The defense featured some slight tweaks in both the secondary and the linebacker groups. With the absence of Isaac Dotson, Beau Glover took most of the first-team reps at safety while CB Tracy Clark spent most of his time with 1s in place of Charleston White.
"I saw Beau playing tough," Breske said. "Beau's a tough guy from Gig Harbor. He got put in there and did a good job."
Also spending a large chunk of time with the 1s on Thursday was BUCK linebacker Ivan McLennan who Breske also was impressed with on day 7.
"I thought Ivan did a good job," Breske said. "He's improved so much from a year ago, last spring. He's lost weight; he's under 240 pounds so he's playing much faster."
Following the team period, outstanding players at each defensive position were recognized and in the secondary that superb player was Glover, who had numerous deflections on Thursday and nearly intercepted a Connor Halliday pass over the middle in the team period. The redshirt sophomore also deflected three straight passes in the 7-on-7 drills.
"Coach Breske called on me today, and I had to step up," Glover said. "I gotta prove I belong out there — they probably don't trust me at first so I gotta prove I can play with these guys out here. I feel like I did all right but I got a lot to improve on."
Glover said the first practice in full pads made the defense bring a little more intensity to practice. He added that they need to work on maintaining that spark they began the day with.
The defense looked the best in 7-on-7s, where they forced the only turnover of the afternoon. On his third pass of the drill, backup QB Tyler Bruggman fired a pass short to his left toward Willie Roach, who bobbled the ball, giving White the opportunity to get his hands on it and take it the other way.
BRUGGMAN WAS 11 of 20 with one touchdown to Roach in the drill. He was also "sacked" once. Also in 7-on-7s, Coach Mike Leach stopped play shortly and took the time to express his displeasure with the performance of the offensive line. His exact statement was not clear (other than the profanity) but it resulted in up-downs and eventually sparked an improved performance in the team period.
"I thought they played much better in team," Leach said of his offensive line, "I thought they lumbered out here to get through the drill but I did think they responded (and) did some good stuff after that."
Second-year freshman Luke Falk took over the second-team offense in the team period, going 5 of 7 with one touchdown to WR Kristoff Williams.
"I thought the team did a nice job, the guys up front did a good job of giving me some time and the receivers made plays," said Falk, who added the game is beginning to slow down for him with the more reps he receives.
Though he found Williams for a touchdown, Falk's biggest play of the day came when he launched a deep ball to WR Vince Mayle who had beat CB Marcellus Pippins down the sideline. Mayle hauled in the pass and got both feet in bounds for about a 20-yard gain.
"You're pretty confident in a guy like that who you think is going to make the play every time," Falk said of Mayle.
Halliday also didn't shy away from his 6-foot-4, 219-pound target in the team period. The signal-caller found Mayle four times, once for a touchdown in the back of the end zone over White on a fade route from 3 yards out on fourth down. Before the play, Leach announced the "loser" of the play would have to do five up-downs.
"Connor just told me to get open," Mayle said, "It's win-or-go-home so you gotta get it, especially when they're really depending on you. Those are the moments you dream for."
Mayle connected with Halliday on a long ball as well, a 39-yard pass over the head of White to set up the goal-line situation he eventually scored on.
Overall in the team period, Halliday was 12-of-20 with three touchdowns and he found Williams for his other two scores on the day. In 7-on-7s, Halliday was equally sharp, completing 14 of his 20 attempts to go along with three touchdowns, two of them going to Williams and Mayle. On the third score he found RB Jamal Morrow after he managed to create space from S Taylor Taliulu.
On special teams, K Erik Powell went 3-of-3 on field goals in the live 11-on-11 session. The redshirt freshman made kicks of 23, 33 and 43 yards. Backup kicker Wes Concepcion missed on his only kick during the period which was from 46 yards.
RUNNING WITH THE 1s
QB – Connor Halliday
RB – Teondray Caldwell and Jamal Morrow
X – Vince Mayle
Y – River Cracraft
H – Rickey Galvin
Z – Drew Loftus
LT – Joe Dahl
LG – Gunnar Eklund
C – Sam Flor and Riley Sorenson
RG – Jacob Seydel
RT – Cole Madison
CB – Tracy Clark and Daquawn Brown
S – Taylor Taliulu and Beau Glover
MIK – Darryl Monroe
BUCK – Cyrus Coen
WILL – Tana Pritchard
SAM – Ivan McLennan
T – Xavier Cooper
E – Destiny Vaeao
NT – Toni Pole
RUNNING WITH THE 2s ON OFFENSE
QB – Luke Falk and Tyler Bruggman
RB – Gerard Wicks and Marcus Mason
X – Daniel Lilienthal
H – Robert Lewis
Y – Kristoff Williams
Z – Tyler Baker and Willie Roach
LT – Devonte McClain
LG – Cody O'Connell
C – Sam Flor and Riley Sorenson
RG – Eduardo Middleton
RT – Cole Madison
RUNNING WITH THE 2s ON DEFENSE
CB – Charleston White and Marcellus Pippins
S – Darius Lemora and David Bucannon
MIK – Jeremiah Allison
BUCK – Kache Palacio
WILL – Chester Su'a
SAM – Mitchell Peterson