Fall Camp: Day Three

PULLMAN — Wednesday marked the first day of shoulder pads for the Cougs, but the real theme of the proceedings was fundamentals. Good old technique, be it of the blocking, tackling, running, passing or catching variety.

That focus on the basics, however, didn't stop the defense from turning things up a notch. The Stop Corps was definitely in an up-tempo state of mind. Senior defensive tackle Steve Cook said the energy was palpable and his unit is ready to start crackin' heads.

Cook (6-3, 290) is by far the most experienced D-lineman on the team, having played in 34 games over the last three years, and will be counted on to stuff the inside as an every-down player, defensive coordinator Robb Akey told Cougfan.com. Akey also noted that junior DE Adam Braidwood "is the strongest and fastest he has ever been." Braidwood has played in every Cougar game since arriving on the Palouse as a true freshman in 2002. He has only one start under his belt, but appears poised to have a true breakout-type year in 2004.

The other DE spot looks to be filled by sophomore Mkristo Bruce, but the depth behind him is stronger than expected with the rapid development of former tight end Adam West (6-6, 248). Cook, in fact, says West's progress has been something to behold. Also in the mix is second-year freshman Reyshawn Bobo. He needs to continue putting on weight, but his remarkable speed off the end should earn him some playing time in passing situations.

The defensive tackle spot opposite Cook is up for grabs, but freshman Ropati Pitoitua has the inside track after a stellar session back in the spring. He'll be pushed by second-year freshman Aaron Johnson and sophomore Odell Howard. Regardless who earns the starting nod, all three figure to see considerable action.

Much of the contact today was absorbed by the Cougar running backs, who spent a good part of the day working with the offensive line. A pair of the backs have a new look. Chris Bruhn is now wearing No. 3 rather than 33 and Allen Thompson is in No. 4 rather than No. 38. JC transfer Jerome Harrison is still waiting for a grade so he can get cleared to practice, but is expected to be on the field by the end of the week.

Freshman lineman Andy Roof of Spokane has received clearance to play by the NCAA. He too was waiting on academic clearance.

Shelton Danzy, star RB/DB from Seattle's Rainier Beach High, was on hand to watch Tuesday's practice. In April, Danzy became the first verbal commitment in the Cougars' 2005 class of recruits.

JC defensive end Letrell Myers failed to qualify academically to play for the Cougars this season, but Cougar coaches are optimistic he'll be ready to enroll in Janaury.

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