Defensive line is key vs. ASU; Martin done?

COACH BILL DOBA said if the Cougs are to win Saturday, the Washington State defensive line has to step up and bring the heat against Arizona State and their young quarterback Rudy Carpenter. Punter Kyle Basler wowed NFL scouts earlier this week in a rain storm. Plus, who's playing and who's injured, and receiver Marty Martin's Cougar career might be over due to a concussion.

The starting front four of Mkristo Bruce, Adam Braidwood, Aaron Johnson and Fevaea'i Ahmu on the defensive line are the key to victory against Arizona State, said Doba. The 2 p.m. tilt at Martin Stadium in a must-win if the Cougs want to go bowling.

"I think the key for us is defensively, if we can get heat on that quarterback and get pressure on him," said Doba, saying the Sun Devils have a formidable passing game including Darian Hagan, of whom pro scouts have told is the top receiver coming out on the West Coast.

"If their offensive line is really nicked up, and we can run a four man rush and get pressure on Carpenter, then I think we can control the ball game," said Doba.

But ASU also might get some help back for their injury riddled offensive line.

"They've lost four starting offensive linemen and I think two of them will be back for our game but I'm not positive," said Doba.

And although starting quarterback Sam Keller is out, backup Rudy Carpenter doesn't look to be any bargain.

"I think this Carpenter kid is kid of scary," said Doba. "He's 60 out of 76 for 79 percent, one interception and eight touchdowns."

SENIOR RECEIVER Marty Martin's career at Washington State might be over.

"Marty Martin might be done for the year, I'm not sure" said Doba. "The staff has to evaluate him."

Martin sustained a concussion in the Southern Cal game, and also suffered one earlier this preseason. The difference this time is that Martin still is experiencing headaches.

"It didn't clear right away," said Doba of Martin's second concussion. "I think that's the key."

Martin has played in all eight games this season. Over his WSU career, Martin has four career starts and 24 catches for 233 yards and a touchdown.

PRACTICE THIS WEEK has pleased Doba, especially Tuesday's. "Tuesday was unbelievable," said Doba. "Rain was coming down sideways, it was cold and our guys got fired up, yelling and running around hitting the heck out of one another. Yesterday the weather was nice and we were just okay, it wasn't a great practice. I thought we lost a little of that intensity. So we're hoping for rain, cold weather and mud."

He may get his wish. The latest weather forecast calls for a high of 42 with rain forecasted.

LAST SATURDAY, Kyle Basler had arguably his best game of the season with punts that were both for a good yardage and had good hang time -- an it carried over to this week's practice.

"That wind was blowing and Boz was on fire," said Doba. "Boz had a great day...In fact, there were a couple pro scouts there, the guy from the Giants couldn't believe it. He was kicking them into the wind just about as far as he was on a calm day."

WITH THE AVAILABILITY of Lorenzo Bursey (shoulder) a question mark, Washington State looks to again have Brandon Gibson and DeMaundray Woolridge returning kickoffs. But Gibson has been the primary returner, with concerns on Woolridge catching the ball cleanly.

That may change this week as coach Bill Doba said Thursday the Cougs will try to get Woolridge in position to bring the kicks upfield.

"He's a little shaky on catching it, but he's damned good at running it," said Doba.

ALSO ON THE INJURY FRONT, starters Will Derting (knee) and Michael Bumpus (ankle) both appear out again for Saturday.

"I don't think we'll have Will, I don't think we'll have Bumpus", said Doba.

The Cougs' star linebacker has been out since suffering an MCL sprain against Oregon State in the Pac-10 opener. Bumpus suffered a high ankle sprain against Cal.

Greg Trent gets his fifth start in Derting's stead, while Chris Jordan and Trandon Harvey join Jason Hill and Brandon Gibson at receiver, with Harvey also returning punts.

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