WSU PRACTICE REPORT: Not crisp enough

PULLMAN -- Execution has been a focus for the Washington State this season, but the team took a step backward during Wednesday's practice. Meanwhile, some players were sidelined, but coach Paul Wulff said he expects them all to be ready for Saturday's game against Oregon State at CenturyLink Field (TV: Root Sports).

The rain was pouring down during parts of practice and it appeared to take its toll on the chemistry the Cougars developed during practice early on. There were some dropped passes, and the offensive line was having some difficulty getting lined up and getting a play set.

The players seemed frustrated with their play, as were the coaches near the end of practice. Regardless, Wulff said he wasn't disappointed with the team's performance, but made sure his players knew that they had to work at a high clip the rest of the week in preparation for the Beavers.

"We have to be good and we can always execute better," Wulff said. "When we execute at a high percentage we're a very effective football team and that's key."

When it was executing, the offense was strong. Tuel at times was threading the needle on Wednesday and making throws that he might have not made last week. Another player who continues to impress is RB Carl Winston.

Winston's play is reminiscent of a monster truck. He plows his way up the middle and rocks his way forward in search of extra yards. Winston was getting more carries with the starters and looked sharp.

ON THE INJURY FRONT, there were several players who either didn't participate or were limited in practice. Starting LT David Gonzales was held out after getting dinged up during Tuesday's practice. Gonzales was in street clothes Wednesday, but Wulff said he expects the senior lineman to be back Thursday and start Saturday.

Redshirt freshman Jake Rodgers jumped in with the 1s for Gonzales but didn't have his best day. There were times where Rodgers was lined up against the 1s and consistently was getting beat off the edge. Rodgers did show some positive signs later on in practice with his pass protection, but it's clear the big hoss still needs some more time with the 1s to acclimate.

WR Jared Karstetter ran through most drills Wednesday, but was limited during some team portions of practice. It was the same case for starting S Tyree Toomer, and Wulff said at this point in the season it's normal for players to start to feel pain with greater frequency.

"As we head down the second half of the season we're going to cut some time out," Wulff said of practice. "That's normal. We've got a few couple guys dinged up here and there for the last couple weeks. We're just trying to get some guys back and healed up."

ONE BIG POSITIVE for WSU on Wednesday was the defensive line's play. Some of that could be attributed to injuries on the offensive line, but the d-line was on point and constantly getting into the backfield. When the units went head-to-head, the defensive players were winning the battle consistently with Kalafitoni Pole continuing to impress.

"They've played solid the last few weeks," Wulff said. "We need them to continue to improve. For this team to be a good defense consistently, the d-line has to be consistent."

DE Adam Coerper, who returned to practice this week after suffering a knee injury at San Diego State, was running with high energy and moving quick off the edge. Coerper was indeed flying out on the field, and Wulff said there's a chance he'll get some playing time this weekend. Wulff added that Coerper could be considered probable at this point rather than questionable.

NOTABLE NOTE:
  • Starting WIL LB Alex Hoffman-Ellis also was missing from practice. Hoffman-Ellis was in California on Wednesday to attend his grandmother's funeral. Hoffman-Ellis should be back in Pullman on Thursday and is expected to start Saturday. With Hoffman-Ellis not at practice, freshman LB Cyrus Coen jumped in with the 1s.

    RUNNING WITH THE 1s
    Offense: QB: Jeff Tuel
    X receiver: Marquess Wilson
    Flanker: Isiah Barton
    Z receiver: Jared Karstetter (Note: Bobby Ratliff also getting action in with 1s)
    TE Andrei Lintz
    LT: Jake Rodgers
    LG: John Fullington
    C: Matt Goetz (Andrew Roxas also getting reps)
    RG: B.J. Guerra
    RT: Dan Spitz
    RB: Carl Winston(Rickey Galvin and Logwone Mitz also seeing action)
    DEFENSE
    LE: Lenard Williams
    LT: Toni Pole (Brandon Rankin also seeing reps with 1s)
    RT: Anthony Laurenzi
    RE: Travis Long
    SAM: Sekope Kaufusi
    MIKE: C.J. Mizell
    WILL: Cyrus Coen
    CB: Nolan Washington
    SS: Deone Bucannon
    FS: Tyree Toomer (Note: Casey Locker also seeing action running with the 1s)
    CB: Damante Horton (Daniel Simmons also seeing reps)


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