Football Notebook: Jeshua, depth test, more

PULLMAN-Seeing the No. 85 jersey on the practice field must have been a wonderful sight for any Cougar fan who watched last Saturday's offensive struggles -- sophomore wideout Jeshua Anderson ran a few routes with the first team Wednesday. The absence of the No. 92 jersey on the field, however, and a report stating that starting d-tackle Fevaea'i Ahmu has been suspended, may have dimmed the view.

Fevaea'i Ahmu turned himself in to the WSU Police Department on Wednesday after a warrant had been issued due to failure to appear in court on a minor-in-possession charge, according to a report in The Seattle Times. "Whenever a kid is arrested, he'll be suspended until we gather the facts," Wulff is quoted by the newspaper. "I don't really know the facts of the situation right now."

Ahmu turned 21 back in February.

The rotational players behind Ahmu and fellow starting DT Matt Eichelberger in the opener were Adam Hineline and Toby Turpin.


Jessy Sanchez, a Cougar rookie out of West LA College, was getting in some extra work on Wednesday in Ahmu's absence. Turpin was injured on Saturday (thumb) and is out for the Cal game. The Cougs saw success in certain situations during the opener when playing in their 3-3-5 alignment, with Tyree Toomer playing a key role.

As for Jeshua Anderson, sure, his snaps were limited, he was wearing a no-contact jersey and he won't be on the field this Saturday -- Wulff has said Anderson, Turpin and linebacker Jason Stripling, a key performer against Okie State, are out for Cal. But Anderson's presence on the field Wednesday gave the first team offense a spark they were missing last weekend.

"He's getting closer. I wish it was this weekend," said Wulff of Anderson, a prolific deep threat last season for WSU.

Wulff also stopped well short of saying Anderson could be ready the following week, when the Cougs travel to Baylor.

"We're just starting to get him time in practice. He's not even (fully) cleared, he's just cleared to do a few things, so we're taking steps. That's why he's wearing a yellow jersey," said Wulff.

ELSEWHERE AROUND THE gridiron on Wednesday, guard Brian Danaher sat out a second straight practice, but Wulff was optimistic on his availability.

"We're hoping tomorrow he'll practice," said Wulff.

Starting guard Andrew Roxas, Wulff added, is out, "probably 3-6's a grade two MCL sprain," following a practice injury where Roxas and a couple big bodies got tangled up.

Wulff and line coach Harold Etheridge have been working since Tuesday on different personnel packages, but Wulff said the left side combination of Vaughn Lesuma and Steven Ayers is a good one. Lesuma, the Cougs' starting left tackle since he arrived in Pullman last year, returns this week after a back injury and will join center Kenny Alfred and Micah Hannam as the most experienced hosses on the Cougar line.

"Kenny's definitely our leader, one of our best players on the football team, and he's doing a great job leading-so far-this football team on offense...we need him to play at the top of his game. We are depending on him to do that, and when he does, we're a better football team," said Wulff.

THE FILM ROOM, it was apparent, has become the second home of quarterback Gary Rogers, when he talked about the Cal defense and the type of 3-4 defense that Bears runs. Rogers said his goal for this season is simple.

"Play good each and every day...make my teammates better-that's the main thing...that's really what I look for," said Rogers. ..."I look for (my younger teammates) to get better each and every day."

The Cougs look to be without a number of starters and key reserves on Saturday due to injury. One of the few positives is that though experience is light in places, the Cougars seeing their roles increase figure to be in good shape. The Cougs' new no huddle offense has seen to that.

"I definitely feel like we were in really good shape. I think we were in a lot better shape than Oklahoma State was. Coming out, you could tell they were getting tired an we really weren't. It's been a learning curve, as far as this new offense, but I think it's only going to get better," said Rogers.

On the two consecutive quarterback sneaks on the goal line against Oklahoma State, the latter resulting in the touchdown, Rogers said Todd Sturdy and staff saw something in Oklahoma State's defense that would make the second call work.

"You've got to trust the coaches. They know what they're doing" he added.

THE COUGAR KICKING game continues to be an adventure, said Wulff. Nobody has yet been able to seize the starter's job, and all three -- Wade Penner, Nico Grasu and Patrick Rooney -- missed from varying distances on Wednesday.

Last week's starter, Penner, had a tough day on Wednesday. Though one of the misses was very close, he converted just one of four kicks in one drill. Wulff wasn't overly optimistic after practice.

"No one's won the job to be honest. No one has kicked good enough to win it. Hopefully someone will," said Wulff.

Kevin Norrell made a highlight reel-diving-one-hand grab in practice that drew cheers from his fellow receivers. Fellow receiver Brandon Gibson also turned in a leaping grab over corner Tyrone Justin.

The Village Pub in Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood is offering a special promotion this Saturday for readers who show up there to watch the WSU-Cal game. The first 25 Coug fans who walk in the door and say "I love" get $1 Pabst Blue Ribbons. In addition, the Pub is doing $5 Coug specials, which consist of CougIron Ice Tea, Pac 10 Punch, $5 washington apples, and $5 kobe beef sliders, black bean fiesta nachos, and one-pound of wings. Bring your friends. Bring your thirst. Bring your appetite. And bring that Spirit!

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