PRACTICE: Lots of rotation up front for Cougs

PULLMAN -- And so the saga continues. Senior offensive lineman Dan Spitz again missed practice Tuesday. This time however, coaches didn't have the upbeat tone they exhibited previously. Elsewhere, will the recent inconsistent play of the defensive secondary result in a decision by defensive coordinator Mike Breske to play some freshmen?

Spitz was missing Tuesday, two days after returning and practicing with the team. Sunday's practice had marked Spitz' first appearance with the Cougs since the Eastern Washington game back on Sept. 8.

"You know, I'm not going to comment because I really don't know myself," said offensive line coach Clay McGuire. "I don't really know what to tell you, honestly."

One week ago, McGuire expressed confidence Spitz would surely be back on the field shortly, noting that he has a ‘classroom matter' that he needed to take care of. On Sunday, McGuire had said he would be available this week if he showed himself to be.

Head coach Mike Leach didn't seem to have an answer either on Tuesday, adding that Spitz has some things that he needs to sort out.

"No, nothing has changed," Leach said. "I haven't heard how he's reconciled all his stuff, so I don't know."

Leach added that he thinks Spitz is still with the team, but doesn't know for sure.

TO ADD INSULT to injury up front, offensive lineman Wade Jacobson, a senior, didn't participate with the team today. Junior Matt Goetz stepped in for Jacobson, moving fellow junior John Fullington back to left tackle, and freshman Gunnar Eklund over to right tackle.

Extensive rotations on the line occurred all afternoon to get junior reserves Zach Brevick and Taylor Meighen as many reps as possible. Meighen and Brevick represent the only reserve offensive linemen left on the team with any game experience.

After those two, freshmen Joe Dahl and Eduardo Middleton would seem to be next in line but McGuire has said all fall that it would take "a disaster" for them to see the field this season and have their redshirts burned.

SPEAKING OF REDSHIRTS, an inconsistent secondary has been heavily scrutinized in recent weeks, leaving many to wonder if defensive coordinator Mike Breske will open the door to some of the promising freshmen corners, such as Ray Ford, Rahmel Dockery and Alex Jackson.

"We're going into Game 5, and that's where you're making those decisions on redshirting," Breske said. "In terms of the mental curve, they've probably forgotten a lot of those things they learned during two-a-days."

Breske noted that day-in and day-out, they are practicing on the scout team defense -- therefore they are practicing under the opponent's defensive scheme.

"Right now, the plan is to stay with the group we've got, unless we get some drastic injuries," Breske said.

Breske said Jackson still isn't fully cleared to see game action. Instead, the NCAA has deemed him a partial qualifier, meaning he is only able to practice at this time. Breske added that could change at any time. Jackson has already missed a significant amount of time, having been pulled deep into fall camp for a period until the NCAA came back with the partial qualifier designation.

Another corner, Ford, is still working on getting cleared. Leach said earlier Tuesday that there is no timetable for when that could occur.

ON THE offensive side of the ball Tuesday, sophomore quarterback Connor Halliday took most of the snaps with the first team once again, although senior Jeff Tuel continued to take some snaps as he works back from what has been reported to be a sprained MCL.

The Cougs have been using junior running back Theron West to emulate the abilities of Oregon playmaker De'Anthony Thomas. West, donning a bright yellow No. 6 jersey this week, has been trying to mimic Thomas' abilities and role with the scout team offense in order to better acclimate the Cougs defense for the explosive RB/WR/KR they will have to contain on Saturday.

West has also been used as a kick returner, allowing the Cougs to work on their containment skills. Thomas is one of the fastest players in college football -- with West, the Cougs hope they have, at the very least, a glimmer of what they'll see Saturday.

The Cougs and the Ducks are slated to kickoff at 7:30 at Century Link field.

Running with the 1's for the scrimmage:

LT- John Fullington (Brevick got some time)
LG- Matt Goetz (Meighen/Brevick got some time)
C- Elliott Bosch (Meighen got some time)
RG- Jake Rodgers (Meighen/Brevick got some time)
RT- Gunnar Eklund (Brevick got some time)
QB – Connor Halliday (Jeff Tuel got some snaps)
RB – Carl Winston/Teondray Caldwell/Leon Brooks
X-WR – Marquess Wilson (Dominique Williams got some snaps)
Y-WR – Brett Bartolone (Andrei Lintz got some time)
Z-WR – Isiah Myers (Bennett Bontemps got some snaps)
H-WR – Gabe Marks (Gino Simone got some snaps)

LT- Matthew Bock
NT- Ioane Gauta
RT- Steven Hoffart (Xavier Cooper got extensive time)
BUCK- Travis Long
SAM- Cyrus Coen
MIKE- Darryl Monroe
WILL- Justin Sagote
CB- Damante Horton/Daniel Simmons
CB – Nolan Washington/Daniel Simmons
FS- Casey Locker
SS- Deone Bucannon

LS - Alex Den Bleyker
P - Mike Bowlin
KO - Bowlin/Andrew Furney rotation
FG - Furney
KR - Leon Brooks
PR - Leon Brooks (Rahmel Dockery got some snaps)

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