WSU Practice: Marks giving 1's a diverse look

PULLMAN — It seemed doubtful that he would arrive this season at Washington State considering the fall semester started last month. But true freshman wide receiver Barry Ware was added to the roster Tuesday and he participated in drills plus the team period with the scout offense. And he was not the only newcomer.

Along with Ware, who previously was on the roster when the team practiced in Lewiston last month, walk on quarterback Andrew Reding also made it back to practice after showing up initially about a week ago, only to disappear with his name still on the roster. He was far less active than Ware on Tuesday, standing off to the side and observing the scout-team offense for the majority of practice.

The scout team showed off some skills again, led mostly by Gabe Marks and Peyton Bender at the quarterback position. Marks continued to simulate the pistol that the Cougars will likely see when they face Portland State on Saturday. Coach Mike Leach said Tuesday morning during a conference call that it doesn’t matter too much if the defense faces the same sort of scheme on a weekly basis. Portland State is a good team on its own, he said, and the Cougars need to prepare for them well.

Offensive lineman Joe Dahl said something along the same lines at Monday’s press conference.

“We all know that Big Sky teams are capable of winning every game that they play, just like every other team,” Dahl said. “There’s not much of a difference between any conference nowadays, but we’re all definitely aware that they have the ability to beat us, and we need to prepare like they’re any other team, and we need to give our best effort.”

Marks and the scout team exploited the first- and second-team defenses at times on Tuesday, and Marks did it as a receiver too. Bender launched a pass deep down the field that Marks tracked down near the end zone and ran in for what was a 50-yard touchdown pass. Cornerback Patrick Porter, who is now listed behind Daquawn Brown on the depth chart for Portland State, was beaten on the coverage.

On the ground, Marks ran for a 20-yard score vs. the first-team defense. Leach said he will redshirt Marks if possible because senior Isiah Myers and redshirt senior Kristoff Williams are playing well at the Z receiver spot right now.

Williams wore a yellow jersey on Sunday night and participated, but then was relegated to the sidelines on Tuesday afternoon. Meanwhile, Myers filled in with the 1s and Dom Williams stepped in at the Z for the 2s.

Myers was the Cougars’ leading receiver against Nevada, catching nine passes for 102 yards. Kristoff Williams did not record a catch in that game, and had one kick return for 20 yards.

Special-teams coach Eric Russell said he hopes Williams will be available to return kicks for the Cougars on Saturday.

“I hope he’s ready to go, and we’ll see tomorrow,” Russell said. “Tomorrow’s when we work that in the deal, so he’s still on the depth chart. At least one positive area has been our kickoff return unit.”

As far as the outside receivers go, Myers’ big performance and X receiver Vince Mayle’s statistics shine brightly in Dennis Simmons’ mind, but they aren’t good enough overall.

“We have explosive plays, and then we do things to shoot ourselves in the foot,” Simmons said. “To be a good football team and a successful football team, you can’t do that.”

Simmons stressed the fact that without wins, there is always more that both the coaches and the players can do to improve. He highlighted yardage after the catch, drops and attacking defensive backs as things the receivers can work on this week in their preparation. Even Mayle can do some wrong, despite his 20 catches for 210 yards and two touchdowns this season.

“We’re not winning right now, so in my eyes, none of us can do anything right until that changes,” Simmons said. “Has he done some successful things on the field? Yes, he has. So has Isiah, so has Dom. But at the end of the day, we haven’t done enough successful things in order to get us victories, and hence that’s the problem.”

Linebacker Darryl Monroe intercepted Bender during the team period after Bender was almost sacked by the defensive line and chose to throw into coverage. Monroe stepped in front of the intended receiver and picked off the pass.

Leach said Tuesday morning that he doesn’t think Monroe is playing his best football right now, and that he is capable of more if he pulls the trigger and does it. Focusing on individual plays, like the interception he made on Tuesday, is the only thing that needs to be the primary matter on Monroe’s mind, Leach said. Thinking too much can clutter the linebacker’s mind, and that needs to be limited, Leach said.

Defensive coordinator Mike Breske declined to comment on the defense following Tuesday’s practice.

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • The list of inactive players swelled to eight by my count on Tuesday afternoon, though it includes walk ons and reserves. Chester Sua, Nick Begg, Drew Springfield, Mack Hopkins, Isaac Dotson, Nate DeRider, Kristoff Williams, and Mitch Peterson all did not participate in practice.

  • River Cracraft wore a yellow jersey but was active in drills and during the team period. He also was holding the ball on field goal attempts.

  • Teondray Caldwell was present at practice but he did not participate with either the 1s or the 2s on defense.

  • Quentin Breshears took the majority of the field-goal reps, which makes sense because he is now listed as the first-string placekicker.

  • Marcus Mason worked with the 1s and the 2s on Tuesday before Theron West showed up later in the day.

  • Rickey Galvin and Marcellus Pippins handled most of the punt return on Tuesday.

  • The first-team offensive line had to do up-downs at one point during practice after they did not perform up to expectations.

  • Freshman wide receiver Dewan Lee Thompson, who was recently added to the roster, made a few catches against the 1s and 2s during the team period.

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

      DEFENSE
    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: Charleston White
    FS: Taylor Taliulu
    SS: Darius Lemora

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

      DEFENSE
    E: Darryl Paulo, Lyman Faoliu
    NT: Robert Barber
    T: Daniel Ekuale
    BUCK: Ivan McLennan
    WILL: Jeremiah Allison
    SAM: Paris Taylor
    MIKE: Peyton Pelluer
    CB: Patrick Porter
    CB: Marcellus Pippins
    FS: Sulaiman Hameed
    SS: Beau Glover

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