WSU PRACTICE: New starter at SAM linebacker

PULLMAN -- A new strong side linebacker will start against Eastern and hopefully "put his best foot forward" on Saturday, Jeff Choate told the Spokesman-Review in an interview on YouTube.

Choate, the WSU linebackers coach, told the Spokesman-Review on Thursday that sophomore linebacker Cyrus Coen will start at the SAM linebacker position in place of junior and incumbent Eric Oertel.

Choate said the Coen will be given the chance to "put his best foot forward" and earn the job going forward. He said Oertel has done nothing to "lose" the job; instead he said the Cougs are just mixing things up -- a theme on both sides of the ball as of late.

"The objective there is that you're competing for your job every day and every rep," Choate said in the Spokesman youtube video. "That competition will just make us better as a whole."

Coen has been running with the 1's just since Wednesday. Oertel dealt with some injuries since fall camp began but had been running at full strength for a couple of weeks, albeit most recently with the 2's.

Choate said he also believes the BYU loss demonstrated that the Cougs are not in as good of football shape as originally thought. Freshman Darryl Monroe was his main point of emphasis, noting that the Florida native was very, very good when fresh, but his production fell off a bit when he became fatigued.

"That's a good lesson for me," Choate said. "I need to keep and eye on him and have confidence in Jared (Byers) to go in and spell him or vice versa."

ELSEWHERE ON THE defensive side on the ball Thursday during WSU's weekly walk through, the usual faces are expected to start Saturday.

Although freshman Xavier Cooper has been making strides in recent days, he has not been running with the starters and ran primarily with the 2's once again Thursday. Bottom line, he does not look to be ready for extensive action just yet, though Saturday will ultaimtely tell the tale.

After a tough practice Wednesday, former starting offensive lineman Matt Goetz, a junior, again worked with the 2's and was unable to crack the 1's all afternoon. The only new player to enter the fold for the 1's on Thursday was freshman Gunnar Eklund, and that was only for a few plays.

AFTER THE COUPLE hours of drills had concluded on Thursday, the Cougs sent the scout teams out to face off full contact for the third time this fall. Some young faces impressed on Thursday, primarily on the defensive side of the ball.

In the defensive secondary, freshman cornerback Rahmel Dockery stood out, playing back-pocket coverage during the entire scrimmage.

Along with Dockery, freshman linebacker Kache Palacio flew all over the field, looking exceedingly talented in blitz packages. Palacio has a very quick first step, and hits the hole harder than many linebackers who have donned the crimson and grey in recent years.

From this chair, it would not be surprising if some of the highly touted linebackers from the 2012 recruiting class saw the field this season in the box, perhaps even in a starting capacity.

The Cougs take on Eastern Washington Saturday at noon.

Injuries: --Junior linebacker Darren Markle did not participate.
--Freshman linebacker Darryl Paulo did not participate
--Senior center Taylor Meighen was not in pads and did not practice
--Sophomore wide receiver Henry Eaddy rode the bike all afternoon
--Junior defensive lineman Justin Clayton worked out individually all afternoon

Running with the 1's for the scrimmage:

LT- John Fullington
LG- Jake Rodgers
C- Elliott Bosch
RG- Dan Spitz
RT- Wade Jacobson
QB – Jeff Tuel
RB – Carl Winston/Teondray Caldwell/Leon Brooks
X-WR – Marquess Wilson (Dominique Williams got some time)
Y-WR – Andrei Lintz (Brett Bartolone got some time)
Z-WR – Gabe Marks and Isiah Myers
H-WR – Rickey Galvin

LT- Matthew Bock
NT- Ioane Gauta -- Cooper ran with the 2's
RT- Steven Hoffart
BUCK- Travis Long
SAM- Cyrus Coen
MIKE- Darryl Monroe
WILL- Chester Sua
CB- Damante Horton, Daniel Simmons
CB –Nolan Washington (Tracy Clark got some time)
FS- Taylor Taliulu
SS- Deone Bucannon

LS - Alex Den Bleyker
P - Mike Bowlin
KO - Bowlin/Andrew Furney rotation
FG - Furney KR - Leon Brooks PR - Leon Brooks

Cougfan Top Stories