WSU DAY 17: Crisp session pleases Leach

PULLMAN – Washington State came out and attacked the gridiron with zeal aplenty on Monday. The Cougs were composed, motivated and enthusiastic, looking to rebound from arguably their worst practice the session before. And a junior o-lineman played the entire afternoon on the defensive side of the ball in the Cougs' 3-4. Plus, the rosters have expanded with classes now underway at Wazzu.

"We had good tempo and our wits were about us," said defensive coordinator Mike Breske. "We had a good focus today and got a lot of good work done."

Despite Monday being the first day of classes for the players, Washington State came out and showed great hustle, displaying little sign of any distractions that may have been present.

"I thought we played fast," Mike Leach said. "I've never had a great practice the first day that school starts...but today was pretty good."

Leach hinted that the quarterback situation between Jeff Tuel and Connor Halliday might be less of a competition at this point, but that's as far as he would go – a hint.

"I think Jeff's a little ahead right now," Leach said.

Tuel got the majority of the snaps again Monday as has been the case the past few days, with Halliday getting about 25 percent of the reps with the first team.

Leach also detailed some season completion and yardage goals at various positions...

THE DEFENSE ALSO welcomed a new addition. Offensive guard Niu Sale donned a white defensive jersey Monday, getting some reps at the nose tackle position.

Leach again emphasized that this Cougars' team is going to get the most talent on the field any way it can.

"He can be explosive at times, but he has to get in shape," Leach said. "He's got pretty fluid hips and right now he's not really a first level O-lineman. He's strong and it's awfully tough to block him with one person."

THE THEME THROUGHOUT fall camp has been competition with some of the incumbent starters seemingly losing their roles to the youth. On Monday, Breske reiterated that nobody is safe and players should come to work each day fighting for their spot on the team.

"Just because you may start one game, doesn't mean you're going to start the next," Breske said. "Come compete everyday at practice and we'll see who plays Saturdays."

Breske added that freshman safety Taylor Taliulu has been running with the 1's the past several days for a number of reasons, and mainly due to the intangibles.

"Taylor is mature beyond his years," Breske said. "He's one of the top tacklers on the team and he's knows the calls in the back end and he's a great communicator."

BRESKE IS ALSO excited to have senior defensive lineman Adam Coerper back in the fold from injury, and added that the coaching staff has been huddling over some different ways to get him on the field.

"We've been looking at Adam in the middle and on the ends," Breske said. "He's got some catching up to do, but he's definitely competition to the entire line."

The Cougs also welcomed some new faces to practice Monday as rosters expanded. Among them were five notable "school start" players who were not among the 105 deemed eligible to participate in fall practice by WSU (until the roster expansion stage that comes with the first day of classes.) They were:

Senior defensive tackle Justin Clayton, freshman DL Darryl Paulo, senior long snapper Zach Koepp, sophomore cornerback Spencer Waseem and sophomore wideout Henry Eaddy. All were in attendance Monday, albeit out of pads as they go through the NCAA-mandated acclimation period before they can don shoulder pads, followed by full pads.

A jumble of new walk ons also took to the field Monday for their first practice session at Washington State, many of whom did not have numbers on their jerseys on the first day.

--Freshman cornerback Ray Ford did not participate (and continues to sport a cast the size of right arm up his forearm.
--Sophomore cornerback Brandon Golden did not participate.
--Sophomore wide receiver Isiah Myers did not participate.
--Junior linebacker Eric Oertel did not participate.
--Senior wideout Gino Simone participated scarcely Monday.
--Freshman nose tackle Xavier Cooper did not participate.
--Junior linebacker Darren Markle did not participate.
--Kristoff Williams did not participate all afternoon.
--Chas Sampson was not in attendance.

  • There wasn't a lot of long snapping on the day but for what there was, Ryan Saparto and Alex Den Bleyker rotated.

  • Theron West and Leon Brooks handled the most kickoff return duties, with Rahmel Dockery also getting a return.

    Running with the 1's for the scrimmaging portion or practice:

    LT- John Fullington
    LG- Matt Goetz
    C- Elliott Bosch
    RG- Jake Rodgers/Wade Jacobson
    RT- Dan Spitz
    QB – Jeff Tuel
    RB – Carl Winston/Teondray Caldwell/Leon Brooks
    X-WR – Marquess Wilson (Dominique Williams got some time)
    Y-WR – Andrei Lintz/Rickey Galvin
    Z-WR – Gabe Marks
    H-WR – Brett Bartolone (Simone ran a little with the 1's)

    LT- Matthew Bock
    NT- Ioane Gauta
    RT- Steven Hoffart (Travis Long rotated between BUCK and DL when Cougs went with an even-man front)
    BUCK- Travis Long
    SAM- Cyrus Coen
    MIKE- Darryl Monroe
    WILL- Chester Sua
    CB- Nolan Washington
    CB - Damante Horton
    FS- Taylor Taliulu
    SS- Deone Bucannon

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