Coug OL, Ware, Canada make some TNF noise

PULLMAN— Recent arrival and true freshman wide receiver Barry Ware participated in Thursday Night Lights for the first time with Washington State. But he sure didn’t look like a green, just-out-of-high-school newcomer. Another true freshman, running back Squally Canada, made the most of his opportunities also behind a focused, physical Cougar offensive line.

Ware made multiple receptions on the night, one of which was a touchdown toss from Connor Ennis that seemed to travel right through the defender and into Ware’s hands.

The Thursday Night Football game fell on the "correct" day of the week for the first time after a pair of Thursday and Friday night games to begin the season.

Freshman running back Squally Canada meanwhile ripped off some good runs and was able to impress offensive line coach Clay McGuire, even when the gains weren’t enough to move the chains.

“We gave him some holes today, but you can see he runs really hard. He’s a big, physical kid. He can move,” McGuire said. “Some of his most impressive runs today are ones that he only got two yards on. He’s just bouncing off people and running over people just to get minimal yards.”

Canada showed some more of that physicality late in Thursday Night Football, breaking free from tacklers and moving well through the young offensive line blocking for him.

“He’s got really good feet and he’s a big physical kid. Like I said, a lot of these, he’s bouncing off tacklers and stiff-arming and arm tackles, which is good because you can’t have huge, giant holes every time,” McGuire said. “You’ve got to have a guy who can go through those kind of things.”

One of those offensive linemen, redshirt freshman Carlos Freeman, appeared to get into a fight during the Thursday Night festivities, although it was hard to tell with all the bodies that quickly swarmed to the situation. Scrum or no, McGuire said that Freeman does indeed have an edgy attitude.

“That’s one thing we really liked about him in high school recruiting him, was his toughness and how gritty he was on the football field,” McGuire said. “He’s an Oklahoma wrestler and all that kind of stuff. We just wanted to get that toughness and that kind of stuff out of him, and obviously first year freshmen go through their freshmen deals, and he’s starting to get back that mentality we liked when we recruited him.”

McGuire said that wrestlers often transition well into offensive linemen because they understand leverage and balance. Good wrestlers also have good core strength, McGuire said, and in his experience, the track record of wrestlers becoming football players has been exceptional.

Another redshirt freshman, Cody O’Connell, has returned to full action after being in a yellow jersey and participating in a limited role during much of fall camp.

“He’s doing well. He’s full go, he’s practicing well, and we’re excited about the things he’s doing right now, and he’ll just continue to work more and more into it,” McGuire said of O’Connell.

It wasn’t all about the young guys on Thursday, though.

Daquawn Brown picked off scout team QB Gabe Marks before Marks switched to wide receiver for the Thursday Night game. Unlike Wednesday's session, Marks was pressured often by the 1’s and 2’s on the defensive line and in the pick by Brown, the heat by the defense led to the takeaway.

  • Connor Halliday and Isiah Myers kept their chemistry alive by connecting for another touchdown before Thursday Night Football began.

  • Rickey Galvin and Jamal Morrow took the majority of the reps returning punts on Thursday.

    The defense made it difficult on the receivers in Thursday Night Football, as David Bucannon and Marcellus Pippins made athletic pass-breakups during the game. Pippins defended a ball thrown to Ware in the end zone, and the 5-10 cornerback was able to knock the ball down before 6-2 Ware could grab it for the score.

    The defensive line also was able to force quarterback Luke Falk to fumble by pressuring him and stripping the ball at the beginning of TNF.

    Teondray Caldwell, who began the season as a starting safety, participated in Thursday Night Football and did not work with the defensive 1’s and 2’s.

    Overall, the Thursday Night Football group has come a long way since the first session of 2014.

    “We started out real bland and vanilla, and then the defense has definitely thrown in more packages at us,” McGuire said. “The young offensive line and the backs are really getting to see a bunch of different blitz packages that is really going to help them when they go into spring ball.”

    NOTABLE NOTES:
  • Running back Theron West wasn’t visible at the start of practice today, although I saw him come in late on Tuesday afternoon so it's possible I didn't see him arrive.

  • Kristoff Williams, Chester Sua, Mitchell Peterson, Isaac Dotson, Nick Begg, Nate DeRider, Drew Springfield, and Mack Hopkins were limited in practice today.

  • Marks had a pair of TD receptions during Thursday Night Football, both on throws from Peyton Bender. Marks may have stepped out of bounds in the process of catching the second ball but it was allowed to stand.

  • Freshman quarterback Andrew Reding spent most of the time watching from the sidelines.

    Primarily taking reps with the 1’s
    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 2’s
    OFFENSE
    QB: Luke Falk
    RB: Gerard Wicks, Marcus Mason
    X: Dom Williams
    Y: Robert Lewis
    H: Calvin Green
    Z: Drew Loftus
    LT: Joe Dahl
    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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