Karstetter returns amid high-octane practice

PULLMAN – Jared Karstetter, WSU's top returning receiver, was the big news coming out of Washington State's second practice of the day Tuesday. The big junior from Spokane finally made his debut this fall camp after taking it slow following summer surgery for a sports hernia. He participated in all non-contact drills Tuesday – a development that helped set the tone for a high-octane session.

The energy on the field was electric from the start to finish. The highlight was freshman receiver Marquiss Wilson snagging a Marshall Lobbestael pass with one hand. He was able to control the ball by pinning it briefly on cornerback Tracy Clark's facemask.

"It was pretty good practice for the second practice of a two a day. Emotionally the offense got a lot better. They are fit and they are practicing up tempo and a level we need them too," head coach Paul Wulff told CF.C after the two-hour workout.

Third-down drills were particularly energetic, with a number of battles pitting the No. 1 offense and No. 1 defense. On the first play, quarterback Jeff Tuel drilled the ball to a slanting Jeffrey Solomon who found a crease and took the ball into the end zone. After another first down, the defense had its moment as freshman safety Deone Bucannon got a hand on Tuel's pass that allowed linebacker Myron Beck to grab the interception.

On the next play, with Lobbestael at the helm, he let one get away and Casey Locker was happy to step in front of it for the interception.

The plays continued to pile up. Tuel connected for a second TD with Solomon, who found a dead spot in the zone. Tuel also fired TDs to tight end Zach Tatman and running back Logwone Mitz, who took a swing pass for a 30 yards to paydirt. Both tallies came again the No. 1 defense.

The defense didn't play victim the entire afternoon. Defensive tackle Brandon Rankin continues to cause fits in the interior and defensive end Casey Hamlett swatted a Lobbestael ball to the ground preventing a first down.

"The defensive line is really able to attack because of the speed and size we have now. It has been fun being able to do more than just sustain blocks and get after who has the ball," senior end Kevin Kooyman told CF.C.

Practice ended with the defense stopping the offense well short of field goal range during the two minute drill. It looked like the offense was going to sustain the drive after setting up a screen pass but linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis was able to disrupt the play enough to cause an incompletion. The linebackers and defensive backs locked down their coverage on fourth-and-ten causing the turnover on downs.

IF THE SEASON STARTED TOMORROW the starting line up would look as follows:

Offensive line: David Gonzales and Micah Hannam at the tackles, Wade Jacobsen and B.J. Guerra at guards, and Zach Williams at center. Next in line would John Fullington and Alex Reitnouer at the tackles, Andrew Roxas and Sebastian Valenzuela at the guards, and Elliot Bosch at center.

Quarterback: Tuel is the definitive No. 1 but Lobbestael looks to be a very capable backup. Keith Gilbertson appears to have the throwing ability to step in as a third option, with Dan Wagner being the fourth man. Freshman Connor Halliday will redshirt this year.

Running back: This gets a little murky but right now the No. 1 guy appears to be James Montgomery, followed by Chantz Staden, Logwone Mitz, and Marcus Richmond backing him up depending on the situation. However, Carl Winston, Leon Brooks, and freshman Ricky Galvin have each showed of some nice skills which should help them find their way to the field.

Wide receiver: With Gino Simone (hamstring) sidelined and Karstetter (sports hernia) just now getting back into the swing, the front line looks to be Daniel Blackledge, Jeffrey Solomon and Isiah Barton. The second unit would consist of freshmen Marquess Wilson, Kristoff Williams, and Bobby Ratliff, with Blair Bomber and walk-on Bennett Bontemps possibly factoring into the mix. "They are going to have to play and they are showing a lot of ability," Blackledge said about the the freshmen.

Tight end: Skyler Stormo and Andrei Lintz are battling it out for the No. 1 spot but PT doesn't figure to be an issue with the Cougs not shy about running two-TE sets. Tatman is holding off freshman Aaron Dunn for the third spot. If Aaron Gehring recovers from his hamstring and everyone else stays healthy, Dunn could be in line for a redshirt season.

Defensive line: Travis Long and Kevin Kooyman at the ends, Rankin and Bernard Wolfgramm at the tackles. Wolfgramm has been dinged of late, so Anthony Laurenzi would likely be rotating early if the season started tomorrow. Look for Sekope Kaufusi and Casey Hamlett to get turns at end with Steven Hoffart, Justin Clayton, and freshman Kalafitoni Pole battling to get into the mix at tackle.

Secondary: Aire Justin and Nolan Washington at the corners, and Chima Nwachukwu and Tyree Toomer at safety. Back up corners would be Anthony Carpenter and Terrance Hayward and back up safeties would be Casey Locker and LeAndre Daniels. Daniel Simmons (hamstring) has been sidelined with a hamstring but would see the field with the first unit if healthy.

Linebacker: The battle is just as deep as the one at running back. Alex Hoffman-Ellis and Myron Beck would start on the outside with Mike Ledgerwood holding down the middle. Darren Markle and Arthur Burns would back up on the outside, with Hallston Higgins the understudy in the middle, though freshman C.J. Mizell has been splitting time with Higgins.

Specialists: Reid Forrest at punter and Nico Grasu at placekicker. Grasu has been consistent all camp, giving him the edge over freshman walk on Andrew Furney.


Besides Simone (hamstring) and Simmons (Hamstring), Jamal Atafou (knee), Andrei Lintz (ankle), Kristoff Williams (toe), Tyson Pencer (virus) and LeAndre Daniels (stiff neck) did not practice Tuesday. Skyler Stormo (knee bruise) left practice early allowing freshman Aaron Dunn to take advantage of the extra reps.

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