As spring football at Washington State gets under way today, some key Cougars are on the shelf for the spring because of medical issues.
Cody Boyd, the No. 1 returning tight end, is recovering from heel surgery.
Defensive tackle Ropati Pitoitua is being held out to protect the leg he broke in fall camp last year.
"His leg isn't quite ready," said coach Bill Doba, who added that Pitoitua had to deal with a staph infection. The coach said the bone has healed but that the leg has atrophied. Pitoitua saw limited work in late-season games.
Strong safety Eric Frampton, who was the team's leading tackler, might undergo arthroscopic knee surgery now or he might wait until after the final spring scrimmage on April 15, Doba said.
Backup tight end Jesse Taylor (shoulder nerve) will be held out of contact, and wide receiver Chris Jordan (knee) also will be limited.
One of the best battles will be to replace running back Jerome Harrison, who was No. 2 in the nation last year with 1,900 rushing yards. The spring contestants are DeMaundray Woolridge, Kevin McCall and Dwight Tardy.
The Cougars are coming off a 4-7 season in which they lost five games by four or fewer points but beat Washington to win the Apple Cup for the second straight year.
• In addition to QB Josh Swogger (now at Montana) four other scholarship players have left the team since last fall. All four were reserves: OL Spencer Hollison, LB Steffan Blume from Clarkston, DE Reyshawn Bobo from Moreno Valley, Calif., and CB Shelton Danzy from Rainier Beach High School.
• Tony Thompson, a freshman tight end from Ballard High School who is the son of former WSU QB Jack Thompson, is a leading candidate to win a deep-snapping job. Defensive end Mkristo Bruce and FB-TE Jake McKinney also will get looks as deep snappers.
• Redshirt freshman Kenny Alfred is listed as the No. 1 center, and redshirt sophomore Dan Rowlands is No. 1 at right guard, the other starting line position vacated by graduation.
• Senior Lorenzo Bursey, who played cornerback last season, is being moved to wide receiver. He also is listed as the No. 1 kickoff returner.