Cougar Secondary patching the holes

PULLMAN -- With four members of WSU's secondary doubtful for Idaho, Ken Greene said Wednesday one starting corner job belongs to a Cougar rookie if Don Turner can't go Saturday. Greene also penned a rising junior as the first player off the bench for the safeties. And the secondary has bid farewell to Kerry Maddox, although injuries are not a factor in the loss of the true freshman.

At left cornerback, Brian Williams gets his first WSU start Saturday with both starter Don Turner (hip contusion) and first option Markus Dawes (high ankle sprain) likely out for Idaho. Greene said the 6-1, 167-pound Williams will share time with sophomore Ryan Kensok and fellow junior B.T. Walker.

The other injury to the corner position at Auburn was dealt to Courtney Williams, who sprained a thumb. Safety Michael Willis is also sidelined with a shoulder sprain.

Greene said the status of all four injured players has not improved, and there is little chance at this point that any of the players will be game ready come Saturday.

"Donny is doubtful, Dawes is definitely doubtful, well, they're all doubtful," Greene summed up, following Wednesday's session.

Williams turned in a solid performance in camp this August, with both Greene and defensive coordinator Robb Akey saying the battle for playing time behind the second-string Dawes was a tightly-fought affair. Fellow JC transfer Walker was a late arrival for the Cougs fall session.

Despite the starting nod to Williams, Greene said he expects all three players to see the turf Saturday, citing the expected hot weather as a factor.

"It's going to be hot, so we are expecting to rotate guys around and keep everybody fresh -- they'll all get some time," Greene said.

Christian Bass will take over for the injured Willis, said Greene. The junior has been earning it lately -- even without the injury to Willis, Bass may have moved himself up the depth chart all by himself, said Greene.

"He'd be my first in probably anyway, after the way the last game went," Greene said. "Christian is very solid, he knows what he is doing, and I think he's gotten a lot better, I am anxious to see if he is going to continue to develop."

Kerry Maddox, the 5-10, 198 pound true freshman out of Tyler, Texas and cousin of Jason Stripling, has left the team to be with his ailing mom, according to Greene.

"His mother is having some health issues and she insisted that he come home, from what I understand," said Greene.

When asked if he expected Maddox to at some point return to the team, the coach said it was unlikely.

"I doubt that he'll be returning, he's going to another school down in that area...It's too bad. I think he had a chance to be a good football player."

Maddox originally verbally committed, de-committed and then re-upped with Washington State this past recruiting season, citing his family's concerns about him being away from home. However, word around Pullman this August was that Maddox absolutely loved Pullman, and was disconsolate about leaving WSU.

Despite the attrition to the unit, the coaches took a somewhat humorous approach to any perceived Cougar DB woes Wednesday. Bill Doba juxtaposed himself between the reporters interviewing Greene and decided to ask the former All-America cornerback a few questions of his own. Playing the role of intrepid reporter, Doba lamented; "Coach Greene, what are you going to do about a corner?!?" To which Greene replied, "I am thinking about bringing out the old cleats and playing Cover-Two."

Practice Notes:
  • The Cougs' eased Texan running back DeMaundray Woolridge back into practice Wednesday, but only briefly. The sophomore, who is suffering from a thigh bruise, left the field after running drills for the first quarter of the session. The Cougs' starter at running back, Woolridge is still considered doubtful for Saturday.

  • Defensive end Mkristo Bruce also made an early exit Wednesday, apparently suffering from a leg injury. No report was immediately available, but Bruce did not require help off the field.

  • The first-string offense once again ran drills in Martin Stadium Wednesday, running about half the session off of Roger's field.

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