Toomer: Cougars relish underdog role

PULLMAN -- Us against the world. Those were the sentiments from starting safety Tyree Toomer as the Cougars took the field Monday night in their first practice as they prepare for their first road game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at San Diego State. WSU is the underdog for the first time this season, but Toomer added the team's used to that feeling.

After being favored by 28 points in week one and 14 points in week two, the Cougars now find themselves as seven-point underdogs headed into week three. But Toomer said it's a feeling the Cougars are used to and they don't let those predictions affect the way they prepare for their ultimate goal: a win.

"Every game we go into we look at ourselves as underdogs," Toomer said. "Nobody's going to pick us to win and it's basically us against the world. We stick together and we really don't pay attention to what comes on the outside or the media on who they pick to win because we can control who wins the game on how we execute."

WSU (2-0) is off to its best start since 2005. Toomer is excited about WSU's performance as it heads into its nonconference finale.

"It sounds great and it feels great," Toomer said. "We just have to keep this train rolling. We can't be complacent with where we're at and we need to continue to make strides because we still have a lot of room for improvement."

The offensive line has done a solid job of protecting senior quarterback Marshall Lobbestael and that has been showcased during both practice and games.

BUT THE COUGARS know they will have to deal with a much more talented team in the Aztecs (2-0) than they have seen this year.

"I think this week we're dealing with a lot more athletic team and guys are faster so we need to focus on pad level," senior offensive tackle David Gonzales said. "We need to make sure we stay on our blocks and focus on intensity."

"Their style of defense is different," Gonzales said. "It's similar to Idaho State's, but it's almost the complete opposite of what we saw from UNLV."

The line was without starting center Andrew Roxas on Monday night, who is still recovering from an ankle issue suffered in Saturday's win. Roxas was fully dressed on Monday, however, and is expected to be return to practice on Tuesday. With Roxas out, Taylor Meighen jumped in with the 1s and was with the starters for the entire session.

The team spent the hour-long session on special teams work, and as usual on the first night of the week, the starters were matched up against the scout team for the majority of practice. Early on in practice, injured quarterback Jeff Tuel (broken left clavicle) was on the field and throwing some passes with the other QBs. Tuel, who continues to wear a sling on his left arm, was able to throw the ball around 25-30 yards.

NOTABLE NOTE:
  • Toomer, a Bellflower, Calif., native, said that he is expecting to have a lot of family and friends in the stands on Saturday, including one on the field come kickoff. Toomer's hometown is about two hours outside of San Diego.

    "I'm planning on having a lot of family and friends up there and one of my friends I go to school with actually plays for San Diego State, so it will be fun to have a nice little battle," he said.

    Toomer's friend is all-Mountain West junior CB Leon McFadden, whom he played with together at St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower.

    "Before the season when we saw it on the schedule, we we're going back and forth," Toomer said. "Lately I haven't hear from him and you know with me I do my talking on the field."

    RUNNING WITH THE 1s
    OFFENSE
    QB: Jeff Tuel
    X receiver: Marquess Wilson
    Flanker: Isiah Barton
    Z receiver: Jared Karstetter
    TE Andrei Lintz
    LT: David Gonzales
    LG: John Fullington
    C: Taylor Meighen
    RG: B.J. Guerra
    RT: Wade Jacobson
    RB: Logwone Mitz (Rickey Galvin and Carl Winston also saw substantial action)
    DEFENSE
    LE: Adam Coerper
    LT: Toni Pole
    RT: Anthony Laurenzi
    RE: Travis Long
    SAM: Sekope Kaufusi
    MIKE: C.J. Mizell
    WILL: Alex Hoffman-Ellis
    CB: Nolan Washington
    SS: Deone Bucannon
    FS: Tyree Toomer (Note: Casey Locker also seeing action running with the 1s)
    CB: Damante Horton (Daniel Simmons also getting plenty of reps)

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