SPRING DAY 10: Monroe pokes fun at receivers

PULLMAN — The slippery conditions at Thursday's practice aided the Cougars' defense in a victory over the offense — at least according to Darryl Monroe. The redshirt junior linebacker scoffed at the idea that the receivers had an edge in the rain, adding that the defense sees it as an opportunity to force more fumbles and psych out the offense.

"I think they're at a disadvantage because receivers are usually prima donnas," said Monroe, jokingly, "So they get in the rain and they're like, ‘Oh it's raining' so they use that as an excuse to drop the ball.

"We just chatter them like, ‘Oh you know it's raining right? You know you guys are gonna lose right?' Trying to get them psychologically messed up, it's all just mental."

After a subpar performance last practice, Monroe said the defense came out on Thursday on a mission to prove their unit was better.

Following the fifth day of practice, Monroe mentioned wanting to strike fear in the heart of the offense. Five practices later the only difference is he wants the young guys to step on the field with the same mindset.

"When you step on the field you should be proud because, it's like, you're a guy, you're an enforcer," Monroe said. "That guy on the other side of the ball should look at you like, ‘Man, he starts on the defense, I should worry.' "

In response to Monroe, WR Kristoff Williams laughed and admitted the receivers do indeed like to look good, but wouldn't go as far to use the term prima donna.

Leach said throughout the day, receivers who struggled to catch the ball were forced to remove their gloves, a move made to ensure they concentrate on the ball and not the gear they're wearing.

Williams, who had his gloves taken in the team period, said he tries not to put too much pressure on himself by overthinking on the field but did admit the loss of gloves did bother him slightly.

WILLIAMS AND THE offense actually began the day with a victory, winning the 1-on-1 drills which included routes from about 30 yards out as well as goal-line plays.

In 7-on-7s, the defense battled back and took the win. Connor Halliday played well, completing 12 of 18 passes for two touchdowns, but the defense hand the upper hand when Luke Falk took the reins. Falk was an efficient 14 of 20, but was shutout of the end zone in the drill.

"I felt like it was a competitive day overall," Williams said. "We got the 1-on-1 period (and) the block-it-up. Skelly was close. They got the team win but other than that everything else was close."

In the team period, the offense again jumped out to a hot start, moving the ball well with Halliday under center including a 25-yard to completion down the right sideline to WR River Cracraft, who leaped over S Beau Glover to make the play.

On the goal line, it was a different story.

The defense looked to be on the verge of shutout after CB Tracy Clark deflected a touchdown pass away from Williams, but the next play proved to be the spoiler. WR Rickey Galvin made a leaping grab in the middle of the clogged up end zone over double coverage to put the offense on the board.

The defense managed to avoid surrendering back-to-back scores by stuffing RB Jamal Morrow on a run play from about 5 yards.

Halliday finished the drill 9 of 16 with just the touchdown to Galvin.

"The receivers didn't have their greatest day but they played well," Halliday said. "We got it through it and we had a pretty good day."

When the team switched directions and Falk took over under center, the defense began to make a comeback, said Leach.

Falk was hurried once by nose tackle Toni Pole and "sacked" twice, both by WILL linebackers. Tana Pritchard made the first play on the quarterback and Chester Su'a followed suit five plays later. In between the sacks, the defense forced three straight incompletions.

Falk finished the drill 6 of 15 with no touchdowns or interceptions. His closest attempt at a score was denied by Glover, who swatted a ball in the end zone that was intended for WR Robert Lewis. The broken up pass guaranteed another set of up-downs for the Air Raid offense.

Featured in those up-downs was WR Gabe Marks, who strapped up and ran with offense on Thursday, the first time he's participated in a full practice all spring.

"Gabe played well, happy to see Gabe back, happy to see him out here running around," Halliday said. "Gabe's always been a leader, he's a very vocal guy, wants the ball all the time and that's what you want out of a receiver so it's nice to have him back out here."

  • WRs Brett Bartolone, Isiah Myers and Dom Williams were all present on Thursday but did not participate in any contact drills. WR Brett Bartolone also was present, but did not participate in team activities.

  • S Isaac Dotson and linebacker Nate DeRider were limited as well.

    QB – Connor Halliday
    RB – Theron West and Jamal Morrow
    X – Vince Mayle
    Y – River Cracraft
    H – Rickey Galvin
    Z – Kristoff Williams
    LT – Joe Dahl
    LG – Gunnar Eklund
    C – Sam Flor and Riley Sorenson
    RG – Cody O'Connell and Jacob Seydel
    RT – Cole Madison

    CB – Tracy Clark and Daquawn Brown
    S – Taylor Taliulu and Beau Glover
    MIKE – Darryl Monroe
    WILL – Tana Pritchard
    BUCK – Kache Palacio
    SAM – Cyrus Coen
    NT – Toni Pole
    E – Destiny Vaeao
    T – Xavier Cooper

    QB – Luke Falk
    RB – Teondray Caldwell and Gerard Wicks
    X – Willie Roach
    Y – Gabe Marks
    H – Robert Lewis
    Z – Drew Loftus
    LT – Devonte McClain
    LG – Eduardo Middleton
    C – Sam Flor and Riley Sorenson
    RG – Cody O'Connell
    RT – Jacob Seydel

    CB – Charleston White, Marcellus Pippins and Sebastian LaRue
    S – David Bucannon and Darius Lemora
    MIKE – Jeremiah Allison and Peyton Pelluer
    WILL – Chester Su'a
    Buck – Ivan McLennan
    SAM – Mitchell Peterson and Paris Taylor
    NT – Robert Barber
    T – Daniel Ekuale
    E – Lyman Faoliu

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