Playing D vs. Troy; plus Bumpus' route to WSU

PULLMAN -- The Bush/Leinart Heisman campaign makes a stop in Pullman this weekend, and no one is more impressed than <b>Robb Akey</b>. "They ought to have two Heisman Trophies this year and give it to both of them. Both are deserving, they're outstanding." But the ol' Cougar defensive coordinator knows his troops must do more than contain the dynamic duo.

The Trojan offense, he says, is highly talented from top to bottom. Take the backfield, for instance.

"Everybody's putting attention on (Bush) but LenDale White is a helluva back too," Akey said. "They've got some new faces on the offensive line, but that line is doing a tremendous job. USC is a complete package on offense."

But maybe not quite as complete as usual. White, who is averaging 5.4 yards per carry, has been playing with a bad ankle the last few weeks and then suffered a bruised thigh last week against Washington and has not been able to practice much this week.

Trojan head coach Pete Carroll said White may not play against the Cougars. That would mean more playing time for Hershel Dennis and Desmond Reed. Or perhaps more carriers for Bush, a tailback who also does series damage catching the ball. He has 429 rushing and 288 receiving yards so far this season.

Complicating matters, though, is the fact both of the Trojans' starting guards are dinged up. John Drake is hobbled with and ankle sprain and Fred Matua is nursing ankle and knee tweaks. If Drake cannot go, true freshman Jeff Byers will start. Redshirt freshman Drew Radovich has been getting reps this week with Matua on the sidelines.

But the weapons at offensive coordinator Norm Chow's disposal are many. With Steve Smith out with a broken leg, freshman receiver Dwayne Jarrett has had the chance to blossom. He's the Trojans' leading receiver, with 27 catches for 359 yards and six TDs.

Ironically, WSU's own star freshman on offense – receiver/return man Michael Bumpus – might not be in crimson today were it not for Jarrett.

Jarrett, from Brunswick, N.J., was widely considered the top receiving prospect in the nation last year. When he gave a late verbal commitment to USC, the Trojans put a stipulation on the scholarship they had offered to Bumpus: Grayshirt and enroll in January.

Bumpus, himself rated one of the nation's top receiving prospects, had verbally committed to the Trojans late in the fall. But talk of a grayshirt didn't suit him at all.

Fortunately, Cougar assistant coach Kelly Skipper had kept in touch with Bumpus all fall and winter. If he had a change of heart, Skipper would tell him, the Cougars would love to have him.

The combination of a great recruiting visit to Pullman in October and the fact Karl Paymah, a friend from Culver City, was playing for the Cougs didn't hurt matters.

So on letter of intent signing day, Bumpus caught the recruiting world off guard when he said he was going to be a Cougar rather than a Trojan.

Bumpus said he circled Oct. 30 on his calendar, looking forward to the day he would play Pete Carroll and other USC verbal commits whom he became friends with.

Bumpus, like Jarrett, is coming on strong. With Marty Martin injured, Bumpus has caught ten balls in the last two games. For the season, he has 15 catches for 135 yards. In addition, he's on track to challenge the WSU single-season record for punt return yards. He has 268 so far – 52 of them coming on a sprint to paydirt against Oregon.

Bumpus also had 33 yards rushing on 3 carries against the Beavs last week.

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