Cougs take a knee; Sears talks corners

JEFF TUEL

PULLMAN -- Jeff Tuel concluded the final day of Washington State's fall camp doing something rarely seen by a Cougar quarterback over the last two seasons: Taking a knee. This simplest of plays produced a huge celebration Sunday morning because it literally brought an end to camp and, as the one play in football that signifies victory, it was a figurative send off to a brighter future.

"That's the best play in football right there so I want to do that a lot this season," said Tuel, a true sophomore from Fresno.

Tuel was buoyant on this final day of workouts before classes begin because the Cougar offense picked up where it left off Saturday.

It was a helmets-and-shoulder pad day, the but first-team offense came out focused and looked sharp. Position drills took up much of the workout but the offense made hay in the 11-on-11 portion of the session. On one series, Tuel connected with four different receivers. Leading the pack of grabmasters was senior Jeffrey Solomon who hauled in three passes for 28 yards.

"I'm really happy," Tuel said. "I think it was a great note to end on for the offense. We came out here had a lot of fun, did some really good things. We're continuing to gel and it's really making a difference because without that kind of family feeling with each other you're not going to be a consistent football team."

TURNING TO DEFENSE, co-coordinator Jody Sears talked after practice about the Cougars' depth at cornerback. "Out there at corner we have Nolan Washington who had a great camp and Anthony Carpenter has done some good things. Damante Horton has had a good camp -- we'll keep evaluating him and see where he finishes up next week. Daniel Simmons has practiced on and off nursing that hammy, but shoot he's looking good," Sears said.

Horton, a true freshman, has been running with the 2's throughout camp, and has shown serious flashes. Sears said he's going to leave speculation about which freshmen redshirt and which don't to head man Paul Wulff, but said there are several rookies who have the ability to see action this fall.

"We've had a handful of freshman have a really good camp," Sears said. "The (linebacker C.J.) Mizell kid had a good camp, he's coming along. The other two corners Tracy Clark and Brandon Golden have done great and I could not be happier with where they are right now. Whether they will play or not we'll see through the next week."

Regardless, it is certain the Cougars will be young at the corners. Washington and Carpenter are second-year freshmen and Simmons is a third-year sophomore.

Washington and Simmons have owned much of the time with the first-team defense. Washington, who has made a flurry of pass deflections, says he and Simmons are ready to roll.

  "I think we both bring similar things to the table," Washington said. "Compared to last year I was only about 167 but this year I'm actually 180 so I've put on the weight that I needed to bring more of a physical side to my game. We both have good speed so it should be exciting to watch."

Washington says redshirting last season, while tough, was a benefit.

"Now that I look on it, it was a blessing," Washington said. "I got a whole year to get bigger, faster, stronger. I used that year to watch film, and it just helped me out a lot out here. Things are more slower for me now because of last year and now I'm more ready for it.."

THE COUGARS HAVE Monday off for the first day of classes at WSU. While at Eastern, Wulff's program was on the quarter system rather than the semester schedule. The semester schedule takes some getting used to.

"They know more people on campus, there's just a lot more stimulants that's going on for them and so their mind isn't (totally) on football ... They just have to be mature and be able to handle that and separate the two. They're both very important but we need to make sure to be productive when we come back and practice once school starts."

Cougfan.com Recommended Stories