AFTERNOON REPORT: Coug wideouts flashy

PULLMAN -- Quarterbacks Kevin Lopina, Marshall Lobbestael and J.T. Levenseller all had their moments Wednesday afternoon, as did running backs Dwight Tardy, Logwone Mitz and James Montgomery. But don't expect Wulff to name starters at those positions any time soon.

"There's good competition," he said after the team's second practice of the day. "Each guy has a little bit better practice; it's kind of back and forth ... we're just trying to get some consistency here. Somebody that shows excellence every day.

"Right now, we don't have that yet. But that's why we're practicing."

Montgomery said the competition at running back is intense but friendly.

"We've all got a little bit of different running styles," the junior transfer from California said. "We all just feed off each other. There's no big, cutthroat competition. We're a team."

Tight end Aaron Gehring and wide receiver Jeffrey Solomon made flashy one-handed catches, and Daniel Blackledge hauled in a long touchdown pass from Lopina.

Still, the best catch of the day may have been a leaping interception by safety Xavier Hicks on a high pass over the middle by Lobbestael. Chima Nwachukwu, who starts at safety with Hicks, also intercepted Lobbestael.

Receivers Blackledge, Jeshua Anderson and Gino Simone showed great hands on some tough catches. Simone and defensive end Travis Long were the only true freshmen invited to the afternoon practice, which featured first- and second-unit players.

JUNIOR PUNTER Reid Forrest repeatedly launched long, high kicks. The starting lines engaged in some spirited battles, with each side dominating at times. And defensive tackle Jessy Sanchez recovered a fumble.

WIDE RECEIVER Jared Karstetter (bruised hip) and defensive end Jesse Feagin (cramps) were sidelined. Both came into camp listed as starters. Reserve offensive lineman Andrew Roxas remains out of practice due to illness.

THE COUGARS WILL split into two groups for practice for the second straight day Thursday (1's and 2's at 3 p.m., others at 9 a.m., just like Wednesday). Thursday is the first day in full pads. The first of five sets of two-a-day practices is set for Friday (9 a.m. and 3 p.m.). The first scrimmage will be part of Saturday's practice, which begins at 2:30 p.m.

THE SHORTEST (5-foot-6) and lightest (160 pounds) player on WSU's roster is freshman running back Leon Brooks, a walk on from St. John Bosco High in Bellflower, Calif.

The tallest Cougs both hail from British Columbia: Offensive tackles Joe Eppele of Vancouver and Tyson Pencer of Delta are both listed at 6-7 on the updated roster, though Eppele was listed at 6-8 earlier. Offensive lineman Sebastian Valenzuela, a 6-2 freshman, is the heaviest player at 342 pounds.

WSU sports information director Bill Stevens said he has no explanation for Eppele's "shrinking." Stevens said Eppele was actually measured at 6-7 ¼ by the training staff, but Stevens said he "rounds down" listed heights unless a player is within a half inch of the next inch on the height chart, in which case Stevens "rounds up."

NOTABLE:'s Bottom 10 college football rankings sometimes put a premium on shock value over honest opinion. Nonetheless, the Cougars will be pleased to learn they are not part of's preseason Bottom 10, although they did make the "Waiting List" with eight other teams.Two of WSU's opponents cracked the Bottom 10 -- No. 9 Southern Methodist and No. 10 Washington.'s No. 1 bottom feeder this season is North Texas. The Mean Green gave up a "major college" record of 571 points last season -- one more than WSU.

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