Fall Camp: Day Five

PULLMAN -- The aggressive air engulfing Rogers Field since Sunday continued Thursday with the first full pads session of camp. That aggression was marked by the play of the entire secondary, the unit put continual pressure on the offense's aerial attack. But the story of the day was in the WSU backfield, as Cougar running backs seized the opportunity to do some roaring of their own.

It would be difficult to pick the best run of the day, with several plays meriting discussion.

One belonged to Derrell Hutsona, who, about half-way through a two-minute drill, ran into a log-jam. Seemingly out of nowhere, he bounced outside and bolted up-field. If not for safety Michael Willis, who managed to track down the fleet-footed transfer from Grossmont College after a gain of about 20 yards, the play surely would have gone to the house.

Earlier in the session during basic line drills, Bell was impressive, finding holes that didn't seem to exist. Despite the impressive play of his fellow RBs, however, DeMaundray Woolridge reminded everyone why he's listed as the starter, turning on the jets and bulling his way through several defenders and capturing some nice gains for the offense.

The true sophomore, listed at 5-9, 229 pounds, is indeed all of that. Fearless, Woolridge showed off his sheer strength on another run, coming out on top in a ferocious collision with equally imposing linebacker Greg Trent (5-11, 219) Although the run "only" went for about 5 yards, it well illustrated the back's comparison to a moving train.

Dwight Tardy, Kevin McCall have each looked sharp this fall with their vision and ability to find holes, and Thursday was no exception. Hutsona can also be placed in that category of having 'Harrison-like eyes'. Rookies Chris Ivory and Skylar Jessen also acquitted themselves well on the day.

Up front, the offensive and defensive lines went back and forth all day long, each grabbing the upper hand at times, with the offensive line in particular showing off their road grader abilities. While the majority of the day featured the running game, and the backup QBs got plenty of reps, starter Alex Brink continued his impressive fall camp when behind center.

Brink and WR Jason Hill hooked up on several impressive completions throughout the day. Michael Bumpus is also having a solid camp -- everything he's gotten his hands on, he's caught, including a low toss Thursday he scooped up before niftily regaining his feet and continuing on for more yardage.

Gary Rogers continued to look comfortable in the pocket Thursday, as he has most of camp. And the battle for the No. 3 spot between Arkelon Hall and Cole Morgan continues. Overall, however, and despite Brink's contributions, what there was of the air war Thursday looked to ultimately belong to the defense.

The secondary played with a lot of cohesiveness -- their first big play coming courtesy of Eric Frampton, the senior picking off a Hall bullet early-on in 11-on-11 drills.

Another highlight for the DBs came when a bobbled pass ended up a hot potato in a pack of three defenders before junior safety Husain Abdullah finally secured the purchase for the second INT of the drills.

What the Cougar offense didn't get done through the air, however, it handled on the ground. There were plenty of quality carries by the group and, if Thursday's practice was any indication, effectively dispelled any rumors that the Washington State offense could be a one-trick-pony this fall.

As released by Washington State late Thursday
Out Indefinitely: Luke Fowler (shoulder), Grady Maxwell (knee cartilage tear), Jason Stripling (shoulder surgery recovery), Greg Walker (thumb fracture).
No Practice: Tyron Brackenridge (hamstring strain), Preston Brooks (hamstring strain), Markus Dawes (muscle strains), Cory Evans (groin strain), Anthony Houston (groin strain), Kerry Maddox (heel bruise).

  • The intensity that a full pad practice brings boiled over briefly during drills between offensive lineman Andy Roof and defensive counterpart Ropati Pitoitua. The scrum didn't last long, as coaches Yarno and Robb Akey stepped in and put a halt to the altercation.

  • Brackenridge sat out the second consecutive day, due to a sore hamstring. A full injury report is expected to be released late today. With Brackenridge out, Turner and Dawes lined up with the first team. Ryan Kensok also came in for some turns with the 1s

  • Boding well for the junior corner's Cougar prospects, if not for his ears, Dawes has already picked up a nickname from Greene -- "Toilet Paper." Greene said when he called Dawes at his apartment one day, what Green heard on the outgoing message was, 'This is TP', and the moniker was born.

  • Coach Bill Doba told Cougfan.com earlier, and as has been reported by The Seattle Times, DeWayne Patterson's status has yet to be resolved as he awaits resolution of a summer-school class grade. Also in limbo is junior tight end transfer Jason Price. Patterson is in Pullman, while Price was absent when camp began Sunday. Doba was unclear earlier as to when or if Price will return to the team.

  • In what was the most entertaining play of the day, TE Cody Boyd was Johnny-on-the-spot, grabbing the pigskin in 7-on-7 drills after the ball bounced off another Cougar's helmet. Careening well away from the intended target, Boyd plucked it out of the air and would have had a nice gainer had the play come during a live event rather than in drills.

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