FALL CAMP DAY 3: Apodaca making his case

LEWISTON – Temperatures rose into the low 90s Sunday along with the physicality on the field during the third day of fall camp. After two days at Sacajawea Middle School with minimal contact, players suited up in shoulder pads, instantly raising the level of intensity among the ranks of crimson and gray.

Normally requiring a subscription, this CF.C article is presented as free content. You can take out a Cougfan.com Pass for a FREE 7-day test drive and become a subscriber in one of three ways -- monthly, 6 months or Annual. Click on the 7-day free trial button HERE for the various options, with the Annual Total Access Pass the most attractive in terms of price and perks.

The quarterback battle still appears to be Connor Halliday's to lose, but redshirt freshman Austin Apodaca is making a strong case for the job.

With Halliday receiving the majority of first-team offensive reps, Apodaca completed a vast majority of downfield passes with unerring accuracy.

"I am just trying to take mental reps when I am not in and make sure I have good reps when I am getting reps," Apodaca said.

Today, his accuracy throwing the ball downfield caught the attention of coaches and spectators as well. The freshman's footwork is incredible and his decision-making during scrimmages has drastically improved since the first day of camp.

In order to earn the starting job, Apodaca believes there are two areas he needs to work on.

"Timing and just being more confident and comfortable back there," he said. "As a redshirt freshman, sometimes I get a little panicked back there."

In the trenches, the offensive and defensive lines had tough battles throughout the scrimmage. Senior offensive tackle Rico Forbes anchored the line with grit and a whole lot of swagger. Forbes had no problem letting the defense know that he would not let them anywhere near the quarterback.

It is no secret that Coach Mike Leach believed that the line was undersized last year. With youngsters Eduardo Middleton, Pierson Villarrubia, Carlos Freeman and Cody O'Connell, among others, checking in at or near 300, the depth of thecweight and strength up front excites OL coach Clay McGuire.

"Last year at any given time we had three guys playing in the 260s," McGuire said. "Most high schools average that."

The average weight of Middleton, Villarrubia, Freeman and O'Connell clocks in at about 315 pounds. The latter is 6-foot-8 and 345 pounds.

"There is not any fat on him at all, and he is enormous," McGuire said. "We have had some huge offensive lines at (Texas) Tech and he is bigger than all those guys."

The last few days at camp, the defense has won the day. The defensive line came out with a chip on its shoulder today and went at it hard all through scrimmage.

With the addition of shoulder pads, players were excited to have solid contact before going full bore on Tuesday.

"We have been through summer workouts day in and day out 10 weeks straight," senior nose tackle Ioane Gauta said. "It is tough, so it is good to hit somebody out here."

First Team Offense:
QB– Connor Halliday
RB – Teondray Caldwell and Marcus Mason X, H, Y, and Z receivers – Many players receiving reps
LT- Gunnar Eklund
LG- Joe Dahl
C- Elliott Bosch
RG- John Fullington
RT- Rico Forbes

First Team Defense:
DE- Toni Pole
NT- Ioane Gauta
DE- Xavier Cooper
BUCK- Destiny Vaeao
SAM- Tana Pritchard and Cyrus Coen
MIKE- Darryl Monroe
WILL- Tana Pritchard and Justin Sagote
CB- Nolan Washington
CB - Damante Horton

On Bikes:
S Paris Taylor
CB Rahmel Dockery
WR Tyler Baker
S Darius Lemora

Junior wide receiver Vince Mayle dropped multiple easy passes during 7-on-7 and had one fumble during scrimmage.

Freshman offensive lineman Matt Meyer and junior linebacker Chester Su'a were not in attendance.

Cougfan Top Stories