Post-camp insights from Bill Doba

PULLMAN --- Training camp officially came to an end Friday night in a controlled scrimmage aimed at some fine-tuning before the season opener Thursday night against Idaho. Afterward, Washington State's sports information staff sat down with head coach Bill Doba to get his thoughts on the last three weeks of workouts and the devastating news this week that starting defensive tackle Ropati Pitoitua will be out up to two months with a broken leg.

On players who've made big strides:

"I think Lorenzo Bursey has improved as a corner and (freshman running back) DeMaundray Woolridge picked it up quicker than I thought he would. (Safety) DeWayne Patterson is doing a good job and will play. Don Turner (corner) has had a good fall camp and Wally Dada (corner) is a smart player, probably playing above his ability because he is a good technician and studies football."

On DT Ropati Pitoitua's broken leg:

"Ropati Pitoitua is a big loss. We have lost a 6-7 tight end (Cody Boyd) and 6-9 defensive tackle (Pitoitua). Those guys don't grow on trees. They are tough to replace. It's kind of like losing a Will Derting at linebacker, losing Ropati at tackle. He is a premier player."

On replacing Pitoitua:

"I challenged the other guys. Somebody is going to have to step up and get better in a hurry. If they don't it hurts all of us. We'll see if they can accept that challenge. Fevaea'i Ahmu is a young kid who has some skills. I said before, Will (Derting) has great instincts at linebacker and Ahmu has instincts at d-tackle. He is a little inexperienced. His last scrimmage was down in San Diego (as a senior at Serra High)."

On the progress of the offense:

"Offensively we are ahead of where we were a year ago."

On the progress of the defense:

"Defensively we are trying some new things. We've had some assignment errors and we need to get that cleaned up."

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