New kicker, old punter for Cougs

ROMEEN ABDOLLMOHAMMADI has earned the starting kicking job, Bill Doba said Tuesday. Also, punter Darryl Blunt, who missed the UCLA win with an irregular heartbeat, is good to go this week. Junior Loren Langley, the starting kicker the past three seasons, is likely out this week with a quad strain but Doba said Abdollmohammadi would have been the new starter this week regardless.

Abdollmohammadi (6-0, 228) has earned the starting job against Arizona with his performance at UCLA, and Darryl Blunt has received medical clearance to play against Arizona this week, said Doba on Tuesday in his weekly teleconference with reporters.

"Romeen Abdollmohammadi is our placekicker this week and Blunt is back," said Doba. "(Abdollmohammadi) is our kicker by choice right now. He's 100 percent, so we have to give him a chance to go ahead and play. And I don't think (Langley) is going to be ready, so Romeen will be the guy.

Doba stopped short of saying Abdollmohammadi has the kicking job for the rest of the year after Langley recovers from the quad strain.

"No, we'll have a decision to make," said Doba. "Early in the preseason he was actually kicking better than Loren. Near the first ballgame, he seemed like he got a little nervous, he got into a slump...right now he's 2-for-2 on his extra points and one-of-one on his field goals (31 yards) so we've got to go with that."

Blunt will play Saturday after undergoing a battery of tests. His heart rate became elevated and irregular during warm-ups at UCLA and he was taken to a hospital for precautionary reasons, but Blunt was back on the sidelines in sweats in the third quarter.

"Darryl's back," said Doba Tuesday morning. "And thank goodness. He was in the office this morning and they did more tests on him yesterday and everything was fine."

"I don't know maybe he just got excited going down to L.A., he's from that area," Doba quipped this afternoon.

Michael Bumpus and possibly Andy Largent are likely to get some work as backup punters this week.

Doba said Washington State has generally enjoyed better results with walk-ons earning the starting kicking job and then the scholarship than by offering out of high school. Langley, who had a very good high school career that earned him a scholie at WSU coming out of Puyallup, has not matched the success as the kicker he replaced in Drew Dunning, who began his career in Pullman as a walk-on. Abdollmohammadi walked on at Washington State earlier this year.

IN OTHER NEWS, cornerback and special teams playmaker Courtney Williams is out for the year, running back Derrell Hutsona is out for Arizona, while DE Mkristo Bruce will be back on the end of the line Saturday.

Williams suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and is out for the season. Another speed merchant, Hutsona has an ankle injury that Doba said would definitely keep him out against Arizona and possibly longer. Kevin McCall now moves into the picture as a replacement for Hutsona as the Cougs' No. 3 behind Tardy and Woolridge.

Bruce (knee) will probably not practice much this week but there was no meniscus tear and he is expected to be ready to play on Saturday against Arizona. He might see Aaron Johnson (elbow strain) on the line next to him, with the defensive tackle looking probable for Saturday and ready to resume practicing today. The target date for Ropati Pitoitua is next week against Arizona State, said Doba, while Fevaea'i Ahmu is a "maybe" for the Apple Cup.

WR Chris Jordan is considered probable, pending how his knee responds to practice. The senior, who started off the year with a bang, is attempting to come back from knee surgery.

Starting right guard Andy Roof is going to try and practice this week, similar to an attempt he made headed into the UCLA game, but Doba said the trainers feel he'll probably need at least one more week before he could return.

"He's a tough guy and he can endure pain but I'm not sure that ankle is ready," said Doba.

NOTABLE NOTE:
Langley didn't tell the coaching staff about his injury and tried to play through it. Doba said players need to tell the staff when they're injured, while at the same time he pointed out there's a fine line sometimes between pain and injury. "We always tell these guys they have to play through pain, the difference between pain and injury, and 'Be tough,' and I think he was just trying to be tough. (Tell) us, yes. That wasn't right. But he wanted to prove that he could do it, and you can't fault him for that."


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