WSU Fall Camp: There's been a Marks sighting

PULLMAN — Two Cougars on the offensive side of the ball had polar opposite days on Tuesday. When wide receiver Gabe Marks is feeling it, it’s easy to notice. There’s a certain swagger that comes into play. Marks, who has been running with the scout team offense while Kristoff Williams and Isiah Myers run with the 1’s and 2’s, made several catches on the day. And he let one DB know all about it.

Gabe Marks went long on two plays, one of which was a 60-yard touchdown bomb delivered by Peyton Bender. Marks sailed by rookie cornerback Jeff Farrar and closed on the ball to make the catch and run the extra 10-yards or so for the score.

Marks, who hauled in passes from both Connor Ennis and Bender, got the best of Farrar again later in practice when he made another long reception, but this time it didn’t go for a touchdown. The catch could not go unnoticed though, as Marks threw the ball at Farrar after the catch.

Despite the age difference, Farrar threw the ball right back at him, seemingly not intimidated by the gesture.

Mike Leach said after practice that Marks, when he focuses, is one of the best route runners on the team along with Vince Mayle. The first player Leach named was Kristoff Williams, who has been running with the first team quite a bit at the Z position.

As for the explosiveness of Mayle and the other Z receiver, Isiah Myers, Leach said that trait will help those two score in the red zone on situations in which the ball is well covered.

“They’ve looked good. They’ve done a good job, they’re doing a good job going after the ball,” Leach said. “I think that’s something they’ve improved at for sure over the offseason.”

Leach declined to comment on whether Marks’ position on the scout team will change, saying that it is a “wait-and-see.”

Marks’ role on the scout team even included a little action at the running back position, where he had an inside run for a touchdown against the second-team defense.

Meanwhile, freshman running back Squally Canada struggled to hang onto the football in multiple portions of practice, but it wasn’t all his fault. Canada dropped the ball three times against the first and second defenses, twice on handoffs and another time in the backfield.

Leach said bad snaps and poorly executed handoffs were partially to blame.

The Cougs ran the Thursday Night Football scrimmage for the second time since being back in Pullman, and for the most part, Leach said it was a good showing. In the Thursday Night Football portion, though…

“It was intense and sloppy,” Leach said. “It was kind of an exchange of big plays.”

The plays from Marks were some of the big ones, as were sacks from linebackers Frankie Luvu and Drew Griffin, the latter of which came on Ennis’ blindside.

Perhaps the biggest play for the defense though, at least the loudest, was a jolting hit from recently-converted safety Teondray Caldwell. Bender lofted a ball in the direction of sophomore wide receiver John Thompson, who dropped the ball and then was clobbered by Caldwell, who was fast closing in on Thompson.

“They haven’t been here for too long, so to see them bounce around and play decisively early is very good,” Leach said of Caldwell and of Farrar.

Also in the Thursday Night Football portion, Bender connected with Drew Loftus while on the run outside the pocket for a 30-yard touchdown. Loftus created enough space for Bender to fire it to him for the score.

During other segments of practice, Halliday found Mayle for a 25-yard touchdown completion versus the scout defense, and Canada ran for a 20-yard touchdown against the first defense, making his day not all bad.

On special teams, the Cougs practiced kickoffs and punt returns plus some onside kicks. Marcellus Pippins and River Cracraft took the reps at punt returning, and Kristoff Williams and Rickey Galvin were the first group to return kickoffs.

The gunners on the punting team included Daquawn Brown, Theron West, Marcus Mason, Rickey Galvin, and Kristoff Williams.

Brown showed the best closing speed of all of them from my chair.

Leach said Sebastian LaRue, who is tending to a family matter, will be back by the start of classes.

  • Isaac Dotson, who has been limited at times this camp. took limited reps with the first-team defense today alongside Taylor Taliulu, though for the most part, he ran with the second team.

  • Cody O’Connell, who has also been limited, took some reps today with the second offensive line, but remained limited for other parts of practice.

  • Brett Bartolone was fully active with the scout offense. He too had been limited during fall camp and for the last few days in Pullman.

  • Ngalu Tapa, David Bucannon, Nick Begg, Drew Springfield, and Parker Henry did not participate in practice.

    Primarily taking reps with the 1’s
    QB: Connor Halliday
    RB: Theron West, Jamal Morrow
    X: Vince Mayle
    Y: River Cracraft
    H: Rickey Galvin
    Z: Kristoff Williams
    LT: Joe Dahl
    LG: Gunnar Eklund
    C: Riley Sorenson
    RG: Eduardo Middleton
    RT: Cole Madison

    E: Destiny Vaeao
    NT: Kalafitoni Pole
    T: Xavier Cooper
    BUCK: Kache Palacio
    WILL: Tana Pritchard
    SAM: Cyrus Coen
    MIKE: Darryl Monroe
    CB: Daquawn Brown
    CB: Tracy Clark
    FS: Taylor Taliulu
    SS: Darius Lemora

    Primarily taking reps with the 2’s
    QB: Luke Falk
    RB: Gerard Wicks
    X: Dom Williams
    Y: Robert Lewis
    H: Calvin Green
    Z: Isiah Myers
    LT: Joe Dahl
    LG: Devonte McClain
    C: Sam Flor
    RG: Cody O’Connell
    RT: Jacob Seydel

    E: Darryl Paulo, Lyman Faoliu
    NT: Robert Barber
    T: Daniel Ekuale
    BUCK: Ivan McLennan
    WILL: Chester Sua
    SAM: Mitchell Peterson, Paris Taylor
    MIKE: Jeremiah Allison
    CB: Charleston White
    CB: Jeffery Farrar
    FS: Teondray Caldwell
    SS: Isaac Dotson

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