EVENING SESSION: Doba on D; injury news

PULLMAN--Bill Doba loves to talk football almost as much as he loves to coach it. And when Doba gets to coach and talk defense, well, life doesn't get a whole lot better for Washington State's head man. Doba, depth chart in hand, sat down prior to Sunday night's practice and provided a position-by-position analysis of the Cougar D. Also, some injury news at 'backer, observations, plus much more.

Also the Cougs' defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, Doba provided a revealing look into the Cougar D.

Doba on defensive end: "Matt Mullennix is just a worker -- bang, bang, bang! He's a solid kid. Just a workaholic. Mike Graise was doing well. He's got a slight shoulder separation. He's going to miss a little time, not much. (Kevin) Kooyman is tough. He didn't have a great scrimmage; he might be a little nicked up. (Jesse) Feagin just needs some work. He needs to get in a little better shape. We'll get (Lance) Broadus back, (shoulder), maybe for Wisconsin."

Doba on defensive tackles: "(Aaron) Johnson and (Ropati) Pitoitua are having a great camp. A'I Ahmu, if he can stay healthy, is a great ‘change of pace.' You've got those two big guys (6-7 Johnson and 6-8 Pitoitua), then you show that little stump (the 6-1 Ahmu), and they can't hit him. (Matt) Eichelberger is much improved."

Doba on linebacker: "Greg Trent is solid. (Cory) Evans is a little nicked up, but he's improving his pass drops and playing better. (Andy) Mattingly is having a good fall…(Alex) Hamill has done a nice job. He's a little beat up with shin splints and he's having trouble moving. (Kendrick) Dunn has good speed."

Doba on safety: Senior co-captain Husain Abdullah is "having a great camp. (Xavier) Hicks is having a good camp. (Alfonso) Jackson had a good scrimmage. Those three look pretty good. (Christian) Bass has been OK. He just hasn't made many plays. (Terry) Mixon is injured. (Eric) Block and (Deon) Ford (true freshmen) are young kids who need work."

Doba on cornerbacks: "(Markus) Dawes has been hard to evaluate because he's hurt. (Ryan) Kensok has been gone for two days because of a funeral. (Chima) Nwachukwu (true freshman) looks like he's going to be able to help us. Brian Williams played better in the scrimmage…(Devin) Giles has probably got the most ability talent-wise. He just has to learn the system."

Doba also shared thoughts on some of the special teams.

Doba on punt return: Senior Michael Bumpus, 86 yards shy of Kitrick Taylor's school record of 781 career punt return yards, is this fall camp doing, "pretty good. (Charles) Dillon is doing a good job, too."

Doba on punter: Returning starter Darryl Blunt and much-improved redshirt freshman Reid Forrest -- "Both of them are doing great."

COUGAR TRIVIA: Who did Washington State play in the most lopsided game in school history? (answer below).

DAMN THAT BUG!: Doba was very pleased with the "great enthusiasm" on Sunday night but was not happy when Mattingly went down late in a limited-contact scrimmage with an apparent sprained ankle. The severity was unknown but the Cougs were taking no chances with the bourgeoning Spokane star, with Mattingly leaving the field on crutches and with ice wrapped around his right ankle.

"I don't like it," Doba said. "He's a tough (player). I don't like seeing that kid on the ground."

Mattingly is a potential starter at outside linebacker along with Dunn, who sat out the evening session with a neck strain suffered Saturday. More on Mattingly's injury and the rest of the bumps and bruises is expected later this week, with the Cougs' first off day of the fall camp coming on Monday.

The offensive line continued to make strides, though the defense still applied too much pressure to the quarterbacks at times.

Giles showed off his great speed (10.66 in the 100-m in 2006) in breaking up a long bomb to Greg Walker, and Abdullah made two nice plays to break up passes.

DOT-DOT-DOT: Thoughts and observations from Cougar coaches and/or this correspondent:

Determining WSU's potential for success may not be a whole lot more complicated than figuring out whether the greener-than-grass offensive tackles and cornerbacks can handle the Pac-10.

The coaching staff has been energized by new blood, the need to teach more with so many new players and the realization that a fourth straight season without a bowl game could make job security dicey.

True freshmen Jeshua Anderson, a blurry-fast wide receiver and kick returner, and Nwachukwu, a hard-working cornerback, look destined for stardom. Maybe not this year, but soon.

WSU's special teams will improve through the sheer will and determination of fiery new assistant coach Dave Walkosky alone. Using more starters and devoting more practice time to special teams also will help.

You'd have to search high and low and you still would be hard pressed to find more personable young men than Cougar players like Husain Abdullah, Vaughn Lesuma and Reed Lesuma, Kenny Alfred, Jed Collins and Romeen Abdollmohammadi.

FOCUS ON ACADEMICS FOR WALK-ON: Also absent from practice was walk-on defensive tackle Adam Hineline. Doba has oft praised Hineline and did so again Sunday for "all his hard work and effort" for three years, but Hineline phoned Doba on Sunday afternoon to inform the coach he has decided to focus on academics after determining that he was unlikely to see much playing time.

D-tackle was a concern from a health standpoint with the surgeries to AJ and A' I coming into fall camp but Pitoitua, a resurgent Johnson, Ahmu and Eichelberger have all looked spry, not to mention sharp.

The Cougars take Monday off, practice Tuesday morning and night, then scrimmage Wednesday. The scrimmage has been moved up an hour to 1:30 p.m.

-- Trivia answer: WSU defeated Spokane's Blair Business College 86-0 in 1907. Of a more recent vintage, some of the wins over the last 10 years where Washington State scored at least 50 points include Boise State (58-0), Cal (51-20) and Oregon (55-16).


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