Tuesday Blues

JOSH SWOGGER (Getty Images)

PULLMAN – After a Monday night practice that had head coach <b>Bill Doba</b> ready to take on the Monsters of the Midway, a Tuesday practice --notable for its lack of intensity -- brought him back down to earth.

 "Well," Doba hemmed. "I wasn't too happy with the intensity level today. I'm sure George Yarno is not happy with his offensive line either. There were certain times when things picked up and certain times when the intensity was low. You can't have a bad day when it's a game day or there goes your season."

Yarno was busy still chewing out his offensive line as they ran extra lines after practice.

Doba may not have been pleased with his team's intensity level but that didn't mean there was a lack of highlights on the field Tuesday afternoon.

The Cougars worked more on their short yardage letting the running backs see how much ground they could chew up and passing for short and quick yards.

Defensive end D.D. Acholonu impressed everyone watching when he intercepted a Matt Kegel pass with one hand. Kegel had barely turned around all the way before throwing it right into the monstrous Acholonu who was already in the air and came back down with the football in his hand. Acholonu had little time to take a breath before the rest of his teammates mobbed him as if they just clinched a Rose Bowl berth.

"That kid is amazing," said Doba. "He'll be in the gym carrying 325 pounds on his shoulders walking up the steps with the weights bouncing all around. Why, he was doing that when he was just a sophomore."

 

Of course Yarno was not impressed with the effort from the offensive line on that play or many others. At one point he singled out Billy Knotts when the right guard let the defense blitz Kegel and force him into a bad pass.

"You're patting him on the head while our quarterback is getting sacked!" hollered Yarno, following the 6-foot-7 Knotts until he got his point across.

Center Keola Loo fumbled another snap, an issue that has raised concern.

But that's not to say there was nothing positive from the offense, QB Josh Swogger made a handful of impressive plays, one an 8-yard zip to Jevon Miller and the other a rope of a pass, on the run, up the sideline to Brett Johnson.

All three running backs - - Jermaine Green, Jonathan Smith, and Chris Bruhn - - had significant runs, but since the team can only hit and not tackle it's hard to say how those runs would pan out in a real game.

However, that is what the Cougars plan to do tonight at 7:30 p.m. Doba wants to get a good look at some of the key backups this season and players who may push for a starting position such as
Bruhn and middle linebacker Aaron Wagner.

"We want to work the vets about 15-20 plays and then really take a look at the backups," Doba said.

All said and done Doba seemed confident and pleased with what he has seen so far this fall.
"These guys came into camp in such great shape we don't need to get them in shape," he said. "We're just trying to get them ready for the games."

TEE TIME

Doba also spent some time breaking down the needs of special teams. He reported trying Drew Dunning on kick-offs, but after doing so he missed a field goal for the first time.

"As good and as accurate as he is at kicking those field goals we'd hate to do anything to mess that up," Doba said. "Plus if he's kicking off that makes him free game to be tackled by anyone on the field and we know he's not the biggest guy."

 

Graham Siderius will handle the kick-off duties.

MORE INJURY NOTES

• Besides the plethora of injuries we reported earlier today, there are others as well. Defensive tackle Josh Shavies has been sitting practices out because he is sick; tight end Jesse Taylor sat out with minor injuries; receiver Tramaine Murray will likely miss the remainder of the week due to a bum knee.

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