PULLMAN -- Defense, defense, defense. The Cougars are making big strides on the defensive side of the ball this summer, and it was apparent Sunday morning for the first of the day's two practices.

Cornerback Damante Horton reminded quarterback Jeff Tuel he's human after all, but then Tuel bounced back just two plays later to remind everyone why he's perhaps one of the most underrated signal-callers in the country.

The morning session was dominated by position drills and the defense getting in some work with all the different position coaches. However, the final portion of practice was dedicated to live team drills and there were plenty of highlights.

But this time, it mostly was about the defense. The highlight came between the first teamers came when Horton intercepted Tuel for the first time this summer. Horton was matched up with Kristoff Williams, when it appeared there was a miscommunication between Tuel and the wide receiver, who was not where Tuel fired the ball.

Horton read the play perfectly and leaped high into the air to secure the turnover and returned it for a touchdown.

"Everybody's getting a lot better out here," Horton said. "We were a little tired out here this morning but we were able to push through it and fought hard.

"I'm feeling good out here. It's still early and I have a lot of things I need to work on but I'm definitely feeling good."

With cornerbacks Nolan Washington and Daniel Simmons missing another practice because of hamstring injuries, Horton started, while Tracy Clark and Brandon Golden shared work on the other side. Clark had a good session in coverage.

On one play, Clark appeared to be beaten on a route by Williams who caught a 15-yard pass from Tuel. But Clark didn't give up on the play and at the last second was able to wrap his arms around William's body and stripped the ball out.

THE OFFENSE ALSO had some highlights. After he threw his first interception of the spring, Tuel bounced back only two plays later with a touchdown pass to Marquess Wilson. Golden was right on Wilson on the play, but Tuel fired a perfect lob pass over Golden's outstretched hands for the score.

Later on in practice, Tuel also fired a 20-yard completion to Williams for his second touchdown of the morning. Williams caught the touchdown pass with safety Deone Bucannon in front of him, and Golden right on his tail.

On the offensive line, starting left tackle David Gonzales left practice early after suffering a left ankle injury. Gonzales rolled the ankle during Saturday's practice, and tried going this morning but was unable. Gonzales was seen walking off the field at the end of practice sporting a brace on the ankle.

  • LB Darryl Monroe (concussion) returned to practice Sunday and was in the traditional yellow no-contact jersey.

  • Stay tuned later this afternoon for another practice report from CF.C following the 3:30 session. Braulio Perez will be talking with linebackers coach Chris Tormey, who will provide his insights on how his unit is developing thus far during camp.

    Running with the 1's:


    QB: Jeff Tuel

    X receiver: Marquess Wilson

    Flanker: Isiah Barton

    Z receiver: Jared Karstetter

    (note: TE Andrei Lintz TE Aaron Dunn and WR Kristoff Williams also saw frequent action with the No. 1 offense).

    LT: Dan Spitz

    LG: John Fullington

    C: Andrew Roxas

    RG: B.J. Guerra

    RT: Wade Jacobson

    RB: Logwone Mitz (Rickey Galvin also saw substantial action)


    LE: Travis Long

    LT: Toni Pole

    RT: Anthony Laurenzi

    RE: Adam Coerper

    SAM: Sekope Kaufusi

    MIKE: Mike Ledgerwood

    WILL: Alex Hoffman-Ellis

    CB: Tracy Clark (Note: Brandon Golden and him split time running with the 1s)

    SS: Deone Bucannon

    FS: Tyree Toomer (Note: Casey Locker also seeing action running with the 1s)

    CB: Damante Horton

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