INJURED HOLDER AND BACKUP QB Gary Rogers will dress and be a game-time decision for Oregon, coach Bill Doba said on Thursday. The Cougars' head man also updated the status of a number of players for Saturday, and beyond. A pair of Washington State seniors have already received invites to post season all-star games. Plus, the litmus test for which defense the Cougs run, and more.
Rogers will attempt to play Saturday but if his injured shoulder won't allow him to, the Cougs will use either Michael Bumpus or Darryl Blunt as the holder on field goal attempts, Doba said.
Cole Morgan has seen increased turns this week as the No. 2 filling in for Rogers, and another freshman signal caller is also available having healed from a broken leg, said Doba.
"Arkelon Hall's been working in there too with him, getting a few reps," said Doba.
RT Charles Harris (ankle), WR Jason Hill (shoulder), DT Aaron Johnson (back) will all play.
Kevin Kooyman will also be available following a planned Thursday trip to the dentist. The true freshman defensive end from Auburn knocked out a tooth in fall camp, and then knocked it out again this week in practice.
TE Cody Boyd (high ankle sprain) is out for Saturday, and DE Mike Graise (hamstring) will probably not play. Boyd jogged a little yesterday, and has "a chance" for UCLA, said Doba, though a high ankle sprain is often notoriously slow to heal. CB Markus Dawes, who suffered one against Auburn in the opener, saw his first game back in Week Seven this past Saturday.
"He's still not really 100 percent," said Doba of the Cougs' No. 3 cornerback. "I watched him on the kickoff return (Saturday) and he was limping as he came off the field."
Fevaea'i Ahmu could return next week for UCLA, depending on what X-Rays show, while WR Chris Jordan's (knee) timetable shows the earliest he could probably return would be the following week, for Arizona. Ben Woodard (knee), the No. 3 tight end, also has a target date of Arizona.
WITH THE EXCEPTION of third and long, Doba said the defense the Cougars run, either the 4-3 or 3-4, is more about getting the best personnel on the field than it is about reacting to whatever the opposing offense is running.
AT RUNNING BACK, Dwight Tardy gets the start Saturday, with DeMaundray Woolridge and Derrell Hutsona also getting playing time.
This will be Tardy's sixth start of the season, Woolridge has the other two, and Hutsona ripped off a 70-yard run last week. Tardy has 68 carries, Woolridge has 60 and Hutsona has 47, with Woolridge playing one less game.
Doba said earlier in the week Woolridge, who entered the season as the starter, has not looked quite the same since the deep thigh bruise injury suffered against Auburn.
"I have confidence in all three of them," said Doba on Thursday.
DEFENDING AGAINST THE option, a running quarterback plus a skilled running back were all cited by Doba as primary concerns in facing off against Oregon.
"You have to maintain lane integrity, and you can't freelance...or you're going to get burned. And they have a good scheme," he said.
Doba also said the Cougs will need to be on the lookout for the trick plays -- fake field goals and punts, tackle eligibles and QB screen throwbacks -- are all plays Oregon has shown they like to run.
"They've got a number of things they like to do, Bellotti is kind of tricky," said Doba.
THERE HAS BEEN "a lot" of interest from NFL scouts in the Cougar senior class, with Hill, Mkristo Bruce, Boyd, Tyron Brackenridge, Eric Frampton and Harris among those on the NFL radar.
"Some scouts are looking for anything negative they can find, and some scout come in looking for the positive signs," said Doba. "And If Chris Jordan had stayed healthy, I think he would have had a chance to go somewhere -- and he still might. It just depends on how that knee comes back and what he wants to do."
TWO COUGARS have received early invites to post season all-star games. Frampton received an invitation today to play in the Hula Bowl and Hill has been invited to the Senior Bowl, said Doba.