As we are between practices in sunny Pullman – it is more than 90 degrees in the hard-to-avoid sun – I have a little time to catch up.
And there is a lot to catch up with.
• Reserve linebacker Andy Mattingly has his right ankle in a boot, the victim of a sprain suffered late in Sunday night’s practice. He told me he expects to be out a week, but coach Bill Doba said it was up to 10 days. Mattingly has been running with the No. 1 unit at the weakside linebacker occasionally – Cory Evans is the starter – and is a key special team performer. If he’s out 10 days, that still gives the Mead High graduate a week to get ready for Wisconsin.
• The defensive secondary is starting to take shape. The only given coming in was captain Husain Abdullah would be one starting safety, and he’s playing well. But the other three spots were up for grabs. It looks like now they have been grabbed. Freshman Chima Nwachukwu and JC transfer Devin Giles have moved into the No. 1 corner spots while another JC transfer, Alfonso Jackson, has taken over the other safety spot since Christian Bass has been out with an injury. Whether the lineup is permanent – What’s the line? We’re all day-to-day? – remains to be seen.
• Tomorrow’s story in the S-R will be about the changes up front on defense, with Ropati Pitoitua playing defensive end in some situations. My guess is – and this has no basis in anything I’ve heard from any of the coaches – it might be a move made with Wisconsin’s size up front in mind. The Badgers have a reputation of trying to road-grade their way down the field, so a bigger end (Pitoitua is two inches and 48 pounds larger than Kevin Kooyman) may be a way to slow that down. Again, that’s just me thinking out loud.
• Offensively, Brandon Gibson didn’t participate in much of practice, though his left knee problem doesn’t seem too serious. Dwight Tardy didn’t practice this morning but said he would be back in the evening session. One guy who stood out this morning was redshirt freshman running back Marcus Richmond, who ran with authority and purpose. The 6-1, 215-pounder is taking advantage of the reps he’s been getting with Tardy out.
• Jeshua Anderson continues to impress, though he did get dinged up a little in a passing drill, but was OK and continued through practice. The freshman speedster has impressed offensive coordinator and receivers coach Mike Levenseller and may follow in the footsteps of Michael Bumpus and Gibson in playing quite a bit as a true freshman.
• Here are a couple of links, starting with Nick Daschel’s story about Gibson in the Columbian. Then there’s this Wisconsin State Journal piece on the Badgers’ No. 2 quarterback Allan Evridge, who has something in common with WSU backup quarterback Kevin Lopina. Can you figure out what it is? There is also this piece on the Big Ten, with Wisconsin picked to win the conference.
The official WSU injury report follows on the read full entry link. Limited means kids are on the field, but their participation is limited. Out indefinitely means they won’t be practicing in the next couple days. No practice means they could back tomorrow.