Ledgerwood ready to bang helmets

PULLMAN -- The Cougars participated in their final full contact practice session before the season opener, and the offense got off to a hot start. Wazzu came out with high intensity, but was it good enough for head man Paul Wulff?

Yes, it was. But it now has to keep moving, he said.

"And now Thursday's got to be a very important day -- it's not going to be a long practice, it has to be a short practice. Our focus has to be really good but we got some things done today and I think we're ready to play somebody else -- I know that, everybody usually is at this point," said Paul Wulff.

The offense came out of the gates red hot for the second straight day with QB Jeff Tuel fueling the fire. Tuel continued to spread the ball around with his first team unit and the consistency lasted throughout practice.

"We did good, I was really happy," Tuel said. "We started out with big plays, so it's good we're executing really well."

One of the receivers who continues to shine throughout fall camp is junior Jared Karstetter. The Spokane native started the camp still coming back off hernia surgery but that looks well in the rearview mirror. He's showcased great hands over the past week. Karstetter and the offense have gelled this past week after the defense ruled the roost for much of fall camp.

"I think that we're looking to keep building what we've been doing in camp," Karstetter said. "As an offense particularly we need to be more organized and execute a little better just so we keep ourselves out of bad situations behind the chains."

True freshman WR Marquess Wilson enjoyed another solid day Wednesday, including the catch of the day towards the end of practice. Against the scout team, while running with the 2's, QB Marshall Lobbestael heaved a deep bomb into the end-zone. Wilson went way up in the air, securing the ball tightly as he fell to the ground.

Karstetter said the standout first year Cougar has what it takes to find success on the gridiron.

"The game is faster, guys tend to break routes off and try and play outside themselves. But if you just do your job and don't try and be the all-star like you were in high school every play, things will kind of take care of themselves," Karstetter said. "He just needs to stay calm and play the way he's capable of playing because he's a real good player, and he can help us a lot if he stays inside of himself and does what he can do."

Over on the other side of the ball, the defense struggled at times throughout practice and didn't make some of the plays observers have grown accustomed to seeing throughout camp. There were sure fire interceptions that went through hands, and missed assignments opening up large gains for the first team offense.

"We didn't come out ready to go (Wednesday), especially the linebackers," starting middle linebacker Mike Ledgerwood said. "I don't know what it was about today but I know for sure we're going to come out running and screaming (Thursday)."

CB Nolan Washington fully participated in practice for the second consecutive day, although CB Anthony Carpenter saw the majority of the time running with the 1's. Washington has been coming back from a hip injury over the last week, and with Carpenter seeing the most time running with the 1's, who will run opposite of Daniel Simmons come Saturday?

"You know he's (Washington) gone through the last two days and I think he feels pretty good," Wulff said. "He's going to play, he'll probably end up starting but there's no question Anthony Carpenter is going to play if he doesn't start. He's earned that right and he will play a lot."

Carpenter indeed has made plenty of plays throughout fall camp, including a one handed interception during coverage drills on Wednesday.

DE Travis Long and Ledgerwood both returned and participated 100 percent after missing some time during Wednesday's session. Ledgerwood dinged his hand earlier but is ready to go.

"Oh no, my hand is absolutely fine," Ledgerwood said. "It's nothing to worry about right now, I'm good. I wish Saturday was tomorrow. I've been waiting for this since summer ball started. I can't wait to bang heads."

The Cougs look to use as many as nine true freshmen this season. Wulff was asked after practice if kids out of high school are coming to college more ready to get their careers going early.

"Yes, and (WSU's) summer bridge program helps out as well when they come in and start the first part of summer," Wulff said. "They take classes, they get to know their teammates a little bit better, and they actually go through a little training and conditioning so they're just a little more prepared as a first year freshman then the average freshman used to be."

  • LT Tyson Pencer missed his second consecutive day of practice with a groin injury. Wulff said he's hoping he will feel better on Thursday so he can get some reps in.

  • WR Gino Simone saw his day end short with what looked to be an issue with his hamstring. Simone had the hamstring iced to close out practice, although he was walking fine and the injury didn't look to be serious.

  • Former Cougar safety Xavier Hicks appears to have found a new home with the Chambersburg Cardinals. Hicks is listed on the official team roster for the team part of the American Football Association Semi-Pro Football league. For more information on the 11-time winning league champions, you can visit the team's page at http://www.chambersburgcardinals.com/

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