PRACTICE REPORT: Halliday making strides

PULLMAN -- Washington State coach Paul Wulff has maintained during the last two days that he needed to see more consistency from Connor Halliday to insert him into Saturday's 7:30 p.m. game against Arizona State (TV: Versus). With full contact wrapped up, did Wulff see enough from the redshirt freshman to see his first Pac-12 action?

Following practice Wednesday, it appears as though Halliday should see the field Saturday. Halliday, who struggled early on Monday, came back and had a solid practice on Tuesday. He continued to split the time running with the 1s Wednesday with starting QB Marshall Lobbestael and was making some good decisions in the pocket.

"You know with more opportunities, he did better today than he did yesterday, which was good," Wulff said. "The plan is to continue to move forward, get him reps and he should get an opportunity this week in the game."

Lobbestael hasn't exactly struggled this week in practice as he continued to shine Wednesday. Lobbestael still is seeing most of the action with the 1s lined up against the starting defense and hasn't committed a turnover in weeks.

Against the 1s in a 7-on-7 drill, Lobbestael looked sharp and even had some throws while on the run that hit WR Isiah Barton perfectly in stride.

"He's had some good practices," Wulff said. "We need him to keep going."

ANOTHER WIDE RECEIVER who enjoyed a solid day was junior Gino Simone. Simone hasn't had the year he might have hoped for and a large reason for that has been the general emergence of the receiving corps.

But on Wednesday, Simone appeared to be the most consistent receiver and hauled in several nice catches. Simone had the nicest snag of the day when Halliday threw a ball that appeared to be incomplete. But Simone dove to his left and made a beautiful diving catch.

Meanwhile on defense, the starting unit was without starting MLB C.J Mizell. The sophomore was out with a sore shoulder and even though he was fully dressed and looked as if though he could practice, he was given the day off. Wulff said Mizell injured his shoulder Saturday at California and practiced with some soreness Tuesday. Wulff said it was a preventative measure to hold him out Wednesday, and he should be fine and ready to play the Sun Devils.

With Mizell out, senior Mike Ledgerwood jumped in with the starting unit for the afternoon session.

It has been consistent for players late in the season to take off a practice, which Wulff said is natural. Wulff added that the team still is a little banged up, but players are able to fight through it because of the strength gains they made in the offseason.

"This is the most healthy we've ever been," Wulff said. "A large part of that is because guys are bigger and stronger, but guys are nicked up at times and you've got to play it case by case at times."

ON THE DEFENSIVE LINE, which is healthy as it's been all season, there was plenty of rotation going on at practice. One player who stuck out in particular was DE Jordan Pu'u-Robinson. He is moving around much more fluidly and is displaying his quickness off the edge. Pu'u-Robinson has been hampered by a knee injury since last season and is often given a day off each week as part of his recovery. But Wednesday he looked just fine.

During the drill against the offensive lineman, the defensive lineman performed well and were constantly putting the moves on big hosses in the trenches and getting to the simulated quarterback. The defensive line has been making strides over the last few weeks.

QB: Marshall Lobbestael (Connor Halliday also seeing reps)
X receiver: Marquess Wilson
Flanker: Isiah Barton
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: Rickey Galvin (Carl Winston and Logwone Mitz also seeing action)
LE: Lenard Williams
LT: Brandon Rankin (Toni Pole)
RT: Anthony Laurenzi
RE: Travis Long (Jordan Pu'u-Robinson also getting reps)
SAM: Sekope Kaufusi
MIKE: Mike Ledgerwood
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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