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Tue., Aug. 18, 2009, 11:39 a.m.

WSU emphasizes running game


The intensity level of practice picked up measurably Tuesday morning coming off WSU's day of rest. From the get-go it seemed the drills were designed to get people hitting, to test toughness. And it worked. The Cougars battled throughout each scrimmage session. There were wins - and no losses to injury - on both sides of the ball. Read on.

• There was a word for the day. It was "run." As in every drill seemed to put an emphasis on either moving the ball on the ground or stopping the run. Even the seven-on-seven skelly drill was running drill today, with the offense attacking the edges with either a quick pass or a running play. ... The first scrimmage? It was all about running the ball, with the offense given three plays to get a first down and the defense, of course, trying to stuff it. In the ones vs. ones, the offense got a couple of first downs, the defense a couple stops. The second defense was perfect, stopping its offensive counterparts each time. ... The next scrimmage session was goal line, with again each play having to be a run. The one defense got a stop when, on third and 2, Brandon Jones came up to stuff Logwone Mitz. The two offense triumphed when Dwight Tardy dove in from inside the 1 on third down. ... The final scrimmage session was played straight up, with the No. 2 offense turning in the play of the day. Aaron Gehring got behind Louis Bland, found a seam down the middle and gathered in Marshall Lobbestael's perfect pass for a long score.

• There was some positive news on the injury front, with safety Tyree Toomer emerging from his yellow jersey to go full contact. Receiver Johnny Forzani also suited up but his foot seemed to be bothering him some by the end of practice. ... Andy Mattingly (groin) was still out as was Jeshua Anderson (hamstring). Running back Carl Winston has recovered enough from his concussion to get back in pads, albeit with a yellow jersey. ... A couple of grayshirt freshmen, Tim Hodgdon and Alex Reitnouer, were given the opportunity to run with the second offensive line for part of practice at left guard and left tackle, respectively. ... Former Lewis and Clark High defensive coordinator Jeff Rayburn attended the morning practice. The long-time assistant worked with WSU defensive line coach Malik Roberson, who played at LC and started his coaching career there. ... Finally, there has been some questions concerning Jake Locker's status at UW since he signed a baseball contract with the Angels. The NCAA changed its rules and approved this years ago. It's OK.


• That's it for this morning. We'll be back after the evening practice with our S-R story and our usual post. Until then …

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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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