FALL CAMP DAY 6: Strong DB play opens two-a-days

PULLMAN -- Friday marked the opening of two-a-day practices at WSU's fall camp, and both Don Turner and Husain Abdullah were at the top of their games in the morning session. Jason Hill also turned in a couple of big plays, while Marty Martin was back to take in practice from the sidelines, and talk about yesterday's hit by Husain Abdullah. Meanwhile, Steve Dildine turned in the hit on this day.

Spokane's Don Turner (5-11, 190) was mentioned by Doba both yesterday and today as a cornerback making his mark out there on Rogers Field with his play on the island. Omowale Dada remains the No. 1 on the left side opposite Alex Teems -- and Dada continues to shine -- but Turner's emergence the past few days has helped to answer some questions at a position where depth concerns were plentiful coming into fall camp.

Turner's also been working with Michael Bumpus, Jerome Harrison and Lorenzo Bursey on the punt return duties in addition to his usual post in the secondary.

ANOTHER DEFENSIVE BACK who shone very brightly on Friday was Husain Abdullah. After a bit of a slow start in the shorts-and-helmet sessions, the 6-0, 192-pounder out of Pomona, Calif., has turned it up several notches since the pads came on. Abdullah picked off two passes on Friday and continues to provide a physical presence in the secondary. Yesterday, he delivered a crushing -- and 100 percent legal -- hit on receiver Marty Martin, who was briefly examined at Pullman Memorial Hospital where all tests were negative.

While Abdullah said the injury weighed on his mind throughout practice Thursday and clouded his thoughts last night, he turned in some of the best play seen this camp at the safety position in Friday's morning session.

"It's important, after you have a practice like yesterday, to come back and have a good day," said Abdullah. "Otherwise, you can just keeping falling off."

THE BIG STICK Friday morning belonged to a linebacker as Steve Dildine authored the hit of the day, punishing receiver Benny Ward as he tried to collect a Josh Swogger pass over the middle. Dildine and the pigskin arrived simultaneously and Ward had no chance to hang onto the ball.

With Will Derting (hamstring) and Davis (nose) sitting out for all or parts of practice, respectively, Dildine was joined by Brian Hall and Chris Baltzer as the first team group of linebackers.

Jason Hill turned in a couple of big gainers utilizing his legs more than the quarterback's arm.

Twice the junior sensation caught short slants and was able to get up field for nice gains in live scrimmage drills. Both plays could have ended with Hill crossing the goal line with only one or two defenders left, but both were whistled dead in order to get moving on the next play.

TRUE FRESHMAN linebacker Jason Stripling showed fine closing speed in catching up with Trandon Harvey on the right flat. Harvey was clear of defenders with the ball in the air, but Stripling made up ground in a hurry, breaking up the pass.

CLASSES DON'T START for another week, but Martin saw his fair share of tests Thursday.

Martin suffered a concussion from Thursday's hit and ended up running a gamut of medical tests on his head and neck at the hospital before being discharged early yesterday afternoon.

"It was a day to remember," Martin said, after watching the morning session Friday. The 5-10, 188-pound senior out of Tacoma said he's still experiencing neck pain and spent the night avoiding noise and light. Martin will likely be reevaluated Saturday but said it was good to get back on the field today, even if its just on the sidelines.

Abdullah approached Martin before practice to let him know the hit was unintentional and wish him good health.

"I was just trying to do my job," Abdullah said Friday. "In that (coverage), he threatened my area so I was just trying to get there. Nobody wants to hurt their own teammate."

Martin agreed, saying; "He was just playing football … he had no malicious intent to do that. But it was nice of him (to come over say something), that shows a lot of maturity on his behalf and he's a stand up guy."

Another Abdullah and Martin collision actually resulted in another Martin concussion during the final scrimmage of spring drills earlier this year. Martin said that incident was far less significant than was Thursday's.

NOTES
Greg Trent completed his second practice in shorts and helmet today. The NCAA mandates the first three practices be in less than full pads and with Trent recently being cleared, has one more to go before being able to go full contact.

DeWayne Patterson, the JC transfer who received clearance recently, was so excited to get after it he started for the practice field his first day in full gear. Patterson, after being advised of the rule that says he has to practice in less than full pads for three days, quickly made it back into the locker room and changed into shorts and helmet before practice began.

INJURY REPORT
Doba proved to be in a joking mood when asked about the growing number of injuries to his team.

"Let's talk about something good," Doba said. "I pick up the paper today and (that) is all it is – 'This guy got hurt, that guy broke his neck...'"

Michael Bumpus was back in pads, practicing with an injury-riddled receiving corps. Receivers Thomas Ostrander (back spasms) and Chris Jordan (knee sprain) are out, Brandon Gibson is practicing but is visibly suffering from sore legs and Greg Prator (broken hand) is being limited.

New additions to the injury list Friday included defensive end Mike Graise, who was out with a hip flexor and Scott Davis, who was limited late in practice after getting a bloody nose. Head trainer Bill Drake wasn't sure exactly what happened to Davis, but dismissed it as nothing serious. Drake said Saturday could be a good "update" day.

With two-a-days beginning today, we'll have our report on the second practice later tonight. The session begins at 7:30pm.


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