PRACTICE REPORT: Grappling lines fuel energy

PULLMAN -- If there were any concern about Washington State's ability to get excited about playing an unranked opponent Saturday at California, that seems to have been alleviated with a second straight strong practice Wednesday. Coach Paul Wulff told CF.C that energy is reflective of their hopes to play in a bowl game next month.

Temperatures were near freezing at Rogers Field with a strong wind, but that seemed to have little effect on practice, which was one of the most intense of the season -- just as yesterday's session was.

The tempo was set by the offensive and defensive linemen midway through practice, where flared after the whistle during a 7-on-7 drill.

There was constant trash talk occurring between both units until coaches intervened to stop any fights.

Until the last play.

That is when a fight broke out between the lines. While players quickly were separated, the intensity of the moment fueled an energetic remainder of practice.

"I thought they had a good day," Wulff said. "It's always been a goal of mine to keep getting better and better as the season goes along. We did it a year ago and we're going to do it now."

THE OFFENSE HAD a positive day, with QB Marshall Lobbestael continuing to be productive. Lobbestael was spot on with his WRs, and had no turnovers for the second straight session. Lobbestael and RB Rickey Galvin turned in the play of the day toward the end of practice when Galvin made a thrilling one-handed grab. It was so good that defensive coordinator Chris Ball and wide receivers coach Mike Levenseller joined in the celebration.

Wulff told CF.C Wednesday that the Cougs have been more up-beat and excited. He said that he thinks it's because the team is ready to continue to battle in hopes of taking the Cougars to their first bowl game since 2003. In order to do so, WSU must win at least three of its last four games, but Wulff said the team is ready to fight for those wins.

"Their goal has been to get to a bowl game without question," Wulff said. "It's November, we're still in the hunt and there's a lot of reasons for them (to be enthusiastic) and I think that's one of them."

From an injury standpoint, DT Kalafitoni Pole, LB Mike Ledgerwood and WR Kristoff Williams all returned to practice as full participants and went through all the drills. Pole saw more action running with the 1s and was getting reps behind DT Brandon Rankin. Pole is recovering from a pinched nerve in his neck, but Wulff said he's hopeful the redshirt freshman can play this weekend at California.

"Well they're better," Wulff said on Pole's chances of playing Saturday. "The fact that he got through pads today was really positive so hopefully it's just a progression for him."

  • It's not easy for a scout team QB to look good -- he's passing off a card and to specific spots regardless of coverage in order to help the starters prepare. But Connor Halliday had a very productive session Wednesday. The redshirt freshman was accurate throughout practice and had an impressive play throwing on the run for a completion to Williams in traffic. During 7-on-7 drills, Halliday added another impressive 10-yard touchdown pass to WR Marquess Wilson where he split two defenders.

    QB: Marshall Lobbestael
    X receiver: Marquess Wilson
    Flanker: Isiah Barton (Note: Bobby Ratliff also seeing action running with the 1s)
    Z receiver: Jared Karstetter
    TE Andrei Lintz
    LT: David Gonzales
    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)
    LE: Lenard Williams
    LT: Brandon Rankin (Kalafitoni Pole also getting reps)
    RT: Anthony Laurenzi
    RE: Travis Long
    SAM: Sekope Kaufusi
    MIKE: C.J. Mizell
    WILL: Alex Hoffman-Ellis
    CB: Nolan Washington
    SS: Deone Bucannon
    FS: Tyree Toomer (Casey Locker also seeing action running with the 1s)
    CB: Damante Horton (Daniel Simmons also seeing reps)

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