Pippins picked off passes from both Halliday and Tyler Bruggman in 7-on-7 drills; both quarterbacks were targeting WR Vince Mayle.
"It felt good," Pippins said, "but I couldn't have done it without my d-line getting pressure on the quarterback. They got the pressure so when they threw the ball it was a bad ball and I was able to go and get it."
The Cougs practiced in helmets and shorts today and its expected they'll do the same Saturday before donning shoulder pads on Day 3.
Redshirt junior linebacker Darryl Monroe also had high praise for the freshman defensive back.
"He sort of reminds me of Rahmel Dockery," Monroe said. "He's freakishly athletic, has great speed and great ability. I'm excited to see his technique develop and him to take coaching and see how far he can progress."
Pippins, one of six early enrollees, said the speed of the game stood out the most on the first day, but noted he's improved his footwork in addition to decreasing the amount of the time he has his eyes in the backfield.
Coach Mike Leach said the quickness of the secondary was good and in time they will get sharper.
"There were pretty quick-footed guys out there," Leach said, "I thought Pippins looked good. I thought Isaac Dotson looked good, also."
BUT IN THE team scrimmage, it was the offense that stole the day, led by Connor Halliday, who went 12 of 15 with four touchdowns and zero interceptions. Two of his touchdowns went to Mayle while he also connected with junior Brett Bartolone and second-year freshman Robert Lewis. Leach said Lewis did "really well" in the team scrimmage.
Halliday also was "sacked" once.
"I feel good, I threw the ball well today," Halliday said. "Up front we looked good for how young we are so it was very impressive."
Halliday said it's nice to have nearly all of his receivers returning to the field. Both Drew Loftus and Kristoff Williams picked up the slack in the absence of Gabe Marks and Isiah Myers.
In his time leading the offense, Bruggman went 9 of 16 in the scrimmage, connecting twice with Mayle for touchdowns. The lone blemish in Bruggman's performance came when safety Darius Lemora jumped a route and tallied the only interception of the scrimmage.
"Tyler had a heck of a redshirt year, he picks up things very quickly," Halliday said. "I think you guys will see we've got some depth at the position this year."
"I thought (Bruggman) played well," Leach said. "I thought he started out trying to make too much happen but once he relaxed he got better and better. I thought team (scrimmage) was his best period."
Bruggman said it was helpful, in terms of adjusting to the speed of the game, to go against the first team every day during his redshirt season.
Appearing in his first practice with the Cougars was Texas A&M transfer Sebastian LaRue. The 5-foot-10 WR didn't see many targets in the scrimmage but was the main attraction in the return game. The speedy wideout returned both of his attempts for touchdowns, making multiple defenders miss along the way.
LaRue said observing experienced players, such as Bartolone and Lewis, helped him be successful in the special team drills.
He's relying on teammate guidance to get acclimated with the offense, too.
"I'm getting more and more familiar every day," LaRue said. "My teammates have been nothing but helpful to me. I room with Luke Falk and he goes over the playbook every night with me if he can."
Daquawn Brown, and Jamal Morrow also had opportunities to field punts.
Here are the Cougs' starting units on Day One:
RB—Theron West and Jamal Morrow
X, H, Y, and Z receivers—multiple players
CB—Daquawn Brown and Charleston White
S—Taylor Taliulu and Isaac Dotson
Running with the 2s on defense on Day One:
CB—Tracy Clark and Marcellus Pippins
S—Darius Lemora and Beau Glover
E—Lyman Faoliu and Darryl Paulo
SAM—Peyton Pelluer and Paris Taylor