Inside or out, Cougs continue to look sharp

PULLMAN—With the mercury down at the lower end of the guage, and for the first time this season, Washington State held practice in "The Bubble," the school's indoor practice facility in which the baseball and track teams see far more practice time than the footballers.

Coach Bill Doba said he moved this week's operation indoors because the sub-40 degree temperatures outside could have a negative impact on his players, as some might end up more focused on staying warm than the game plan.

"They concentrated well in here today," Doba said after Wednesday's practice.

The players didn't wear pads, and most wore cross-trainers, basketball shoes or indoor cleats on The Bubble's artificial turf. Unlike Thursday practices, where the players don't wear pads and walk through drills, Tuesday was full of full-speed action, only without contact.

The offense looked about as sharp as it did the day before, which is to say they looked very good indeed.

Alex Brink had good timing with all his receivers, including freshman Brandon Gibson, who looked better in Day 2 of his return from a hip injury. Doba commented that Gibson has improved since Tuesday, and that the coaches plan on Gibson being able to play against the Huskies.

Running back Jerome Harrison, defensive end Mkristo Bruce, cornerback Don Turner and defensive end Mike Graise all missed Tuesday's practiced, but each of them was on the field on Wednesday.

Harrison (thumb) appeared to be on limited duty, however, allowing DeMaundray Woolridge and Brandon Asuega-Stark to tote most of the carries. Still, its a safe bet to expect The Ghost to shoulder his usual load on Saturday.

THE WSU DEFENSE, however, had a couple more lapses in pass coverage than the previous day, allowing a few wide-open receivers to score easily.

Most of the damage was done on deep balls over the middle thrown by scout-team quarterback Arkelon Hall, in between safeties Eric Frampton (who had his left knee wrapped) and Husain Abdullah.

Cornerbacks Omowale Dada (who also had a knee wrapped) and Alex Teems, for their part, played well.

Will Derting sat out Wednesday's practice, as did Ropati Pitoitua.

Doba said the coaches didn't want to risk Derting's injured knee on the artificial turf. But Doba said Derting "feels good" and he expects the senior linebacker to play more Saturday than he did against Oregon, when Derting saw about 12 snaps.

The Cougars scout-team players wore purple jerseys again, as well as numbers to correspond with each of Washington's starters.

Players were unavailable for interviews after Wednesday's practice and will be unavailable for the remainder of the week. It's a break from the season norm as players usually can't speak to reporters after Thursday practices, but not for Apple Cup week, as the cut off comes earlier during the rivalry game.

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