McCall injured; Frampton, Dada play enforcer role

PULLMAN -- Exactly two weeks before the team's first game, the WSU football team finished its second practice of the day on Thursday with a goal line stand – complete with cheerleaders. Earlier, the Cougs' No. 2 running back went down with an injury, while the play of the WSU secondary was spirited and physical. Plus, a progress report on the defense through the eyes of linebacker Scott Davis.

Kevin McCall, currently the second running back on the depth chart behind Jerome Harrison, was injured Thursday night in what looked like your everyday sweep play. The sophomore runner entered a large group of Cougar blockers and defenders but when the bodies were cleared, McCall stayed down.

After spending some time on the sidelines with trainers, McCall was eventually carted off to the training room. The severity was not immediately known, with trainers saying he suffered a lower leg or ankle injury and will be reevaluated before Friday's scrimmage.

In his place, DeMaundray Woolridge turned in some nice work, including a smart cutback run that went for considerable yardage during drills.

ON DEFENSE, Omowale Dada was involved in a couple of physical plays during the day's second session. The cornerback went up high with junior receiver Jason Hill, inadvertently holding Hill's facemask on the way down and causing Hill some pain. The receiver walked it off.

Shortly after, Dada landed a big hit on quarterback Alex Brink as the signal caller tried to score on a run from inside the five yard line. Dada's hit Brink squarely, keeping him from crossing the plane.

Eric Frampton also played the role of enforcer on one play – possibly enforcing a little to strongly.

Dada had nice coverage on Hill down the left sideline, but as the ball came to the leaping Hill, it was clear Dada would be unable to break up the completion. About as soon as that became clear, however, Frampton arrived on the scene and broke up the pass with a hard hit on Hill as the ball arrived.

But this time it was the enforcer that was shaken up. The junior safety had to sit out a few plays after making the hit, but then returned to drills.

FOR THE FINAL play of scrimmage, players gathered round their respective sides of the line of scrimmage, screaming their teammates on. The defense probably sounded a little bit louder in its encouragement, but once the ball snapped and Woolridge ducked through a small hole and across the goal line, the offense quickly won the shouting match.

Junior linebacker Scott Davis said afterward that the drill was just a part of the spirited Thursday night practice.

"Me and (junior linebacker Steve) Dildine decided to get it crunked today," Davis said. "In 9-on-7, we just decided to get everyone juiced because the defense has been kind of slacking a little bit."

After stealing headlines after the fall's first scrimmage, the defense did not play as well in the second Crimson and Gray bout of the fall. Davis said that should be changing tomorrow, though it would be nice to have senior middle linebacker and All-America candidate Will Derting (hamstring injury) on the field.

"I think it's coming together good," Davis said of the defense. "Its kind of hard with our middle linebacker not being in there, but Dildine is stepping it up, I'm trying to step it up right now."

Derting has been replaced – temporarily – by true freshman Greg Trent for the most part. Chris Baltzer and Brian Hall have also taken snaps in Derting's stead with the 1s.

Davis said no matter how well Trent plays, Derting's presence changes a lot in the Cougar defense. There's a comfort level that's been established between Derting and Davis, allowing them to make adjustments on the fly and with the knowledge that each has the other's back.

"It gives me an opportunity to try and do more things," said Davis.

Friday the Cougars will scrimmage for the third time.

"I just want to see the defense come out, fired up like we were today," Davis said, "go around hitting people, smacking people. Last scrimmage we were kind of timid."

NOTES:
Chris Jordan was back on the field after missing the morning practice with swelling in his knee.

Don Turner again had a nice showing on Thursday evening, with two interceptions in scrimmage drills in what is turning out to be a pretty good camp for the Spokane junior.


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