DAY 8 late report: O finds groove; DT wows

PULLMAN--The offense jogged onto Rogers Field with helmets, shoulder pads and a chip on their shoulders. Daniel Blackledge showed solid hands, the o-line opened some running lanes but with the "game" on the line, would Wazzu score? On D, Aire Justin was giving away nothing in the secondary and Brandon Rankin showed blocking him will be a tall order. But the Cougs lost a reserve DL for the year.

"There are going to be ebbs and flows during all practices. It is just how it is. Obviously the offense responded better this afternoon and they needed to respond. They are making progress, they have a lot of youth in spots and they are going to have to continue to step it up," Paul Wulff told CF.C after the two hour practice came to a close.

While overall the practice could be considered a push, the offense showed it was finished gifting practice battles to the defense.

The first team line of LT David Gonzales, LG Wade Jacobson, C Zack Williams, RG B.J. Guerra and RT Micah Hannam were doing more pushing around during team running drills. Outside of the first play, where defensive end Kevin Kooyman met running back Logwone Mitz at the line for no gain, the line blasted out running lanes for the backs.

Fullback Jared Byers also had a nice outing. He led Mitz on a 13-yard gain early. The team running drill came to a close with freshman running back Rickey Galvin cutting back for 10 more yards.

THE BIG REASON why the day was considered a push between the offense and defense? Brandon Rankin.

The d-tackle sat out Saturday's scrimmage and the rest clearly did him good. In goal-line drills he came through so quickly he almost took the handoff himself for a touchdown instead of a safety. (It must be noted, however, that was primarily due to a missed assignment.) But Rankin continued to make his way into the backfield regularly, and soon earned another "sack".

When asked if Wulff that Rankin was unblockable, Wulff warned not to get too carried away.

"Let's let a few games go by before we go that far," he said. "We'll see, there is still a lot to prove but I am happy with the play of our line thus far."

IN THE BATTLE for the starting corner spot opposite Daniel Simmons, Aire Justin made big plays throughout the afternoon. Justin broke up a perfect pass intended for Marquess Wilson. Solomon attempted to get a step on Justin, and it was amazing effort by Solomon, but Justin knocked it away.

Nolan Washington was figured this spring by many to come and grab the spot but Justin turned things up in the spring and continues to do so in fall camp. Indeed, Justin has been demonstrating that throwing the ball to his side of the field will be very difficult.

Practice ended with the offense lining up on the five yard line to work on a fourth and goal situation. The coaches called out it was fourth down, one play to decide the game.

Jeff Tuel threaded the needle to Daniel Blackledge who held onto the ball despite being blanketed by Washington at corner. Touchdown Washington State.

As feared, reserve but rising d-lineman Jordan Pu'u-Robinson is out for the year with a torn ACL. Jamal Atafou, Simmons, Gino Simone, Jared Karstetter and Aaron Gehring all remained out with a variety of dings.

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