August Camp Notes

PULLMAN -- Senior <STRONG>Mark Baldwin</STRONG>, slated to be the starting tight end before being hampered by a knee injury late in the summer, took part Wednesday morning in his first practice of August, albeit a helmets-only workout.

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It appears that offensive lineman Gerald Cook's switch to tight end is permanent. Cook recently switched numbers with freshman Riley Fitt-Chappell, and is now in jersey No. 80, an eligible receiver's number. Cook has looked solid since the switch, and although he is still learning, it looks like he could contribute at the thin position this season. Senior running back Jeremy Thielbahr also continues to work out with the tight ends. He spent one practice Monday working with the backs, but other than that has seen all his time at tight end.

Senior running back Dave Minnich, who had an outstanding showing in the August 12 scrimmage, was forced to sit several practices out due to a sore groin. The injury isn't serious, and Minnich should be back and ready to go today (Thursday).

Freshman quarterback Chris Hurd was forced to take it easy for a couple practices in order to rest a sore arm. Hurd impressed everyone with his cannon-like right wing during rookie camp, but has since developed a bit of a dead arm, so coaches are giving him a day or so without throwing to rest it up.

With the losses of Curtis Holden and Champ Simmons at middle linebacker, sophomore Al Genatone of Kennewick appears to have starting spot all sewn up. Given his size (6-0, 215) coaches may be a bit wary of his ability to handle the rigors of the position on a full-game basis, but they appear confident that he'll be a very solid contributor once he gets some PT under his belt. One thing that will take some of the pressure off the youngster is the nickel package defense, which the Cougars plan to run more of this season. In that pacakge, scrappy backup corner Jason David would come in as the extra defensive back, with Genatone going to the sidelines.


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