First hoss off bench: from grayshirt to gamer

THE ORIGINAL PLAN for offensive lineman Andrew Roxas was to grayshirt and arrive at Washington State this January. Things have a funny way of working out, though, and Bill Doba says he's thankful they did. Roxas is the Cougs' first hoss off the bench. Meanwhile, there's a strange injury to report. It involves hunting, but isn't the most notable Field & Stream moment Doba has seen on the Palouse.

Roxas isn't tall for an o-lineman, listed at 6-1 and 295 pounds. But what he lacks in height he more than makes up for in balance and toughness, said Doba.

Roxas made an immediate impression at the Cougs' summer youth camp in June of '06. His performance, said the Cougar head man, was reminiscent of Kenny Alfred's.

"He's a kid that came to our camp, " said Doba. "...Kenny Alfred was probably one of the most impressive kids I've seen at our camp. In height, weight and all that stuff, he wasn't, but he got on somebody and he just drove them back, pancaked them and everything else. And Roxas was the same way.

"It's like Kenny Alfred. Kenny Alfred has an 18 (shoe size) and he plants that foot in the ground, it takes a man and three boys to move him."

Doba said some of what sets Roxas apart is good balance -- it's tougher to move him when he gets set. And then there's the trait all good linemen share, that he's just "a tough kid." Still, Doba said the staff first thought he could benefit more from a year of working out and getting more physically mature.

"And then we lost a couple kids in recruiting and one guy didn't make grades and we had room, we said at least we know he's a tough kid so let's bring him in. And thank God we did. He's playing a lot and he'll probably play if anything happens to anyone else on the line -- he's the next guy to go in," said Doba.

DOBA LISTED the two-deeps on Thursday for UCLA, noting few changes on the offensive line or elsewhere, with Vaughn Lesuma and Joe Eppele at left tackle, Bobby Byrd and Roxas at left guard, Kenny Alfred and Chris Prummer at center, Dan Rowlands and Steven Ayers at right guard, and Micah Hannam and Reed Lesuma at right guard.

Doba had said Hannam was iffy at the beginning of the week after injuring a leg at Oregon the week prior but after he was able to practice, now looks good to go. Brandon Gibson looks to be back in the lineup Saturday, but safety Alfonso Jackson (concussion) will be a game time decision. Xavier Hicks looks to start in his place, backed up by Christian Bass.

At running back, Kevin McCall slides into the backup spot for Chris Ivory (concussion) behind starter Dwight Tardy.

"Ivory has not been cleared yet," said Doba.

Backup MLB Chris Baltzer is "kinda questionable", said Doba. "...We'll have to see how everything goes between now and then, I hope nobody gets sick."

LINEBACKER AND avid outdoorsman Brady Emmons, listed behind starting SLB Cory Evans, is coming off an unusual injury, said Doba. Over the bye week, Emmons was cleaning a deer but the knife slipped and he ended up cutting his leg. He missed a few practices this week but Doba said he was able to practice yesterday.

"He's taking a lot of ribbing over it, like 'That's what you get for shooting Bambi,'" said Doba.

One for the books to be sure, but as far as hunting stories and Cougar Football go, it takes a backseat compared to another Doba witnessed. It's also a testament to how much times have changed.

Linebacker Anthony McClanahan (1990-93) walked into the locker room one day -- with a shotgun and a pheasant he had just bagged.

"A lot of our kids from the inner city saw him running in there with that gun and they were ready to evacuate," said Doba.

Doba asked him where he got the bird and McClanahan told him.

In Doba's backyard.

"I said, 'You can't hunt in the city limits, that's against the law,'" said Doba. McClanahan dutifully noted the lack of law enforcement present at the time. "In my backyard, there was a field at that time. Now there's a school and a whole bunch of (other stuff)."

  • Brandon Breazell was at one time a verbal commitment to the Cougs, Doba said, but ended up switching his commitment to UCLA late. "...His mother said, 'That's a lot closer to home than Pullman,' so we lost him. He's a good kid," said Doba.

  • Due to temporary electrical issues, the men's basketball intrasquad scrimmage scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 27 has been moved from Beasley Coliseum to Bohler Gym. The scrimmage runs from noon to 2 p.m. and fans are invited to take in some Cougar Hoops before the football game at 3:30 against UCLA>

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