Preparations -- and a departure

PULLMAN -- Alex Brink was on target all afternoon long Wednesday and Alfonso Jackson turned in the play of the day, as the Cougs continued preparations for Saturday's game with San Diego State at Qwest Field. Off the field, a startling development, as highly touted incoming junior college safety Terry Mixon has apparently donned the crimson and gray for the last time and asked to transfer.

A day after leaving practice early, Terry Mixon did not return to the practice field Wednesday. The safety had been sidelined virtually all fall by a hamstring injury he suffered at the beginning of camp. But Mixon, listed at 6-2, 231-pounds, has now reportedly called it quits at WSU.

The Spokesman-Review reported on a blog Wednesday night that Mixon has been granted his release and quoted coach Bill Doba as saying; "He asked for his release because he wants to transfer. I think he was frustrated."

The blog went on to say Mixon, due to offseason surgery on his foot, arrived "way too heavy" and fell further behind after incurring his injury.

Alfonso Jackson had earned the starting strong safety job coming out of fall camp and there appeared little chance Mixon, who only returned to full contact yesterday, would have been ready to start Saturday, let alone beat out Jackson.

Jackson, out of national champion Blinn College, had the play of the day Wednesday when he stole the ball from Ben Woodard after the tight end gathered in an Alex Brink pass.

Still, Mixon's pending departure has to be a disappointment to Cougar fans.

Mixon was a 5-star recruit who overcame athletic hurdles this summer, working late into July to earn his AA degree. He was expected to be among the most ready of the incoming recruits to contribute immediately this season. Instead, the injury bug hit early in fall camp and he barely got in any practice time before deciding to depart.

ON THE FIELD, meanwhile, Brink hooked up with tight end Jed Collins on a number of plays and with pin-point accuracy.

Brink is a fifth year senior and much is expected of a experienced, Pac-10 senior quarterback. But Wednesday's practice outing by the 6-3, 215-pound QB was striking.

HEADING INTO Saturday's game against the Aztecs, the Cougs are working on the problems that plagued the secondary last week at Wisconsin.

The Cougars gave up 304 total passing yards against the Badgers, allowing quarterback Tyler Donovan virtually unfettered access in tossing three touchdowns. This week, the secondary has worked on their coverage packages with a little more attention paid to their entire assignments.

"It wasn't so much blown assignments in the situation but not carry out the details of the assignment," corners coach Dave Walkosky said. "The details of every position need to be carried out."

The Cougs are starting two newcomers at the cornerback position in true freshman Chima Nwachukwu and true sophomore Devin Giles. Senior Ryan Kensok also saw a considerable amount of time subbing in for Nwachukwu against Wisconsin. Nwachukwu sat out practice yesterday to rest his strained quad but was back on the field Wednesday with the No. 1 defense.

WALKOSKY, DESPITE THE struggles against Wisconsin, is still very confident in his young secondary. He noted the intensity of the game last week was possibly more than his players were anticipating.

Walkosky also commented on the special teams' play after consistently giving Wisconsin the field position advantage. Walkosky was not pleased and the team needs to get better.

"We have one play to be perfect," Walkosky said.

NOTABLE NOTE:

- True freshman Steven Ayers saw time at right tackle with the No. 1 offense. Ayers was in place of red shirt freshman Micah Hannam. Hannam remains the starter.


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