Cougar D dominates Day 4 of spring workouts

PULLMAN -- The Cougars hit the Martin Stadium turf Tuesday for the first time this spring season and the defense stole the show. Cornerback Aire Justin, running with the first unit, was all over the field. Linebacker Myron Beck delivered a tooth-rattling hit and the defensive line dominated throughout.

This marked the Cougars' fourth day of workouts and second in full pads. They spent notable time scrimmaging, which turned out to be trouble for quarterbacks Jeff Tuel and Marshall Lobbestael. The D-line put both of them under constant pressure and collected a handful of two-handed-touch "sacks." And ball carriers Carl Winston, Chantz Staden, and Marcus Richmond had virtually no room to move.

"You know the defense responded from yesterday and today the offense wasn't as crisp, particularly running the football," said head coach Paul Wulff. "We had a couple protection breakdowns and some good play and rush by our defensive line."

With Zack Williams sidelined with a shoulder sprain, the O-line continued to shuffle. David Gonzales, who played right tackle Monday, moved to left tackle, and Steven Ayers moved to left guard. Regular right guard B.J. Guerra left practice early because of class, which opened the door for redshirt freshman Sebastian Valenzuela to get some reps with the 1s. Wade Jacobson continued to see extensive time at right tackle.

With the OL's trouble handling the DL, Tuel and Lobbestael had little time to throw, causing fits for the passing game. Among those who shined were DTs Dan Spitz and Anthony Laurenzi, who were beating their opponents consistently.

Spitz and Laurenzi had a chance to shine because JC transfer DT Brandon Rankin was a scrimmage spectator on Tuesday, although he was in full pads. "He's sore, it's been a year and half since he's had pads on so he's sore from yesterday a little bit," Wulff said.

The highlight of the afternoon belonged to Beck, who unleashed a molar-shattering hit on Carl Winston on one of the first few plays of 11-on-11s. Winston was running out of the backfield and preparing to catch a pass from Tuel when Beck lowered his shoulder and sent Winston vertical. Beck was swarmed by his teammates.

"We're very satisfied," said Justin, the redshirt junior. "Everybody was running to the ball, making plays. I think the defense came out with a win as far as doing what we were supposed to do and with our fundamentals."

Justin was all over the field, with a series of open-field tackles helping set the tone.

"I guess you could say people think one of my weaknesses is coming up and making tackles because of my size so I've been working on being more physical and showing everyone I can make the tackle," said the 5-11, 157-pound DB from Van Nuys, Calif.

NOTABLE NOTES:

  • RB Logwone Mitz was not in pads Tuesday after suffering a concussion Monday. With Mitz out, Staden continued to see more time with the 1s. Staden showed the same flashes of speed and footwork that were showcased on Monday.

  • Kicker Nico Grasu made both of his live-action field goal attempts -- the first from 37 yards, the second from 32.

  • Zack Williams attended practice with a sling over his left arm after going down Monday. "It's an AC joint sprain, a pretty good one," Wulff said. "It's something that we're hoping we can get him back in a week or two, it might be longer than two. The good thing was that it's nothing surgery wise just an AC joint sprain."

  • The Cougars are off Wednesday and then back in action Thursday. Friday is an off day and then it's back at it Saturday.

  • Washington State football single-game tickets for all 2010 road games will go on sale Friday at 9 am. Call 1-800-GO-COUGS or click to WSUCougars.com/tickets. The Cougars' road schedule in 2010 includes: Oklahoma State (Sept. 4), SMU (Sept. 18), UCLA (Oct. 2), Stanford (Oct. 23), Arizona State (Oct. 30), and Oregon State (Nov. 13).

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