Returns and moves and NFL Scouts, Oh my!

PULLMAN -- With only their helmets for protection, the Cougars faced rain for the first time in several weeks on Thursday, as the team put its finishing touches on the game plan for Oregon State. It was a day that saw one injured defensive back return to the field, another defensive back that might be on the move, and a few NFL scouts who were on hand to watch it all.

Although it was essentially a walk-through Thursday, Marty Martin and Jesse Taylor each showed great effort on diving catches in the end zone from quarterback Alex Brink against the scout-team defense. The rest of the session was fairly uneventful as far as action on the field went, but there were a number of intriguing storylines that were penned during Thursday's tune-up.

Cornerback Don Turner was back at practice and although he will be listed as a game time decision, it appears he will be able to play against the Beavers.

Turner, already bothered by a hamstring injury, suffered back spasms on Tuesday and missed Wednesday's practice. Turner and Lorenzo Bursey took some turns with the No. 1 defense, but Omowale Dada, coming off a knee sprain, will be the starter come Saturday.

Defensive end Adam Braidwood and linebacker Scott Davis also took plenty of snaps with the first-string defense, and both look ready to start Saturday.

MEANWHILE, OVER ON the scout-team defense, it looks like Michael Willis has surfaced as the next candidate for a position change. The highly-touted freshman safety has struggled to crack the second unit, occupied by Christian Bass and DeWayne Patterson.

On Thursday, though, Willis spent a significant amount of time at cornerback on the scout team, along with Ian Bell, Courtney Williams -- also recently moving over from safety, after having been originally recruited as a linebacker -- and Tyron Brackenridge (academically ineligible).

AS IS CUSTOM, Washington State practiced with helmets and no pads on Thursday, with the defense spending the majority of the time in Martin Stadium while the offense stayed on the regular practice field.

The team came out the locker room and were met with a decent bit of rainfall, which slowed down to a drizzle by the end of the day, which pleased coach Bill Doba. The weather in Corvallis Saturday calls for a 50 percent chance of showers, and Doba was hoping the Cougs would get some chances to handle a wet football.

IN ATTENDANCE at practice Thursday were some NFL scouts, from the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks. Former Seahawks GM Randy Mueller was also watching practice.

Some of the seniors with NFL aspirations include linebacker Will Derting, tight end Troy Bienemann, running back Jerome Harrison center Nick Mihlhauser and punter Kyle Basler

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