Hill wants ball, but wants W's more

SIX CATCHES AND one touchdown in two games. Not exactly the kind of start Jason Hill had in mind. But also nothing to be concerned about, he says. It's a virtual certainty the All-America receiver candidate will set a number of all-time WSU marks this season. And that he and quarterback Alex Brink will hook up for some big numbers on a not-so-distant Saturday. Will today be that day?

The pre-game evidence might suggest otherwise.

The offensive attack is more balanced than last year. In 2006, the Cougar air attack faltered when Hill went down with a thigh bruise. This season, the receiver position is stacked deep with talent. And the crimson running backs look like they're as deep a group as in recent memory. Any statistic is going to be skewed two games in but the Cougar running backs have lit up to date. WSU is No. 12 in the nation in rushing offense, collectively ahead of the pace of last year when they finished at No. 15.

Bill Doba has said the Cougs will need to run the ball against Baylor. Teams are doubling Hill and rolling safeties over the top of him -- even more than last season. Plus, Baylor has a pair of highly regarded cornerbacks -- C.J. Wilson and Anthony Arline are arguably the Bears' most talented players on defense.

On the other hand, teams have thrown just about everything they had at Hill, including some pretty good DBs, for more than his two seasons as a starter. And he's still torched them.

"When Jason gets on a roll, he's tough to stop," Brink said.

AMONG THE all-time marks Hill already holds, all-time career TD receptions with 26. And Hill's 2,214 receiving yards are 238 behind the great Hugh Campbell's career tally from 1960-62.

In '05, Hill had six TDs receptions after three games. Regardless of his touchdown and yardage total after the non-conference slate ends today, Hill doesn't care as long as one thing happens.

"Those other two guys (Chris Jordan, Michael Bumpus) are talented," said Hill. "I want the ball, I'll never tell Alex not to throw me the ball, that's for sure..As long as Alex is on the same page as us three, teams are kind of going to have to pick their poison. As long as we're getting those W's, you won't get a complaint from me."

He also spent some time talking this week about how thrilled he was close friend Jordan turned touchdown scoring machine (three first half TD catches) last week against Idaho.

"I learned a lot from Chris when I first got here," said Hill.

BUT THERE MIGHT also be a little extra motivation this afternoon for Hill and the Cougs. Wilson was quoted in the Texas dailies this week as saying he might get "six or seven" interceptions if the Cougs look a lot to Hill.

Jason Hill is a quiet guy for the most part -- serious might be a better way to describe him. He's also shown a few times over his Cougar career that when the trash talk starts coming at him, that's when he goes to town. Whether Wilson gets showed up might depend as much on the Cougars' game plan and the offensive line protection as it does Hill's ability to beat him on a post route.

WASHINGTON STATE stopped timing players in the 40 yard dash after too many of them were coming out of their shoes and pulling hamstrings. Hill is often talked about as having good but not great speed. Tell that to all the corners he's put in his rearview mirror on his way to the house. Hill's 40 time this winter before the NFL Draft is probably going to surprise people.

"When he's downfield, he doesn't get enough credit for how fast he is," said Brink. "When the ball's in the air, he's probably the fastest guy on the field."

The threat Hill poses will force Baylor's defense to adjust today, which in turn will open up other doors, for both the receivers and the running game. But the Cougs have to be sure and walk through those doors.

"It is kind of a gift and a curse because I want the ball," Hill said. "But for a "W", I'll sacrifice that."

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