DAY 18: Coug offense takes the day

PULLMAN - On a day where the Cougar offense prevailed, the No. 1s on both sides of the ball continued to put in solid work against the scout team and the coaches seemed happy with what transpired. The talk of the Cougs' camp has been the consistency of the o-line -- What did Day 18 reveal on that front? Also, a long serving walk on earns a scholie.

The last few days, including Wednesday, the Cougars have put in some very good work in the trenches. Yes, it should be noted that it's come against the scout team but the Coug hosses have looked crisp up front. They continue to shoot out of their stances, providing a nice barrier for QBs and running room for the backs.

"It has been 2-3 weeks of hitting the same guys," OL coach Clay McGuire said. "Now we are coming out with the scouts…it is a little bit different, but a good job."

What stood out on Wednesday, and for the past few days, has been the o-line's confidence and focus. A little over a week ago, McGuire was unhappy with how the starting unit was performing and said some of the No. 2s were pushing for starting jobs. That does not seem to be the case any longer.

"At that time…there were some guys making some big push," McGuire said. "It is at that point at camp where guys kind of have separated and showed why they belong with those ones."

When asked who his spots at six, seven, and eight on the OL were, McGuire noted senior Matt Goetz, senior Zach Brevick and second-year freshman Eduardo Middleton, in that order.

ON OFFENSE FOR the day, junior QB Connor Halliday ran with the 1s and had a good day. On one play, Halliday rocketed a pass in Vince Mayle's direction that appeared to be out of his reach, but Mayle reached around and made an excellent grab.

During the very short team session, Halliday hit Mayle again for a good gainer and tossed a TD pass to sophomore WR Dominique Williams in 7-on-7.

IT MAY SOUND like a broken record but again on Day 18, redshirt freshman QB Austin Apodaca had a good showing running with the 2s.

With the No. 2 offense out first during 7-on-7, the 6-3, 193-pound Apodaca improvised and hit sophomore WR Brett Bartolone. Later, he hit Mayle, who used his size (6-3, 230) to his advantage against tight coverage, pulling in the pigskin as he tumbled to the turf.

DEFENSIVELY, Mike Breske and crew continue to tinker with some spots on the No. 1 defense.

Sophomore safety Taylor Taliulu was back with the ones at safety in place of senior safety Anthony Carpenter on Wednesday.

Carpenter has been impressive the last few days with the starting unit but the coaches also may want to get Taliulu some more work with the 1s. The next few days should offer some intriguing developments at that spot.

Also, junior LB Cyrus Coen was working at the SAM LB with the first unit in place of senior LB Eric Oertel. Coen looked very good while going against the scout team on certain plays and situations. He was making all the right reads and checks and taking the right pursuit angles.

Coen was running with the 1s almost exclusively at the SAM the first 10 days of camp down in Lewiston. After the Cougs returned to Pullman, Oertel began his run with the 1s. And now Wednesday, Coen was again with the starting unit. Where it goes from here? Just like with the safety spot, stay tuned.

The d-line didn't have a lot of chances to shine as the emphasis was on other areas and they weren't going full tilt against their offensive counterparts on the scout team. That said, Xavier Cooper still found ways to make life difficult for them.

One the second team, the two corners were a pair of true freshmen -- Charleston White and Daquawn Brown. While Brown has turned a few heads since Day 1, White has been making his presence known in recent days and Wednesday was another good day for him.

THERE'S BEEN A considerable amount of shifting, mixing and matching at the linebacker spots, as first year assistant Ken Wilson continues to take long looks at a number of players. In the second unit on Wednesday, senior Jared Byers worked at MIK. At SAM, Oertel received the reps and sophomore LB Tana Pritchard was at the WIL.

And although the offense may have won the day, Mike Leach was impressed with the work his defense has put in as of late.

"I think we are more clearly defined," Leach said. "We have got more depth on the d-line…also done a better job making choices on what we are specifically going to run."

PRITCHARD HAD THE block of the day during special teams.

On kickoff return, Pritchard kept his head up and eventually found his target, flattening a player. From our vantage point high above the turf, we could not see who the player was because of the black jersey and the distance from the field. Either way, Pritchard's block could be seen and heard from a long ways away.

The kickoff return men were RBs Teondray Caldwell and Leon Brooks. Also returning kicks was freshman CB Alex Jackson who showcased some blazing speed. His teammates set up some fine blocks and it didn't take long for Jackson to pick his lane and scoot down the field for what would have likely been a TD had the day been live.

NOTABLE NOTES
• WSU reserves the right to discontinue access of any kind with any media members who report on injuries or dings that players may sustain during practice. As such, while we strive to offer complete and informative reports from practice, our dispatches will not include information on player injuries or dings sustained in practice.

• Leach said that fourth-year junior safety Mitch Peterson has been put on scholarship. He cited his hard work, dedication as a player and his academics for awarding him the scholie.

• When asked about if OL Matt Meyer is still with the program, McGuire said yes. No further details were available on his status from McGuire. Meyer, an incoming freshman o-lineman, has yet to suit up for a practice and hasn't been seen on the field.

Running with the 1s

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

Defense:
DE- Toni Pole
NT- Ioane Gauta
DE- Xavier Cooper
BUCK- Destiny Vaeao
SAM- Cyrus Coen
MIKE- Darryl Monroe
WILL- Justin Sagote
CB- Nolan Washington
CB – Damante Horton
S – Deone Bucannon
S – Taylor Taliulu

Limited:
S Paris Taylor
WR Tyler Baker
WR Rickey Galvin
WR Kristoff Williams
OL Jacob Seydel

Not in attendance:
OL Matt Meyer
DL Paulo Lepua
S Bennett Bontemps
LB Chester Sua
LB Austin Rapp


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