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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

End near for spring at WSU

PULLMAN – Fourteen practices and scrimmages are gone, and only the spring game remains.

But let there be no doubt, grandiose plans are not in the works for the Cougars’ final outing as a team before fall camp.

“We’re just going to have a good, short scrimmage,” head coach Bill Doba said. “My goal right now is to get through the rest of spring healthy, me included. I’ll stay out of the way of those crossing patterns.”

WSU has the day off today but will take to the Martin Stadium turf at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon with the hopes of cementing the lessons of the last four weeks and setting up a much greater level of success come the fall

“Our goal was to come out and fill some holes with some guys leaving, and I think we accomplished that,” tight end Jed Collins said. “Each year you lose a bunch of guys, a bunch of friends. You’ve got to form your own bond and camaraderie.”

Still, Doba has no desire to see any of his players, like Collins, go down with injuries on the final day of the spring session, especially after watching so many Cougars sit out while nursing medical issues.

As such, he and his staff agreed to chop a good portion of the collision-inducing plays out of the playbook for this last day, attempting to limit the potential for damage.

“Some of the guys really don’t need a whole lot more,” Doba said. “We just wanted to cut it down because we’re a little nicked up. We took out things like traps, some of those things, to save some shoulders.”

Just as Collins said, much of the spring has also been about building a new sense of purpose after three consecutive seasons without a bowl appearance.

That’s been especially true on defense, where a number of key starters have graduated and Doba has taken over coordinating duties.

“We’ve come together a lot more as a team,” said defensive end Kevin Kooyman, one of the younger Cougars who has gotten a chance to break through this spring. “I think we’ve gotten a lot accomplished.”


Doba said that defensive tackle Aaron Johnson is again having problems with a bulging disc in his back, revealed by a recent MRI. The head coach said Johnson might go to Seattle for a further evaluation, and that surgery is a possibility. “He’s got a bulging disc and he might have it shaved,” Doba said. “That could be a heck of a blow.” … Running back Chris Ivory, who withdrew from school to attend to a situation in his family earlier this spring, will be back for the summer session, Doba said. … Both wide receiver Michael Willis and running back Ian Bell, defensive backs turned offensive skill players, were in yellow no-contact jerseys Thursday after missing all of spring because of injuries. Willis had off-season shoulder surgery while Bell had a hamstring pull. “Willis had a legit shoulder surgery,” Doba said, setting up a joke. “Ian, he’s missed practices but I don’t think he’s missed too many meals.”