appearance — and the message he came with — was actually an inside job.
"I asked him to come down to speak to the players," coach Paul Wulff said. "The topic was adversity, and how we all go through it. That we need to embrace it, and that we're all here to support each other."
The message was well received.
"That was a great topic to hit on," said quarterback Gary Rogers, "especially since we're ranked 10th in the Pac-10 and are going to battle through some real adversity this season."
Rypien and Rogers didn't get a chance to speak following practice. Rypien said Rogers was facing a lot of added adversity as a quarterback switching offenses in his final season.
"It's probably difficult because he's been in the same system for quite a few years and then you have to switch gears," Rypien said. "But once he gets comfortable, the physical tools he possesses are there. It's just not like he's got a couple years to do that. He's only got a week and a half."
Wulff said after morning practice that Rogers' development was one of the biggest positives to come out of camp.
"I'm happy with Gary's growth as a leader," Wulff said. Wulff added that injuries to two starting wide receivers has only put more of a burden on the new starting quarterback.
"We're all going to have it in life," Wulff said. "But we need to know we're all here to support each other."
Rypien played in 30 games for WSU, passing for 4,573 yards. He and Wulff both played for WSU in 1985 — Rypien's last year and Wulff's first.
"They've got to understand the tradition here and that some of the phenomenal players — some of the best that ever played football — came from Washington State," Wulff said.
No news on Roof
Defensive tackle Andy Roof was unable to participate in the afternoon practice after suffering a sprained left ankle in the team's morning practice. He was in a medical boot in the afternoon.
The Whitman County Prosecutors Office has yet to make a ruling on whether to charge Roof in connection to his arrest in April. A ruling was expected Monday but didn't come, and prosecutor Denis Tracy was out sick Tuesday.
Kickoff duties this season will most likely come down to Patrick Rooney and Nico Grasu, Wulff said after practice. Wade Penner hasn't been used in kickoff situations in practice the past few days.
"They've got better legs for kickoffs," Wulff said. Wulff said all three kickers are still in the race for field-goal duties.
• Wulff said the status of punter Reid Forest, cornerback Markus Dawes and wide receiver Daniel Blackledge is in doubt for the season opener against Oklahoma State, Aug. 30 at Qwest Field.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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