Five memorable moments from WSU spring

PULLMAN – Each day of spring football at Washington State featured its own special moment, whether it was an explosive play on offense, a pad-cracking defensive hit, or a funky quote after the day's events. Out of all the practices, from my chair these five moments take the cake as the most memorable moments from spring ball out on the Palouse.

1. Vince Mayle's 80-yard touchdown on Day 3
In what was by far the longest play of spring, Mayle flew down the sideline and hauled in a pass from Tyler Bruggman on the second play of the 11-on-11 period. The ball traveled about 20-yards through the air before landing in the senior receiver's hands after he had created separation from freshman corner Marcellus Pippins. Once Mayle got ahold of the pass, the defense had no chance of catching him as he bolted swiftly into the end zone.

2. Robert Lewis' big day in the first official scrimmage on Day 11
This was when we learned just how fast Lewis was on the gridiron, as the second-year freshman wideout hooked up with Bruggman for touchdown receptions of 44 and 50 yards. On the first score he caught a quick pass and maneuvered through the defense to reach the end zone. On the longer score, he sped down the sideline, caught the deep pass, made one man miss and trotted toward the goal line. Lewis finished the day with three catches for 101 yards, the only receiver in the scrimmage to reach the century mark apart from Daniel Lilienthal (seven catches, 114 yards). As loaded as the WSU receiving corps is, it's impressive how effortlessly Lewis managed to steal the show that day.

3. Mike Leach lashes out at offensive line on Day 7
Leach interrupted a team drill and took a few moments to share his feelings about the performance of the offensive line, which ultimately led to the entire group doing up-downs. The specifics of his rant were difficult to hear but the numerous F-bombs he dropped were loud and clear. The whole thing last just 45 seconds but it was one of the few moments all spring we saw Leach truly fired up for any reason, positive or negative, so it definitely deserves mention. And the best part? It worked. Leach himself said the o-line rebounded and ended up playing well in the team period at the end of practice.

4. Darryl Monroe jokes about wide receivers on Day 10
The junior linebacker provided the lone humorous player quip of the spring when he gave reporters a laugh at the receiver's expense after practice. The rainfall was heavy on the afternoon and it played a role in a slew of dropped passes by the offense. Monroe said with a smile that receivers are good for coming up with excuses when the weather conditions aren't in their favor, adding that they're prima donnas. The post-practice player interviews weren't too eventful in the 15 days of practice so it was nice to have Monroe poke a little fun at the guys on the other side of ball to spice things up a bit.

5. Defense lights it up on the final day of spring practice
The defense jumped out to a quick start in the first few practices, picking off the QBs and swatting passes left and right. But after a few days, the offense found their rhythm and that came to an end. Mayle started to look unstoppable and River Cracraft was able to make a play virtually whenever he wanted to and against any DB on the roster. The offense piled it on by racking up more than 700 yards of offense in the first official scrimmage and did the same in the spring game. However, on the final day of practice, the defense got the last laugh.

It started in the team period when three of Halliday's passes were swatted away on the goal line, first by Daquawn Brown who was then followed by Tracy Clark. Once the two DBs were amped up from back-to-back goal line stands, the rest of the unit followed suit. The unit picked off Tyler Bruggman three times in one drill, by far their best performance of camp, with Peyton Pelluer, David Bucannon and Clark all intercepting Bruggman throws. BUCK Ivan McLennan and WILL Chester Sua, who was filling in for Tana Pritchard, added a couple "sacks" for good measure. The offense had the advantage for the majority of spring -- but it was the offense that finished camp doing a set of up-downs at the end of the last day.

Honorable Mention:
The Cougars usually concluded every practice with either a "bull in the ring" session or a 1-on-1 drill that featured an odd pairing of players assuming receiver and defender roles, with Connor Halliday at quarterback. On Day 8, 292-pound nose tackle Robert Barber ran a deep route against 307-pound offensive lineman Devonte McClain and leaped (kind of) over the defender to bring in the pass. The defense stormed the field as Barber stopped to celebrate by doing the "dougie" as his teammates cheered him on.

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