More Coug OL shuffling: Sorenson out too

FOR THE SECOND TIME in three weeks, there will be a change on the Washington State starting offensive line. Center Riley Sorenson, who has started every game this season, is expected to miss the WSU-Colorado game. Taking his place in practice this week has been fourth-year junior Sam Flor. Behind Flor, B.J. Salmonson took the second unit snaps at center this week.

The Cougs started the same five o-linemen the first eight weeks but star LT Joel Dahl has been out since the ASU game and like Sorenson, Dahl did not practice this week through Thursday's session, CF.C's Matthew Zimmer reports. (WSU play-by-play man Matt Chazanow on the radio broadcast just a few moments after this article was published said Sorenson was out for the game).

Washington State does not release injury information (Mike Leach for the most part declines to even acknowledge their existence) so it's unknown if Sorenson was injured during last Saturday's win at UCLA. A look back at the tape showed Sorenson finished out the game, snapping the ball on WSU's last offensive play, a game-winning touchdown.

Flor will log his third career start Saturday night on the Palouse. It is also expected Andre Dillard will get his first career start in Dahl's place on Saturday after ably filling in the second half at UCLA at left tackle. This practice week, Dillard got the first-string reps at left tackle, plus the lion's share of the LT work when the No. 2 offense was on the field.

Meanwhile, Flor (6-4, 309) has some experience. The pride of Seattle's O'Dea High started two games at center last season for the Cougs, and played in all 12 WSU contests a year ago.

This season, a check of the 2015 official WSU stat book shows Flor has participated in nine of 10 games, with PSU the lone exception (though it should again be noted the starting five had been entrenched until Week Eight, with Flor's participation coming on the special teams units).

To sum up: The starting o-line against Colorado is expected to be LT Dillard, LG Gunnar Eklund, C Flor, RG Eduardo Middleton and RT Cole Madison.

Jacob Seydel, a 6-6, 295-pound fifth-year senior or third-year sophomore Salmonson, would figure to be first off the bench if necessary.

O-line coach Clay McGuire also has third-year sophomore Cody O'Connell at his disposal. The 6-8, 346-pounder came in for praise from McGuire after Thursday's practice, with McGuire saying O'Connell has been "on the cusp" of getting into the action on Saturdays.

Flor and Co. will go against a Colorado defense that ranks No. 64 in pass efficiency team defense, No. 77 in scoring defense, No. 86 in total defense and No. 103 in rushing defense (out of 127 FBS teams).  In the Pac-12, the Buffs rank 11th, sixth, sixth and 10th in those stats, respectively.

NOTABLE: An hour before kickoff, radio sideline reporter Jessamyn McIntyre reported slot receiver River Cracraft was in a boot and would not play vs. Colorado. True freshman Kyle Sweet started in place of Cracraft at the Y last week.

No. 23 Washington State (7-3, 5-2 Pac-12) is guaranteed a bowl game with seven wins. Colorado (4-7, 1-6) is unlikely to go bowling but gave USC all they could handle in the 27-24 loss last time out.The Buffs also narrowly lost to UCLA (35-31) and Arizona (38-31) this season.


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