WSU practice an indoor sauna

PULLMAN — The Cougars turned up the heat on Tuesday, literally, in the Indoor Practice Facility to simulate what they will feel in Tempe, Ariz., on Saturday. Media was allowed to watch for the first 30 minutes, but was then kicked out until the conclusion of practice.

One player who will look to be a disruptive presence against Arizona State is BUCK linebacker Kache Palacio (pictured above). The junior, who has started every game this season for the Cougars, recorded two sacks against Oregon State, and leads the team with 5.5 this season.

“The development of Kache Palacio is a process that has taken three years, and coming into their junior year, they should be getting to a point where plays become more natural to them,” outside linebackers coach Paul Volero said. “It takes a lot of time and effort, building their bodies and their minds, but he’s got a lot of self-discipline and he’s making a lot of plays on this defense right now.”

Volero said Palacio pays a lot of attention to detail and possesses self-discipline, which have been two main keys to the linebacker making plays this season. On Monday, Palacio credited the defensive linemen and fellow linebackers for setting up holes for him to pressure the quarterback. He also said the variety of schemes the coaches use to create pressure has contributed to his success in the pass rush.

“He’s done a great job,” Mike Leach said Monday. “He came here as a raw explosive guy, has gotten better and better, and I think Oregon State was probably the best game he’s had since he’s been here.”

Volero agreed with that statement, and he also added that Palacio stepped up in that game from a leadership standpoint, giving a lot of energy and “juice” to his teammates.

This game presents quarterback Taylor Kelly as the Cougars’ target, but even though he is a mobile passer, that won’t change how Washington State plans to disrupt him.

“Like all the rest of them,” Volero said. “Come after them.”

Linebackers coach Ken Wilson said the offensive front for the Sun Devils protects the quarterback well, and that Kelly has rounded back into form as the season has progressed. In their game against the Beavers, the Sun Devils kept Kelly fairly clean, only sacking him twice despite obvious pressure, Wilson said. Arizona State is eighth in the Pac-12 in sacks against, with 25.

Wilson said the Sun Devils are another team that runs the read option, including the triple option, bubble screens and hitch routes. That’s a scheme the Cougars have faced all season, Wilson said; however, he described the reason for the Cougar linebackers not forcing many turnovers through the air this season.

“Some years you get more than others,” Wilson said. “Sometimes we’ve got a lot of deeper throws this year. It’s hard to say. If we were dropping interceptions, that’d be one thing, but they’re not throwing them where we’re at. That happens some years.”

At the end of practice — when media were allowed back into the facility — a fight broke out between Dewan Lee Thompson and another player who wore an all-white jersey without a number. The two players who wore that attire on Tuesday were Daquawn Brown and Pat Porter. The two went to the ground and a swarm of other players rushed to the physical dispute.

  • Pat Porter appeared to practice with the 1s on Tuesday. He and Daquawn Brown wore white jerseys without numbers, but Brown’s voice was clearly audible calling out signals when the 2s were on the field.

  • Rickey Galvin wore a yellow jersey but was active in practice on Tuesday.

  • Cole Madison, Gerard Wicks, Sulaiman Hameed, Nick Begg and Jeff Waldner were limited on Tuesday.

  • Sebastian LaRue practiced as a wide receiver during drills. He is listed as a cornerback on the roster.

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

    E: Destiny Vaeao
    NT: Robert Barber
    T: Xavier Cooper
    BUCK: Kache Palacio
    WILL: Jeremiah Allison
    SAM: Cyrus Coen
    MIKE: Peyton Pelluer
    CB: Pat Porter
    CB: Charleston White
    FS: Darius Lemora
    SS: Taylor Taliulu

    Primarily taking reps with the 2s
    QB: Peyton Bender
    RB: Marcus Mason
    X: Dom Williams
    Y: River Cracraft
    H: Robert Lewis
    Z: Drew Loftus
    LT: Devonte McClain
    LG: Cody O’Connell
    C: Sam Flor
    RG: Moritz Christ
    RT: Eduardo Middleton

    E: Ivan McLennan
    NT: Kalafitoni Pole
    T: Daniel Ekuale
    BUCK: Frankie Luvu
    WILL: Tana Pritchard
    SAM: Mitchell Peterson
    MIKE: Darryl Monroe
    CB: Daquawn Brown
    CB: Kevin Griffin, Marcellus Pippins
    FS: Beau Glover
    SS: David Bucannon

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