DAY 13: Wilson on WSU LBs; Cougar D steps up

PULLMAN – Perhaps no unit has experienced more shuffling throughout fall camp than the linebackers. Position coach Ken Wilson discussed some of the rationale behind those changes following Thursday's practice.

"We are still looking at combinations," Wilson said. "We have pass situations; run situations … we are just trying different groups to see what our best situational players are."

Wilson also said he is looking to give players some rest while also figuring out which ones can handle the grind of a collegiate game.

"We are trying to get them in-game tempo," he said. "I tell my guys all the time if you can go hard for two plays, then that is all you are going to play. If you can go hard for a seven-play drive, you can play the whole drive."

Wilson tested that game-speed tempo and the toughness of his linebackers during Thursday's team session.

"Today we went 100 yards with one unit on the field, the whole time with no subs just to see where the drop off was," Wilson said. Sophomore linebacker Darryl Monroe has been a standout on defense, but he knows his spot at MIKE is not set. Not on a Mike Leach-team where the coaches preach competition every day as a way of life.

"I would not say my position is on lock," Monroe said. "I have been blessed to have good, consistent days and that is why I am still in my position."

Monroe did not ride the bikes Thursday and participated in all drills, 7-on-7 and in team session. Still, his reps were limited, compared to what he normally has. This could probably be the coaches keeping him out for precautionary reasons.

Monroe looked to be in good spirits and happy with his progression through camp. But he knows more work needs to be done and said his primary focus is simple.

"No matter what happens, be positive and be a leader and lead the team." Monroe said. "That is at the top of my list right now."

With Monroe not taking as many reps during team session, senior Jared Byers and true freshman Peyton Pelluer were awarded extra reps at MIKE. Byers looked stellar by shooting gaps and had two solo tackles during the team session.

AS FOR THE rest of practice, the defense came out on top again. The defensive backs forced three straight incompletions during the team session by sticking to receivers and making it difficult for junior signal-caller Connor Halliday to make his reads.

The hit of the day went to sophomore linebacker Jeremiah Allison during team session.

Allison was working with the second unit when he leveled senior running back Leon Brooks near the sideline.

Brooks had managed to squeak around the edge but to his surprise, was met with a shiver from Allison, who received many high-fives and praise from his buddies on the defensive side of the ball for his hard hit.

Junior d-end Toni Pole tore through the offensive line Thursday making strong pushes up front and even made a tackle-for-loss on junior running back Marcus Mason, stuffing him in the backfield during 11-on-11.

Senior cornerback Damante Horton continued riding the bikes today and did not participate in drills or scrimmage. Senior safety Casey Locker was also not in attendance Thursday. Locker had been at every practice this camp and did not appear to show signs of an injury on Wednesday.

Sophomore linebacker Feddie Davey, who spent the majority of camp on the bikes, returned to practice Thursday as a full participant. He worked with the special teams a great deal, but did not see any work with the second-team defensive unit.

The last few days, Halliday has had limited reps. Gradually, the coaches are continuing to add to his work, but they're not in a hurry.

Halliday began the first play of scrimmage with a first-down pass to wide receiver River Cracraft. After the defense managed three straight incompletions, Halliday answered with a ball down the field where sophomore wide receiver Brett Bartolone made an adjustment in mid-air and hauled in a 20-yard reception.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Austin Apodaca had a solid performance Thursday. After starting off slow with a few incompletions, Apodaca came out firing with a 45-50 yard strike to sophomore WR Dominique Williams as he created separation, caught the ball and took it in for a touchdown.

When the lines were going up against each other in drills, freshman offensive lineman Cole Madison had a stellar block on sophomore Destiny Vaeao. The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Madison pancaked Vaeao as he made a strong rush on the outside edge, but was denied by Madison when he put him on his back.

Sophomore offensive tackle Gunnar Eklund had the block of the day during team session, though.

On a run by sophomore Teondray Caldwell, Eklund shot out of his stance and planted Pole hard, which sprung Caldwell for a nice 8- to 10-yard gain.

In the line drills, junior offensive lineman Jacob Seydel limped off the field favoring what looked like his right ankle. He was helped off the field and attended to by two trainers. Later, Seydel was seen being helped up the bleachers of Martin Stadium back toward Rogers Field by two other trainers.

The running game had a decent day. Caldwell racked up two long gains that were around 10-12 yards each. One of those plays ended up being a third-and-short situation and Caldwell found a hole and scooted his way toward a first down.

Running with the 1s

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

DE- Toni Pole
NT- Ioane Gauta
DE- Xavier Cooper
BUCK- Kache Palacio
SAM- Justin Sagote w/Tana Pritchard having a few reps
MIKE- Darryl Monroe (Mix of Byers and Pelluer too)
WILL- Eric Oertel
CB- Nolan Washington
CB – Daquawn Brown
S – Deone Bucannon
S – Anthony Carpenter

S David Bucannon
S Paris Taylor
WR Tyler Baker
LB Austin Rapp
S Bennett Bontemps (in boot still, not suited up)
CB Damante Horton

OL Matt Meyer
S Darius Lemora
DL Paulo Lepua
S Casey Locker
CB Rahmel Dockery
LB Chester Sua was present at practice but a non-participant.

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