WSU at the Holiday Bowl

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December 23-24, 2003

San Diego, Calif.- Washington State Head Coach Bill Doba put his team through its first full practice on the campus of San Diego State University Wednesday, preparing the Cougars for their Dec. 30 tilt with Texas in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl.

'We are all excited to finally be here and it was important for us to get a good practice in today before we cut the kids loose for Christmas,' Doba said. 'We showed some pretty good energy out there and the weather was a bonus.'

The Cougars arrived Tuesday and were welcomed by a large contingent of Holiday Bowl officials. After a short practice Tuesday afternoon, players, coaches, and guests were treated to a barbeque at the team hotel.

Wednesday's workout lasted nearly two hours. The Cougars enjoyed ideal weather conditions, working in temperatures ranging in the low 70's. Players were released to their families for the Christmas holiday after practice and will report back prior to WSU's 2:30 Friday session. The team will hold a Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas brunch for members of the official party.

Junior free safety Hamza Abdullah and offensive tackle Patrick Afif suffered injuries during practice last week in Pullman. Abdullah sustained a right knee bruise Sunday and is listed as probable for the Holiday Bowl. He sat out of the Cougars' Tuesday and Wednesday sessions. Afif had cartilage surgery on his knee Saturday and is questionable for the showdown with Texas.

Record-breaking former Washington State receiver Nakoa McElrath made a surprise appearance at Wednesday's practice session at San Diego State University. McElrath, who hauled in a school record 72 receptions in 2001, said that he will make another attempt to break into the NFL next season. McElrath had short stints in the training camps of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Seattle Seahawks in 2002. He also expressed an interest in coaching at the collegiate level. Former Cougar defensive tackle Tony Savage was in attendance at Tuesday's practice. Savage played on WSU's 1988 Aloha Bowl team.

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