Doba a day after: A good learning experience

IF HE WERE TO write a script for a first game, Bill Doba said he would have penned one much like the game against Idaho, where the Cougs had to compete hard for a full 60 minutes. There were some rookies and veterans who came in for some praise from the head man of the Cougs on Friday evening and an evaluation of the offensive and defensive lines.

Plus, Josh Swogger won't be eating any shellfish for awhile. And a surprisingly good injury report.

"I think it was a good learning experience for our team," said Doba of the harder-than-expected 38-26 win over Idaho's scrappy Vandals.

Doba said he was pleased his second unit players got some playing time and thinks there's work to be done on special teams.

He said the offensive line was "a little inconsistent," while the DL played well for the most part, with true freshman Fevaea'i Ahmu holding up well against double teams for a rookie. Doba also said senior Bryan Olson played well.

"They both need to get better and neither one is as good as Ropati Pitoitua, but we need to stop talking about Ropati because he's not going to be here for awhile," said Doba. Pitoitua is out up to eight weeks with a broken leg sufferedlate last month.

DOBA DISCOUNTED the view the Cougs didn't put enough pressure on the Idaho quarterbacks, pointing out WSU had three sacks.

"I'll guarantee their quarterbacks are sore, and we hit them a few more times than (the sacks)," said Doba. "I thought we had decent pressure. But we can improve in all areas, obviously."

Up front offensively, right tackle Charles Harris was taken out of the game in favor of Spencer Hollison.

"One wasn't playing that well and we wanted to take a look at Hollison, and Hollison went in and played well," said Doba. He didn't say the position was open, but said it would probably depend how they practiced later next week.

"It's good to have some competition," said Doba. "And I thought for his first start, Sean O'Connor played a good ball game."

Doba also said JC transfer DeWayne Patterson had a nice game starting at safety in place of Husain Abdullah.

Doba went out of his way to say Patterson and Eric Frampton earned high marks in the secondary, lessening the impact of not having Husain Abdullah (high ankle sprain) available. Abdullah may be able to go Friday at Nevada.

THERE WERE NO INJURIES of note after the game, definitely a rarity. Cornerback Don Turner has some bruised ribs but finished the game and should be fine for Nevada.

Doba said he would have liked to have gotten freshman back DeMaundray Woolridge more carries and had the second team defense held the Vandals that last drive, Josh Swogger would have come in. Swogger was also recovering from an allergic reaction from some shrimp and had been at the hospital with an IV stuck in his arm the night before the game.

"He's okay now," said Doba. "I told him he's a starter in my eyes and could be a starter for us and I wasn't going to stick him in for cleanup or mop up duty. And I thought Alex Brink played well."

Doba said he counted five pass drops, and quarterbacks coach Timm Rosenbach mentioned to Doba that Brink did a lot of things well, while line coach George Yarno said the hosses played about average.

Doba said Will Derting, who lead the team in tackles Thursday with 11, played better as the game went on and shook some of the rust off.

"You've got to remember he missed all of spring ball and he missed the majority of fall camp," said Doba, going on to mention he's now able to get off blocks better and use both hands whereas last year he was hindered by a cast for much of the season.

THE COUGS WILL BE OFF Saturday and Sunday. When they pick up practice on Monday, two point of emphasis will be special teams and penalties.

There were nine rookies on the kickoff cover team against Idaho, seven first year Cougs on return team and three on the punt team -- the latter almost always being made up of upperclassmen. Doba said they need some work, especially on the return team, but one player who caught his eye had five tackles in punt and kickoff coverage combined.

"Courtney Williams sure impressed me," said Doba, and mentioned to Williams he'll likely have Nevada gunning for him next week. The kickoff return team is where the team needs the most improvement, said Doba.

"We need a lot of work there. I still think Bursey can break one sooner or later," he said.

In news that had long since become apparent, Bryan Tarkington has not completed his AA degree. The defensive tackle has both classes from Moorpark and some correspondence courses from BYU yet to finish. Even were he to get everything finalized tomorrow, Doba said it wouldn't make much sense to bring Tarkington into the fold at this point with classes entering their third week and the football team getting ready to play their second game. The hope is that Tarkington will be able to enroll in January and grayshirt.

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