MORNING SESSION: Cougs back on the move

PULLMAN -- Washington State players were back on the move at Tuesday's first practice after a day off on Monday. Coach Bill Doba spoke openly after the session about, among other things, an interesting change of pace. Action on the field included a receiving veteran turning in the catch of the day and one of the starting 'backers crashing the backfield so fast he almost could have taken the snap.

OUT ON THE EDGE: Noteworthy in the morning practice, which consisted largely of work on the short passing game, was some duty at defensive end for starting defensive tackle Ropati Pitoitua.

The 6-foot-8 Pitoitua batted down passes on two consecutive plays.

Doba talked openly on the rationale.

"Let's try to get our 11 best players for that situation (run or pass) -- if we guess right -- on the field," Doba said. "In the run game, to have (run-stuffing defensive tackle) A'i Ahmu on the bench doesn't make sense."

MEANWHILE, THE SESSION saw the players not always moving as rapidly as the coaches wanted, and some were not always on the field or at their usual position, but they were moving all the same. Doba also noted this year's squad appears to like the night life, so to speak.

"We gave them a day off, and we had a great time yesterday," Doba said. "We had a great team building session, and they just came out a little sluggish. We'll just try to pick it up. They'll be all right. They'll be good tonight. They like to practice at night for some reason."

THE CATCH OF the day was turned in by grabmaster Michael Bumpus during no-tackle, 11-on-11 play. The senior receiver made a full-length dive, pulling in a fingertips grab over the middle.

Senior cornerbacks Markus Dawes (shoulder) and Ryan Kensok (funeral) were back in uniform Tuesday, though Dawes still had to avoid contact. Starting running back Dwight Tardy (hamstring) said he'll return tonight.

Kensok made a great break on the ball to pick off a pass by Cole Morgan over the middle. Linebacker and co-captain Greg Trent, continuing to be much more vocal in the defensive huddle this year, caught the offensive line napping on a blitz and "sacked" Gary Rogers about one millisecond after the ball was snapped.

True freshman Marshall Lobbestael, battling Morgan for the No. 3 quarterback job with Kevin Lopina (calf) sidelined, made a very un-freshman-like decision by ignoring heavy pressure to dump the ball off underneath to tight end Jed Collins for a nice gain.

A GROWING injury list saw new names added to the ledger, although they appear to all be of the temporary/bumps and bruises category. Star wide receiver Brandon Gibson and freshman defensive back Deon Ford didn't finish practice. Scroll down for the injury release from WSU SID that was added to this article late Tuesday afternoon.

Missing practice altogether were two other additions to the injury list -- wide receiver Keith Rosenberg and offensive tackle Reed Lesuma.

Also, Doba said the sprained ankle of starting linebacker candidate Andy Mattingly, who was injured Sunday night, is expected to sideline him for a week to 10 days.

"The other guys who are going to play are just a day or two," Doba said. The coach termed the injury situation "not too bad. At this time last year, we had just as many or more."

Bill Doba, head coach, showing little concern about WSU having no verbal commitments from 2008 recruits: "We didn't have any last year at this time, either -- well, we had one -- and we had the best class (since he took over as head coach in 2003) we've ever had."

George Yarno, offensive line coach, on inexperienced tackles Vaughn and Reed Lesuma: "They're so raw, they don't know if the ball is inflated or stuffed."

Timm Rosenbach, quarterbacks coach, on Alex Brink being one of three college players listed as "underappreciated" by The Sporting News magazine: "I'd agree with it totally. You look at what he's done since he's been here. You know why that is (Brink is underappreciated) -- it's the win-loss record. But the team wins games and loses games."

Romeen Abdollmohammadi, WSU's top place-kicker, hoping to land a scholarship like injured backup kicker Loren Langley: "I just take out student loans like everybody else."

Dave Walkosky, cornerbacks coach and special teams guru, explaining his philosophy on special teams: "A guard misses a block on first down -- OK, you've got second down. A tackle misses a block on second down, you've got third down. Well, on special teams, you've got one down to be perfect -- you don't get a second down."

INJURY UPDATE, released late Tuesday afternoon from Washington State SID:
AUG. 14: Out Indefinitely – Daniel Blackledge (hamstring strain), Deon Ford (ankle sprain), Kevin Freitag (knee sprain), Anthony Houston (wrist surgery/hamstring strain), Loren Langley (quad strain), Kevin Lopina (torn calf muscle), Andy Mattingly (ankle sprain), Jacob McKinney (back muscle strain), Terry Mixon (hamstring strain), Keith Rosenberg (groin strain), Kameron Thurmond (hand fracture). No Practice – Chris Baltzer (knee sprain), Devin Frischknecht (knee bursitis), Brandon Gibson (knee injury), Reed Lesuma (knee sprain), Tony Thompson (knee injury). Limited – Lance Broadus (shoulder surgery), Markus Dawes (shoulder sprain), Michael Graise (shoulder sprain), Dwight Tardy (hamstring strain), Tanner Way (hamstring strain).

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