DAY 19: D gets into the rhythm of bass

PULLMAN – The large speakers at Martin Stadium roared with bass-ridden hip-hop music Thursday as the No. 1 units worked against the scout teams. On a day that belonged to the defense, the No. 3s went full bore in pads while the travelers suited up in just helmets. Also, a couple more true freshmen appear poised to earn playing time on the defensive side.

"I thought the offense staggered around, stumbled and looked for practice to be over," coach Mike Leach said. "I thought the defense came out excited to play."

Some of the players who will be traveling with the team were out there getting reps as well. Freshman CBs Daquawn Brown and Charleston White both started Thursday night football at the corner position.

"We always do that … just to get them a couple more reps," Leach said.

White continues his strong play as of late and looks to be a true freshman who will have his redshirt burned along with Brown on the defensive side of the ball. When asked about who will not redshirt this year, defensive coordinator Mike Breske gave his opinion on players on his side of the ball.

"Charleston White has an opportunity; I know he is involved with Coach (Eric) Russell on some special teams," Breske said. "Peyton Pelluer is in the three-deep at the MIK position and I know he is involved on special teams … we are going to play them."

The BUCK position is deep and the transition of sophomore Destiny Vaeao from DE to BUCK LB has been interesting to watch. Outside LBs coach Paul Valero discussed Vaeao's work this camp and his transition to the spot.

"He has learned a lot … he is a smart kid," Valero said. "He is learning how to play up, how to play down, adjust to coverages, but overall he has done a great job."

CF.C asked junior DE Logan Mayes about working at that position instead of BUCK LB, a move that Valero and Breske had said back in the spring would happen. Mayes said it was a decision made by the coaches.

Valero gave insight as to why the coaches decided to make the move.

"As a pass rusher he helps us out a lot as a down guy and our BUCKS are involved in too much coverage," Valero said. "Anytime you remove him from the line of scrimmage you take something away, so it was better to put him there."

During the No. 3 team session, junior BUCK LB Ivan McLennan had a strong outing. He notched a sack on freshman QB Tyler Bruggman and had a 2-yard tackle-for-loss on freshman RB Jamal Morrow.

"The extra reps are doing him (McLennan) some good and he is starting to pick up more every day," Valero said.

The hit of the day came on defense from sophomore LB Jeremiah Allison, who applied a crushing, full-pursuit hit on freshman WR Robert Lewis after he caught a ball during team session.

Freshman DL Emmitt Su'a-Kalio had an excellent play on defense when he shot through a gap untouched and made a perfect tackle on Morrow for a 3-yard loss.

ON OFFENSE, the Cougars' depth at wide receiver continue to show. Lewis caught multiple balls in the team session from Bruggman. During individuals, Junior QB Connor Halliday threw a perfect pass downfield to junior WR Isiah Myers for a 40-yard TD pass.

"As I have said many times before, I do not want a one-headed monster, I want a group," outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons said. "They all bring something special to the table individually and collectively as a unit."

The play of the day went to freshman RB Gerard Wicks. The 5-foot-11, 202-pound Wicks caught a pass from Bruggman and hurdled White during team session. Teammates roared with cheers and gave him numerous high-fives after he showed off his athleticism.

That was not the only offensive highlight. Halliday looked calm and collective completing passes to multiple receivers and managed to connect with his offensive line despite the loud distractions. The stadium speakers also blasted crowd and band noise to help the No. 1 offense to work on non-verbal communication.

"It is to work on communication more than crowd," Leach said.

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.

  • If the season started now, Breske said the starting safeties would be senior Deone Bucannon and sophomore Taylor Taliulu.

  • Breske did not discount the possibility of redshirting junior LB Chester Su'a.

    "Yeah, that would be a consideration," Breske said. "I would have to see where we are at."

    Su'a was in attendance Thursday, but once again did not participate.


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