PULLMAN-- The status of starting CB Daniel Simmons is no longer up in the air – he's been cleared to play and returned to practice on Tuesday. Linebacker C.J. Mizell missed Tuesday with a leg injury, but Alex Hoffman-Ellis returned and made his presence known during the shoulder pads and helmets only session. And defensive tackle Steven Hoffart got in some extended turns with the 1's up front.

Simmons, who suffered a concussion last Saturday at Stanford, returned to the fold on Tuesday in a yellow no-contact jersey after sitting Monday's session out. He went full speed opposite fellow starting CB Nolan Washington.

Simmons passed the requisite medical tests earlier in the afternoon, said Sports Information spokesman Bill Stevens.

As for Washington, he went full throttle for the second straight day. The redshirt freshman is recovering from a finger injury, his hand is heavily taped with a splint but that didn't seem to slow him down any on Tuesday.

"It's feeling good, pretty sore because it's cold out here," Washington said. "It's feeling better than I thought it would so I should be fine for Saturday."

With both expected starters coming back from injury, will it affect their play against ASU?

"I don't think so. We just have to go out and play football. I've played hurt before with my hip so we just have to push through it and grind through it. We should be fine," Washington said.

CB Terrance Hayward is seeing plenty of action in relief of Washington and Simmons this week, and made a prime time play towards the end of practice. During 7-on-7 skelly Drills, QB Jeff Tuel attempted to hit WR Gino Simone but Hayward came down with the interception.

Up in the box, starting middle ‘backer C.J. Mizell (leg) was a spectator Tuesday but still very active on the sidelines – he was doing plenty of conditioning with other injured players. With Mizell out, Sekope Kaufusi moved over to the middle with the 1's. Hallston Higgins was Kaufusi's back-up.

Hoffman-Ellis returned to practice Tuesday after missing Monday night to rest his sore back. Hoffman-Ellis returned to his starting role at WIL, and joined Kaufusi and SAM Myron Beck as the starting linebacker corps.

Hoffman-Ellis made the defensive play of the day on Tuesday. With the 1's going against the scout team, Hoffman-Ellis dropped back into coverage and perfectly read the eyes of QB Conner Halliday, jumping the route and coming down with a sleek interception.

On the defensive line, a former Butte JC transfer saw plenty of action running with the first team, but it wasn't usual starter Brandon Rankin. DT Steven Hoffart was running with the 1's today, splitting time with Anthony Laurenzi and Bernard Wolfgramm. Hoffart battled a case of mononucleosis recently but looks to be 100 percent and could see some extended action this weekend.

Meanwhile, Rankin saw some reps with the 1's, but spent most of his day running with the 2's inside, with fellow DT Anthony Laurenzi and DE's Justin Clayton and Casey Hamlett.

On offense, other than the INT thrown by Tuel, they had plenty of bright spots, specifically with the aerial attack. Tuel had plenty of large gainers, including a 25 yard connection against the first team defense during 7-on-7's.

"I think we came out with a lot of energy today," offensive guard B.J. Guerra said. "We talked about it the last two days, about what we really need to do to execute -- and we need to get a good offensive game going this week."

The Cougar offensive line has shown some improvement over the past few weeks, but defensive pressure has still been applied too much on Tuel – something Guerra said the unit is looking to correct this week against one of the better defenses in the Pac-10, last week's Sun Devil lopsided loss to Cal notwithstanding.

As for the running attack, consistency has proved elusive for the Cougs. So what does the o-line need to do to change that?

"Probably the biggest thing we need to go is stay on our blocks," Guerra said.

As noted earlier on CF.C, Paul Wulff says Wazzu will return to full contact on Wednesday. After a marked increase in full contact sessions earlier this season, the Cougars have been in shoulder pads and helmets for the majority of the last two weeks as injuries popped up -- not surprising for a team with no bye the first 11 weeks. Simmons said the mindset remains the same, regardless.

"It's practice -- so we practice hard with or without pads," Washington said. "We should get more tempo and more live contact (Wednesday) so it should be fun."

  • CB Aire Justin (knee) missed practice Tuesday and was in street clothes. Justin was in a yellow no-contact jersey Monday night, but didn't see the field last night.

  • Back-up safety Anthony Carpenter (undisclosed injury) was also held out of practice Tuesday for the second consecutive day.

  • WSU's home game Nov. 6 against California will be televised live by Fox Sports Northwest. Kick-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.

  • Editor's note: Oft-mentioned by CF.C over the years, there are times when the scout team QB is throwing "off a card", in order to present the best possible look of that week's opponent. That can mean that some of the passing targets, ones who are covered and that a QB might normally check out of, he still throws it in this instance. Simply put, just because Halliday threw a pick, it doesn't mean he's not performing well. Indeed, he might actually be doing exactly what his team needs most.

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