Akey happy: D is finally healthy

PULLMAN – If there is one thing defensive coordinator <b>Robb Akey</b> never runs short of it is praise for his defensive unit. Especially when the first teamers all (mostly) are off the disabled list and able to suit up.

For the first time in a scrimmage this fall Akey got to see a healthy stop unit with defensive end Isaac Brown back as well as tackles Tai Tupai, Steve Cook and Josh Shavies. For the most part Akey was pleased with what he saw.

"What I liked most was that we started to show a little personality as a defense," Akey said.

Akey specifically talked about a goal line stand the No. 1 defense had against the No. 1 offense, Jason David's 66-yard interception return and a time the No. 2 offense was in field goal range but pushed back by the No. 2 defense, forcing Drew Dunning to kick a 56-yard field goal which he missed.

"During that four-minute drill both defenses did a great job of getting the offense stopped enough times to intercept and score," Akey said. "The No. 2 defense got pushed into field goal range but they pushed them right back out."

David's interception was picked from back-up quarterback Josh Swogger. Swogger had a solid outing going 6-of-14 for 74 yards and the ball David intercepted looked like a perfect pass until David struck like lightning.

"We really were able to change the momentum several times tonight," Akey said.

Akey also had nothing but praise for his middle linebackers.

 

"Donnie Jackson has done a great job and he has shown he can do a good job at that spot," Akey said. "Brian (Hall) and (Aaron) Wagner both have improved. Brian Hall has made some great hits, he's a hard worker. Aaron Wagner needs to get his pad level down and his knees bent and (Scott) Davis just shows up wherever he needs to be to make plays. Al (Genatone) just has a feel for the whole defense."

THURSDAY PRACTICE NOTES
• Offensive lineman Billy Knotts was hit on the head and hurt his neck during Wednesday night's scrimmage and taken off the field. Knotts returned to practice Thursday.
• Also returning to practice was receiver Marty Martin after a sore thigh held him out of Wednesday night's scrimmage.
• Receiver Robert Franklin returned to action, participating in all the drills.
• Receiver Jevon Miller tore ligaments in his left thumb and is expected to be out 6-8 weeks. He has already had surgery on the thumb.
• Receiver Scott Lunde is questionable for the Idaho game with sore ribs.
• Running back Rafael Bolton tweaked his ankle during practice and was carried off the field.
• Running back Jermaine Green is still sitting out practice.
• Coaches did not make themselves available to talk to the media after practice.