Leach talks freshmen corners, Lintz and more

COUGAR FANS HAVE been wondering if some of the young freshman corners might be called upon in light of defensive backfield issues in recent games. Mike Leach on Tuesday discussed the contributions some of his younger players have made and more..

One player many thought might contribute this year, particularly with the struggles of the defense, was true freshman cornerback Ray Ford. But Leach said Ford, who enrolled at WSU after he was unable to be admitted to the University of California, still is trying gain clearance through the NCAA Eligibility Center. Leach did not put a timetable on when that might happen.

Another freshman cornerback, Curtis High graduate Rahmel Dockery, has not played this season and appears headed toward a redshirt. Leach said both Dockery and Ford have looked "pretty good" during practice.

One true freshman who seems to be making a greater impact each week is Kache Palacio. He had four tackles, forced a fumble and was credited along with BUCK linebacker Travis Long on one play with a tackle-for-loss.

"He brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm," Leach said. "He's competitive. We need to polish his technique and get him sharper."

He also continues to be impressed with true freshman wide receiver Gabe Marks, who had a team-high 107 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions during Saturday's 35-34 loss against Colorado.

"I felt like going into this week that Gabe Marks and Isiah Myers were our two best wide receivers," Leach said.

He was asked if a true freshman also might emerge in the offensive line rotation. That unit has struggled this season as the Cougars (2-2 overall, 0-1 Pac-12) have allowed 11 sacks. Leach noted that he already has a former and current walk on starting along the line in junior center Elliott Bosch, who now is on scholarship, and redshirt freshman left tackle Gunnar Eklund.

While Scout.com lists WSU with two committed offensive linemen in the 2013 class – Kennedy Catholic's Cole Madison and Wenatchee's Cody O'Connell – Leach said that area and the defensive line will be priorities in the upcoming recruiting class, as CF.C has noted multiple times in recent months.

  • Senior wide receiver Andrei Lintz, who routinely was praised by Leach during spring practices, has seen his playing time decrease significantly. He has caught just two passes for 14 yards this season and was dropped to third at the Y-receiver spot on the depth chart this week.

    "We're just not getting some of the same things we were getting in spring in practice," Leach said. "Then we've had some other guys emerge in games. Brett Bartolone has emerged in games."

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