FALL CAMP DAY 9: Turning the corner

PULLMAN – Lorenzo Bursey is adjusting smartly to a new position, while Dan Rowlands' status has changed. A number of players come off the injury list, only to be replaced by a couple of new ones. Plus, as the Cougs gear up for Scrimmage No. 2 on Tuesday, Josh Swogger is seeing things more clearly.

Lorenzo Bursey, like many former high school and junior college football players across the country, is entering week two of his NCAA football career. But Bursey is also entering just his second week as a cornerback, after playing receiver and running back to this point in his football career.

"I'm getting more comfortable," he said of the transition after practice Monday.

By all accounts, the 5-foot-8, 170-pound California native is warming to defense. He's taken snaps as the fourth corner recently, in part due to a flare up of Ian Bell's ankle injury.

"I think it's going very well and I think he gets better everyday," secondary coach Ken Greene said.

Bursey has also shown some pop out on Rogers Field. Monday, he laid a nicely timed lick on Trandon Harvey, breaking up a would-be reception. "It's better to hit than get hit," Bursey said, smiling.

Greene said Bursey's size makes it very important that he work to his strengths: speed and quickness.

"I want him to cover people," Greene said. "That's the thing, to be able to cover. He is plenty tough and he just needs to learn technique and learn how to take bigger guys down and get off the blocks from bigger guys.

"Then I think he'll be okay, he'll be able to get in there and give us some plays and do a good job for us."

While a learning process, Bursey's attitude in regard to the position change is also undergoing a transition. After saying the first week he would prefer to play offense, Monday he said he likes defense more and more everyday.

He said he still has work to do on eyeing the quarterback and play recognition, but said he has improved on coming out of his breaks.

Bursey said he would love to play both ways, but it appears the chances are infinitesimal.

Coach Bill Doba, who's worked with a couple of special two-way players – WSU's Lamont Thompson and Rod Woodson at Purdue – said the feat is a tough one to accomplish with any quality.

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN Dan Rowlands (gall bladder removal) was cleared Monday for limited workouts. He was seen doing light jogging along the sidelines as his teammates practiced.

The redshirt freshman has been out all spring, and is expected to be held out of contact drills for the time being.

Bell, Ropati Pitoitua (thigh bruise) and Matt Mullenix all returned to the field Monday.

Missing practice for the first time during Monday's afternoon session was true freshman running back DeMaundray Woolridge (right knee sprain). Adam West (concussion) and Marty Martin (concussion) are both to be reevaluated Tuesday evening.

Adam Hineline, a redshirt freshman offensive lineman from Bellevue, Wash., missed practice with pneumonia.

QUARTERBACK JOSH SWOGGER has had a few days to evaluate things since he was particularly hard on himself following Saturday's scrimmage.

"Things are looking a lot better," Swogger said, adding that he and his teammates have picked up the tempo and focus since the scrimmage.

Saturday, Swogger seemed literally lost as to the cause of his poor play. He said he has since found a few keys to focus on in his effort to improve.

"My footwork was off," said Swogger. "I think it was a lot of stuff – just getting the first scrimmage out of the way. I was really nervous … I have enough experience, I shouldn't be doing that."

The junior signal caller said Tuesday evening's scrimmage should be a good opportunity to put the 1-for-8 passing performance behind him.

NOTES Jesse Taylor and Chris Baltzer took their physical play a bit past the whistle on a few plays during Monday drills. The two continued wrestling twice after plays had been blown dead, once even taking each other to the ground. The wrestling matches appeared to be good-natured.


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