This was filed by Don Ruiz, who filled in for me Tuesday at practice:
The timing was suspicious, although all parties indicated it was just the right time for Washington Huskies defensive tackle Cameron Elisara to get healthy from a nagging neck stinger.
Elisara, the junior from Spokane, practiced for a second consecutive day, after sitting out almost six weeks – missing 31/2 games – with a stinger so severe, when it hit, he'd lose all strength in his shoulder and arm areas.
But coming back Apple Cup week?
“This is a good week to be back,” Elisara said. “… It does have, of course, a special meaning. I’ve got a lot of family ties, a lot of friends that go to Wazzu. This is a game for a lot of bragging rights.”
Elisara’s father, Matt, was an all-conference lineman as a Washington State senior in 1981.
And Cameron Elisara remembers regularly driving with his family from their home in Spokane to attend WSU games.
“I grew up in Cougar country, I grew up as a Cougar fan,” he said.“I was a Cougar until I started thinking about places where I was going to go play.”
Elisara said WSU didn’t recruit him very hard, and said the disinterest might have been mutual. He said he’s happy that he became a Husky, and he’s eager to help his teammates reclaim the bragging rights they have lived without for back-to-back seasons.
“It was pretty rough: Going back to Spokane, hearing it from all my friends who go to Wazzu,” Elisara said. “Just the loss itself is the troubling part. We never like any of those, especially against a big-time rival.”
UW coach Steve Sarkisian said he's hoping to have the big man back in the interior of the defensive line Saturday, but added Elisara still hasn't been cleared by doctors for game action.
Nansen said friends have not contacted him this week at all.
“None of them have called me for tickets or anything,” he said. “They understand this is all business for me right now.”
"The comment shows the fact we're still a very young football team," Sarkisian said.
Teammate Desmond Trufant stuck up for Middleton – his Tacoma-area bud – on Tuesday.
“He’s just being confident,” Trufant said. “Everybody wants to win because everybody still has that feeling from the loss last year. He’s just being a confident player. We’re just going to try to win this game.”
From WSU correspondent Howie Stalwick, who is in Pullman: