Practice report: Boyd back, Langley OK

PULLMAN -- Senior tight end Cody Boyd, out the last two games with a high ankle sprain, is set to "fully participate" in the Cougars' regionally televised game at UCLA Saturday, reports one Cougar assistant coach, and kicker Loren Langley's low trajectory woes against Oregon last week are nothing to worry about, says another.

WSU tight ends coach Greg Peterson said Wednesday that Boyd is running well, getting out of his breaks and blocking well, and is good to go against the Bruins.

Backup tight end Ben Woodard (MCL sprain), who like Boyd was injured against Oregon State, is also making progress. Although Peterson didn't give a specific timeline for the 6-5, 249-pound Woodard, he did say the sophomore should return soon. "I wouldn't think it would be too much longer," Peterson said. "He's out running around, doing some things too, so I would think he'd be back soon."

Meanwhile, running backs and special teams coach Kelly Skipper said he's pleased with the development of the Cougars' punt and kick coverage units, and that the trajectory of Langley's field goals and PATS -- which cost the Cougars four points against Oregon -- is nothing to worry about.

"Last weekend it was a little low, usually he gets them up high," Skipper said, "I think sometimes that happens in the transition between kickoffs and field goals, instead of a line drive he's got to pop it up. But it's a one-time thing." He said the Cougs have not made it a point of focus this week, and don't expect it to be an ongoing issue.

Langley's kickoffs, on the other hand, have been getting increasingly deeper over the last two weeks.

AS FOR UCLA, the Cougs have a straight-forward goal: continue the momentum from their 34-23 victory over Oregon. "We need to be a team, against UCLA, that comes out with focus and intensity, obviously, but we really need to play well in back-to-back contests," Peterson said. "If you go through our first seven or eight ballgames, we haven't had great consistency as an offense. There have been times when we've been very good, and times, like Cal, where we were not very good. We've got to play with emotion and consistency because UCLA's got a good football team."

The Bruins are 4-3 overall and 2-2 in Pac-10 play. The Cougars (5-3, 3-2) are No. 25 in the latest BCS ratings and are favored by one. Kickoff is at 4 pm in the Rose Bowl, with ABC providing live coverage to a regional West Coast audience. Dan Fouts and Tim Brant are on the call.

A year ago the Cougars jumped to a 21-0 lead over the Bruins but lost in overtime 44-41. That marked UCLA's first win in Pullman since 1993. The Bruins have lost the last two matchups with the Cougars played in the Rose Bowl, 31-29 in 2004 and 48-27 in 2002. UCLA's last home win over WSU came in the 1998 season.

NOTABLE NOTES:

* Cougar defensive end Mkristo Bruce, already a semi-finalist for the Lombardi Award, this week was named to the mid-season watch list for the Ted Hendricks Award, given to the nation's outstanding defensive end. Also on the list is UCLA's Justin Hickman, who is duking it out with Bruce for the conference and national sack title.

Cougfan Top Stories