Breske: Cougs 'grew up' under the Tucson sun

PULLMAN — After a nail biter in Tucson, the Cougars were back on the field Sunday night in Martin Stadium for a short practice focused on special-teams fundamentals and punt returns. The No. 1 defense also did scout team work while the No. 1 offense held a team session. Also, CF.C talked with defensive coordinator Mike Breske about the win at Arizona and what is to come against Utah.

Junior Connor Halliday's first throw was incomplete to sophomore Marcus Mason, but he then connected on seven attempts with seven different receivers. He didn't turn the ball over and finished 11 of 12 while running against the scout team defense.

Redshirt freshman Austin Apodaca only had five throws and completed all of them.

The defense went against the scouts in a somewhat leisurely manner to get a feel for what Utah might throw their way on Saturday.

Sophomore safety Taylor Taliulu was not in attendance, while freshman safety Isaac Dotson was at practice in street clothes and did not participate. Senior safety Casey Locker filled in with the 1's at safety.

The No. 1 linebackers were a shuffled around a bit, with junior Mitchell Peterson splitting reps with sophomore Tana Pritchard at SAM.

Junior defensive lineman Toni Pole did a fine job supplying pressure up front and had a "sack" and a "tackle-for-loss" on freshman running back Gerard Wicks.

The Cougs will have the day off tomorrow and be back at it Tuesday.

Mike Breske INTERVIEW:

How does it feel to get back to Pullman with a win under your belt?

MB: It's great. We put the game to bed today with the guys. Watched the film and went through our corrections and just finished our Sunday night practice. Now, on to Utah.

The defense held Arizona to 6 of 18 on third-down conversions. Why were you so successful with that?

MB: We had a couple opportunities to get off. A part of it was (B.J.) Denker scrambling around. He's very athletic, but we did a good job. I think that's around 30 percent. (We were) really good in the fourth quarter. I think they only converted one third down in the fourth quarter. We grew up. We were put in a situation with a two-minute drill and hung in there and made the plays when we had to. It was probably stressful for the Coug fans, but the guys just kept the ball in front of them and knew they had to get in the end zone and found a way to get it done.

What went into the decision to start Kache Palacio and Destiny Vaeao against Arizona?

MB: We just kind of looked at what we wanted to achieve with option football with the dive, quarterback and pitch. We thought that would give us our best option, but we will see how it goes this week.

Can we expect to see that again against Utah?

MB: Well, there is a lot of carryover from Arizona to Utah. There are some differences though too, but there is some good carryover which is good for us on defense.

How do you feel your defense did against Ka'Deem Carey?

MB: I thought we did a really good job. They had four explosive run plays and I think he had two of them. On the one touchdown run he had … we didn't fit it correctly with Palacio and that opened it up. We got used to him through the first quarter and I thought we did better as the game progressed with him. He's a very talented back.

Arizona only had five players catch a pass. How did the defense manage to do that?

MB: They're more of a triple option and they are limited in their routes just because of the offense they do. I thought Damante (Horton) settled down after the first drive. He did a great job and had some key break-ups and Nolan Washington had his best game of the year. He did a great job in the boundaries. I was very proud of those guys. The two explosive pass plays we gave up were the safeties. We just have to keep working our leverage there, but I am very proud of the guys.

Have you had a chance to look at Utah on film?

MB: We will see who we are going to see at quarterback. They had their backup last Saturday at Oregon, but we will prepare for both and see what happens. They are still doing the same offense versus which quarterback is in there. They got their tight end back last week against Oregon and he had a touchdown reception. I think he had two receptions for the game. He's a good player for them. It's going to be a good challenge for us.


QB- Connor Halliday
RB- Marcus Mason
X Receiver- Dom Williams
H Receiver- Rickey Galvin
Y Receiver- River Cracraft
Z Receiver- Gabe Marks
LT- Gunnar Eklund
LG- Joe Dahl
C- Elliott Bosch
RG- Matt Goetz
RT- John Fullington

DE- Toni Pole
NT- Ioane Gauta
DE- Xavier Cooper
BUCK- Destiny Vaeao
SAM- Mitchell Peterson/Tana Pritchard
MIKE- Darryl Monroe
WILL- Justin Sagote
CB- Daquawn Brown
CB – Damante Horton
S – Deone Bucannon
S – Casey Locker

OL Jacob Seydel
DL Moritz Christ
LB Chester Su'a
S Isaac Dotson
S Bennett Bontemps

S Taylor Taliulu
CB Alex Jackson
LS Ryan Saparto

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