WSU NOTEBOOK: Lewis delivers a slobberknocker

LEWISTON – Cougar freshman wideout Robert Lewis, who grayshirted in order to gain weight, is just slightly north of a buck-fifty this fall. But you sure wouldn't know it by what happened Monday, when Lewis did a fairly decent impression of a football player who weighed more like three-bills. Plus, special teams coach Eric Russell chimes in on potential holders and gunners for 2013 and more.

The Cougs won't go full contact until Tuesday but with shoulder pads on, they do "thud" work -- as in hit with a thud but don't wrap up and take 'em to the ground.

But "thud" play can still yield plenty of oohs and aahs and on Monday, the big hit of the day did not come from a defensive player, but rather from a wideout on offense.

And if you want to grab a special place in an offensive coach's heart, block -- and block well.

Lewis had the hit of the session in 11-on-11 scrimmaging when he laid an enormous block on senior LB Jared Byers.

Lewis is 5-9, 155 pounds, while Byers has more than 60 pounds on him at 6-0, 218. But if you don't see the other guy coming, the difference in bulk doesn't matter much, you're going to be the one taking the hit. And the speedy Lewis also plays bigger than his size -- he's not afraid to lower his shoulder.

Also on Monday....

• Practice began with a session of bull-in-the-ring, which immediately increased the intensity of the day. The drill is about how it sounds – players form a circle and two guys get in the middle and match up.

• Redshirt freshman Austin Apodaca might be fighting an uphill battle for the starting QB job against fourth-year junior Connor Halliday, but he's got game. Halliday has been the better QB, but Apodaca is still scratching and clawing.

Mike Leach reiterated that the reps are likely to be even between Halliday and Apodaca for the remainder of the time in Lewiston. The Cougs are expected to spend 10 days in Idaho before heading back to Pullman on Sunday.

• All the dust-ups on Monday were brief, save for DE Xavier Cooper continuing to yell at WR Gabe Marks long after their brief tussle was stopped.

• Ironically, Marks and Cooper both wear No. 9.

• Sophomore WR Brett Bartolone made an excellent catch near the sideline on Monday -- tapping two feet in and maintaining possession. After his momentum carried onto the track, he slipped and fell, but got right back up and received more reps.

• True freshman WR River Cracraft had a fumble during 7-on-7, the ball was recovered by true freshman DB Daquawn Brown.

• With holder David Gilbertson graduated, special teams coach Eric Russell said that senior P Michael Bowlin and Apodaca are the frontrunners for that role. Also in the mix are freshmen such as River Cracraft and QB Isaac Dotson.

• Russell also noted that senior CB Nolan Washington, senior WR Rickey Galvin, freshman Alex Jackson and Marks are all in the mix to be the gunners.

• Marks continues to make impressive receptions on a regular basis in the early going. Among those on Monday's ledger -- he absorbed a pretty good shiver by sophomore MIK Darryl Monroe but still managed to make the grab.

• Senior LB Justin Sagote worked his way smartly into the backfield during the scrimmage portion with two tackles for loss.

• After spending the majority of practice yesterday on the bikes, freshman safety Darius Lemora was not seen at practice today. It appeared he had injured his foot earlier but it also didn't appear to be anything serious at the time.

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