UPDATED: McCall center stage with Tardy out

KEVIN McCall

FIFTH-YEAR SENIOR Kevin McCall will make his first-ever start in crimson Saturday at Cal with Dwight Tardy out for the rest of the season after injuring his ACL on the final cut of his 51-yard TD run against UCLA, Bill Doba said Thursday afternoon. What does it mean for the WSU offense this weekend and beyond? Chris Ivory? Marcus Richmond? Answers within.

Tardy, a sophomore who piled up 214 yards against the Bruins, is seventh in the Pac-10 in rushing with 676 hashes, (84.5 ypg). He started every game for the Cougars this season after leading the team in rushing last year.

"They thought about 98 percent of it was torn and they need to repair it," said Bill Doba.

McCall, No. 3 on the depth chart most of the season, had his busiest day as a Cougar last week against UCLA, carrying the ball 11 times for 51 yards and catching three passes for 23. For the season, the Carson, Calif., product has 33 carries for 156 yards.

McCall comes from a long line of running backs. His dad Kevin played at Oregon, uncle Robert at Arizona, uncle Chico at Arizona State, uncles Nate and Carlos at New Mexico and cousin Patrick at Oregon State. Earlier issues with ball security have been an issue in the past but Doba said he's shown considerable improvement this year in that regard.

The Cougars' No. 2 running back, Chris Ivory, has missed the past two games with a concussion and has not practiced this week. He will not make the trip to Cal, though he is improving, said Doba.

"...Chris Ivory, they did the baseline test on him again today, and it's just the reaction time with he and Alfonso Jackson, so neither one of those two kids will travel either." said Doba.

"You know, back in the day, they'd have probably played, but then they might have ended up with serious damage or they might have got something else hurt. The biggest thing holding them back is the reaction time."

With Ivory sidelined, second-year freshman Marcus Richmond of Mesa, Ariz., becomes the Cougs' No. 2 running back. He's carried the ball nine times for 38 yards this season.

The Cougars' third running back will be freshman Logwone Mitz of Redmond. But he'll likely only be used in an emergency because the Cougs would like to redshirt him this season.

Doba left open the possibility of a running back by committee approach, depending on how things progress. Ivory should also at some point be back eventually as well.

"...We'll start with Kevin McCall and just see how he does," said Doba. "If he's doing well and runs well -- and there's more to it than just running. There's protection also. We'll have to play it by ear."

Doba also said tight end Jed Collins, who the Cougs have used in short yardage situations in the past as an up back, lead blocker and in max protect, could also play a role.

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • Center Kenny Alfred returns to action and will make the trip after missing the UCLA game. "Alfred's fine," said Doba.

  • DE Mike Graise might not travel, said Doba, with an ankle injury.

  • Doba didn't rule out the Cougs using some 4-3 this week on defense to counter Cal's athletic offensive line. "We're working both schemes.." said Doba.

  • Mark your calendar for Nov. 15 at Seattle's Metropolitan Grill. As part of Apple Cup Month, WSU and UW are staging a Celebrity Bartending event from 5-7 pm to raise money for their alumni organizations and student-athlete scholarships.

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