Cougar Defense Rules

Aug. 17, 2002

PULLMAN, Wash. - Jason David picked off a pair of passes as Washington State's defense stymied the offense for most of a two-hour scrimmage Saturday in Martin Stadium.

'I thought the aggressiveness and viciousness of the defense was awesome,' head coach Mike Price commented after the morning scrimmage.

Both of David's interceptions came against Jason Gesser, who was without two of his favorite receivers Mike Bush and Jerome Riley. Both are currently sidelined with injuries.

Still, the offense had its big plays, one a 78-yard reverse that Jevon Miller took to the endzone. The second offensive touchdown was a short pass from Josh Swogger to Brett Johnson.

'That was a great reverse by Miller,' Price observed. 'He is an ex-running back turned receiver and he showed he can run with the football. We need to get Jevon on the special teams because I want him to make the trips (road games).

'More than 40 of the 104 plays we ran involved the number one offensive and defensive units going against each other,' Price said. 'Right now the defense is playing tremendous, but the offense doesn't have everyone healthy right now.'

In addition to Bush and Riley sitting out the practice, running back Jermaine Green saw limited action early in the scrimmage.

'We wanted to let Green warm up and then play him early,' Price said. 'He still looks a little stiff. He needs to practice, but we'll probably rest him for three days. It is hard for his knee to recover when he's playing all the time.'

Price expects to see more from Bush, beginning Sunday, although his activity will still be restricted while he recovers from a stress fracture. Both Devard Darling and Jonathan Smith were helped from the field during Saturday's scrimmage, but Price said it did not appear either player was seriously injured and both are expected to practice Sunday afternoon.

'I thought our secondary played well,' said Price. 'The new starters, Erik Coleman and Virgil Williams, played well and Jeremy Bohannon is doing a real good job as a backup at safety, good enough to be considered a starter.'

Price also said having David back this fall has helped the secondary. 'Jason is playing the way he can.'

Troy Bienemann has the inside track at tight end, with freshman Jesse Taylor and sophomore Mark Ahlberg behind him. Price said he didn't know if the injured Adam West, who had been listed with Bienemann early in fall camp, would be available for WSU's opener against Nevada.

Price was also pleased with the play of the Cougar linebackers, including newcomer Don Jackson.

'We have six linebackers who can play,' Price said. 'One of them is Don Jackson. He can run like a deer and he will hit the heck out of you. He came in later than the others, but (linebacker coach) Bill Doba will have him coached up and he will know what he is suppose to do before long. Right now we are not sure where we will use him.'

WSU will practice once Sunday (2:30 p.m.) and twice Monday. Scrimmages are set for Wednesday (3:30 p.m.) and Saturday (2 p.m.).

Scoring: , Johnson pass from Swogger, David interception return, Miller 78 run.
Rushing: Green 3/13, Smith 4/16, Anderson 4/7, Gesser 1/0, Thompson 4/7, Tippins 6/20, Moore 1/2, Miller 1/78.
Passing: Gesser 25/9/2/69/0/24, Kegel 23/10/0/66/0/19, Hurt 7/4/30/0/23, Swogger 7/3/0/61/0/61.
Receiving: Harvey 1/6, Green 2/11, Ahlberg 2/10, Henderson 3/42, Malone 1/23, Miller 3/18, Johnson 3/67, Franklin 1/4, Anderson 1/2, Howard 1/5, Bienemann 1/5, Smith 3/25, Taylor 1/7, Moore 1/0, Ostrander 1/9.
Interceptions: David 2.

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