FALL CAMP DAY 9: Evening Session

DWIGHT TARDY

PULLMAN -- Last year's leading rusher for the Cougars, Dwight Tardy, returned to practice Tuesday night and set about making up for lost time. The bumps and bruises taking Cougars to the sidelines includes a starting receiver, with another wideout subsequently stepping up Tuesday from the Cougs' deepest position. A cornerback vying for starting time continued to impress, plus much more.

Tardy looked sharp and practiced throughout the two-hour, no-tackle evening workout after missing a week with a hamstring injury.

But no sooner did Tardy return than last year's leading receiver, Brandon Gibson, was shut down for at least a week with a knee cartilage problem.

"A week to 10 days," coach Bill Doba said. "It's not operable. He'll be fine."

"He's got real fresh legs," Doba said of Tardy.

"I feel pretty good," added Tardy. "I'm a little sore. I'm not 100 percent, but I'm getting there. It's like 90 percent."

MEANWHILE, THE REVOLVING DOOR of the football training room continues to sport well-worked hinges. But to also put it into the proper context, many players on the ledger would suit up were there a game tomorrow. And the watchword, with the Cougs less than midway through fall camp, is an obvious one: caution. That doesn't, however, make it any easier to sit out.

"Very frustrating," was how Tardy described it watching from the sidelines and rehabbing daily.

"I spent about a good hour stretching before I got out here," Tardy said. "I drank a lot of water and ate a lot of bananas (to help ward off muscle pulls)."

Tardy said he'll be ready to go for Wednesday's 1:30 p.m. scrimmage, (originally scheduled for 2:30.)

However, No. 2 running back Chris Ivory is expected to sit out with sore ribs. Cougfan.com will be back later today with a complete report on the the Cougars' second scrimmage of fall camp.

The complete injury list, released late Tuesday afternoon, follows at the end of this article.

OPENING OPPORTUNITIES: Benny Ward, one of the receivers who figures to see more action with Gibson on the sidelines, made a couple outstanding catches during a practice that Doba described as "so-so … better than this morning."

True freshman Chima Nwachukwu, playing cornerback with the No. 1 defense, continued to impress.

The Texan didn't back down from Tardy when the running back shoved him hard after they collided near the sideline and on the next play, Nwachukwu batted away a deep pass intended for Michael Bumpus.

Asked if he was giving a test to the freshman, Tardy smiled and said, "He was giving it to me! I had to hold my ground!"

DOT-DOT-DOT: Opinions and observations from Cougar coaches, players and/or this correspondent:

Few college teams have a more gifted set of receivers than Gibson, Michael Bumpus and Charles Dillon. Throw in tight ends Jed Collins and Ben Woodard, along with blossoming freshmen like Jeshua Anderson, Daniel Blackledge and Keith Rosenberg, and scoreboard operators could be working overtime this fall.

Pac-10 football is big-boys football, so no one should have to be led by the hand and told to try their best at all times. Still, it's got to make it especially hard to even think about dogging it when Bumpus -- arguably the best player on the team -- might be the hardest worker on the team.

Speaking of inspiration: Doba, approaching his 67th birthday, still likes to work out by running stairs over and over and over and over... and then over and over again.

The Cougars are a proofreader's worst nightmare with names like Romeen Abdollmohammadi, Chima Nwachukwu, Ropati Pitoitua, Devin Frischknecht, Fevaea'i (who goes by A'i, pronounced ah-ee) Ahmu, etc. Play-by-play broadcasters are going to need tourniquets for their tongues.

TRENT FAN CLUB: Kevin Atkinson, the high school coach of linebacker Greg Trent at Keller High near Fort Worth, plans to fly from Texas to Seattle for the second straight year to watch Trent and the Cougars play the annual Seattle game at Qwest Field. San Diego State visits on Sept. 8. Atkinson remains a huge fan of Trent, on and off the field.

"He's a natural pleaser," Atkinson, who coached Trent and ex-Cougar running back DeMaundray Woolridge, said. "He wants to please you. He's going to do whatever it takes. When you have that attitude, plus a lot of athletic ability -- he gets it done."

PRESEASON SHOW: The Cougars will be featured on FSN television Wednesday night at 8. The half-hour season preview show will include items on other Pac-10 teams, plus a look at renovations at WSU's Martin Stadium. The show airs again at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, 2:30 p.m. Saturday, 12:30 p.m. Monday, 2 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22, 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, noon Monday, Aug. 27 and noon Thursday, Aug. 30.

INJURY UPDATE, released late Tuesday afternoon from WSU SID:
AUG. 14: Out Indefinitely – Daniel Blackledge (hamstring strain), Deon Ford (ankle sprain), Kevin Freitag (knee sprain), Anthony Houston (wrist surgery/hamstring strain), Loren Langley (quad strain), Kevin Lopina (torn calf muscle), Andy Mattingly (ankle sprain), Jacob McKinney (back muscle strain), Terry Mixon (hamstring strain), Keith Rosenberg (groin strain), Kameron Thurmond (hand fracture). No Practice – Chris Baltzer (knee sprain), Devin Frischknecht (knee bursitis), Brandon Gibson (knee injury), Reed Lesuma (knee sprain), Tony Thompson (knee injury). Limited – Lance Broadus (shoulder surgery), Markus Dawes (shoulder sprain), Michael Graise (shoulder sprain), Dwight Tardy (hamstring strain), Tanner Way (hamstring strain).

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