NEW STORY: Lopina to start vs. OSU

PULLMAN -- Today's practice session saw Paul Wulff name a starter at quarterback for the penultimate game of the season that's also the home finale. He also increased a player's suspension time and did some shuffling on defense. And another injury is making things complicated. Plus more ....

Paul Wulff announced immediately that redshirt senior Kevin Lopina will be starter this Saturday. Lopina has not started a game for the Cougs since week 2 when WSU dug a 31-0 hole before falling 38-20 to Hawaii at Qwest Field.

"He's done a good job," Wulff said. "He's throwing the ball well, he's fresh, his body feels good and it's very refreshing actually. He feels good physically. He's given us a great spark."

Lopina has two games left in his collegiate career, and he knows it.

"Coach Wulff and coach Sturdy gave me this opportunity so it means a lot," Lopina said. "I'm going to come out this weekend and who knows how (Jeff) Tuel's going to be for the Apple Cup but I'll be ready for that too. This may be my last couple games ever so I need to play as best I can."

Lopina and Marshall Lobbestael continued to split time with the 1's today, and both did a nice job of hitting their targets in stride.

And the offensive line gave them good protection. The starting offensive line, barring something unexpected between now and Saturday, will take the field again for one of the few times (4) this season. Last week was the first time since the second week that at least one starter wasn't out injured.

OVER ON DEFENSE, reserve CB Anthony Houston went down with what looked to be a leg injury. While getting some turns with the 1's, Houston made a play on WR Collin Huemmer but appeared to land awkwardly and the trainers were called over immediately. Houston was on the ground for about five minutes before being helped off by the trainers. He was then carted off the field and did not return to practice. His injury status was not available at press time.

"We've had a lot of injuries but I don't know what to say anymore than -- Guys step up and guys have to play," Wulff said. "The guys that are out there are playing hard. They are doing their best to play well."

Safety Chima Nwachukwu remained sidelined because of an ankle sprain suffered two weeks ago, and his status for Saturday remains uncertain.

Jay Matthews, who has started the last two weeks in his place, continued to see the bulk of work with the 1's alongside Xavier Hicks and is expected to make his third straight start if Nwachukwu can't go, despite that he is toughing it out with a sore shoulder.

REDSHIRTING TRUE FRESHMEN Casey Locker (S) and Nolan Washington (CB) both got some time running with the 1's on Wednesday and did a fine job of filling in. Although the two won't play this season, keeping their redshirts intact, co-defensive coordinator Jody Sears said it's a good building point for the future.

"No question, obviously they're red-shirting but because of our injuries and lack of depth right now they are able to get some reps and it's kind of a breath of fresh air to have those young guys out there doing so well," Sears said.

DE Dan Spitz (concussion) was in street clothes and his status for Saturday's game is uncertain. In his place opposite of starting freshman DE Travis Long, were DE's Casey Hamlett, Jessy Sanchez, and Jesse Feagin, who all got reps running with the 1's.

Feagin who suffered a broken hand earlier in the season, was going at full speed and had his right hand in a cast.

AT THE LINEBACKER position, Wulff said today WLB Jason Stripling is suspended indefinitely and is out for Saturday's game. Originally, Wulff announced that Stripling, arrested for his alleged part in a fight early Sunday morning, would sit out the first quarter only. He declined to elaborate on what had changed.

Who might take Stripling's spot might not be known until kickoff. Possibilities include Myron Beck lining up at the weakside role with Hoffman-Ellis staying in the middle. Or Alex Hoffman-Ellis could slide over for to the weakside and Mike Ledgerwood could come in at the MLB spot, or other combinations could include Joshua Garrett. Andy Mattingly remains at his starting SLB position.

Both Stripling and DT Toby Turpin, who was yesterday suspended for the remainder of the year for an unspecified rules violation, were not present at practice on Wednesday.

In place of Turpin, red-shirt freshman Anthony Laurenzi and converted o-lineman and walk-on Michael Pfeiff were among those getting in their turns with the 1's. DT Bernard Wolfgramm, who has been battling issue with his back over the past few weeks, is listed as questionable for Saturday.

K Patrick Rooney closed out practice by going 3-of-5 from around 40 yards.

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