Cougs have starter at RB plus a shirt to burn

PULLMAN -- The morning scrimmage wasn't the only news coming out of Martin Stadium on Saturday. Following the afternoon practice, which wrapped up their series of two-a-days, running backs coach Dave Ungerer said he's got his starting RB for week one, plus a redshirt to burn.

Senior James Montgomery, less than a year removed from a rare injury that could have resulted in amputation, will be lined up behind Jeff Tuel in the starting line up when the Cougs take on Oklahoma State.

  "As far as who would be my guy to start the game it would be James," Ungerer said. "The whole Idea with James is how far his endurance can go. He's coming off the injury, there's no weakness or anything wrong, but we need to get his endurance back after he missed most of last season and spring."

  Ungerer also said that dynamic true freshman running back Rickey Galvin definitely will see the field this season.

"Galvin is going to play, he will play both on offense and special teams for us," Ungerer said. "The one thing were blessed with is that we have several guys we're comfortable with but the way things have unfolded with James getting healthy and running at full speed, we feel like there's a lot of strength in the group."

  During special teams drills Saturday afternoon, Forrest continued to boot the ball with absolute fury. He's improved his hang time since last season and the balls consistently are going 45 to 50 yards. Meanwhile, Grasu handled the kick-off duties and drove two balls to the goal line.

  "I'm more advanced than last year but at this stage of camp we're just trying to grind through it and get better and stronger. I've just settled down a little bit more, being more confident in my swing and just try and slow it down a little bit," Grasu said.

  Grasu is in a battle with freshman walk-on Andrew Furney for the starting job.

"We're just competing and having fun like every other position," Grasu said. "Coach Wulff talks about it how were out here to compete and no one has a sharpie or permanent marker at any position."

After practice, Wulff talked at some length about how the Cougars are shaping up at receiver.

"We've done a nice job, we've gotten better since spring tremendously," Wulff told CF.C. "Our depth is better and we've got competition and they're really going to have to play well to earn playing time. We're not where we obviously need to be. We still have a lot of work to do with consistency in our route running and catching the ball but we've made a lot of progress."

Of the bounty of freshmen receivers, Marquess Wilson and Kristoff Williams have had particularly notable camps so far.

"Marquess has practiced every practice so he's getting better and he's showing flashes. We just need him to continue to develop," Wulff said. "Kristoff did well before he hurt his toe so we're hoping to get him back soon."

Wulff said Williams and Wilson are the only freshmen wideouts, at this point, who are on a glide path to play this season but noted that "if Kristoff doesn't get healthy I would question his ability to get in the mix of play but we'll wait and see."

The Cougars' top four veteran receivers -- Jared Karstetter, Jeffrey Solomon, Daniel Blackledge and Gino Simone -- are more in the possession receiver mold. So between the freshmen wideouts and JC transfer Isiah Barton is there a credible deep threat?

"I think the talent's there, whether how far we we grow in that area will be determined in time," Wulff said. "It's coming -- we have the talent here now, and as we move through this year and next year we will have those things no doubt."

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