Coug D stays hot, but offense hot & cold

PULLMAN — The Cougs kicked off their Seattle game week preparation Tuesday with an upscale tempo and some flawless work during seven-on-seven and individual drills. But that offensive shine wore off. Meanwhile, a starting wideout remained at less than full participation but the Cougar D picked up where they left off on Saturday.

Starting H receiver Brett Bartolone remained limited on Tuesday after sitting out Saturday's game within an undisclosed injury. This week's depth chart release listed Bartolone –or— Rickey Galvin –or— Leon Brooks as the possible starter at the H. Bartolone saw limited action in practice last week and Galvin and Brooks filled in smartly against Idaho.

The Cougar offense on Tuesday took to the west side of Martin Stadium and went through individual and one-on-one drills against the defensive scout team. Junior QB Connor Halliday looked polished, completing his passes with pin-point accuracy.

In the 7-on-7, Halliday completed nearly every pass he threw. Redshirt freshman QB Austin Apodaca threw a little less than half of the throws Halliday did but he too was nearly perfect.

WSU cancelled practice on Sunday night but the Cougs looked very crisp on Tuesday, their first day back since the win over Idaho. But it didn't last. Indeed, the 11-on-11 session was a different story.

Halliday was off-target at times and when he was zeroed in, the wideouts were dropping catchable balls. Outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons stayed later with WR Vince Mayle and junior WR Kristoff Williams for a skill session to clean things up a bit.

"We got to be valiant this week on our releases and with our hands," Simmons said. "Obviously, anytime we drop balls, it's not acceptable."

CF.C asked Simmons about how Mayle is progressing.

"He put one on the ground last week I wasn't happy about and he put one on the ground today in practice," Simmons noted. "We are getting to the point now where when they do stuff like that, I don't even have to address them about it. They know that there is going to be some stuff we are going to work on because that's not what we want to be known for as a unit."

Leach was also asked about Mayle, what he needs to do to get better.

"Just keep getting better, focused, and keep working. Just doing all the same stuff he's doing and improve," said Leach.

The skill session involved freshman QBs Luke Falk and Connor Ennis tossing balls to Mayle and Williams.

Head man Mike Leach had his receivers run through a similar session a few practices ago after heavy rain resulted in the wideouts having a difficult time catching the ball.

ON A MORE POSITIVE note for CougFans, the offensive line offered outstanding protection for the QBs. In OL and DL drills, senior OL John Fullington laid out the block of the day. Fullington shot out of his stance and met a defender, and then proceeded to pancake him.

Leach said Stanford's defensive line will pose challenges for WSU on Saturday (TV: ESPN, 7 p.m.)

"They play real hard," Leach said. "Strong powerful guys…the front jumps out the most… They will push the pile too because they are pretty physical."

There probably won't be a whole lot of surprises, however. Stanford's success is built upon execution rather than disguise.

"They figured out what they are going to do," Leach said. "They don't sit and reinvent it all the time - and they do it all over and over again. They do it with precision and they do it with excitement. They are not elaborate. Heck I've got over 12 games (film) on them, however many they played last year, plus all of them they played last year. They're not fancy."

OVER ON THE east side of Martin Stadium, the defense lined up against the scout team and went through various sets Stanford might throw their way.

The Cougar D looked sharp, with the front seven stuffing the run with grit while the secondary covered wideouts like glue.

Sophomore LB Darryl Monroe highlighted the scout team session with the hit of the day on sophomore WR Drew Loftus.

Before Loftus could catch one pass, Monroe made a beeline for him and leveled him just as the pigskin arrived.

On special teams, senior kicker Andrew Furney nailed four of his five field goal attempts on Rogers Field.

Later in practice, the Cougs lined up for punt, kickoff and kickoff return drills.

Backup long snapper Zack Brevick didn't have the best of days and snapped errantly on one occasion to punter Mike Bowlin, after which Brevick headed to the sidelines while the drill continued. As usual on punt return, the two players back to receive were senior RB Leon Brooks and freshman WR River Cracraft.

EARLIER ON MONDAY, sophomore receiver Gabe Marks was added to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List. Forgive Simmons if he didn't jump up and down regarding the news. If Marks is in the conversation later in the year, then he might have a different reaction.

"He's competed," Simmons said. "He had a great offseason. Came into fall camp and had a great camp. He's working. The watch list is nice, but you've got 8,000 people on that watch list. The true testament of his work is if he is in Orlando come December."

Running with the 1s:
QB- Connor Halliday
RB- Marcus Mason
X Receiver- Dominique Williams
H Receiver- Rickey Galvin
Y Receiver- River Cracraft
Z Receiver- Gabe Marks
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- Cyrus Coen
MIKE- Darryl Monroe
WILL- Justin Sagote
CB- Nolan Washington
CB – Damante Horton
S – Deone Bucannon
S – Taylor Taliulu

Limited Players:
S Darius Lemora
WR Brett Bartolone
LB Chester Sua
LB Peyton Pelluer
OL Jacob Seydel

Not in attendance:
S Bennett Bontemps
LS Ryan Saparto

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