Spring position battles shape up at OL, secondary

<b>WASHINGTON STATE'S secondary and offensive line are shaping up as the two hot spots for position battles as spring drills commence this week. The Cougs will be replacing three of four starters in the defensive backfield, while two positions on the o-line look to see heated competition amongst several challengers.

At safety, the Cougs will be short on bodies this spring.

Husain Abdullah looks to earn the starting position at one spot and will be challenged by Eric Frampton and Christian Bass. Bass contributed on special teams last year but those who watched the 2003 fall camp remember how he shined in the secondary during his first days in Pullman. Frampton made a number of clutch plays in '04 and looked to be coming into his own by season's end.

Both Bass and Frampton figure to see plenty of time this spring starting at the other safety spot because Michael Willis will not participate in spring drills -- the NCAA hasn't yet certified the SAT he passed back in December. Willis is a leading candidate to start at safety as a true freshman.

Ian Bell will compete for starting spot

Incoming JC transfer DeWayne Patterson won't arrive in Pullman until fall camp and looks to figure prominently in the mix.

OUT ON THE ISLAND, Alex Teems will man one corner spot. A spirited competition between Ian Bell, Omowale Dada, Tyron Brackenridge and Don Turner is expected at the other corner.

Bell impressed on the scout team last year while Dada turned heads with his play in '04. Brackenridge spent the year getting his feet wet in the WSU system and fighting off injuries. Turner, who had a strong 2003 campaign, will be looking to make some noise as he enters his junior season in '05.

WITH SOPHOMORE-TO-BE sensation Bobby Byrd slated to move to left tackle, offensive line coach George Yarno already has one of two bookends in place to replace All-Pac10 mainstays Sam Lightbody and Calvin Armstrong.

At right guard, Charles Harris assumes the starting spot with Dan Rowlands, Eddie Vickers and Spencer Hollison challenging. At right tackle, Riley Fitt-Chappell will be pushed by Andy Roof, with Harris also a possibility to see time there this spring.

With WSU moving big bodies inside in recent years, the guard and tackle positions are somewhat interchangeable at Washington State -- the above names and their positions could very well change before the September 1 opener against Idaho.

More importantly, Washington State saw 4 different lineups up front due to injury -- and 2004 was a year considered relatively injury free on the line. All of the above players are likely to significantly contribute this year, regardless of whether they are named the starter.

The Cougs return 15 of 22 starters -- nine on offense and six on defense. Washington State also returns punter Kyle Basler and place kickers Loren Langley and Graham Siderius.

Spring 2005 Practice Schedule

Tuesday, March 22: Practice 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 23: Practice 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Friday, March 25: Practice 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 26: Practice 9 a.m.

Tuesday, March 29: Practice 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 30: Practice 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Friday, April 1: Practice 3:30-5:30 p.m.
*Saturday, April 2: Scrimmage No. 1, 10 a.m.

Tuesday, April 5: Practice 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 6: Practice 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Friday, April 8: Practice 3:30-5:30 p.m.
*Saturday, April 9: Scrimmage No. 2, 9 a.m.

Tuesday: April 12: Practice 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 13: Practice 3:30-5:30 p.m.
*Saturday, April 16: Crimson & Gray Game, 1p.m.

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