DAY 15: Wulff heated after practice

PULLMAN -- After Monday off, the Cougars returned to Martin Stadium for practice this afternoon and when it was all said and done, Paul Wulff said it was one of the most disappointing practices he's had with the Cougs. Two key cogs returned to the fold, however, we take a closer look at the CB depth chart and could the Cougs go back to the days of two QB's, a la Clete Casper and Ricky Turner?

How disappointed, and downright steamed, was Paul Wulff with the way the Cougs practiced? He prematurely ended the scrimmage at the end and had the whole team run 10 yard gassers.

"It was uncharacteristic on how we practiced and there's no excuse for it," said a heated Wulff. "It was a bad practice, I really don't know why."

Redshirt senior QB Kevin Lopina said that the Cougs were not prepared, specifically from a mental standpoint.

"We took a step back today, it wasn't a practice that we want to remember," said Lopina. "We had half the team focused and half the team not and it's a team game. When you only have half the people trying it's not going to work out well."

It will be interesting to see if the Cougs come out with their hair on fire tomorrow. If not, Wulff well might.

WITH CLASSES BEGINNING yesterday, some new walk-on faces on the football field, including quarterback Zach Gavin, and running back Remy Martin.

At the start of fall camp, only 105 players allowed to participate in practices which limits the number of walk-ons. However, once classes start, rosters are allowed to expand.

FRESHMAN SAFETY Jamal Atofau, arrested early Monday morning for a charge of minor exhibiting, has returned from suspension and practiced with the team today.

"We got the details ironed out," said Wulff.

Fellow freshman linebacker Andre Barrington (Clearinghouse paperwork) has been cleared to suit up and is ready to come back and practice with the team. It was announced earlier today by assistant Chris Ball that Barrington will redshirt this season.

MEANWHILE, ON THE gridiron, the defense had the offense's number during the scrimmaging portion. And there was a scary moment late during 11-on-11's.

While the 2's on offense went against the 1's on defense, receiver Randy Johnson and cornerback Brandon Jones collided and both fell to the ground. Jones took the bigger part of the hit and remained on the turf for around 30 seconds before limping off the field and receiving treatment on his right ankle by the trainers.

The early diagnosis was a sprained ankle and although the injury to Jones did not look to be serious, co-defensive coordinator Jody Sears said he is comfortable with his second team unit. Indeed, Chris Ball said earlier today Nolan Washington, who came into camp as a potential contributor as a true frosh, will redshirt this season.

Sears said there are plenty of guys ready to back the 1's.

"At the corner spot, () Aire Justin has been going with the 2's along with Terrance Hayward and Anthony Houston -- Anthony's a converted wide-out and has been doing a good job with the 2's. I've been pleased with his progress," said Sears.

GOOD NEWS for the Cougars today -- strongside linebacker Andy Mattingly (groin) returned to fully participate in practice. Also back in the fold was receiver Daniel Blackledge.

While in with the 1's, Mattingly was rushing the quarterback with great speed and intensity and looked to be right around 100 percent.

"He looks good, you bet," said Sears. "It was a nice bit of fresh air to have him running around."

WHILE MATTINGLY WAS back and hunting down ballcarriers, fellow linebacker Louis Bland did not participate in practice today. But Sears explained it was simply a precautionary measure and that Bland will most likely be back on the field for tomorrow's practice.

Alex Hoffman-Ellis, coming back from a foot injury, was in full pads, but did not participate in any drills.

DURING SCRIMMAGING DRILLS, the Cougars ran the first team offense against the second team defense and the second team offense against the first team defense.

The highlight of the practice, while working with the 2's, was quarterback Marshall Lobbestael connecting on a 38 yard touchdown pass to Collin Huemmer with Terrance Hayward in coverage.

Lopina and Lobbestael continue to work with both the 1's and 2's and it is still unclear who will be behind center Week 1 against Stanford -- now just about 10 days away.

Asked if alternating quarterbacks -- a la when the Cougs enjoyed great success under Jim Walden in the early 80s with Clete Casper and Ricky Turner -- was a possibility, Wulff said all options remain on the table.

"That's always a possibility, we're still a little ways away from that. But it could happen if nobody separates themselves," said Wulff.

NOTABLE NOTE:
During the Cougs' 7-on-7 skelly drill, Lopina hooked up with wideout Kevin Norrell for an 11 yard TD. Norrell was out for a short period after being hit in the eye, but the effect was momentary and Norrell looked fine after returning to the field.


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