NIGHT SESSION: Brink, WRs, OL crank up volume

PULLMAN -- The Cougars moved to full-on tackling for the first time Friday night, and the biggest hit was dealt by one of young cats. But it was the offense who made the most noise. A receiver veteran was a human highlight reel. The o-line, outmatched this morning, showed improvement, and one of the starting candidates for a tackle spot drew cheers. Greg Peterson talks tight end, and much more.

Grabmaster Michael Bumpus, who missed the morning hitting because he lacked the NCAA required four sessions before practicing twice in one day after being held out the first day while paperwork red tape was cleared, made several dazzling receptions -- and moves after the catch -- in the night session.

Another senior wideout, Charles Dillon, made a gorgeous, diving snag of an Alex Brink pass. Frosh phenom Jeshua Anderson wowed everyone yet again, blowing past reserve cornerback Ryan Kensok to haul in a long touchdown bomb from Brink.

The much-maligned offensive line showed some improvement from the last two practices -- Thursday and Friday morning -- though Bill Doba and offensive line coach George Yarno made it clear much more progress is needed.

"They looked better," Doba said. "A lot of our zone blitzes and pressures, they were picking up. Maybe not (exactly) properly, but they were picking them up."

"We've got 21 days," said Yarno, eyeing the season opener Sept. 1 at Wisconsin. "We've got to get better."

Vaughn Lesuma, the frontrunner to start at the key left tackle spot, turned in some excellent work in one-on-one pass-rushing drills, his linemates cheering him on loudly with each success.

"He's getting better," Yarno said.

THE COUGS ENGAGED in a limited amount of full-bore tackling Friday night in anticipation of tomorrow's full scrimmage.

The best lick of Friday's abbreviated scrimmage at the end of the night may have been supplied by 5-foot-11, 189-pound cornerback Chima Nwachukwu.

Giving away 25 pounds, Nwachukwu nevertheless blasted senior running back Kevin McCall off his feet along the sidelines.

COUGAR TRIVIA: Name the five Cougar assistant coaches who played at WSU (answer below).

TIGHT ENDS OUTLOOK: Depth is routinely an issue at Washington State, but the Cougars are loaded with bodies -- big, talented ones -- at tight end. Indeed, apart from receiver, tight end is arguably the second deepest spot on the team.

"I like the group collectively," tight ends coach Greg Peterson said. "I think we've got quite a bit of depth at that position. Certainly at the top of the chart has got to be Jed Collins. Last year, he started quite a few games for us and played a lot of football. He's a very good football player, bottom line. He's a playmaker."

The 6-foot-2 Collins has beefed up to 250 pounds entering his senior campaign. Collins is backed up by another dependable pass target in 6-5, 244-pound junior Ben Woodard, No. 2 on the depth chart.

"He's improved in both the run and pass game," Peterson said.

Peterson said sophomore Tony Thompson (6-2, 240) and junior college transfer Devin Frischknecht (6-3, 256) "are running neck and neck" for the No. 3 spot. One key for both could end up being how productive they are in run and pass blocking over the course of the camp.

"Both can run and catch," Peterson said.

The 6-3, 256-pound Frischknecht moved from wide receiver to tight end for the first time last year in junior college.

"Devin probably gained 10-15 pounds in the offseason," Peterson said. "He looks like a tight end now."

Peterson said he also likes the improved size and potential of redshirt freshmen Trevor Mooney (6-6, 250) and Aaron Gehring (6-5, 237).

YOUTH WILL BE SERVED Saturday afternoon when Washington State holds their first full scrimmage of the fall. Many younger players will get much needed long looks by the staff, Doba said.

"We've got to get our 2s and 3s (top non-starters) in there and try to get an idea who can help us," Doba said after Friday night's practice.

Many of WSU's top reserves -- and perhaps a starter or two -- figure to be true or redshirt freshmen.

"We've got a lot of young players who have got to help us," Doba said.

The scrimmage is set for 2:30 p.m. at Martin Stadium. Fans are asked to enter through the tunnel on the northwest side, then sit on the south side. Admission is free.

INJURY REPORT: Daniel Blackledge, a highly regarded freshman receiver, is expected to miss up to a week after suffering a hamstring injury Friday morning.

Reserve quarterback Kevin Lopina (calf) also sat out Friday evening's practice after being injured in the morning. He'll join a number of others on the sidelines Saturday, including starting running back Dwight Tardy and heralded junior college safety Terry Mixon. Both have hamstring injuries.

-- Trivia answer: George Yarno - OL; Mike Walker - DTs; Steve Broussard - RBs; Mike Levenseller - OC, WRs; and Timm Rosenbach - QBs.

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