WSU Practice: Coug legend visits the Palouse

PULLMAN — The big news of the day came at the end of Tuesday’s practice when coach Mike Leach said wide receiver Kristoff Williams is no longer on Washington State's roster. But there was another face on the field very familiar in Cougar Nation: former WSU coach Mike Price delivered an animated speech to the team before practice got under way, and that gave way to a spirited session.

Williams had been limited in practices since the Nevada game. A source close to the situation said the wide receiver has suffered multiple concussions, leading to him being out for the year. Lately, Williams has been absent from many practices, showing up periodically.

To date, Williams has 84 receptions, 852 receiving yards, and six receiving touchdowns in his career at Washington State.

Williams, a criminal-justice major, wants to pursue a career related to law, and has a grade-point average close to 4.0. He was selected to star in Pac-12 Network commercials this season.

Practice began with slow reps before the team huddled in front of Price, the Cougars' head coach from 1989-2002, to hear his motivational words. Following that meeting, the players moved to individual drills.

The defense flew to the ball on Tuesday, forcing a few turnovers.

When the starters and backups faced each other during the team period, the results were mixed. Marcellus Pippins intercepted Connor Halliday, and Cyrus Coen picked off a pass from Luke Falk.

However, the quarterbacks made up for their mistakes. Halliday found Robert Lewis in the end zone for a touchdown with Taylor Taliulu on the coverage, and Falk threw to Tyler Baker for a touchdown, as well. Baker filled in for a limited River Cracraft, who was injured against Arizona.

Beau Glover intercepted a pass against the scout team at the beginning of practice, and toward the end, Daquawn Brown tipped a pass that hung up long enough for Jeremiah Allison to pick it off. Xavier Cooper, Destiny Vaeao and Peyton Pelluer all terrorized Peyton Bender, sacking him during one of the team periods.

Pelluer graded out pretty well against Arizona, splitting time with Darryl Monroe at MIKE, linebackers coach Ken Wilson said.

Defensive coordinator Mike Breske said Pelluer received a lot of reps, which set him up to record tackles. In terms of production, Breske said he wants to see Pelluer tackle more, and that will come from finishing the play. Pelluer took the majority of the reps with the 1’s during Tuesday’s practice, with Monroe filling in at times.

Although Halliday didn’t name any names, the quarterback said Monday that some of the younger players are playing to be perfect and to not be yelled at by coaches. Pelluer, a redshirt freshman, he joined an inexperienced secondary on Saturday that included Pat Porter, Sulaiman Hameed and Kevin Griffin.

“I think young guys have got to be confident in what they do, and we’ve got to get them in a package where they can just go out there, play fast, and have fun,” Wilson said.

Breske said the secondary’s performance oscillated against the Wildcats, and that there were too many penalty flags. He added that there were many one-on-one situations, and that Porter needed to play up on his man more during the first series. After the first series, Porter adjusted to what the Cougars are trying to do to opposing receivers: get in their face, Breske said.

The young secondary will have to play maturely against a USC offense that uses play action frequently and according to Breske is split about 50-50 between the run and pass. The Trojans have averaged 178.1 rushing yards per game compared to 272.2 passing yards per game this season, although they have 337 rushing attempts compared to 273 passing attempts.

  • Scouts from the New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars attended practice on Tuesday. They appeared to be looking for Vince Mayle.

  • Williams, Gerard Wicks, Cole Madison and Calvin Green were absent from practice today.

  • Cracraft, Hameed, Mack Hopkins, Nate DeRider, Kahshan Green, Nick Begg and Isaac Dotson were limited during Tuesday’s practice. Hameed participated in some drills and took reps with the 2’s during the team period at the beginning of practice, but was limited at the end.

  • Darius Lemora returned to practice and was with the 1’s after missing practice last week.

    Primarily taking reps with the 1’s
    QB: Connor Halliday
    RB: Jamal Morrow
    X: Vince Mayle
    Y: Tyler Baker
    H: Rickey Galvin
    Z: Isiah Myers
    LT: Joe Dahl
    LG: Gunnar Eklund
    C: Sam Flor
    RG: Eduardo Middleton
    RT: Jacob Seydel

    E: Destiny Vaeao
    NT: Kalafitoni Pole
    T: Xavier Cooper
    BUCK: Kache Palacio
    WILL: Jeremiah Allison
    SAM: Cyrus Coen
    MIKE: Peyton Pelluer
    CB: Daquawn Brown
    CB: Patrick Porter
    FS: Darius Lemora
    SS: Taylor Taliulu

    Primarily taking reps with the 2’s
    QB: Luke Falk
    RB: Theron West
    X: Dom Williams
    Y: Tyler Baker
    H: Robert Lewis
    Z: Drew Loftus
    LT: Devonte McClain
    LG: Cody O’Connell
    C: Riley Sorenson
    RG: Eduardo Middleton
    RT: B.J. Salmonson

    E: Ivan McLennan
    NT: Robert Barber
    T: Daniel Ekuale
    BUCK: Frankie Luvu
    WILL: Dylan Hanser, Tana Pritchard
    SAM: Paris Taylor, Mitchell Peterson
    MIKE: Darryl Monroe
    CB: Marcellus Pippins
    CB: Kevin Griffin
    FS: Beau Glover
    SS: Sulaiman Hameed

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