One Washington State player has left team, one is back and other notes from Jake Dickert

By Greg Woods
gregw@spokesman.com
PULLMAN – For Washington State, game week has finally arrived.
That means lots of things for the Cougars – they’ve been working toward their season-opener, Saturday at Colorado State, for untold amounts of time – but for the time being, it means they’re sorting out some personnel matters.
Freshman defensive lineman Rocky Shields has left the program due to a personal matter, head coach Jake Dickert said at a news conference Monday afternoon. He also added that redshirt sophomore Jamorri Colson, who had missed time in fall camp because of an academic issue, is back with the team. He’ll be wearing No. 29.
Elsewhere on the gridiron, WSU is expecting offensive lineman Fa’alili Fa’amoe to return to practice on Tuesday. The returning starter has been out with a knee injury since Aug. 7. The Cougars expect him to return to his usual spot, right tackle, where backup Christy Nkanu had been taking reps in Fa’amoe’s place.
Washington State has some figuring out to do on the offensive line before Saturday’s game arrives. Returning starter Christian Hilborn is returning from injury, getting reps with the No. 1 and No. 2 groups in practice, but for Saturday’s game, it’s unclear who will start at right guard: Hilborn or Brock Dieu, a redshirt sophomore.
In the most recent practices the media has been able to report on (the program started disallowing that last week, when the team began preparing for CSU), WSU’s starting offensive line has looked like this: Left tackle Esa Pole, right guard Ma’ake Fifita, center Konner Gomness, right guard Dieu and right tackle Nkanu. In any case, it means the Cougs are working with seven offensive linemen who could feasibly see the field on Saturday.
“We haven’t done that in my history here,” Dickert said. “But I think guys are gonna be better playing 50 to 60 snaps a game, having a really desired role on the team and then attacking that role each week. So that’s kinda the plan going into it and we’ll be able to adjust on the fly.”
WSU also named its six team captains on Monday: Gomness, wide receiver Lincoln Victor, quarterback Cameron Ward, cornerback Chau Smith-Wade and edges Brennan Jackson and Ron Stone Jr. Those are selected via vote, Dickert said, and Victor was the leading vote-getter.
“I’m just really happy for what he’s done for our program, and Konner and Cam,” Dickert said. “And obviously RJ and BJ as staples. I believe this is their third year in a row (being captains). And then Chau – he’s one of the biggest guys that have transformed in our program in the last three years. So love his mentality, love what all that group does bring to our team.”

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