As rain steadily dropped on Washington players and coaches Wednesday, three days before the Apple Cup, two of last year's key performers on offense zig-zagged through defenses, doing their thing.
Both aren't figured prominently into this year's game plan.
Running back Willie Griffin was the top rusher in the 2008 Apple Cup – a 16-13 WSU victory in Pullman. He ran 26 times for 112 yards, and scored the Huskies' lone touchdown – a 3-yard scamper in the second quarter.
Receiver D'Andre Goodwin led the UW with his five receptions, which was in line with his season-long production – 60 receptions, which paced the team by a lot.
On Wednesday, Griffin – who appears lost on the depth chart, and hasn't even been on the travel roster the past two road games at UCLA and Oregon State – was wearing No. 31, and not his usual No. 21.
His No. 31 denoted the scout-team jersey for WSU's leading rusher in last year's game – Dwight Tardy, who had 75 yards.
Griffin, who's had one carry this season, politely declined comment to reporters Wednesday, adding that UW running backs coach Joel Thomas had made all the tailbacks off-limits this week to the working press.
Meanwhile, Goodwin's 12 receptions rank seventh on the team in receiving - well behind Jermaine Kearse's team-leading 39. He's had one catch since suffering a concussion on the final play at Notre Dame, and since has been reassigned to the second-team offense.
When asked about his limited snaps, and lack of production, Goodwin's lip curled. He started off toward the tunnel.
"I don't want to answer that," Goodwin said. "I don't know."
Is he fully healthy?
"I'm good," he said.
"I'm fine," he added.
Could be an interesting offseason.
Developments from Wednesday:
• Defensive tackle Cameron Elisara (neck stinger) moved without limitations for a third consecutive day, and appears in line to start for the first time since the Arizona game Oct. 10.
"Cameron looks good – looked good again today," Sarkisian said. "He's a go."
• Worst news for linebacker E.J. Savannah and his broken left wrist. He'll miss a fourth game in a row. Sarkisian didn't sound hopeful the senior from Bellevue would return for the season-ending game Dec. 5 against California.
• First, the knee. Now, it's migraines that are keeping receiver Jordan Polk out of the lineup, continuing his frustrating season.
The opening-day starter has missed all week with the recurring headaches. They are so bad, they will likely keep him out of the lineup Saturday.
"He's had it in his past, and for whatever reason – anybody who knows who's had migraines – they're not very fun," Sarkisian said. "We're just holding him out. It doesn't look good (him playing against WSU)."
• With Polk out, and when reserve receiver Tony Chidiac pulled up lame Tuesday with a hamstring issue, it meant more work for Anthony Boyles, a former receiver who was moved to cornerback a month ago.
Boyles was taking receiver snaps Tuesday. On Wednesday, he ran with the defense, splitting time between the No. 1 and No. 2 units.
"We just try and keep him a little bit ready. You guys don't come to our Friday walk-through … but he actually does all the offensive walk-through, in the red zone, and what not to keep him ready," Sarkisian said. "That's the beauty of being versatile, and as we move forward into the future, you're going to see more guys kind of doing things on both sides of the ball."
• One of those other converted receiver-to-defensive-back players – Alvin Logan – got hurt at the end of practice Monday. Turns out he suffered a fractured fibula in his left leg. He was on crutches at practice Wednesday.
"It's … serious enough he can't play, but it's not career-threatening by any means," Sarkisian said.
• Defensive end Kalani Aldrich, who's been out since the Arizona game, appears done for 2009. "His knee is just too sore. It could be (long term)," Sarkisian said.
• The team will meet on Thanksgiving Day at 10 a.m., will be on the field for practice at 11:45 and should be off by 1:15 or so.
Sarkisian said players will be excused to spent the holiday with their families – or family of other players or coaches.
This was filed by correspondent Howie Stalwick in Pullman:
• On Tuesday, coach Paul Wulff said Jeff Tuel’s chances or playing were “remote.” Those chances appeared to evaporate altogether when Tuel did virtually nothing at practice Tuesday and Wednesday. Senior Kevin Lopina, who started the first two games and then sat on the bench until the past two games, will make his second straight start at quarterback for WSU. Former starter Marshall Lobbestael is the backup.
• Wulff is pleased that junior safety Chima Nwachuwku has practiced all week after missing three weeks with a sprained ankle. However, Wulff said Nwachukwu will not resume his usual spot in the starting lineup. If Jones doesn’t play, Nwachukwu may be forced to play some cornerback for the shorthanded Cougars. He started at corner as a freshman two years ago, and he has occasionally played corner this season.
• With B.J. Guerra out, senior Reed Lesuma and junior Joe Eppele shared time at right guard with the No. 1 offense. Wulff said Tuesday that Eppele would start, but he said Lesuma’s work in practice this week has given him a shot at starting ahead of Eppele. Lesuma, who spent part of his youth in Figi (where football is not played), saw little action in his one year of high school ball in Hawaii. He started part-time at a California junior college in 2005, then earned the only other start of his life last Saturday on Senior Day against Oregon State.
• The weather is supposed to be quite a bit nicer in Seattle on Saturday than it was in Pullman on Wednesday. Despite icy winds, receivers like Gino Simone and Jared Karstetter made excellent catches on a practice field that had to be cleared of snow on Tuesday.