Fall Camp: Day Eight, Practice I

PULLMAN -- Compared to the intense, aggressive practices the first week, Monday morning's session was relatively subdued, but the Cougars still got in plenty of quality work. With players back to only helmets & shoulder pads, WSU focused less on live action and more on position-specific drills. Players still managed to impress, and Bill Doba offered good news on a somewhat depleted secondary.

Washington State's head man spoke briefly following the morning session, putting to rest any rumors suggesting injured CB Tyron Brackenridge (hamstring) will not make the trip for the team's opener against Auburn, saying definitively; "He'll be back, he'll be back."

Another cornerback, Markus Dawes, who had impressed the first week of camp before being sidelined, will be undergoing a blood test today, said Doba. Secondary coach Ken Greene said last week the junior's muscle cramps looked to be caused by a rare blood disorder but expressed confidence he would return soon. Following the scrimmage Saturday, Doba said simply that Dawes has a high enzyme count.

Safety Christian Bass sat out the last few practices due to an ankle injury but it doesn't look as significant as initially thought -- he was back practicing with the team this morning.

The morning's session saw a number of the freshman and transfer students not present, reportedly taking a required English placement exam instead.

On the field Monday, running back transfer Derrell Hutsona continued to impress, and turned in the run of the day. The junior once again exhibited fine footwork and vision, escaping from traffic and then busting it for a nice gainer.

On a hot morning in Pullman, where temperatures crept up to the low 80's by the session's end, players and coaches alike seemed to take the intensity down a notch after going the last four sessions in full pads, focusing instead on doing the little things right.

The offensive and defensive lines mostly worked on one-on-one and technique. The passing game, minus QB Arkelon Hall who went down in Saturdays scrimmage with an initial diagnosis of a high ankle sprain, mostly focused on getting their timing down in a variety of drills. An official injury update from WSU is expected to be out late today.

The team did use a couple of practice periods to run 11-on-11 drills, ending the morning with both the first and the second team units running through some hurry up scenarios. On a related note, one of the rule changes in college football this year is that the game and play clocks will now start after changes of possession.

Similar to Saturday's scrimmage, the defense acquitted themselves well, both up front and in the secondary. Brink, who only took a few snaps in the scrimmage due to a virus, connected with tight end Cody Boyd on more than one occasion Monday.

The catch of the day, however, easily belonged to wide receiver Brandon Gibson, who pulled in a Brink beauty, one-handing the ball before hitting the turf on a 35-yard gain. The grab was so nice, in fact, the sophomore even drew praise from the secondary and defensive members on the sideline, who could be heard saying "Great catch 0h-4," (Gibson is No. 4 this season, switching from No. 86)

  • This mornings practice was the first of two today, as the team will once again take to Rogers Field, in full pads, tonight at 7:30.

  • Quarterback Cole Morgan, playing for the first time as the clear No. 3 with the injury to Hall, continued as he has all fall to look comfortable at the helm. The former Ballard High star looked especially sharp on one play, hooking up with freshman Reid McEllrath on a 30-plus yard bomb.

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