Full speed ahead

PULLMAN -– Quarterback U may soon be an outdated description for Ol' Wazzu. It has nothing to do with the ample talents of <b>Matt Kegel, Chris Hurd, Josh Swogger</b> or <b>Alex Brink</b>, but rather the impressive stable of running backs <b>Bill Doba</b> will have at his disposal this season. Case in point: Wednesday's scrimmage.

In the opening drive, Jermaine Green had pick-ups of four and five yards on his initial two carries.  Once the offense began to click, Green came out on fire, sprinting for close to 25 yards on a dive up the middle, brushing off defenders along the way.  At 6-0 and close to 230 pounds, look for Green to utilize his size along with his 4.4 speed to break away from opposing defenses throughout the season.  And after a summer of Yoga classes Green has seemed to conquer his biggest enemy -- flexibility.


"He's got real good pad level," running backs coach Kelly Skipper said. "When he gets his pads going north and south he's hard to bring down. As long as he keeps his flexibility, he'll be fine."


Another impressive performer was junior Allen Thompson, back on the field after dinging his shoulder earlier this week.  If you enjoyed Dave Minnich and the way that he made linebackers suffer, you may fall in love with Thompson.  Almost every carry from Thompson on Wednesday ended in a collision. The rock-solid 205-pounder looks to be a natural choice for goal line runs. 


"I admire his toughness," said Skipper. "It's great to see him block and play as hard as he does."


Chris Bruhn filtered in with the second and third squads and showed why the buzz has followed him since his high-school days.  Bruhn stands a towering 6'3" and has great vision of the field.  On his first rushing attempt of the night, he carried tacklers for a pick up of twelve yards.  After getting stuffed on the line one play, he thrilled spectators by bouncing outside of the left tackle, shaking linebackers and corners, then hurdling a safety for a more than healthy gain of fifteen yards.  His size and agility will come in handy as he ups the competition level for second string.


"Chris has nice size, but he also has really good burst," Skipper said. "He doesn't know his power yet, so we are working with him to try and get him to use that."


Nearly lost in the shadows of Green and Bruhn is Jonathan Smith. But the Pasadena native proved he can play with the best of ‘em in 2002, scoring 7 touchdowns by land or air, and wants to contribute any way he can.


"I just want to win," said Smith, who two years ago, while at Pasadena Community College, broke a 63-year old record held by Jackie Robinson (yes, the Jackie Robinson) with 18 touchdowns in one season. "They can put me at punt returnee, receiver, I'm pretty cool wherever I can help team most."


Lavell Anderson also got a bit of playing time last night, but wasn't able to do much with the ball on limited carries.  Anderson bounced most of his carries outside to avoid being crushed by the front seven, only to be met by Jason David and company. 


California native Kevin McCall had a few touches and gained positive yards up the middle. Look for McCall to mature and become a major contributor in upcoming years.  The true freshman has a good build for a back and with the help of Skipper should mold into a great running back in years to come.


This backfield should be the best Cougar fans have seen in years and should compliment the passing attack very well.  Skipper has turned out to be a great addition to the coaching staff, his intensity and knowledge of game is wearing off on the players. But even with a fully stocked fridge of backs, he doesn't see WSU straying too far from the "QBU" tag.


"We're definitely going to lead with the pass," Skipper said. "But that also opens up a lot of holes."




Tight end Adam West was an absolute monster on special teams during last night's scrimmage.  The wedge buster ran over blockers during kickoffs, and teamed up on one play with Aaron Wagner to put a scout team member in about the fifth row of the end zone.


Defensive back Eric Frampton made a break on five-yard hitch and picked it off almost taking it in for six.


Kyle Basler was so impressive on his first three punts that coaches had him throw the last few so that the punt return team could actually get a chance to return one.  Basler can throw almost sixty yards, his first toss left the crowd speechless and wondering, "what is this kid doing kicking?"


Offensive lineman Bryan Olson injured his knee during the scrimmage. Olson was moved to the defensive line for the scrimmage.

Freshman Jon Conlin had an MRI and it is confirmed that he has torn his ACL. He is scheduled to have surgery on August 26th.


Pat Bennett will be re-evaluated for an injury that has his entire arm in a sling.

Devard Darling is out with a sore knee; Cougfan previously reported it was an elbow.

Defensive tackle Tai Tupai continues to watch from the sidelines with a sprained left shoulder.

Sophomore center Nick Mihlhauser was seen playing a little fullback during practice.

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