Changes afoot for Cougs?

ON THE HEELS of the biggest win to date, coach <b>Bill Doba</b> and the Cougs head down to Tempe this week with their bowl hopes very much alive. Will the Cougs have a new place kicker for the Sun Devils? Does WSU plan on getting <b>Gary Rogers</b> some snaps in the ASU game? And what names found their way onto the injury report this week? Coach Doba on kickers and redshirts and injuries, oh my.

If the 31-yarder he nailed in the third quarter is any indication, Graham Siderius might be one of those players who is "a gamer", coach Bill Doba said on Sunday night -- someone who performs better in games than in practice.

"We'll see how they kick a little bit this week..we'll see how Graham kicks this week," said Doba when asked if the Cougs would make a change at kicker for ASU.

"The thing about Loren -- I was just trying to be fair to him. All of his misses have...all been close. He's going to be a great kicker, I think in time, but that's a lot of pressure on a true freshman. And when he missed that one, he just looked like he was frustrated. I just wanted to give him a break."

Doba said Langley will most likely kick extra points regardless of whether Siderius handles the field goal duties. Doba likes the way the freshman gets the ball up so quickly on PATs, decreasing the chance of a block.

Doba later said Siderius will probably "get the first shot" on a field goal attempt against ASU.

THE COACHES on Friday night before the UCLA game discussed whether they would stay with the original plan to insert backup quarterback and true freshman Gary Rogers into a game before the regular season finale against Washington.

The thinking was after Josh Swogger was lost for the season with a broken foot, they didn't want the backup QB's first collegiate action to come in the Apple Cup should Alex Brink go down with an injury.

Consider that plan scrapped.

Doba and the coaching staff have decided to hold Rogers back from game action if possible, thereby preserving his redshirt for the year.

"The fear is if its the fourth quarter of the Apple Cup, the game's tied and now we've got to throw him on there for the first time -- (then) I think maybe that's what we'll do. I think he can handle it, rather than take a year a way from him."

"He's getting enough work and enough pressure (in practice). Coach (Timm) Rosenbach puts good pressure on those guys during practice... We'll just play it by ear but I think we're going to just see if we can finish out the year with Alex."

SPECIAL TEAMS on Saturday was one of the few disappointments for Doba, with a punt partially blocked and too many yards given up on returns. Both kickers, Siderius and Kyle Basler, made two of the big hits Doba would much rather see made by others on the coverage teams.

With Jevon Miller and Brian Hall injured, the Cougs have had to substitute players without much ST experience in those spots. "We've got to improve our special teams," said Doba.

HOW BIG was the win over UCLA?

"It was a huge win for us and our program, as big as anything we've done so far (this year)," said Doba. "There's nothing like winning. Nothing beats that."

Aaron Johnson is out 2-4 weeks with a sprained MCL. X-Rays and further tests are scheduled for Monday. Doba didn't see much chance the defensive tackle would be able to return for the Apple Cup. Ropati Pitoitua will make his first start at tackle since going down with a high ankle sprain in Week 2, with Odell Howard now becoming the first option off the bench for the interior line and will see increased reps. Brian Olson now becomes probable to get turns in rotation as well.

Special teams standout Brian Winter missed the second half after getting hit on the leg he broke earlier in the year. X-Rays came back negative, his status for Saturday will be updated later this week.

Chris Jordan is questionable with a hip flexor.

Alex Teems (neck) is listed as doubtful for ASU. The junior corner can turn his head well enough but contact is problematic.

Sam Lightbody has "a big old black and blue knee", said Doba. Consider him probable for ASU.

Jerome Harrison (42 carries, 247 yards) was the easy choice for the Cougs' nominee for the Pac-10 offensive player of the week. Harrison graded out at 92 percent for the game.

Scott Davis with seven tackles (4 solo) and a pass break up was the Cougs' Pac-10 defensive nominee. "Scott's been playing really well all year," said Doba.

The entire offensive line won the offensive Cougar Claw. Doba said it was very satisfying to see Calvin Armstrong, Bobby Byrd, Nick Mihlhauser, Norvell Holmes and Sam Lightbody driving people off the line of scrimmage against UCLA.

The defensive Cougar Claw went to Hamza Abdullah with eight tackles (6 solo), a pass break up and "two really big hits," said Doba.

Asked if the the run oriented offense of Saturday was what he envisioned when he became the head coach two years ago, Doba said he just envisioned winning and scoring touchdowns. "I don't care whether they throw them in there or run them in there," he laughed.

Doba said as a former defensive coach, it's nice to see the offense run the ball and watch that clock run, joking the defense graded out at 100 percent while on the bench.

The Cougs won the time of possession battle in all four quarters on Saturday, the first time they've accomplished that feat this season.

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