Doba said after practice what stood out most to him was the high intensity on the field, the WSU head man clearly enamored with the day's spirited play. It wasn't full contact, there was no hitting -- that won't come until Thursday. But the players seemed more than eager to start the hitting right now.
The general rule of thumb in a fall camp is for the defense to be ahead of the offense, in part because the O takes a little more time to find their rhythm. And that certainly held true out on the Palouse Tuesday, with the defense carrying the day -- on more than one occasion, the quarterbacks were hurried.
FS Husain Abdullah nabbed an interception, his second in as many days, on a deep ball and SS Christian Bass closed fast to deflect away a would-be completion. The attitude that typified the practice was best found in a two play sequence.
There was a little extracurricular pushing and shoving after a Dwight Tardy run ended when the running back and defense met at a crossroads. The following snap, LB Greg Trent wasn't about to give an inch, and let Tardy know he was there. The Cougar defense, along with the defensive sideline, went bananas. Tardy and the offense, however, simply shrugged and went back to work.
On offense, wide receivers Daniel Blackledge and Jeshua Anderson both came in for praise from Doba for the second day in a row. It's not full contact yet and one who reads too much into the play at this early stage does so at his peril. Plus, the receivers unit is the deepest position on the team. But both rookies, it is safe to say, have impressed and are making strong cases here in the early going.
Tight end Jed Collins turned in a nice grab and run on a Brink pass late in the session.
COUGAR TRIVIA: Who holds the WSU record for passing yards in one game?
RUGGED SCHEDULE: Washington State's slate is regarded as one of the toughest in the country, and for good reason.
Not only do the Cougars open the season at No. 7 Wisconsin on Sept. 1, but they make their Pac-10 debut at No. 1 USC on Sept. 22. Other tests await with No. 12 California and No. 17 UCLA in the USA Today Top 25 coaches poll, and the Cougars travel to Cal on Nov. 3, one week after UCLA comes to Pullman.
Doba, however, doesn't sound intimidated about opening at powerful Wisconsin.
"It's a great challenge going to Wisconsin," the Cougar coach said. "It's a great experience for our alums. Hopefully, it will be a great experience for the kids."
TICKET UPDATE: As of Aug. 6, ticket sales for the Cougar Gridiron Classic vs. SDSU at Qwest Field in Seattle stood at 17,157. Compared to last year's pace for Baylor at this time, 2007 ticket sales for the game are 1,192 ahead. Season ticket sales continue to run within 1/2 of 1 percent of the pace at this time last year. WSU's ticket allotment for Wisconsin has been sold out for weeks.
For season tickets and for tickets to WSU's Cougar Gridiron Classic, call 1-800-GO-COUGS or go online at wsucougars.com. Prices range from $7 to $50 for the Sept. 8 game.
-- Trivia answer: Alex Brink, (515 passing yards at Oregon State in 2005).