Sideline report: Four key Coogs to watch during spring practice

The Cougars have completed one of their 15 spring practices. With a strong group of returners, here are a few under-the-radar players who could make a big impact.

Greg Ward Jr.: Sophomore Greg Ward Jr. played various positions last season and became the first Cougar since 2007 to pass, rush and receive a touchdown in a season. Ward could see time at quarterback, receiver or punt returner like he did last season. His versatility will be a huge bonus for the squad.

Efrem Oliphant: Senior linebacker Efrem Oliphant could be an impact player in 2014. He led the defense with 134 total tackles and will be looked at as one of the anchors after being named an all-conference selection by most outlets. Senior linebacker Derrick Mathews received most of the shine heading into 2013, but Oliphant established himself as one of the top players on the defense.

Eric Eiland: Junior rush end Eric Eiland is again in transition. He lost some weight during the offseason and will return to the secondary to play safety along with rush end. Eiland missed time due to injury last season.

Travis Bush: Travis Bush will reclaim his role as offensive coordinator after taking the position early in 2012. This time, he will have a full offseason to “finish what he started.” When Bush served as offensive coordinator in 2012, the Cougars’ offense featured a heavier influence on motion and running the ball.

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