Cornerback Jason David will be largely responsible for slowing down the likes of Washington's Reggie Williams and USC's Mike Williams this season and appears up for the challenge. David showed up with his "A" game today, knocking down most everything thrown in his direction including a pass intended for Devard Darling that he was able to break on and swat out of bounds.
But practice Sunday showcased the talents of both Darling, and red shirt freshman Chris Jordan. Darling was his usual amazing self and showed everyone that he will be the go-to-guy at wide out. Jordan on the other hand could play an opposite role; he quietly pulled down anything and everything thrown his direction including a forty-yard bomb that he nabbed in double coverage.
Newcomer Jason Hill has the size and the ability to make an impact on the team in his first year. The 6- 2, 190 pound true freshman looks as if he's been in Pullman all along and may be one of the most skilled out of his 2003 class.
At the tight end position, the talent-cup runneth over with Troy Bienemann, Jesse Taylor and Adam West. Bienemann played solid all day catching a few short passes as well as helping with the run block.
Jermaine Green may have to start looking over his shoulder with the arrival of Chris Bruhn. Bruhn comes in with not only size, but also one of the quickest steps on the team, exploding between the big boys up front for positive yardage every carry.
Defensively, you may have heard of a couple of guys named Isaac Brown and D.D. Acholonu, you know those two slightly undersized defensive ends from last years Rose Bowl squad. Well, they're not so undersized anymore. Both sackmasters look as if they have put on a good fifteen or twenty pounds in the off-season. Acholonu spent a good portion of Sunday afternoon running offensive lineman through, while Brown chose to dance around them.
That dynamic duo should each get a chance to take breathers here and there in the upcoming season with the rotation of Adam Braidwood and Mkristo Bruce, both thus far having strong camps. Just a bit farther down the road stands a quiet, young Reyshawn Bobo. The sub two hundred pound freshman may need some time to fill out his frame, but has the foot speed to play linebacker and the motivation to one day be an excellent defensive player. (Bobo banged up what appeared to be his knee today, but the extent of the injury is not yet known.)
If size is what you want, look no further than the interior D-line. Standing along side redshirt senior Jeremey Williams is a trim 320 pound Tai Tupai. The powerful Tupai destroyed everything in his path Sunday and is shaping to pick up right where Outland Trophy winner and current Tennessee Titan Rien Long left off.
The battle for the lead middle linebacker spot remains heated. Don Jackson took care of business today, passing out brain seizures to anyone who dared to run between the tackles. Brian Hall and Aaron Wagner made some noise of their own. Hall, AKA "the monster in the middle," is having a solid fall camp and looks to be a future contributor – of course, future might mean August 30 in his case. Wagner, fresh off of his two-year Mormon Church mission, is in great playing shape and has bulked up to a solid two hundred and forty-eight pounds. He spent most of practice enjoying the long awaited feeling of helmet-to-helmet contact. If you want to witness the true definition of unloading on somebody, keep an eye on number ten, and we're not talking about Drew Dunning.
*Sundays practice was not quite as intense as a typical first day of padded practice. Coach Doba made it fairly clear that the team would ease into things and by doing so kept players from getting banged up and injured.
*Most of the newcomers and practice squad members worked out separately from the rest of the team. Freshman quarterback Alex Brink showed Jason Gesser like leadership skills with his young offense and looks to be a talented young passer.
*Look forward to vocal sideline this year. With the additions of running backs coach Kelly Skipper and hoss-boss George Yarno, the Cougar Football coaching staff has potential to become the loudest in the Pac-10. The intensity level has raised ten fold from last year's squad and has done nothing but good for team moral.
Jake Morris is Senior at Washington State University majoring in Communications with an emphasis in Sports Broadcast.