SCRIMMAGE TWO: Offensive explosion

<b>PULLMAN -- The rain took a hiatus on Saturday for the second scrimmage of the spring, and so did the Cougar defense. The storm that hit Martin Stadium came in the form and fury of 6-foot, 198-pound Jerome Harrison and the Cougar offense, which piled up nearly 500 yards of total offense and found the end zone nine times.

"He came out of the box smoking today," said assistant coach Kelly Skipper of Jerome Harrison. "He jump started us and the good thing about that is how we responded. That got the momentum going. He got us going right from the beginning."

It started with the first play from scrimmage, which was like watching a track and field event. Harrison took off out of the gates and never looked back, darting in and out and then turning on the jets to cap a 70-yard scamper.

The senior out of Kalamazoo, Mich., finished with five carries for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Putting on 15-plus pounds of muscle this offseason hasn't diminished Harris' elusiveness nor speed. Indeed, Skipper said Harrison's added strength means he's now able to break the tackles in the open field leading to even more big plays. Coach Bill Doba said the offensive line didn't need to push as much when they had Harrison in the backfield.

"Harrison finds that crease, he is special," said Doba "Strong enough that he breaks some tackles. We didn't use him a lot, obviously. We want to keep him healthy and see him in the fall."

Harrison wasn't the only Cougar to shine on offense.

EARLY IN THE scrimmage, Jason Hill (6-2, 205, Jr.) made a move of beauty, matching perfectly an Alex Brink (6-3, 198, So.) pump fake and leaving the receiver wide open. Don Turner (6-0, 187, Jr.) kept Hill from the end zone but the offense scored one play later on Harrison's second TD.

Hill, the leading receiver on the day with seven receptions for 115 yards and two touchdowns, said he's getting more comfortable with each of the quarterbacks. He and Brink were in lock-step today.

"Anytime my number is called I have to put the ball in the end zone," said Hill. "I should have had three today."

"I think we are going to be something to watch out for," said Hill about the Cougar offense. "For once since I have been here, the offense won. We clearly won."

Thomas Ostrander hauled in six receptions for 73 yards and a TD, one of three thrown on the day by Gary Rogers. Rogers finished with 163 yards on 15-28 passing. True frosh Benny Ward continued his rapid progression this spring, hauling in five passes for 53 yards and scoring on a 6-yard run. Doba said both Ward and Rogers both played well in just their second scrimmages.

ON THE OTHER SIDE of the ball the Cougar defense looked promising at times -- as seen from their eight sacks of Cougar quarterbacks -- but missing three key performers made it difficult to sustain any momentum. Mkristo Bruce (ankle sprain), Alex Teems (neck) and Will Derting (wrist rehab) all sat out the scrimmage.

"Mkristo Bruce is our inspirational leader," said line coach Mike Walker. "They scored right off the bat. We needed him out here because he is a big time leader on our defense."

With DE Bruce (6-6, 255, Jr.) sidelined until Tuesday, it gave Adam West (6-6, 260, Sr.) and Paul Stevens (6-3, 255, So.) more looks out on the edge. Coach Walker said West needs more work in the position but is a fighter and will be all right. Skipper was impressed with Stevens' sack and thought he stood out. Walker said he was very pleased by the play of DE Mike Graise (6-4, 208, Fr.) who tallied three sacks on the day.

"He is a young player who is coming off of surgery," said Walker. "We didn't think he would be playing at this point in the season. Down the road, he is going to be a tear at the end."

After today's scrimmage, Walker said Week three of spring ball will see the defensive line focusing on stopping the run, with each player needing to concentrate on honing technique and filling their gap.

*Coach Doba was impressed with the grit and tough play of Ian Bell, who hurt his ankle early but continued. Bell is competing for a starting corner job.
*The kicking game continues to be a source of concern as Loren Langley (5-8, 150, So.) punched 2/3 through the posts, one better than Graham Siderius (6-2, 212, Sr.) who went 1/3. The errant attempts were from 19, 32 and 19 yards.
*Kyle Basler landed one of his punts on the 1 yard line, evoking shades of his 2003 MVP Holiday Bowl performance when four kicks stopped dead inside the 5-yard line.
*Two interceptions were made by the Cougar defense. Ryan Kensok (5-9, 159, Fr.) returned one 68 yards to paydirt and Eric Frampton (6-0, 206, Jr.) had the other.
*Schedule change for the final week of workouts April 11-16. The team is allowed three practices the final week and will now drill Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Rushing – Collins 7/30, Ervin 4/10, Rogers 4/-30, Brink 5/-8, Morgan 2/-8, Harrison 5/96, Parker 7/50, Bumpus 1/13, Moss 1/0
Passing – Brink 12/20/158/2/ Rogers 15/28/1/163/3, Morgan 1/5/1/20/
Receiving – Hill 7/115, Bienemann 1/5, Bumpus 3/27, Curtis 1/20, Boyd 1/14, Prator 1/11, Ward 5/53, Collins 1/4, Ostrander 6/73, Taylor 1/15, Harvey 1/4
Scoring – Harrison 70 run, Hill 11 pass from Brink, Harrison 1 run, Hill 13 pass from Brink, Parker 40 run, Collins 2 run, Kensok 68 interception return, Ward 6 run, Ostrander 16 pass from Rogers, Harvey 4 pass from Rogers
Interceptions – Kensok, 68 touchdown return, and Frampton, no return
Sacks – Stevens, Graise 3, Davis, West, Braidwood, Pitoitua
Field Goals – Langley good from 47 and 32, missed from 19; Siderius good from 47, missed from 32 and 19

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