Could be more Special K in L.A.

WASHINGTON STATE HAS not in 2007 endured the wholesale early season injuries that have beset Cougar teams of recent years. But that doesn't mean there are no walking wounded among the crimson and gray. D-line coach Mike Walker said Wednesday one of the young cats could get his first collegiate start at one of the defensive spots up front.

True sophomore Kevin Kooyman looks to be in line for increased playing time this week when Washington State takes on top ranked Southern Cal. Walker said the defensive end will probably get the start opposite Matt Mullennix.

Earlier in the week, Doba indicated senior Lance Broadus was rounding into form after missing all of fall camp and the season opener, and would probably start in place of Mike Graise, who is himself nursing a finger injury.

But it has been Kooyman who has been working with the No. 1 defense this week, Broadus with the twos. Graise has seen limited action on the practice field. Junior Jesse Feagin, who Doba singled out earlier this week as starting to show some good things coming off the edge, worked with the No. 2 defense as well.

All three will travel and play, Walker said. Broadus, is still working into playing shape and Kooyman could fill his spot until that happens.

THE FIVE WHO sat out Tuesday's session with a variety of bumps and bruises -- wide receiver Michael Bumpus, running back Dwight Tardy, offensive tackle Micah Hannam, defensive end Mike Graise and cornerback Brian Williams -- returned to the practice field on Wednesday.

The Cougs held a helmets-only session under cooler skies than are expected Saturday when they take on the No.1 ranked USC Trojans in Los Angeles.

Defensive tackle Matt Eichelberger, however, watched from the sidelines. Eichelberger sprained his knee in Tuesday's session and appears unlikely to travel with the team this weekend, Walker said.

If Ike doesn't go, the Cougs' backup situation would feature junior Fevaea'i Ahmu and then freshman Toby Turpin in Eichelberger's spot, another youngster who received praise from Bill Doba on Monday. True freshman B.J. Guerra remains on "red alert" were additional attrition at tackle to occur.

USC BRINGS into Saturday a potent offense that carries with it a plethora of running backs designed to give a defense fits. Defending the run will be a difficult task for the Cougar defense, said Walker.

"We're gonna have to fill the holes," Walker said.

Stafon Johnson, C.J. Gable and Chauncey Washington all figure to see plenty of snaps and will no doubt challenge the WSU defense.

Seven USC backs have carried the ball three times or more this season while WSU has four running backs with carries.

PRACTICE NOTES:
  • Turning in the plays-of-the-day during Wednesday's session were wide receivers Brandon Gibson and Jeshua Anderson. Both made highlight reel catches, drawing loud praises from just about everybody on or near the practice field. Gibson made a particularly spectacular reception -- a one-handed grab in the back of the end zone on a bullet thrown by Alex Brink.

  • Jeshua Anderson looks to have just about cemented his spot as the fourth wide receiver, first off the bench. He has been spending more and more time working with the No. 1 offense.


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