NIGHT MOVES: Offense comes alive

PULLMAN -- The Cougars donned full pads for Thursday's evening practice and it was full of intensity and aggression — the exact opposite of the morning session. Practice opened with cornerbacks and special teams coach David Walkosky providing the high volume and kick-starting the high-octane affair during kickoff return drills. Alex Brink then went to work, and was on target all night long.

Alex Brink threw some precision passes during drills with both the running backs and wide receivers. Freshman Jeshua Anderson also showed off his athleticism with a nifty over the back catch early on.

The Cougs later moved to 11-on-11 drills and the Cougar running game -- which had yet to truly break out this fall camp -- featured RB Dwight Tardy ripping off numerous flashy runs with the offensive line performing up to par. Senior Kevin McCall showed off his skills as well, with a nice run up the gut against the No. 2 defense.

Tempers flared, however, immediately after McCall's run.

An apparent face mask grab by safety Christian Bass on McCall led to numerous punches thrown by McCall, and Bass subsequently threw McCall to the ground. The episode was a brief one, as coaches quickly broke the two up, and both returned to the practice field shortly thereafter.

With order restored, the solid o-line play continued, typified by Kenny Alfred deftly picking up a blitz on one occasion.

OF THE RUNNING BACKS, coach Steve Broussard said, "I think we've always got room for improvement. I think some of the other guys need to step it up. Right now it's Tardy's position."

Sophomore Chris Ivory, held out of late with sore ribs, stands as the No. 2 running back on the depth chart, followed by freshman Marcus Richmond and McCall. Logwone Mitz is also in the mix.

"He definitely has the skills to be a running back," Broussard said of Mitz. "I think he needs to get stronger."

Broussard was also quick to point out Mitz still needs to work on his pass protection skills. The 6-foot 228 pound bruiser has been "wide-eyed" in pass protection drills this fall, according to Broussard.

ALONG WITH THE stellar running attack on Thursday night, the passing game looked sharp as well. Senior Michael Bumpus stretched out for a nice grab of an Alex Brink pass.

Senior tight end Jed Collins also went airborne to reel in a throw from Brink shortly after Bumpus' catch. Bumpus later drew praise from the entire offense after he put a number of jukes on the No. 2 secondary.

ON THE DEFENSIVE side of the ball, senior Ropati Pitoitua again showed off his athletic skills by batting down a pass thrown by Alex Brink. A'i Ahmu Fevaea'i Ahmu also busted through the line to record a sack on Brink.

Freshman safety Eric Block got into the mix with a nice break-up of a pass to Bumpus from junior quarterback Gary Rogers.

Washington State will practice once on Friday, a 2:30 pm session, before returning to the field on Saturday with a short morning affair, followed by the third and final scrimmage of the fall at 7:30 pm.

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