FROM PULLMAN — Phew. OK. With deadline responsibilities out of the way, we can tell you about today's football practice. There isn't much to tell. But there is some, so keep reading.
– Nolan Washington and Anthony Carpenter were each at practice sporting visors. But neither wore pads and neither participated in practice, meaning true freshman Daquawn Brown was again working with the No. 1 defense at cornerback.
Defensive coordinator Mike Breske said he isn't sure yet if Brown will start against USC. The Cougars don't comment on injuries, but Brown's playing status likely hinges on whether Washington or Carpenter will be available. If they're not, expect Brown to be the starter.
Brown is a native of Los Angeles, so a start in his second career game in Memorial Coliseum would likely be a pretty big deal for him. That's something of which Breske is certainly aware, and he says it's a topic he'll touch on with all of WSU's players from southern California.
“They’re going home. And they’re going to have a lot of family at the game, which is great,” Breske said. “We’ve just got to talk about it this week, we’ve got to mentally, physically be prepared the best way we can be, and we get down there and there’s no distractions. It’s a business trip.”
– Another personnel development: for now, freshman Jamal Morrow has been moved from running back to cornerback to help shore up the depth issues that have developed suddenly at that position.
Morrow was wearing a blank white defensive jersey at Tuesday's practice. He's taken a few reps here and there returning punts.
Coach Mike Leach said: “We’re going to look at him, see how he does. If he can get on the field we’ll put him there. If he can’t we’ll redshirt him. We’re going to see if he can help us at corner. If he can, he’ll play there, if he can’t we’ll move him back to running back before spring.”
– We had a chance to speak with offensive line coach Clay McGuire after practice. Here is his assessment of Saturday's game.
“It was one of the better performances we’ve had since we’ve been here. But right now it’s just a starting point. Our focus is to get better every week and if we do that, at the end of the year we’ll be a pretty good unit.”
(On playing the starting five the whole game) “We’ve got real quality backups. At some point we are looking to get other guys in just to keep guys fresh and just give other guys looks, too. I thought our continuity was going pretty good and we had a pretty good grasp of what they were doing on the field, so I didn’t want to risk that by throwing in a sub who hadn’t seen it like the other guys had on the previous snaps.”
(On their conditioning) “I don’t think the humidity and the conditions were affecting us at all. Our strength staff did a great job this summer. Our guys were in pretty good shape. You watch college games around the country all day and there’s guys cramping left and right in every game, and I don’t know if we had one guy cramp.”
(On the 4th-and-5 run) “This offense is designed to take what they give you, and that’s what they were giving us. I knew when he checked that play he was doing it for a reason, and that’s what he’s got to be. You can’t be scared to do something like that and I was pleased with them executing the play. They made the play and got a first down and got to move on on the drive. It was good to see that.”