MISSING TWO KEY PLAYERS had an impact on special teams play last week, one of the few areas coach <b>Bill Doba</b> was unhappy with following the 31-29 victory over the Bruins. Therefore, the Cougs have made some very interesting decisions there for ASU. That story plus the injury report, the latest on the kicking situation and much more.<br><br>
"We didn't play real well on special teams last week," said coach Bill Doba
in his Thursday press conference. "Had we, it might have been a bigger difference in the game...So we need to shore that thing up."
One reason being the Cougs were missing two of their best players on the ST units. Out for UCLA were Brian Hall
(stinger) and Brian Winter
(bruised leg) and their absence was sorely missed.
Both Winter and Hall will also miss this week's tilt with Arizona State. Doba doesn't want poor special teams play to be the difference should it turn out to be a close game this Saturday in Tempe.
EARLIER THIS WEEK
, the WSU coaching staff sat down and figured out the best way to improve the coverage and returns units.
You may have already noticed this season that a number of starters, such as Scott Davis
and Jeremy Bohannon
, also pull double duty on some of the special teams.
Get ready to see a few more.
Two of the Cougs' biggest hitters will be plying their wares on special teams against the Sun Devils, in addition to their customary starting spots on defense.
has been added to the kickoff return team. Hamza Abdullah
will see special teams action. So will Pat Bennett
...and Doba said a few other starters will be out there as well in coverage and return.
"We're going to go with some starters. Will Derting is going to be on kickoff return... We beefed that up with some starters and we're going to beef up the kickoff team with a couple guys."
The Cougs are looking at this game with a sense of urgency, with a possible winning season and bowl bid hanging in the balance.
"There's no tomorrow," said Doba. "This is it for us, we've got to win this ballgame."
Graham Siderius will kick field goals, although Doba said he still wants to see how both kickers warm up. Siderius kicked "really well" in practice on Thursday. Doba said for the first time Siderius may also kick extra points, a departure from earlier in the week, but then later said Loren Langley would "probably" handle PATs.
Alex Teems has practiced all week and will start barring any further problems with the neck between now and game time. The cornerback didn't have full range of motion last week, Omowale Dada ably filling in for the junior against UCLA.
Dada, along with safety Eric Frampton, earned more playing time prior to the UCLA game. Both will likely see considerable playing time against ASU.
RB Jerome Harrison, on the heels of his 247-yard breakout performance, gets his fourth start of the year while Allen Thompson has also been very effective of late, "with the way Thompson has been hitting it up in there".
Chris Bruhn (knee) returns and will get some reps at running back. The extra week off helped the senior, Doba saying he looked "a lot fresher and a lot sharper" in practice this week.
Chris Jordan (hip flexor) returns to the starting lineup after missing the UCLA game.
Doba said there was a good chance both Hall and Winter would be back for the Apple Cup.
Josh Swogger (broken foot) will travel with the team and take in the game from the box. Because he is still on crutches, he will not be on the sidelines in order to prevent any potential collision.