Cornerback Ford may not don crimson again

PULLMAN -- Mike Leach said the Cougs will be without a promising young cornerback for 2012, and possibly for good. The Cougs were also without two playmakers on offense for different reasons on Wednesday – and a new running back enters the mix. The Twitter drama isn't over quite yet and some sumo wrestlers were spotted. Oh, and there was also some other action out on the practice field.

Freshman cornerback Ray Ford will not be returning to the team this season according to Leach. The promising talent, he has been deemed as failing to qualify through the NCAA Eligibility Center (formerly known as the Clearinghouse.)

Leach said the NCAA has left a lot of questions unanswered.

"Don't know if he'll return in the spring," Leach said. "He's still battling the Clearinghouse stuff. It's all been hung up with the NCAA."

Ford originally signed a letter of intent with Cal in February of this year but after failing to meet Cal's enrollment requirements (and apparently after Cal was unable to use one of their "special admits") Ford enrolled at WSU. Ford then played much of fall camp with WSU – but then the NCAA put up a red flag.

Cornerback has shown to be a position of need this season, though the Cougs are redshirting two other promising freshmen in Alex Jackson and Rahmel Dockery.

ONE THING FORD will be allowed to do moving forward is use Twitter. The same can't be said for the rest of the WSU football team.

Leach and defensive coordinator Mike Breske said that some players didn't get the message yesterday, and subsequently gathered for a coach-mandated 5:30 a.m. workout on Wednesday. It was unclear whether or not the unnamed players were being disciplined for their actions before or after the rule was introduced yesterday evening.

"They were well aware that you can't do it," said Breske of the social media policy. "You'd have to ask the players about that."

Unfortunately that would be difficult, since WSU's policy prohibits players from being made available during the week after practice.

ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD, senior quarterback Jeff Tuel continued to take the snaps with the first team, and looked much more comfortable Wednesday evening than in some of the practices over the past several days.

Tuel connected on several patterns all afternoon long. Gino Simone was among the receivers who also had a solid practice.

ONE RECEIVER NOT running routes Wednesday evening was junior Bennett Bontemps. The Puyallup, Wash. native took carries in the backfield all afternoon with the running back corps being suddenly beaten up. Leach said he's played the position before, so they could use him for the depth.

"He does some good stuff," Leach said. "Kind of expanding him a little."

Sitting out Wednesday evening was junior running back Leon Brooks. Also a return specialist, Brooks was donning a walking boot all afternoon -- but worked out in the Leach Beach most of the evening.

The Cougs were once again without freshman Teondray Caldwell Wednesday. Caldwell took a big hit to the helmet two weeks ago against Cal before the bye week and has not seen the practice field since. Leach and WSU do not comment or answer questions on injuries so it can't be officially confirmed if Brooks is recovering from a concussion or something else.

Carl Winston and Marcus Mason would appear to be the top two running backs for Stanford, with Bontemps possibly third on call.

ALSO ABSENT FROM practice for reasons unknown was sophomore wideout Isiah Myers. Leach said after practice Wednesday that he didn't know whether or not Myers would travel with the team to Palo Alto.

On the defensive side of the ball, the youth once again stood out, an encouraging sign for this team moving forward.

On the defensive line, freshman Xavier Cooper continues to show that he has a very bright future with the team. Cooper, listed at 6-4, 298, plays well above his weight, bullying any and all offensive linemen that get in his way.

Cooper imposed his will on the opposition during practice.

Freshman linebacker Feddie Davey flew all over the field Wednesday night, making plays in the secondary regularly. The safety-turned-linebacker is rather small in the box, but gives the team a ton of speed and hits like a ton of bricks.

Another freshman, cornerback Alex Jackson, turned in play after play against the first team offense. Jackson has the speed to stick with any receiver on the team, and seems to be stuck to the pass-catchers like glue on a play-to-play basis. But it's late in the season, so burning a redshirt at this point seems doubtful barring catastrophic injuries.

THE COUGS WRAPPED up practice with another team building activity. Sumo wrestling was the game of choice.

Some notable performances included freshman Brett Bartolone bulldogging Bontemps around the circle, and freshman Dominique Williams putting junior Marquess Wilson on his back.

Running with the 1's for the scrimmage:

LT- Gunnar Eklund (Brevick got some time)
LG- John Fullington (Goetz got some time)
C- Elliott Bosch
RG- Jake Rodgers (Goetz got some time)
RT- Wade Jacobson (Brevick got some time)
QB – Jeff Tuel (Connor Halliday got quite a few snaps as well)
RB –Marcus Mason/Carl Winston/Bennett Bontemps
X-WR – Marquess Wilson and Dominique Williams split reps
Y-WR – Brett Bartolone (Gino Simone got a lot of reps)
Z-WR – Gabe Marks (Kristoff Williams got some time)
H-WR – Gino Simone, Bobby Ratliff

LT- Matthew Bock
NT- Xavier Cooper
RT- Ioane Gauta (Steven Hoffart got some snaps)
BUCK- Travis Long (Logan Mayes got some time)
SAM- Cyrus Coen
MIKE- Darryl Monroe
WILL- Justin Sagote
CB- Anthony Carpenter
CB –Daniel Simmons
FS- Casey Locker and Tyree Toomer
SS- Deone Bucannon

LS - Alex Den Bleyker
P - Mike Bowlin
KO - Bowlin
FG - Andrew Furney
KR - Gino Simone, Rahmel Dockery, and Brett Bartolone
PR - Brett Bartolone, Rahmel Dockery and Marcus Mason

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