Spring Ball: Day One

PULLMAN -- There was one notable surprise and a little head turning on Tuesday as <b>Mike Price</b> opened spring workouts with the first of 15 practices that will be held between now and April 27.

One player notable by his absence was starting cornerback Jason David. He is expected to sit out the entire spring to concentrate on his studies. Sophomore Karl Paymah took his spot in the starting lineup.

On offense, receiver Devard Darling -- obviously well studied over the winter in the ways of the offense --- impressed many during Tuesday's practice. The former Florida State blue chipper beat his man several times during 1-on-1 drills, and ran some great routes during skeleton and team drills. He even blew by speedster DB Cole Sheridan in a 1-on-1 drill, showing off his 4.39/40 quickness.

A player who bears watching (even if he won't be seeing the field for at least another year) is grayshirt quarterback Josh Swogger. In his first practice as a Cougar, the former prep player of the year from Ohio turned heads with his strong arm. He throws a nice long ball, and is extremely sound fundamentally on his dropback. If one practice is any indication (of course, it never is, but it's fun to speculate), it appears Price has another good one in his legendary QB pipeline.

At running back, sophomore-to-be Allen Thompson is currently  No. 1 , but JC transfer Jermaine Green proved in Tuesday's practice that Thompson won't get the job without a fight. Green showed great quickness and has the looks of a very solid runner. His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and pick up blitzes may be the deciding factor in whether he can wrestle the No. 1 spot away from Thompson.

Back to the defense. While the projected starters at linebacker -- Al Genatone, Pat Bennett and Ira Davis -- are a little young and smaller than some Cougar LB units of the past, they do excel in at least one area: Athleticism.

These guys really get around the field. Although Davis has made the full-time transition to linebacker, the quickness he showed previously at safety is still clearly part of his game. Bennett and Genatone also are among the most agile and athletic on the team. In short, the threesome won't have any trouble defending against the pass.

The run, however, may be a different story. These fellas won't break any scales with their girth, or lack of, so may have some trouble stopping the run. With the incredibly stout defensive line, though, they'll get plenty of help.

  • It was announced that redshirt freshman tight end Tim Burnette, a contender to start, is leaving to play basketball at NAIA Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, Calif. 
  • Linebacker Kevin Sperry missed the first day of practice to concentrate on academics. Unlike David, he is expected to participate this spring.

For more insight into these spring workouts, be sure to click on two other front-page CF.C stories. One is called "6 Questions for Spring," and the other "Doba sizes up the D."

Cougfan Top Stories