SPRING DAY 12: Coug offense on a roll
The full squad portion of practice Tuesday left onlookers cautiously optimistic the Cougar offense has taken a step forward. Six touchdowns in total were scored in roughly 20 minutes of action.
At the quarterback position, question marks gradually dissipate as fourth-year junior Connor Halliday continues to evolve.
"He's getting better at (decision making) all the time," Leach said. "He didn't have spring last year so…"
Halliday's counterpart, redshirt freshman Austin Apodaca, continues to turn heads with his athletic ability, but from this chair Halliday continues to hold the edge.
Apodaca has the innate ability to keep a drive going with his legs, but moving through his progressions, he still seems uneasy at times. The lanky Colorado product threw some beautiful balls over the middle this afternoon, but will need to hone his craft and hit the film room this summer if he hopes to overthrow Halliday for the crown of starting quarterback.
STILL, APODACA IMPRESSED Tuesday, connecting on a pair of 15-yard scores to junior Isiah Myers and sophomore Gabe Marks. Apodaca was also at the helm when fourth-year junior Rickey Galvin scored on a 10-yard touchdown out of the backfield, and when fourth-year junior Theron West scored from two yards out.
Halliday was equally efficient, connecting on a 20-yard strike in the end zone with Galvin, followed promptly by a five-yard score in the corner to third-year sophomore receiver Dominique Williams, who returned after missing a few practices with an undisclosed injury.
Leach said he likes what he's seeing, but the team is still awfully green and needs more time.
"I think we're getting better," Leach said. "Just more time together. Everybody's young and not too familiar with one another just yet."
GALVIN SAID THAT now that he's running out of the backfield again here and there, the hybrid role is something he's embraced to it's fullest. He's one of the most explosive players on the field, and his contributions can come in a variety of forms.
"I feel like I'm Rickey," Galvin said. "I feel like I have a lot of freedom out there. When I get the ball…it's kind of like my old role."
Galvin added his arm is fully healed and hasn't deterred him this spring.
"Some people may think I get discouraged," Galvin said. "It's the opposite. It kind of motivates me. A lot of people at this time may have doubts about themselves and probably won't want to continue playing football. I won't let any injury stop me from going on as long as I can keep playing."
ON DEFENSE, it certainly wasn't the best day the squad had seen this spring. But the Cougar coaches echoed they've had a good spring all-in-all.
Defensive coordinator Mike Breske believes third-year Darryl Monroe is a special player, and reminds him of some of the former defenses he's led in years past.
"The best defenses I've been associated with the leadership comes from the linebacker, MIKE linebacker," Breske said. "He's the vocal leader of that squad, and has been good. He's a good player."
Breske added a comparison between Darryl Monroe and senior safety Deone Bucannon, two big hitters, should not be made. They're completely different players, he said.
"Bucannon is most definitely an introvert," Breske said. "He leads more by example. Not a big talker, he lets his play do the talking."
• It looks like starters might be sprinkled in for both squads come Saturday -- Leach said the teams for the Crimson and Gray game will be chosen randomly.
• The Crimson and Gray game will take place this Saturday at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane. Coaches said they're expecting an attendance of roughly 15,000 fans.
Here are the 1's from Tuesday afternoon
QB: Connor Halliday and Austin Apodaca
RB: Teondray Caldwell and Marcus Mason and Theron West
X: Dominique Williams and Isiah Myers
Z: Gabe Marks and Kristoff Williams
Y: Brett Bartolone Bobby Ratliff (Several rotations at each WR position)
H: Rickey Galvin and Robert Lewis (Several rotations at each WR position)
LT: Gunnar Eklund (Zack Brevick got some time) LG: Joe Dahl (John Fullington got some time)
C: Elliot Bosch
RG: Matt Goetz
RT: Rico Forbes (Eduardo Middleton got some time)
LE: Matthew Bock
NT: Darryl Paulo
RE: Xavier Cooper
BUCK: Kache Palacio
SAM: Cyrus Coen
MIKE: Darryl Monroe and occasionally Jeremiah Allison
WILL: Tana Pritchard
CB: Nolan Washington
FS: Casey Locker
SS: Taylor Taliulu
CB: Damante Horton
KR: Rickey Galvin, Leon Brooks and Brett Bartolone
PR: Rickey Galvin and Brett Bartolone
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