Montgomery throws scare; Long stars on D

PULLMAN -- Running back James Montgomery, locked in a battle for a starting nod, threw a scare into the Cougar Nation in WSU's second practice Thursday when he went high for a Marshall Lobbestael pass, took a big hit and then came down hard on his right leg.

Montgomery was taken off the field and remained on the ground for a few minutes before standing with some assistance. He attempted to lightly jog and then went to the ground to stretch.

An ice bag was wrapped around his right knee and Montgomery sat out the last hour of practice. But he was all smiles at the end of the session and was walking sans ice bag, suggesting the injury isn't serious.

BACK ON THE FIELD, the Cougar defense stepped up its game, especially in the passing game, after a less-than-inspiring morning workout. Unlike the earlier practice, the D surrendered no long plays in the afternoon's drills.

The defense also produced the play of the day in 7-on-7 action when corner Daniel Simmons read Lobbestael's eyes and stepped in front of a pass intended for Collin Huemmer and picked it off. Heummer, by the way, has shown off consistently soft hands in steady work with the 2's.

"Defensively there was some adversity that we probably didn't respond to and like I told them in between practices that's the good thing about two-a-days is you got 30 minutes to rectify it and I think they did this afternoon," said co-defensive coordinator Jody Sears.

"There was some good leadership in the second practice and they responded to it real well, I was real happy with the way they responded this afternoon," he added.

During the 11-on-11 drills, true freshman Travis Long of Spokane was receiving some work with the 1's and looked impressive getting to the quarterback. He forced Lobbestael and Kevin Lopina into several forced passes or throwaways.

"He's got a lot of maturity to handle this pace, and a lot of young first-year players don't have that maturity and he's shown that which gives us lot more reason to put him in a position to play this year," said Wulff.

INTENSITY, A CORNERSTONE of the Cougars' fall camp, was on display again Thursday afternoon. After a Jeff Tuel completion to Nick Proen, defensive lineman Jesse Feagin and offensive lineman Brian Danaher got into a heated shoving match that wound up on the ground with teammates pulling the players apart.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER Andy Mattingly was doing some light jogging earlier in the morning and Sears said he is healthy, but the team wants to be cautious in bringing him back.

"He's missed the last couple of days at practice more of a preventative thing because he's a little sore," said Sears. "He's a senior we want to make sure we get him to the race but he will be fine."

NOTABLE NOTES:

  • Freshmen receiver Gino Simone continued to look sharp with the 1's. On one play he dove to pull in a Lopina pass.

  • The Cougars have added a walk-on placekicker: Blake Dunn of Fresno. See the CF.C front page for the complete story.

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