Fall Camp: Day Nine

PULLMAN -- Tuesday out on the Palouse proved a newsworthy day for Cougar football with a reserve hanging up his cleats, interesting comments by TEs coach Greg Peterson, an explosive offense once again coming to life, and some new and familiar faces taking the turf. Plus, Lance Broadus and Mike Graise stepped up, and the hard hitting Washington State defense once again laid out some big sticks.

According to Peterson, there's a position battle at tight end with a number of players making strong early statements for playing time this fall. Leading the charge for the top spot on the depth chart are senior Cody Boyd and junior Jed Collins, listed 1-2 coming into fall camp, respectively.

"I think there is a position battle for number one," said Peterson, replying to a query about the competition for the number two spot behind Boyd. "It's not a locked cinch, you know, until we get to that first game week against Auburn. They're all in a group right now."

Also in the mix are senior Jesse Taylor, sophomore Ben Woodard and freshman Tony Thompson, said Peterson. Although Boyd is expected to be the starter, he's taken the majority of the snaps along with Collins on the No. 1 offense, Peterson was quick to point out nothing is definite until the season begins and he's been very pleased with the group as a whole.

The past few years, Washington State has looked to run more two tight end sets with Boyd and Troy Bienemann in the fold. Whether that continues over the course of this season remains to be seen -- Bienemann has graduated and there's a new coach in Peterson, who joined WSU after Robin Pflugrad matriculated to Oregon.

Peterson, who came to Pullman after coaching the past 12 seasons at K-State, also said he's liked the progression of freshman walk-on Aaron Gehring this fall, and clarified that an "NCAA academic issue" is keeping junior Jason Price from participating in fall camp, an issue Price is still trying to clear up according to Peterson.

Bryan Baird, however, will not suit up again. Peterson said the sophomore out of Vancouver, Wash., chose his health over football. Baird, according to Peterson, suffered a football-related injury, and will not return. "Bryan is a great young man and he made the decision," said Peterson. "He wanted to be healthy down the road, rather than play football right now."

On the field, the offense was resurgent with quarterback Alex Brink looking like he's shaken a virus that had been nagging the junior the last few sessions. Brink and Hill hooked up for a touchdown during drills.

An equally integral piece of the offense Tuesday was the running game, with freshman Dwight Tardy putting together a number of nice gainers. On another play, senior safety Eric Frampton and the 5-11, 208 pound Tardy met in a monster clash that resulted in Tardy losing his helmet, but holding onto the ball.

Back for Tuesday's session were senior linebacker Scott Davis and sophomore LB Cory Evans. Both players had missed some time after getting dinged, with Evans making his first camp appearance Tuesday coming off a groin strain.

In the lineup for the offense was recently arrived running back Marcus Richmond. Like Evans, Richmond was limited to shoulder pads and shorts for Tuesday's session but looked comfortable and capable on the field, taking some reps with both the first and second team units. Players must undergo an NCAA mandated four practice sessions before they are allowed to don full pads.

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • Doba is making good on his promise to develop the long snapping game as four players practiced the craft today. The increased activity follows a Doba comment following Saturday's scrimmage that had hinted the team will be developing depth at the position. Joining usual long snapper Thompson were sophomore OL Peter Hill, who has been working on FG and XP as well, and freshmen OL Zach Enyeart and DT Ben Huntley.

  • Lance Broadus, a junior, and sophomore Mike Graise -- who returned to practice following a hip flexor -- took the majority of turns at the defensive end position, replacing injured starter Matt Mullennix (hand). Yesterday, true freshman Kevin Kooyman took some reps with the first team.

  • The defensive play of the day belonged to Broadus, who showed an excellent burst and power coming off the edge to log a "sack".

  • The next official injury report is scheduled to be made available Friday per the WSU Sports Information Department. The Cougars implemented the policy of two medical updates a week last season, on Mondays and Fridays.


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