PRACTICE REPORT: O-line again paves way

PULLMAN -- Washington State's offensive line, which drew praise for Saturday's performance against Idaho State, again starred during Tuesday's practice. Also, starting linebacker C.J. Mizell (flu) shared some thoughts about Saturday's UNLV game that might make the Rebels nervous.

Those who returned to practice after suffering from the flu included QBs Connor Halliday, Cody Clements and David Gilbertson, along with starting middle linebacker C.J. Mizell. But there were plenty of bodies not practicing and that list included safety Tyree Toomer (2nd day), LB Mike Ledgerwood, DE Travis Long, LT David Gonzales, OL Rico Forbes (2nd day) and WR Isiah Myers (2nd day).

On the offensive line with Gonzales missing, LT Dan Spitz jumped in with the 1s and held his own against the defense. Spitz was able to provide some solid protection and help open up some holes for Coug RBs.

RB Rickey Galvin took advantage of some of those holes and was able to excel at running and catching the ball. Galvin, who scored two touchdowns against ISU, credits the development of the offensive line for his success throughout camp and in the opener.

"It starts with my lineman," Galvin said. "The lineman had a great day and I just fed off of them. It falls into place when they do good, then I can do good."

Quarterback Marshall Lobbestael was under center for the second straight day for the Cougs and had another solid practice. During the first series where the 1s were lined up against one another, Lobbestael was 4-of-4 for around 30 yards. His most impressive pass was when he was able to run out of the pocket and fire off a 15-yard pass on the run to WR Isiah Barton.

Galvin said Tuel's injury was a big scare at first, but he has confidence in Lobbestael and the rest of the team to pick up the pace in Tuel's abscence.

"That really took a toll on us with Jeff going down but like coach (Todd) Sturdy has said it's the next man in," Galvin said. "It's not just us running backs, but everyone has to step up because even though we have someone else coming in at quarterback, it doesn't change anything and we all need to step it up."

Mizell shared Galvin's sentiments and added that the defense knows it also has to step up and make sure that the offense is on the gridiron as much as possible.

"With Jeff going out we're going to have to pick it up," Mizell said. "Our job hasn't changed, we need to get the offense back on the field as quick as we can and get the ball in their hands so they can put points on the board."

AS FOR THE DEFENSE, with DE Travis Long missing practice with flu-like symptoms, DE Lenard Williams jumped in with the 1s and had plenty of success against the scout team bursting from the outside. Meanwhile, DE Jordan Pu'u Robinson also was able to go full speed Tuesday and showed some flashes of quickness and agility on the left edge working with the 2s.

Starting MLB Mizell returned to practice after missing Monday with the flu and the timing was excellent because his replacement, Mike Ledgerwood, caught the virus and was unable to participate in today's session. Mizell had a solid practice with the 1s and had his way during the team's prep for UNLV against the scout team. Mizell had a pair of big-time hits that were heard from across the field on scout-team RBs.

Following practice, Mizell acknowledged that he had some big hits during the afternoon session and said he's looking forward to do the same against UNLV.

"I missed a couple last week just trying to lay some people out, but this week I'm going to make sure I've got the tackle first and maybe slam them or something instead of missing tackles," Mizell said, smiling.

Mizell's energy and level of play set up the defense going into the last period where they won the battle over the offense. Lobbestael and the starting O started quickly with the fifth-year senior connecting on his first three pass attempts, which all went to different WRs.

But on the next play, S Deone Bucannon broke up a TD pass from Lobbestael intended for WR Henry Eaddy. Lobbestael nearly was intercepted by DT Toni Pole, who was 10-yards downfield with WR Marquess Wilson, on the ensuing play.

Two plays later, Mizell forced Lobbestael out of the pocket and out of bounds, and on the last play of the day, LB Sekope Kaufusi dove full extension to break up a TD pass from Lobbestael to WR Bobby Ratliff. The play was widely celebrated by the entire defense and it gave them the victory to finish practice.

  • QB Cody Clements had a much better day running the scout-team offense. Clements has struggled to get into any type of rhythm with his WRs, but on Tuesday he was able to run out of the pocket and find open guys for receptions. As has been noted by CF.C, scout-team QBs are often encouraged to throw the ball into tight situations, so if Clements throws several interceptions, there should be no cause for concern.

    Last season, Connor Halliday also was in Clements' position and often would throw interceptions. But Halliday threw his share of touchdowns, as well.

  • Chas Sampson has switched from DT to the offensive line. Sampson was lined up at guard on Tuesday and looked comfortable in his new position. He was able to get off the ball quickly and get his body on a member of the defensive line.

  • The team started off the day with field goals and kicker Andrew Furney continues to develop more consistency. Furney was 6-of-7 on the day. His only miss hit the left upright from 47 yards.

    QB: Marshall Lobbestael
    X receiver: Marquess Wilson
    Flanker: Isiah Barton
    Z receiver: Jared Karstetter (Note: WRs Henry Eaddy and Bobby Ratliff also seeing time with the 1s)
    TE Andrei Lintz
    LT: Dan Spitz
    LG: John Fullington
    C: Andrew Roxas
    RG: B.J. Guerra
    RT: Wade Jacobson
    RB: Rickey Galvin (Logwone Mitz and Carl Winston also seeing plenty of reps)
    LE: Adam Coerper
    LT: Toni Pole
    RT: Anthony Laurenzi
    RE: Lenard Williams
    SAM: Sekope Kaufusi
    MIKE: C.J. Mizell
    WILL: Alex Hoffman-Ellis
    CB: Daniel Simmons (Nolan Washington also getting plenty of reps)
    SS: Deone Bucannon
    FS: Casey Locker
    CB: Damante Horton

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