PULLMAN--Much of the talk this preseason has centered on the Cougar air attack and rightfully so -- a Pac-10 coach in this week's Sporting News says in Alex Brink and Jason Hill, WSU just might own the Pac-10's best QB-WR combination. And the Cougs also have a number of weapons at receiver in addition to the All-America candidate, with even the incoming rookies already sound like focused veterans.
is one of a number of Cougs who've signed with WSU after being hosted by fellow receiver Michael Bumpus
. He's also the cousin of McKenzi Smith
, who was known out on the Palouse as Jonathan Smith
and he of the 2003 season and Holiday Bowl fame. Halfway through fall camp, Rabb and the receivers already realize they could be in line for a productive year.
"We want to be the best corps in the Pac-10," Rabb said, following Friday's evening session. "We want to be a big part of the offense... We've got a lot of weapons -- a lot of weapons."
That they do. Some of those weapons, though, ended up missing all or most of Friday's practice. As reported Friday, Bumpus is out with a knee sprain. Chris Jordan
left the evening practice early following an apparent shoulder injury -- no information was immediately available regarding the status of Jordan. The Spokesman-Review
this morning described Jordan's injury as appearing "fairly serious". Official word from WSU might be given this weekend, with WSU customarily releasing camp injury news Monday and Friday. With two of their top playmakers sidelined, the Cougs dipped into a well stocked crimson cupboard on Friday.
Joining Hill and sophomore Brandon Gibson
on Friday night were Rabb and Charles Dillon
, both juniors in their first Cougar fall camp by way of junior college.
The depth at the position doesn't stop there, however, with sophomores Benny Ward
-- watch for him this year -- and Scott Selby
and, on this night at least, freshman walk-on Andy Largent
taking turns on the second string. Highly touted Anthony Houston
and walk-on Reid McEllrath
also got in plenty of reps during Friday's evening session. Plus the Cougs have 6-foot-4 frosh Greg Walker
and Keith Rosenberg
also waiting in the wings.
The cohesiveness has also been apparent already early on, with the wideouts alternately offering each other praise and critique. Reiterating this sentiment was Rabb, who had a head start as a mid-year transfer. "Instant Red Zone" enrolled in January and had the benefit of going through spring ball.
"We're to the point now were we are all getting along, and we just feel like whoever gets it, gets it," said Rabb, who was also given the nickname of "The Big Slam" because of how he started on the path to Washington State. For a look back, click on this LINK
It was the running backs, however, who mostly took center stage Friday evening. Derrell Hutsona had several quality runs on the night. Joining the speed merchant on the "Did you see that!" list for the night were fellow RBs Ian Bell, Dwight Tardy, Kevin McCall and Chris Ivory, all of whom tore off some gainers.
CB Kerry Maddox practiced in full gear, after being slowed by sore heels earlier in camp. Corner Tyron Brackenridge, although still being held out of live action, ran several drills with the secondary wearing shorts and jersey as he continues to mend a sore hamstring. With Brackenridge limited, Markus Dawes joined senior corner Don Turner out on the first team islands.
Aaron Johnson, who returned earlier than expected from his hamstring strain, did not practice Friday night. It is expected he'll be eased back into the flow.
Several Cougs were held out of practice Friday night, including DEs Mike Graise (hip flexor) and Lance Broadus (groin), who were in for starter Matt Mullennix (hand). None of the three are expected to be out for an extended period. Filling in opposite Mkristo Bruce was true freshman Kevin Kooyman, who has acquitted himself well in his first Cougar camp. For the complete injury report, see the earlier Day 11 report.
The catch of the night belonged to TE Jed Collins, with an over the shoulder grab from Brink despite blanket coverage from Dawes.