Locker & Toomer step up; QB, OL & LB updates

PULLMAN -- Given the Pac-12 suspension of junior safety Deone Bucannon, some new faces needed to step in Tuesday and staple down the Wazzu secondary. The quarterback situation remains questionable, but a front-runner seems to have emerged. Meanwhile the linebackers continued to shift around Tuesday with another new combination hitting the field.

Senior Tyree Toomer and junior Casey Locker were the starting safeties Tuesday afternoon as coaches elected to run the defense without safety Deone Bucannon for the majority of the afternoon. The Pac-12 on Tuesday suspended Bucannon for the first half of this Friday's tilt against UNLV.

"It is what it is," said defensive coordinator Mike Breske of the suspension. "It was an accurate call by the Pac-12 office... He realizes what he did wrong."

Breske said although Toomer and Locker ran with the 1's Tuesday, he expects a rotation between the two upperclassmen and Taylor Taliulu at the two safety spots in the first half come Friday against UNLV. Taliulu has started the first two games at free safety alongside Bucannon.

Breske said the team took some time Sunday evening during meetings to watch Bucannon's illegal hit and use it as a learning experience.

"It was a lot of steps before he hit him," Breske said. "We've got to use common sense. It was a dumb penalty."

Breske said Bucannon was disappointed in the suspension, but added he expected some sort of punishment after talking to the coaching staff Sunday afternoon.

ELSEWHERE ON THE defensive side of the ball, junior linebacker Eric Oertel was running with the 1s on Tuesday at the WIL linebacker position for Chester Sua.

Breske said Oertel is a good "sideline-to-sideline" player so the team is looking at him in passing situations.

"Eric we're looking at the dime position," Breske said. "We're trying to get people (in position to play) their assets and not their liabilities."

SENIOR LINEBACKER Jared Byers, the No. 2 MIK who was injured in the second quarter against Eastern, returned to practice Tuesday and was at full capacity all afternoon.

One guy not on the field Tuesday was offensive lineman Dan Spitz. The hogmollie missed Monday's practice as well for what was called a ‘class obligation.' Coaches said yesterday they would decide if a player who doesn't practice all week would still have the opportunity to play in the game later on in the week.

To counter the absence of Spitz, a variety of guys were plugged in to fill the holes. Senior Taylor Meighen, juniors Zach Brevick and Matt Goetz as well as freshman Gunnar Eklund all saw rotations at several positions on the offensive line as the Cougs continue to look for consistency amongst their rotations.

WASHINGTON STATE'S makeshift offensive line, however it lines up Friday, appears as though they will be protecting sophomore Connor Halliday.

Tuesday saw the red-headed junior get the majority of the snaps with the 1's. Junior David Gilbertson saw a few snaps with the starting unit.

Senior Jeff Tuel was donning a smaller knee brace and looked comfortable running around Tuesday, but refrained from doing any drills or scrimmaging with the team.

From the chair, Tuel still looks rather mobile, and could possibly be available Friday if need be.

When asked whether or not Tuel's injury would result in Connor being his starting quarterback this week, head man Mike Leach refused to show his hand.

"He's full strength he looked tremendous," Leach, sarcastically we assume, said of Tuel. "It wouldn't be fun if you already knew the results. You better hang on to your seats; you're going to want to tune in. Be there at 5:58 p.m. to find out."

THE COUGS HAD a bit of a scare Tuesday when freshman receiver Gabe Marks and junior Leon Brooks collided on a punt return drill.

Marks stayed down for about 30 seconds, but soon got up and shook it off. Brooks got up much quicker, but seemed to be dealing with a right knee issue for the remainder of the practice. He did continue to participate.

An Indianapolis Colts scout watched a portion of Tuesday's practice, taking in both the offense and the defense from the sidelines.

--Senior Jeff Tuel wore a smaller brace, but did not participate all afternoon
--Freshman linebacker Darryl Paulo did not participate
--Sophomore wide receiver Henry Eaddy did not participate.
--Junior defensive lineman Justin Clayton worked out individually all afternoon
--Senior offensive tackle Dan Spitz did not participate for the second straight day
--Freshman defensive tackle David Davis did not participate all afternoon
--Freshman defensive lineman Destiny Vaeao did not participate and was sporting a boot

Running with the 1's for the scrimmage:

LT- John Fullington/Eklund
LG- Jake Rodgers/Meighen
C- Elliott Bosch/Brevick
RG- Wade Jacobson/Goetz
RT- Jacobson/Eklund
QB – Connor Halliday (Gilbertson got a few snaps)
RB – Carl Winston/Teondray Caldwell/Leon Brooks
X-WR – Marquess Wilson
Y-WR – Brett Bartolone (Andrei Lintz got some time)
Z-WR – Isiah Myers (Marks got roughly a third of the snaps)
H-WR – Rickey Galvin

LT- Matthew Bock
NT- Ioane Gauta
RT- Steven Hoffart
BUCK- Travis Long (Logan Mayes got some time)
SAM- Cyrus Coen
MIKE- Darryl Monroe
WILL- Eric Oertel
CB- Damante Horton
CB – Daniel Simmons/Nolan Washington
FS- Tyree Toomer
SS- Casey Locker

LS -Alex Den Bleyker
P - Mike Bowlin
KO - Bowlin/Wes Concepcion rotation
FG - Furney
KR - Leon Brooks
PR - Leon Brooks and Rickey Galvin

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