PRACTICE REPORT: Abdullah is new gunner

PULLMAN -- Thursday was another no-pads practice for Washington State as the Cougars prepped for their first game on campus in more than a month. One injured receiver was back on the field, another was not, and the secondary is a little more banged-up than it was even the day before.

Receiver Jason Hill (thigh bruise) was back on the field, however only did some light running and did not take part in any 11-on-11 walk-throughs. Chris Jordan (hip flexor) did not practice. In their places, Trandon Harvey and Brandon Gibson ran with the first unit.

On the defensive side of the ball, safety Eric Frampton sat out Thursday with a groin strain suffered the previous day. Cornerbacks Alex Teems (shoulder) and Omowale Dada (knee) did practice. Dada is scheduled to play, but Teems' status is still up in the air.

Earlier in the week, head coach Bill Doba promised changed on the special teams. One significant lineup change took place on the punt coverage team, where Husain Abdullah has replaced Don Turner as one of the gunners, next to Courtney Williams. The second-string gunners are DeMaundray Woolridge and Lorenzo Bursey.

In his final visit with reports for the week, Doba played it close to the vest Thursday when asked if the Cougs were going to kick it deep or squib it against Stanford. "Maybeeee," he said with a laugh. He later said he might do both. He said nothing was wrong with the scheme for the short kicks at Oregon State, but that it wasn't executed correctly, and the failure to execute was entirely his fault for not getting his players properly prepared.

Doba said there weren't any parallels between last year's late meltdown against Oregon (one week before facing Stanford) and this year's late meltdown at OSU a week before facing Stanford. Doba said you don't have to sell Stanford this week to the players, they've watched the tape and seen there's talent there.

On the fact opposing teams must walk through the gym to get from the lockerroom to the tunnel into Martin Stadium: "We've got a fence up but they (the fans) can still yell through that fence. I think by the time they get to the tunnel, they hate us because our fans are sometimes saying things that aren't too complimentary on their background, and their family and everything else."

On the difference between kickoff return men and punt return men: "A kickoff return guy is a guy who just lays his ears back, lights his hair on fire and goes screaming up there -- you don't need to dance or anything until you get to the kicker ..... Punt return is different...there are different layers (of defense to work through)." NOTES:
Allen Thompson, WSU's second-leading rusher in 2004 who decided not to finish his eligibility for health reasons, made an appearance at practice. Thompson works for the university as an academic counselor for the athletic department.

Asked why Greg Trent won the job to replace Will Derting, defensive coordinator Robb Akey said Trent "has a little more burst, a little more 'go-get-it. He'll do good."

On the injury front, here's the outlook: Derting out, Pitoitua out, West out (concussion), Jordan (probable), Hill game time decision, Broadus (shoulder) probable, Teems (shoulder) probable, Basler (flu) probable, McKinney healthy, Dada probable.

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