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Scrimmage has a lot on the line

COUGARS

There will be enough happening today at the first scrimmage of the fall that there’s little need for me to write much this morning. However, there is a little I would like to share.

• The first thing, of course, is a link to my story from this morning. As you can tell, offensive line coach George Yarno is working his butt off to develop an offensive line in time for Wisconsin. The line, as a group, was better Friday night – much better. Individually, freshman Andrew Roxas (6-foot-1, 295 pounds), from St. Francis High in La Canada, Calif., (just north of the Rose Bowl) showed Yarno a lot of heart and effort in the pass-rush drill. He got an opportunity to work at left guard, right guard and right tackle, where Yarno told him he would be the shortest right tackle to ever start in the Pac-10. Yarno was kidding, but Roxas has moved up the depth chart.

• A handful of players participated in just one practice Friday, some because they didn’t have enough practices in to do two in one day, others as a precaution as they are coming off injuries. In the former category receiver Michael Bumpus skipped the morning and tackle Reed Lesuma the evening. In the latter, defensive tackles A’i Ahmu (foot) and Aaron Johnson (back) split the practices, with Johnson going in the morning and Ahmu the night.

• A lot of you have expressed interest in how the competition in the defensive backfield is going. The short answer is it is still on-going; no one has been officially chosen. The long answer is expect the new kids to emerge on top. As far as I can tell through watching and listening, freshman Chima Nwachukwu from Allen, Texas, and sophomore Devin Giles, the transfer who didn’t play last year at Coffeyville (Kan.) College, have shown enough to be considered my favorites to start against Wisconsin at the corners. Whether they will or not – they are athletic and physical enough to do it – will be decided in the next three weeks. Until then, returnees B.J. Williams, Ryan Kensok and B.T. Walker are running with the first team. Markus Dawes was, but he’s been hurt the past couple days and hasn’t practiced. At safety, Husain Abdullah has really stepped up, and has cemented his spot as the leader of the secondary. In his case, senioritis is a good thing. The other spot may just go to sophomore Xavier Hicks or junior college transfer Alfonso Jackson, though senior Christian Bass is there right now. This will be interesting to watch.

• Outside the area, the Seattle Times had this short story about today’s scrimmage.

• I’ll be back this evening with my thoughts. If you attend the scrimmage, let me know what you thought.


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