A quick post following Monday’s practice is available on the link. As Paul Wulff said Sunday, there were some players moving around on the defensive side of the ball. For more, read on.
• Before we get to that, we have our first look at Saturday’s game available for you. … With that out of the way, let’s get to tonight’s practice. The first thing to say about the defense is starting safety Chima Nwachukwu did not suit up, nursing a sore hamstring suffered against UCLA, according to coach Paul Wulff. Deone Bucannon was in his place, of course, but there was another new face back there, Anthony Carpenter. With the emergence of freshman Damante Horton at cornerback, Carpenter was available to move to safety, adding speed to the position. … The next thing you notice is middle linebacker. Mike Ledgerwood did not take any snaps there today as the Cougars went through the game plan. Instead, C.J. Mizell was working with the first team, backed up by Sekope Kaufusi. After the USC game, Mizell sent a text to linebackers coach Travis Niekamp that simple said “I get it.” Since then, Niekamp has seen a marked improvement in Mizell’s effort, though he’s still struggling with some of the concepts. But with this week’s game plan having to be simplified due to Oregon’s offensive tempo, Mizell will be giving the opportunity to play a lot. As for Kaufusi, I mentioned to co-defensive coordinator Chris Ball it’s not often a team moves a d-end to middle backer to improve speed. Ball agreed, but mentioned D.D. Acholonu and Isaac Brown as smaller, quicker d-ends who could have excelled at linebacker if they had been needed back then. Besides, Ball said, Kaufusi fills another need. The Cougar linebackers are small. Not very often have they filled holes and driven running backs backward. Usually it’s been the other way round. … To take up the slack at defensive end, Justin Clayton was out there today. … Ledgerwood saw time backing up Alex Hoffman-Ellis at the Will spot. … Arthur Burns sat out practice with what looked to be a hamstring problem as well. … Eric Oertel did not practice either. … Jack Wilson was back at practice without a yellow jersey, while Kyle McCartney returned from his concussion, but did wear yellow. … Finally, Toni Pole returned to practice wearing a protective covering on his calf, a light mesh contraption that seemed to work well. He was with the defensive scout team for now.
• That’s all for tonight. We’ll be back in the morning with our usual post. Until then …