PRACTICE: D-line becoming more youthful

PULLMAN -- The Cougars came out to the practice field Thursday night, turf dry and ready for action. By the time all were off the field, a light white film coated the surface, which could be a sign of what is to come when they face UCLA Saturday. Little came from the brief run-through, though one freshman playmaker will miss the rest of the season, while another entered the starting lineup.

Though listed as a starting defensive end on this week's depth chart, freshman Destiny Vaeao had not run with the 1s all week.

That changed Thursday night.

Vaeao took the place of sophomore Logan Mayes and ran with the first team for the entirety of the brief practice.

In addition to Vaeao, defensive lineman Xavier Cooper and linebacker Darryl Monroe are freshmen starters on defense.

One freshman who will not be seeing the field this weekend is safety Feddie Davey. Special teams coach Eric Russell confirmed Thursday that Davey tore his ACL on kick coverage Saturday against Utah and will miss the rest of the season.

Davey had been a mainstay on the scout-team defense this season, and was one of the most promising playmakers in the front seven, regularly creating turnovers and making plays against the first-team offense.

As for players on the field, Thursday Night Football was a messy session. The snow caused issues for quarterbacks and receivers for virtually the entire evening.

On offense, freshman quarterback Austin Apodaca led the only touchdown drive of the night. Freshman running back Kyle Adkins, playing wide receiver for the possession, caught two balls for 68 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone.

Adkins showed some shifty moves and juked a couple defenders on his way to a 65-yard reception. With his agility and speed, Adkins could be a contributor on special teams next year.

On defense, freshman safety Joe Njoku had a strong day, making three tackles and hauling in an interception off junior quarterback David Gilbertson. Njoku (5-9, 190) is rather small for the position, but plays big and eventually could make an impact on special teams.

As for the weather, Russell said he doesn't think it will change too much for either team.

"I'm not a guy that's afraid of the cold," Russell said. "I've never been somewhere where they have to shovel the stuff, but if it's a day like today it should be fine."

Russell also confirmed senior BUCK linebacker Travis Long will not be punting for the Cougars anytime soon, adding that the team was only experimenting with the idea to emulate the spin of the ball coming off of a kicker that boots with his left leg.

"Ya, that's not going to happen," Russell said. "The ball came off his foot good. He could be the guy in a pinch."

The Cougars' first-team offense looked plenty comfortable slinging the ball around in the snow Thursday, and should put on a solid performance.

Perhaps the Cougars should consider starting Connor Halliday this weekend. Last season, on the second weekend of November, during Dad's Weekend, and in the snow, Halliday slung the ball around for 494 yards -- a Pac-12 freshman record. Halliday ended up leading the Cougars to a 37-27 victory against Arizona State that night. This weekend, the second Saturday of November, is Dad's weekend in Pullman. The forecast calls for plenty of snow once again.

The 1s
Running with the 1s for the scrimmage:

LT- John Fullington
LG- Jake Rodgers
C- Elliott Bosch
RG- Matt Goetz
RT- Wade Jacobson
QB – Jeff Tuel (Connor Halliday got quite a few snaps as well)
RB –Marcus Mason/Carl Winston/Leon Brooks/Teondray Caldwell
X-WR –Dominique Williams (Isiah Myers got some time)
Y-WR – Brett Bartolone (Gino Simone got some reps)
Z-WR – Gabe Marks (Kristoff Williams got some time)
H-WR – Bobby Ratliff
LT- Destiny Vaeao
NT- Ioane Gauta
RT- Xavier Cooper (Matt Bock 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
SS- Deone Bucannon
LS - Alex Den Bleyker
P - Mike Bowlin
KO – Bowlin
FG - Andrew Furney
KR - Rahmel Dockery, Leon Brooks, Theron West, and Brett Bartolone
PR - Brett Bartolone, Leon Brooks, Theron West, Rahmel Dockery and Marcus Mason

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