PULLMAN — Sunday was hardly the day of rest for Washington State’s football team. In fact, it was the opposite as skills were flashed on both sides of the ball, even though it was mostly against scout-team competition. Nevertheless, there were plenty of highlights during the practice, including a plethora of interceptions by the secondary and a barrage of passes from the quarterbacks.
Even a couple of fights broke out during the session. Each drew several players to the scene, and the first fight escalated so quickly that a huddle surrounded the players in the middle before it was possible to tell who started it.
The second altercation occurred between running back Squally Canada
and linebacker Darryl Monroe
, which occurred after Canada had been stopped for a loss multiple times, but also after a few strong runs by the freshman rusher.
Monroe had to be coaxed by his teammates to walk away, and soon after, the players resumed their work.
Indeed, there was plenty of work accomplished during the session.
put on a show with his ball-hawking skills, picking off two passes, from Peyton Bender
and Connor Ennis
. He also almost intercepted Bender again by jumping the route, but instead leaped in front of the receiver and emphatically swatted the ball to the ground.
“I thought it was good; I thought we bounced around pretty good,” Leach said. “Sloppy in places, but good energy, and just have got to keep improving.”
also seemed to want in on the action, snatching two balls out of the air for interceptions against the scout offense. One was in triple coverage, where he just happened to be in front of the intended receiver, but the second one was in man coverage, and he leaped up to contest the pass and pull it away from the target.
Rookie cornerback Marcellus Pippins
, who practiced with the 2’s, also made an interception against Ennis.
In addition to the fights, the day did not without some aggressive tackles as well. Brown made a strong tackle against Canada in the backfield, and linebacker Chester Sua
wrapped up a couple of offensive players and personally escorted them to the turf in brutal fashion.
This came after defensive coordinator Mike Breske
had told CF.C on Friday that one of his primary concerns heading into the Rutgers game was the defense’s ability to tackle.
It didn’t seem to be a problem on Sunday.
“The most important thing on defense is tackling,” Leach said. “The most important thing on offense is blocks, so you’re always concerned about those two things. Those are the fundamentals that both sides of the ball start with.”
completed one of his longest passes of the day to Vince Mayle
for a 45-yard touchdown, and then made long completions to Calvin Green
and River Cracraft
against the scout defense, too. The completion to Green was about a 30-yard touchdown, while Cracraft was touched near the end zone.
Bender didn’t throw interceptions all day, though, making a long pass that freshman Connor Simpson caught deep downfield for a substantial gain against the first-team defense. Canada also caught a deep pass from Bender against the first-team defense.
Overall, the adrenaline seemed high throughout the session, which will surely be the case on game day. If the team does come out flat on Thursday, it will be against a team that Leach called tough and gritty. Beyond playing without strong effort like the team did Sunday, Leach offered another possibility for flopping in the season opener.
“We just need to keep working on basic fundamental stuff,” he said. “Keep building and keep improving.”
The special teams used four primary gunners in Sunday’s practice. Cyrus Coen, Darius Lemora, Taylor Taliulu and Calvin Green ran down the sidelines repeatedly; a far narrower scope of players for that position than was seen in previous practices.
Gabe Marks was fully active in practice, but participated with the scout offense for the majority of the day.
Barry Ware still has not shown up to practice, absent from all sessions up to this point. He and Deion Singleton, another oft-absentee, are no longer listed on the roster.
Offensive line coach Clay McGuire stayed longer after practice to work with B.J. Salmonson on snapping. McGuire said that the team can never have too many guys ready to play there, and that he is always trying to develop players who can play center.
Cody O’Connell, Drew Springfield, Jeff Farrar and Nick Begg were all limited in practice Sunday.
Primarily taking reps with the 1’s
QB: Connor Halliday
RB: 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: Teondray Caldwell
Primarily taking reps with the 2’s
QB: Luke Falk
RB: Gerard Wicks
X: Dom Williams, Drew Loftus
Y: Robert Lewis
H: Calvin Green
Z: Isiah Myers
LT: Gunnar Eklund
LG: Devonte McClain
C: Sam Flor
RG: Cody O’Connell
RT: Jacob Seydel
E: Darryl Paulo
NT: Robert Barber
T: Daniel Ekuale
BUCK: Ivan McLennan
WILL: Chester Sua
SAM: Mitchell Peterson
MIKE: Jeremiah Allison
CB: Charleston White
CB: Marcellus Pippins
FS: Darius Lemora
SS: Isaac Dotson