Cougars rebound with solid practice

PULLMAN -- The Cougars responded. Twenty-four hours after a disastrous practice performance, Washington State came out with energy, putting forth a strong performance Wednesday evening. The offense was clicking for the majority of the afternoon, but coach Mike Leach is demanding more from his defense. One thing is for sure -- just about anything would be a step up from yesterday.

"Yesterday, offense was awful … among the worst I've seen in twenty years," Leach said.

Leach said wide receivers caught 800 balls each Tuesday night, enough to keep them on the practice field for almost four hours in total.

"Off week means you don't have a game, off week didn't mean you don't have to work," Leach said. "We're not going to squander effort out here."

Although Leach said Monday that senior Jeff Tuel would take the first team snaps this week, he and third-year sophomore Connor Halliday split reps today for the second day in a row.

Neither looked to have a sizably better day than the other, although it is worth noting they both played well, something that can't be said for Tuesday's practice.

"Yesterday was horrible," Leach said. "Today was good, both of them played good today."

The Cougars were short a few players today after several players decided to leave the program in the last couple days. Leach said defection should be expected in the first year of a regime, noting that it's pretty common.

"We're going to raise the bar around here," Leach said. "Folks that don't fit in with that we don't expect to have around."

Leach added that there might be more departures in time, adding that effort and desire to win needs to become the norm around the program.

Although defense had a poor day in the coaches' eyes, it is important to note that a clear culture change has taken place with this defense. The squad has cohesion and incredible motivation.

On a daily basis, the players are yelling, screaming, taunting and giving the offense a difficult time. They take a lot of pride in their craft, something that wasn't as blatantly clear in recent years.

At least some of that appears related to the addition of defensive line coach Joe Salave'a. The former NFL player has brought a swagger and attitude to a team lacking a reason to possess one in the past. Couple that with defensive coordinator Mike Breske, a coach that relates well with his players, and you have a team looking to learn and develop as a group. NOTABLE NOTE:
  • Junior wide receiver Marquess Wilson and freshman running back Teondray Caldwell were again absent from practice. Both left Saturday's game with undisclosed injuries. Running with the 1s for the scrimmage:

    OFFENSE
    LT- Gunnar Eklund (Brevick got some time)
    LG- John Fullington (Goetz got some time)
    C- Elliott Bosch (Meighen got some time)
    RG- Jake Rodgers (Goetz got some time)
    RT- Wade Jacobson (Brevick got some time)
    QB – Jeff Tuel and Connor Halliday split reps
    RB –Marcus Mason/Carl Winston/Leon Brooks
    X-WR – Dominique Williams (Bennett Bontemps got a good amount of snaps.)
    Y-WR – Brett Bartolone
    Z-WR – Kristoff Williams/Bobby Ratliff
    H-WR – Gino Simone and Gabe Marks split reps
    DEFENSE
    LT- Matthew Bock
    NT- Xavier Cooper
    RT- Ioane Gauta (Steven Hoffart got some snaps)
    BUCK- Travis Long (Logan Mayes got some time)
    SAM- Cyrus Coen
    MIKE- Darryl Monroe
    WILL- Justin Sagote
    CB- Anthony Carpenter
    CB –Daniel Simmons
    FS- Casey Locker and Tyree Toomer
    SS- Deone Bucannon

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