Coug 'backer may be center stage

MYRON BECK WAS a starting safety for the Cougars the first three games. Now, he might be the Cougs' starting weakside linebacker this Saturday. That's not the only potential change in the WSU starting lineup for Portland State, nor even the only one at the linebacker position.

WLB Ken Dunn (ankle) and strongside linebacker Cory Evans (leg), both starters, are questionable for Portland State. If they can't go, Paul Wulff said on Thursday probable starters in their place would be Myron Beck and Hallston Higgins, respectively.

Beck is listed at 5-11, 202 pounds but looks a good 10 pounds heavier up close. He mostly played wide receiver in high school, and for a year in junior college, before moving to safety during this past spring at WSU. Now he's at linebacker and he might just be starting there on Saturday.

"I really think he's really got a chance to be a fine player there," Wulff said this week. "He's got all 10 games this year and two years after this. He's a great kid, he's a hard worker. He'll get stronger."

MEANWHILE, HIGGINS is the probable starter at the SAM linebacker position if Evans isn't ready to go, said Wulff on Thursday.

Higgins, a 5-11, 211-pound redshirt freshman out of Houston, has three tackles in the Cougs' first three games, seeing most of his time on special teams.

"It's what we have to do," said Wulff. "He's (Beck) going to know some (linebacker). Am I comfortable with it? No. But it's all we've got."

Wulff has said Xavier Hicks will start at one safety spot, the vacancy caused by Beck's move, a battle between Alfonso Jackson and Chima Nwachukwu, the latter having started the first three games, is ongoing -- as are the starting battles at left guard (Vaughn Lesuma, B.J. Guerra) and left tackle (Joe Eppele, Steven Ayers).

"They are ongoing at this point, haven't decided officially. (We'll) probably decide tomorrow officially, or the day of the game," said Wulff.

Wulff gave high marks to Eppele on his radio show back on Tuesday night after the week's first practice. He said on Thursday that with Jackson back next to Hicks this practice week, there has been more experience in the secondary and that's translated to good things on the practice field, particularly on first and second down situations.

"If you look at our stats on defense, a strong point of ours is when we face somebody in third and long or third and medium-long. We've played very good defense in that regard. Now we're facing a team that throws it enough that they're pretty good at in those situations. Our biggest issues have come on first and second down more so than on third," said Wulff.

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • Wulff said QB Kevin Lopina (wrist) has participated well this week. At the outset, it was unknown if Lopina would even throw on Tuesday but he did so without any apparent discomfort from the get-go and it has looked like business as usual. Lopina is expected to start on Saturday.

  • A Spokane newspaper reported that the Cougar players unity council, implemented by Wulff this year, has suspended for an indefinite period receiver Anthony Houston for an unspecified violation of team rules.

  • Wulff said Portland State MLB Andy Schantz is as good a linebacker as Washington State have yet faced this year.


  • Cougfan Top Stories