More personnel moves on horizon for Cougs?

PULLMAN – Washington State coach Mike Leach has stressed the importance of continuing to improve even after the Cougars' upset win Saturday at No. 25 USC. And if Tuesday's practice was any indication, the players seem to have received the message. Coaches are pushing players harder than last week as WSU prepares for Saturday's home opener versus Southern Utah. Also, two players switched positions.

Sophomore safety Paris Taylor has been limited for a good portion of camp and this season. Now that the 6-3, 206-pounder is healthy and a full participant he is receiving time. But it was not at safety. Today, Taylor worked with the third unit at SAM LB.

"He has been looking good," Leach said. "We are just trying to see what he can do … get him in the mix. We did not have him as much at camp as we would have liked, so he got here late and everything."

"We are looking at him there (linebacker). Plus he is a pretty big guy and he is going to be bigger. He is a big safety and there are big safeties, but he looks like a SAM."

As of late, freshman safety Isaac Dotson and senior Casey Locker both have taken the reigns as the No. 2 safeties when practicing. However, senior Anthony Carpenter returned as a full participant today and rotated with Dotson as a second-string safety.

Dotson even had the hit of the day. While participating in OL/DL drills, freshman RB Gerard Wicks dashed through an opening on the line, but the 212-pound Dotson stuffed him with a loud crack as he wrapped him up and took him to the turf.

Freshman Jamal Morrow also made another move. Last week, coaches wanted to give Morrow a shot at cornerback to see how he would fit there and improve depth at the position. Today, Morrow was back in his red jersey wearing No. 38 and working with the running backs. CF.C asked Leach if he liked what he saw from Morrow at corner.

"He was fine," Leach said. "They needed a good look over there on that."

Leach was then asked if he felt comfortable with his depth at the corner position?

"It is okay," Leach said. "Everybody wants more depth. It's all right."

Leach previously said if Morrow's transition to cornerback did not stick he likely would redshirt. CF.C asked if that was still the case?

"He will probably redshirt," Leach replied.

ON THE FIELD, the offense won the day. Both quarterbacks completed a high percentage of their passes during 7-on-7 and the team session. Junior signal-caller Connor Halliday finished the 7-on-7 session completing 16 of 20 passes while running against the scout-team defense. He also finished with two touchdown passes. One of those was a 15-yard strike to sophomore WR Gabe Marks. The other was a 30-yard pass to WR Vince Mayle.

Redshirt QB Austin Apodaca went 9 of 10 in the 7-on-7 session. He did not throw a touchdown pass or turn the ball over.

In team session, Halliday looked impressive. He finished 18 of 20 with two touchdowns against the scout team. His was a 20-yard throw to Marks as he maneuvered past a defender and scampered into the end zone. The next went to sophomore WR Dominique Williams on a short pass aided by an excellent block from sophomore WR Brett Bartolone. It looked similar to Saturday's 50-yard completion from Halliday to Williams that set up Andrew Furney's go-ahead field goal.

CF.C asked outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons about blocking at the receiver position and how much they focus on it?

"We have been preaching it ever since we got here," Simmons said. "Bottom line, if you are not going to block as a receiver in the run game you are not going to play. We want an unselfish unit and we want unselfish players."

"All those guys want the ball in their hands, but they better understand they better block for their brother when he gets the ball. To me that is just good family business. If you are not a believer in that and don't want to be a part of that then don't come here because you won't play."

Apparently, Bartolone has been getting the memo from Simmons. Bartolone had a nearly perfect block that freed up Williams at USC.

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • Furney was perfect at the beginning of practice nailing all five of his field goal attempts.

  • On kickoff, the first team gunners were senior safeties Deone Bucannon and Casey Locker. At contain, sophomore LB Jeremiah Allison lined up next to Locker. Opposite contain was junior RB Marcus Mason.

    Running with the 1s...

    OFFENSE
    QB- Connor Halliday
    RB- Marcus Mason
    X Receiver- Dominique Williams
    H Receiver- River Cracraft
    Y Receiver- Brett Bartolone
    Z Receiver- Gabe Marks
    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

    NO. 2 DEFENSE
    DE- Darryl Paulo
    NT- Robert Barber
    DE- Matthew Bock
    BUCK- Kache Palacio
    SAM- Eric Oertel
    MIKE- Jared Byers
    WILL- Tana Pritchard
    CB- Alex Jackson
    CB – Daquawn Brown
    S – Casey Locker
    S – Isaac Dotson (a few reps going to Anthony Carpenter)

    LIMITED PLAYERS
    S Darius Lemora
    LB Chester Su'a
    LS Ryan Saparto
    OL Jacob Seydel

    NOT IN ATTENDANCE
    S Bennett Bontemps
    LB Austin Rapp

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