Wolfgramm makes big return; injury at corner

PULLMAN – Bernard Wolfgramm was back in action for the Cougars on Tuesday and the starting defensive tackle appeared to have lost nary a step during his hamstring rehab. All the news on the injury front wasn't good, however.

Second-year freshman cornerback Nolan Washington, on track for a starting spot this season, went down during Tuesday's workout. Head coach Paul Wulff said after practice that he thought it might be a hip flexor issue but he wasn't sure and didn't know how serious it was. Anthony Carpenter joined the first-team D in relief of Washington.

As for Bernard Wolfgramm, Wulff said "he got through it (his first practice back) without re-injuring his hamstring so I think that was good and we need to keep bringing him along and be smart with him."

Wolfgramm was coming along a little too well for the liking of the Cougar offensive line. He was plowing through the OL with consistency and stopped running backs at the line on several plays. He turned heads on another when he fought through center Zack Williams to tackle running back James Montgomery for a two-yard loss.

Tuesday's practice followed Monday's day off and the start of classes at WSU.

"So many times this is a tough day and it started out a little sluggish for our guys but it didn't take long and we got some quality practice in," Wulff said. "I was very pleased with this practice considering the circumstances that first day after school starts."

"Sluggish" was an understatement in describing the early work of the first-unit offense and quarterback Jeff Tuel.

On the very first play of 11-on-11 drills, Tuel tripped over Williams' foot, and as he was falling down tried to toss the ball to running back Chantz Staden. The connection never happened and defensive end Kevin Kooyman trounced on the ball in the end zone for a TD.

On the next play, Tuel was nearly intercepted by safety Chima Nwachukwu, and on the next he fired an incomplete screen pass intended for James Montgomery.

The rough going didn't last all practice, however. The first-team offense put together multiple long drives. Among the highlights was receiver Jared Karstetter hauling in a pair of 20-plus-yard gainers.

The offensive line, which struggled a bit early on, found its groove late in both pass protection and the ground game. One of the big beneficiaries of their road work was freshman back Rickey Galvin, who continues to see increased time running with the 1's. He had a series of runs over 10 yards. Meanwhile, Montgomery, who was named the starter for the Oklahoma State opener, had a nice session Tuesday both running the ball and catching it out of the back field.

He says being the No. 1 back doesn't add any pressure going into Stillwater.

"It's not any extra weight because I have a bunch of guys behind me that can come in and do exactly what I can do so it's just getting the game off on the right foot and just make all the right reads," Montgomery said. "I'm really setting the example now -- it's just staying consistent."

Montgomery hasn't seen game action since leaving the SMU contest a year ago with a leg injury that almost ended his career and possibly even his life. Given where he was a year ago, the thought of returning to the gridiron and moving the chains is an unexplainable feeling, he said.

"Oh man, all the work it just starting to pay off," Montgomery."I'm just happy with all the hours I've put in, it's just a tribute our trainers who kept me in the training room and kept me going."

Also getting work at running back with the first-team offense Tuesday was Chantz Staden.

All three had their moments, but Wulff said the RB unit as a whole has plenty to improve on before the opener.

"We're not where we're going to be or need to be with the running game but a lot of times it takes time," Wulff said. "It's one of those deals where a lot of times they don't gel for 3-4 weeks into the season so we have to bust our tail to get it as good as we possibly can by game one and all those guys keep improving as they get more reps in."

Meanwhile, the defense nabbed three turnovers on Tuesday – the fumble recovered by Kooyman, plus two interceptions. The first INT belonged to safety Casey Locker, who picked off Marshall Lobbestael's pass to freshman WR Marquess Wilson. Later, when the whole team moved down to Martin Stadium for 30 minutes of 11-on-11's, Lobbestael was picked off again, this time by linebacker Darren Markle who jumped in front of a pass intended for Galvin and took it back 35 yards for an apparent TD, but the play was called dead by Wulff.


  • Linebacker Louis Bland, a junior who blew a knee last season, was at practice and in uniform but not wearing pads. Wulff reiterated that it's more than likely that Bland – who still has a redshirt to use -- won't be playing this season. "It's probably 95-99 percent chance he's not going to play," Wulff said. "He's still not even cleared to participate so he's still got a lot of rehab work to do."

  • Freshman walk-on punter Jake Miller of Spokane has left the program altogether. Initially he was believed to have headed home for a few days to tend to personal matters.

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