Tuel expected to start against ASU

JEFF TUEL

PULLMAN – The Cougs battled frigid temperatures on the practice field Tuesday evening, but looked sharp and full of energy. Head coach Mike Leach named a starting quarterback for Saturday, and outside linebackers coach Paul Volero said any statements that allege abuse or mishandling during halftime at Utah were false.

Outside linebackers coach Paul Volero is rough around the edges. The brash Volero believes in a hands-on approach to motivate players, but nothing to the extreme of what former wideout Marquess Wilson is accusing the coaches of.

"Football is a brutal game," Volero said. "You've got to have emotion in this game. You don't walk around down the street bangin' people. Football is a violent game."

Junior offensive lineman Elliot Bosch said Monday that Volero got in some players faces during halftime at Utah. Bosch said Volero grabbed some players by their chest plates and looked into their eyes, seeing if they really wanted to win. Bosch made it abundantly clear he didn't think Volero wasn't going over the top.

According to Volero, the scene at halftime in the locker room for Utah was far from excessive, reverberating Bosch's feeling on the matter.

"Up front, the offensive line and defensive line weren't competing," Volero said. "It's definitely been blown out of proportion. I looked into those guys' eyes and it looked like they all still wanted to fight. The scene was simple really."

Since the disaster in Salt Lake City, the Cougs have come out and exemplified good effort each practice, and showed no quit against a tough UCLA squad.

"Those guys fought to the very end regardless of what others were trying to paint out there," Volero said. "Last two weeks have been great. They've all busted their tails."

Third-year sophomore Connor Halliday led that charge against UCLA, but it appears senior quarterback Jeff Tuel will take the helm once again this weekend for the Cougs.

When asked whether or not Tuel would start this weekend, Leach simply replied ‘yes.'

So there's that.

In the grander scheme of things, Leach said the school's investigation of the football program, coupled with the spectacle Wilson left the program with on his way out should not impede on the team's recruiting efforts. Leach noted that all of the recruits that visited this last weekend took the program in with open arms, understanding the situation and where the discrepancies lay.

"The recruits that were here saw it for what it is," Leach said. "It's not like we have anything to hide or be ashamed of, so that's that."

As far as on the field matters go, the offense (despite glacial conditions) exploded on the practice field all evening, hootin' and hollering for each other on a play-to-play basis. Sophomore wideout Isiah Myers returned to the practice field with a bang, helping contribute to a very impressive day for the receiving corps.

"Our chemistry is as good now as it's been since I've been here," Leach said.

One younger player really seems to have burst on the scene in recent weeks. Freshman safety David Bucannon had another impressive day on the gridiron, constantly looking to fire up a scout-team secondary shaking in the cleats from the weather. The younger Bucannon snatched an interception, and forced two fumbles on non-tackle scrimmage sessions.

Running with the 1's for the scrimmage:

OFFENSE
LT- John Fullington
LG- Jake Rodgers
C- Elliott Bosch
RG- Matt Goetz
RT- Wade Jacobson
QB – Jeff Tuel and Connor Halliday split reps
RB –Marcus Mason/Carl Winston/Leon Brooks/Teondray Caldwell
X-WR –Dominique Williams
Y-WR – Brett Bartolone (Andrei Lintz got some snaps)
Z-WR – Gabe Marks (Kristoff Williams got some time)
H-WR – Bobby Ratliff

DEFENSE
LT- Matt Bock
NT- Ioane Gauta
RT- Xavier Cooper
BUCK- Travis Long (Logan Mayes got some time)
SAM- Cyrus Coen
MIKE- Darryl Monroe
WILL- Justin Sagote
CB- Anthony Carpenter and Nolan Washington
CB –Daniel Simmons
FS- Casey Locker
SS- Deone Bucannon

SPECIAL TEAMS
LS - Alex Den Bleyker
P - Mike Bowlin
KO - Bowlin
FG - Andrew Furney
KR - Rahmel Dockery, Leon Brooks, Theron West, and Brett Bartolone
PR - Brett Bartolone, Leon Brooks, Theron West, Rahmel Dockery and Marcus Mason

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