Old faces return, New faces at LT, CB

PULLMAN -- The Cougars, just seven days away from the opener with Oklahoma State, took the field Saturday morning at Martin Stadium for a brief, hour-long practice. And on hand to watch were some Cougar legends from years who offered up words of wisdom after the workout.

"Some young guys from the '40s and '50's that played here, you know it was awesome," Paul Wulff said on his guests. "I had not met them before but it was great to be able to introduce them to one of the players and it's great to see their spirit."

Among the notables on hand were WSU hall of famers Duke Washington and Vaughan Hitchcock and standout early '50s center Skip Pixley. For more on the trio from the CF.C archives, click here and here . How long has it been since some of those visitors today played ball at Wazzu? One of them brought a leather helmet to show to the young Cougs.

"You look at how long ago they were here and how important the Cougars are to them," Wulff said. "That shows you what this place means to so many people, and it was great to see them."

TURNING TO THE action on the football field, the Cougs were in shoulder pads and helmets only and started off the day working on situational special teams.

The 11-on-11 scrimmages were brief, however Jeff Tuel developed strong chemistry with his receivers early on, hitting all three targets early on. To start out the day, the WR's running with the 1's were Isiah Barton, Daniel Blackledge and Jeffrey Solomon.

ON THE O-LINE, there continues to be some mixing and matching. LT Tyson Pencer saw some action running with the 1's, and David Gonzalez would then move to RT in place of Micah Hannam.

The line did a good job in protection of Tuel and RB Marcus Richmond also did a nice job picking up defenders as he moved to FB Saturday in place of an injured Jared Byers.

DEFENSIVELY, IN THE secondary, CB Nolan Washington sat out practice again with a hip injury. As a result, fellow redshirt freshman Anthony Carpenter has stepped in alongside CB Daniel Simmons, and looks to be the guy to start if Washington is not ready this week. Another starting option there, Aire Justin, has been slowed by a hamstring injury.

Carpenter hasn't seen the football field in quite some time, and explains he's more than ecstatic to run out of the gates and get the season started.

"It's an amazing feeling, I haven't played ball since high school," Carpenter said. "This is my first game so I'm going to be a little bit nervous but I think the excitement will definitely take over."

Carpenter also said that redshirting last season was a huge blessing in disguise because of the advantages it provided for his game this year.

"It was great for me. At the time I didn't think it was great because I wanted to play so bad. But I've gotten a lot bigger, a lot stronger, and I'm probably a step faster than I was last year. It really benefited me, I learned the system and competed," said Carpenter, who checks in at 6-0, 190 – 20 pounds heavier than he was listed at last year.

WR Gino Simone came out to practice for the second consecutive day and looked impressive yet again. Simone hauled in a couple of passes from QB Marshall Lobbestael, including the play of the morning when he leaped high into the air to come down with a 15 yard gainer, then added 10 more yards when he put a stutter step on a Coug LB and got to the sideline.

WULFF SAID he was pleased with how his team is coming along, but there is still plenty of work to do before the team travels for Stillwater on Friday.

"We still have some fundamental stuff we want to keep cleaning," Wulff said. "We're still trying to reach that perfection. We're shooting for it and that's got to be our constant goal, striving for perfection."

One guy who continues to make improvements in pass blocking is TE Andrei Lintz. Lintz is expected to be a major contributor for the Cougs at the TE spot this season, and Wulff said the time for Lintz to shine must be now.

"He obviously didn't play a lot of football last year," Wulff said. "This is the year he needs to step up and play more and he has the athletic ability. We need him to continue to keep growing, he's no where near we believe he can be as a football player, but he needs to keep pressing forward to keep getting better.

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