Fall Camp: Day 18

PULLMAN—The Cougars spent much of Thursday's practice focusing on New Mexico in anticipation of their season-opener on September 3. Washington State's first team offense saw mimics of UNM's unique defensive formations, the same schemes that gave the Cougar O trouble in their 23-13 victory over the Lobos last season. In addition, the Cougar defense began preparing for New Mexico's potent rushing attack, hoping to recreate the success they had last year in shutting down the Lobo ground game.

New Mexico has a brilliant offensive weapon in running back DonTrell Moore, who ESPN The Magazine's Bruce Feldman listed at No. 78 on his list of the top 100 college football players. Last season Moore rushed for 1,450 yards and 19 TDs.

But Moore had his toughest outing of the season against the Cougs in '03, tallying just 21 yards on 11 carries. UNM managed just 257 yards against WSU that day, with linebacker Scott Davis leading the defensive attack with six stops.

The Cougars hope to not only again slow Moore considerably, but also overshadow him with one of their own, when senior Chris Bruhn takes the helm of the WSU rushing attack.

"We're anxious to get going," running backs coach Kelly Skipper said.

In a backup role last season, Bruhn rushed for 43 yards on nine carries against UNM. Although hampered by a sprained ankle and hernia, he was the Cougs' second leading ground-gainer in 2003, rushing for 353 yards on 78 carries.

Junior Allen Thompson is expected to return to practice on Monday. Despite missing several practices after suffering from a concussion and back problems, Skipper said he is not worried because Thompson is a veteran and knows what he is doing.

Skipper is also pleased with JC transfer Jerome Harrison. "He's picked up things quick," said Skipper. "Usually a guy comes in that wasn't here in the spring and the learning curve is extremely high."

Harrison appears comfortable with the Cougar offense and arrived at camp in generally better shape than is typical of junior college transfers do.

Skipper said redshirt freshman Kevin McCall will contribute this season on special teams and possibly in game situations.

The coach is excited to test out his running game this season and gave high marks to his backs for their work ethic.

Walk-on wide receiver Blake Ferguson suited up today for the first time. He had surgery for a broken thumb in July…Junior corner Tyron Brackenridge rested a sore hamstring today.

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