Practice report: Doba serenaded; injury news good

PULLMAN -- Tight end Cody Boyd returned to the field Wednesday after being sidelined since early August with an ankle injury. Cougar head coach Bill Doba said the big man from Ferndale wouldn't play Friday in the Cougars' nationally televised game at Nevada, but should be ready for Grambling State on Sept. 17 in Seattle.

Meanwhile, running back Kevin McCall also looks to be a week away, so freshman Dwight Tardy will be traveling to Reno.

Practice was largely uneventful Wednesday due to no-contact rules.

But the news off the field, especially coming out of the trainer's office, was copious.

Starting safety Husain Abdullah, who didn't play against Idaho with an ankle injury, was classified as a game-time decision by Doba for Friday night's tilt. DeWayne Patterson, who had a stellar Cougar debut last week, will again start in Abdullah's place.

McCall, ticketed to be Jerome Harrison's understudy, said earlier in the week that he expected to be cleared to practice Tuesday, but was still out of action Wednesday. Tardy, a true freshman from Keller, Texas, will travel to Nevada and be the No. 3 tailback behind DeMaundray Woolridge.

Doba said if all goes well, only two players will be on the injured list for the Grambling game: defensive tackle Ropati Pitoitua (broken leg) and receiver Thomas Ostrander (back).

DOBA, WHO TURNED 65 on Wednesday said he's hoping for a belated birthday gift Friday in the form of a victory. The Cougars are 10-point favorites. Kickoff is at 7 pm and the game will be broadcast on ESPN.

"A win would be the best present," Doba said before Wednesday's practice. His players treated him to a chorus of "Happy Birthday" before breaking into stretching lines.

"We don't celebrate anymore after 50," Doba quipped before the session. "You don't want to be reminded how old you are. Hanging around 18- and 20-year old guys, you always feel young."

MUCH ADO HAS BEEN made about the fact that WSU doesn't know what to expect from Nevada. The WolfPack have yet to play a game this season and will be unveiling a new 3-4 defense and a shotgun-style offense called the "pistol." Doba and staff have been studying game film of Utah, which is considered the cradle (or would that be holster?) of the pistol.

Linebacker Scott Davis said the Cougars are ready for anything.

Defensive end Adam Braidwood added, "We're gonna prepare the best we can. We're gonna have to just react to whatever they do.

Cougar kickoff ace Graham Siderius --- a.k.a. The Reno Bambino --- will be returning to his hometown when the Cougars travel to WolfPack country this week. He has been made a team co-captain for the game. The Reno Gazette reported today that the last time Siderius played a game at Mackay Stadium he quarterbacked McQueen High to a 35-0 rout of Wooster to cap a 14-0 season with a 4A state championship. Siderius finished the scoring in the game with a 19-yard touchdown run and kicked all five of the Lancers' extra points.

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