News, Notes and Thursday Quotes from Doba

THE COUGS ARE GETTING healthy, with only a pair of notables listed as either questionable or a game-time decision for Saturday in Eugene. And with the return of players who sat out last week, lineup changes are in the offing when the heavy underdog Cougs battle No. 8 Oregon. A change may also be coming for WSU fans in the way some injury information is disseminated, says Bill Doba.

Receiver Brandon Gibson (heel bruise) will travel with the team and be a game-time decision, said Doba.

"I've had a heel hurts," said Doba, noting that it's especially painful when going up on your toes.

Fellow receiver Charles Dillon (shoulder) is ready to play, said Doba.

On defense, safety Alfonso Jackson and linebacker Ken Dunn will back in action after missing the Arizona State game. Defensive end Kevin Kooyman also returns after sitting out last week.

Doba, who often downplays the significance of starting at certain positions when heavy rotations are the order of the day, said four players should get plenty of turns on Saturday at linebacker. Andy Mattingly had a strong first start in WSU's blitz-oriented attack against ASU as Dunn sat last week out with a hammy, but the Cougs are not expected to blitz as much against the Ducks' spread option offense and mobile QB Dennis Dixon.

"Cory Evans, Greg Trent, Dunn and Mattingly. Dunn will start and Mattingly will roll in and out of there so we've got four linebackers that we can switch in and out," said Doba.

Offensively, backup running back Chris Ivory might not make the trip as he continues to recover from a slight concussion. Behind starter Dwight Tardy are Kevin McCall and Marcus Richmond, and Logwone Mitz will also make the trip with Doba saying he hopes he wouldn't have to use the Redmond power runner, thereby preserving his redshirt.

DOBA INDICATED injury information could be less forthcoming for the rest of the season. The Wazzu staff scours all the media sources during the week on the upcoming opponent and prepares accordingly. But Washington State, said Doba, seems to be giving out more information to their opponents than what they're reading in return.

Doba cited Arizona State and Wisconsin as examples where starting personnel the Cougs prepared for in practice were not mentioned during the week by the media as even questionable, yet did not play.

"So I don't know how much we should talk about injuries or put in the paper," said Doba.

  • Marshall Lobbestael will travel to Eugene, with Doba saying he wants his freshman QB to take in a road game experience, and to be on the sidelines in a hostile environment. Cole Morgan is the No. 3 QB for Oregon behind backup Gary Rogers and starter Alex Brink. Kevin Lopina, recently returned from a torn calf muscle, is likely to dress for the Cougars' next home game and to travel to Cal.

  • Doba said Dixon and Jonathan Stewart are the best QB-RB combination the Cougs have faced so far this season, and also lauded Jeremiah Johnson's lateral movement.

  • Doba said the Cougar defense may have worn down a little bit in the fourth quarter against ASU but that it's also "a mental thing." Doba gathered the defense together with a timeout on the second to last ASU drive and the defense responded, not allowing another first down and pushing the Sun Devils back with a sack. "And that always kind of burns me; 'Well, the defense got worn down.' Well, they can keep from getting worn down by stopping 'em and getting the heck off the field, number one. And I think the offensive guys are playing the same amount of plays, don't they get tired? But (yes), a defensive lineman has to run a little bit more than an offensive lineman."

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