March 21, 2007
PULLMAN, Wash. -- - The Washington State University Cougar football team will open spring drills Thursday, March 22, with 55 letterwinners returning, along with 24 freshmen who did not see action last fall.
The Cougars will practice Thursday and Friday at 4 p.m. this week and Saturday at 10 a.m.
Head coach Bill Doba and his staff have changed this spring's practice schedule by eliminating two Saturday workouts. The weekly schedule includes practices Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday during the second and third weeks of practice. The final week in April includes drills Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, with the annual spring game set for Saturday, April 14 (time TBA).
Among the 55 returning letterwinners are 14 starters from last year, seven on offense, five on defense and two kickers.
The breakdown of the 55 retuning letterwinners includes 22 seniors, 23 juniors and 10 sophomores. Offensively there are eight seniors, 11 juniors and five sophomores who have lettered in the past, while on defense there are 12 seniors, 11 juniors and five sophomores with varsity experience.
Several redshirts unable to play last year return to action this spring, including linebackers Chris Baltzer (knee) and Jason Stripling (shoulder) and defensive end Matt Mullennix (knee). Quarterback Kevin Lopina, a transfer last fall from Kansas State, will also practice and will be eligible to play next fall.
On the offensive side of the ball, WSU returns starting receivers Michael Bumpus and Brandon Gibson, linemen Bobby Byrd, Dan Rowlands and Kenny Alfred, quarterback Alex Brink and running back Dwight Tardy.
Defensively, the five returning starters are tackles Ropati Pitoitua and Aaron Johnson, end Lance Broadus, linebacker Greg Trent and safety Husain Abdullah. Also back is A'i Ahmu, who started three games last fall while battling a foot injury and also had 11 starts in 2005.
NEW COACHES: Two new coaches have joined the Cougar staff this spring, running back coach and former WSU great Steve Broussard, and defensive end coach Marty Long...Broussard spent the past three years at Portland State...he completed his Cougar career at the end of the 1989 season and during his four years with WSU, Broussard rushed for 3,054 yards, the second best total in WSU history...Long makes the move to WSU from Nevada...he is no stranger of Pacific-10 Conference football, having spent eight seasons at Arizona...Broussard replaces Kelly Skipper, who is now an assistant coach with the Oakland Raiders, while Long replaces Robb Akey, now the University of Idaho head coach.
STAFF ASSIGNMENTS CHANGE: WSU Head coach Bill Doba is moving back to the defensive side of the field this spring and will actively coach the Cougar linebackers and serve as the defensive coordinator, a position he held for nine seasons before being named head coach at the end of the 2002 season...Leon Burtnett, who has been coaching linebackers, will work with defensive safeties, while Ken Greene, who coached both safeties and cornerbacks for the past four seasons, will concentrate on the cornerbacks.
JANUARY ADDITIONS: Several players this spring will be seeing the Cougar football field for the first time, including junior tight end Devin Frischknecht, a transfer from Snow College, and junior offensive lineman Vaughn Lesuma, who transferred from Mt. San Jacinto College...both enrolled in January...also joining the Cougars in January was freshman defensive back Cornorris Atkins.
INJURIES FORCE ABSENCE OF SEVERAL COUGS: Several returning veterans will not participate in spring drills or will have limited action while recovering from surgeries...they include Grady Maxwell (left knee), Michael Willis (right shoulder), Vaughn Lesuma (left wrist), Peter Hill (left knee), Chris Baltzer (right knee), Matt Mullennix (left knee) and A'i Ahmu (left foot).
2007 WSU Spring Practice Schedule
Thursday, March 22 - 4 p.m.
Friday, March 23 - 4 p.m.
Saturday, March 24 - 10 a.m.
Monday, March 26 - 4 p.m.
Tuesday, March 27 - 4 p.m.
Thursday, March 29 - 4 p.m.
Friday, March 30 - 4 p.m.
Monday, April 2 - 4 p.m.
Tuesday, April 3 - 4 p.m.
Thursday, April 5 - 4 p.m.
Friday, April 6 - 4 p.m.
Monday, April 9 - 4 p.m.
Tuesday, April 10 - 4 p.m.
Thursday, April 12 - 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 14 - Time of Final Spring Practice TBA