Bruiser talks RBs, Anderson has big practice

PULLMAN -- With Alex Brink throwing for more than 100 passes over the last two weeks, the Cougar ground attack, impressive early in the season, has slowed to a crawl. The slide from averaging nearly 170 yards per game the first three weeks to just 71 over the last three, is all about tailoring your offense to what the defense is doing, WSU running backs coach Steve Broussard said Tuesday.

The Cougars amassed a collective 505 rushing yards against Wisconsin, Idaho and San Diego State, but have gained only 214 against USC, Arizona and Arizona State.

"It's just the way the game goes sometimes," Broussard said. "It's not play-calling, it's just how the game goes and the flow of how things are going."

Broussard said the running game has other critical assignments when pass plays are called. He sees the group's carries as but one piece in the overall job of running and pass-blocking.

"If we have to pass-block 50 times, then we've got to do our job and pass-block 50 times," Broussard said. "If we've got to run the ball, it's just how the game goes sometimes. You can't worry about that."

The rushing attack has been a two-man show with sophomores Dwight Tardy — who averaged nearly 100 yards his first three games —and Chris Ivory. Ivory sat out Tuesday's practice with a slight concussion, and his status for Saturday's game at Oregon is day-to-day, according to Broussard.

At receiver, the health status of Brandon Gibson (heel) and Charles Dillon (shoulder) is up in the air for this weekend as well. Dillon did participate in practice Tuesday, however, donning a yellow no-contact jersey. Gibson remained in his protective boot, but watched the entire practice.

If Dillon and Gibson are unable to play on Saturday, freshman Jeshua Anderson — who had a couple key catches against Arizona State — and junior Benny Ward will likely start against the Ducks. Anderson had a big practice on Tuesday, hauling in a long pass from Alex Brink and two from backup QB Gary Rogers. Freshman Daniel Blackledge also figures in the mix.

  • Returning to the practice field were two defensive starters -- junior linebacker Kendrick Dunn and junior safety Alfonso Jackson. Dunn's full participation on Tuesday coming off a hamstring strain was a mild surprise as it once appeared he might not see the practice field this soon. Jackson wore a yellow no-contact jersey Tuesday, having suffered a concussion against Arizona.

  • Linebacker Alex Hamill returned to the practice field after being out for much of the season with a foot injury. Defensive tackle Matt Eichelberger returned as well, recovered from a knee sprain.

  • Sitting out practice Tuesday was senior linebacker Chris Baltzer and freshman safety Eric Block.

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