PRACTICE REPORT: Tuel busy working with 1s

PULLMAN -- Washington State quarterback Jeff Tuel was cleared this morning to play in Saturday's homecoming game against Stanford, and the junior responded Wednesday with his best practice since his return. Coach Paul Wulff said he was impressed with Tuel, who spent the majority of practice with the starters.

It appears that Tuel is getting better with each practice. Tuel was sharp today and even though there were still some balls that got away from him, it's clear that his broken clavicle is healed and he is ready to play.

This marked the first time Tuel participated in all quarterback drills. He continued to work in 7-on-7 in addition to the scout team, but there was one major difference Wednesday.

"He's one of leaders on this football team and I think any time you get a leader on your team back, it's always a boost," Wulff said.

With the 1s on offense and defense lined up against one another, Tuel saw some more snaps than fellow QB Marshall Lobbestael, and was developing a nice rhythm with his wide receivers. Tuel started practice connecting on 10-yard passes to receivers Marquess Wilson and Bobby Ratliff and the completions continued throughout practice.

"He looked real good," Wulff said. "There's going to be natural rust and those types of things because of the lack of playing time but the only way he can get better is with more practice and more reps to be able to clean some of that up."

Lobbestael also enjoyed a solid practice. The senior was solid in his work with both the 1s and 2s. One thing noticeable about Lobbestael was his ability to move around in the pocket and throw on the run. Lobbestael has had trouble with that in the past when the pocket would collapse, but he looked mobile Wednesday.

AS FOR INJURIES, WSU's defense was without starting DE Lenard Williams for the second straight day. According to the Spokesman-Review, he will be a game-time decision Saturday. Matthew Bock has seen plenty of action in place of Williams, but Jordan Pu'u-Robinson also has been in the mix and has done a fine job this week in practice. Pu'u-Robinson isn't the quickest guy off the edge, but he's a strong and physical player who is able to plow his way through the line. Pu'u-Robinson, who missed last season with a knee injury, appears to be healthy now.

Starting SAM LB Sekope Kaufusi (shoulder) was in a yellow no-contact jersey for the second consecutive session and had a limited role in practice. With Kaufusi banged up, true freshman Chester Sua took advantage of his work with the 1s and had a solid practice. Sua made some first-year mistakes early in practice, but the Hawaii native made better reads as the afternoon progressed.

"These last two weeks he's gotten a little bit better," Wulff said. "He's done better on special teams and he's just a first-year freshman. As long as his head's in it, he's going to continue to develop and he has these last few weeks. We look to give him some more playing time."

"He's 230-235 pounds so it's nice to have another linebacker in there with that size against a physical team."

Another positive note for the Cougars on offense was the return of WR Isiah Barton. Barton missed the last two days with an injured left ankle, but he went full-throttle Wednesday and made several catches. Barton provides WSU with both a short- and mid-range threat, something he showcased throughout this afternoon.

On the offensive line, RT Wade Jacobson (back) wasn't at practice for the third straight day and RT Dan Spitz continued to handle the duties with the 1s. At the center, both Andrew Roxas and Matt Goetz continued to split the duties with the latter seeing slightly more action.

QB: Marshall Lobbestael (Jeff Tuel also seeing reps)
X receiver: Marquess Wilson
Flanker: Isiah Barton (Note: Bobby Ratliff also seeing action running with the 1s)
Z receiver: Jared Karstetter
TE Andrei Lintz
LT: David Gonzales
LG: John Fullington
C: Matt Goetz (Andrew Roxas also getting reps)
RG: B.J. Guerra
RT: Dan Spitz
RB: Rickey Galvin (Carl Winston and Logwone Mitz also seeing action)
LE: Matthew Bock
LT: Toni Pole (Brandon Rankin also seeing reps with 1s)
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 seeing reps)

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