PRACTICE: Cougar offense gears up

PULLMAN – With Rodgers Field completely covered by snow and ice on Tuesday, the Cougs went inside the bubble where QB Jeff Tuel and his receiving corps looking sharp. Indeed, the Cougar offense as a whole was in rhythm as running backs Logwone Mitz and James Montgomery found holes and room to roam. From here on out, however, the Cougs are expected to practice outdoors.

Along with James Montgomery and Logwone Mitz, running backs Chantz Staden, Carl Winston and Marcus Richmond were all in the mix.

The first team offense went against the second team defense all session, and receivers Daniel Blackledge and Jared Karstetter were among those showing off their hands. Tuel was consistent with his throws throughout, and Blackledge recorded the play of the day -- a leaping, diving grab of a Tuel rope.

As for Karstetter, the junior leads the Cougars in receptions and receiving touchdowns this season with 54 and 6, respectively. His biggest career grab, arguably, came in the 2008 Apple Cup, setting up a last second Nico Grasu field goal to send the game into overtime which the Cougars eventually won 16-13.

"It was one of the highlights of my career obviously being a Coug," Karstetter said. "Especially in the Apple Cup, it's a fond memory that I'll have. But I have to leave that by the wayside... and focus on this week."

PLENTY OF TALK has surrounded the Huskies offensive threats this season, including QB Jake Locker and RB Chris Polk, but not as much has been made of UW's defense. Although statistically they are slightly worse than last year, (Total Defense: 400.55 in 2010, 398 in 2009), the Huskies are coming off two strong outings against UCLA and Cal.

"Obviously their defense is pretty good, athletic," Karstetter said. "Like we've said, it's nothing we haven't seen before or haven't prepared for before, but they're a good squad. We need to come out, execute, make sure we play physical and we'll be fine."

Over on defense, WIL LB Alex Hoffman-Ellis returned to practice after resting his back on Monday evening. He was joined by starters MLB C.J. Mizell, and SAM Myron Beck. In the secondary, CB Daniel Simmons (shoulder) was again a spectator. As was the case against Oregon State, Aire Justin and Nolan Washington appear the starters heading into Saturday. CB Anthony Martinez also saw several snaps with the first team D.

Also, starting safety Deone Bucannon, who was bothered by a quad injury a while back, got in his reps and looked to be 100 percent.

Wulff said Tuesday during his teleconference the plan is to move the Cougars outside to Rodgers field on Wednesday and Thursday, provided the weather improves as is forecast.

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