SPRING BALL DAY NINE: Raining footballs in Pullman

PULLMAN—The weather on the Palouse this spring has been downright nasty and on Tuesday there was a new element falling from the sky -- pigskins. The offense set about trying to duplicate the success that was Saturday's scrimmage but Tyron Brackenridge and Husain Abdullah had a few ideas of their own.

But the Cougar O eventually began to find it's way, powered by the passing attack that has been so formidable this spring.

Senior cornerback Tyron Brackenridge has been making a late charge at the corner position over the last week or so and Tuesday saw the trend continue.

Before practice, coach Bill Doba said if the season began today, Brackenridge or Omowale (Wally) Dada would start opposite Alex Teems.

The 5-10, 185-pound Brackenrige turned in another good performance Tuesday deflecting passes, disrupting receiver's routes and throwing off the quarterbacks' timing. Free safety Husain Abdullah also got into the act with another pick, the sophomore smartly timing his own move to put himself in position to make the interception.

JOSH SWOGGER'S TIMING, however, has been rock solid of late. The starting quarterback for the Cougs continues to look sharp in extended drilling, frequently hitting receivers right on the money. The Youngstown native is making the proper adjustments more and more often, and an improved chemistry with the receivers this spring is evident.

Sophomore Alex Brink, also having a very good camp, connected with freshman receiver Benny Ward for a long reception on Tuesday.

Ward has hit the ground running after enrolling in January, the freshman making a bid for early playing time in a wide receiver corps flush with upperclassmen.

ANOTHER RECEIVER has seized a role vacated in 2005 with the graduation of Hamza Abdullah -- vocal leader.

Greg Prator's voice can be heard rolling across the Palouse this spring, shouting encouragement and getting the offense pumped up. In between reps on Tuesday, Prator was heard yelling out instructions and words of encouragement. Firing up the competitive spirit during hard days at practice is important to the senior receiver.

"See how we carry scrimmage into practice!" exclaimed Prator.

Freshman quarterback Gary Rogers did some encouraging of his own Tuesday, hitting junior receiver Jason Hill down the sideline for a long TD reception that had the players cheering.

Injury news:
*FB Brandon Asuega-Stark (sprained ankle) and WR Marty Martin (quad) were back in action Tuesday. Martin took a short reception and turned it into a long gainer, weaving in and out of defenders.
*CB Ian Bell, (sprained ankle) is out for the remainder of this week. Bell, competing with Dada and Brackenridge for a starting cornerback spot, injured the ankle early during Saturday's scrimmage but continued to gut it out, impressing Doba with both his play and positive attitude.
*OL Riley Fitt-Chappell (sprained arch) could be out until the middle of next week, if not the rest of spring ball.
*Jason Roberts (hamstring) took the field for the first time this spring. Roberts has a chance to earn significant playing time this year at the defensive end position.


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