FALL CAMP DAY 12: QBs in spotlight

PULLMAN -- Wednesday's short, crisp practice was followed by another light practice Thursday morning. Starting at 10:30am, the players worked through warm-ups, kickoff drills and ended with skelly and two-minute drills to close out a short practice that lasted about an hour. The lack of contact made the quarterback competition stand out once again. In skelly, Josh Swogger and Alex Brink alternated back and forth, both looking sharp.

Coach Bill Doba praised the offense after practice for their crispness.

"We had a good practice this morning," Doba said. "They went out, in the first plays of skelly, were all completions. The ball was thrown properly, to the right guy, in the right spot and he caught it."

The skelly session was characterized by accuracy, as Doba said. Josh Swogger and Alex Brink combined for just four incompletions, two of which were made when Eric Frampton and Ryan Kensok each made nice plays, breaking up passes.

In two minute drills, both Swogger and Brink were given the reins, needing a field goal. This time, both looked sloppy, but got the job done with some clutch yardage conversions.

Scott Selby dropped a beautifully thrown Swogger fade route, and Brink's very nice pass completion to Brandon Gibson – a big yardage gainer – was negated by an illegal formation penalty on the offense.

Don Turner showed nice anticipation, breaking up a Swogger pass after getting a perfect jump out of his break. Adam Braidwood leapt into the air to halt a Brink pass before it crossed the line of scrimmage, taking the pass in the chest.

But, in the end, both signal callers looked to their tight ends – Troy Bienemann for Brink and Jesse Taylor for Swogger – to keep the chains moving after poor plays on first and second, sometimes third, down.

For the drill, Swogger was one of six passing and Brink was three of eight. The quarterbacks seem to be improving each day, even if neither is seemingly pulling ahead in the competition for the lead spot.

"It's big for our whole offense, just to establish consistency," said Brink. "At the quarterback positions, it's paramount."

Jessie Baines, 25, watched practice again Thursday. The former Puyallup High wide receiver with the interesting story has been seen taking in the practices the past week and said he'll walk on after classes start on Monday.

The cousin of Cougar safety Michael Willis, Baines attended Tacoma Community College and played for the Pierce County Bengals in a Seattle amateur football league, allowing him to retain two years of college eligibility, he said.

NCAA roster regulations stipulate only a certain number of players can participate in the training camp session this August. Somewhere between 10 and 15 players are expected to join the team after classes start Monday.

Thursday was medical update day at WSU, part of a new policy regarding the release of medical information to the public.

Few changes were made to the reports of days past, but target return dates for receiver Marty Martin (concussion) and receiver Greg Prator (broken bone in hand) were issued in the release. Martin and Prator should both make a full return Aug. 23, the first day of practices following the beginning of classes Monday.

Matt Mullenix missed practice Thursday morning with a fractured finger in his left hand. Chris Jordan (knee swelling) also sat out.

The timeline on running back Dwight Tardy is "out indefinitely," but his fellow freshman back, DeMaundray Woolridge, was back practicing with the team. Defensive end Adam West was also back, but is listed as out on the injury release.

Lorenzo Bursey and Gibson worked as the first team kick off returners Thursday, followed by Benny Ward and Kevin McCall.

Doba continued to say good things about true-freshman linebackers Greg Trent, Jason Stripling and Cory Evans.

"Great bunch," Doba said. "I thought they'd be pretty good, but they might be even a little better than I thought. They're picking up the skills quickly."

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