WSU solidifies starting lineup; frosh shines

PULLMAN — Mike Leach is a traditionalist when it comes to holiday cuisine -- turkey, of course. The Cougs planned to go to a local bowling alley Thursday for a Thanksgiving feast, one that offensive line coach Clay McGuire says gets better and better each year. As for the Thursday Night Football group in the day's practice session, they weren’t too shabby, either.

First though, Vince Mayle and Toni Pole both practiced fully on Thursday when the 1’s were on the field before Thursday Night Football, while Cole Madison practiced fully with the second-team offensive line.

Keith Harrington (pictured above) showed once again why Cougar fans should be looking forward to watching him compete in spring ball. Although he is listed as a wide receiver on the roster, Harrington played running back at Northeast High, and that is where he has been most useful to the Cougars’ scout offense this season.

“I think Keith Harrington has got a chance to be the most explosive kid on our team,” McGuire said. "He really does some stuff, and he’s a fearless guy on the football field. He’s got a great competitive nature to him, and I’m excited to see what he does in spring ball.

The 5-7, 174-pound true freshman was Peyton Bender’s favorite target out of the backfield during Thursday Night Football, and he received plenty of touches when Connor Ennis was in the game as well. He accelerated quickly once he made a reception, whether it was in the open field or to the side, he also ran to the outside and gained the edge a couple of times and did what he does so well -- gaining more yards than it looked like he would.

“He’s got good vision and good change of direction. He’s not incredibly fast but he’s got real good vision and change of direction,” Mike Leach said.

Another player who seems poised to emerge in the spring is redshirt junior walk on wide receiver Daniel Lilienthal (pictured above), who caught a well-contested touchdown pass from Bender in the end zone, plus another touchdown pass from Connor Ennis that was thrown into tight coverage before he reached the end zone.

“(Lilienthal) has done some good stuff. The biggest thing is he needs to focus in every play, but he’s a stronger guy than he looks. And he’s pretty good at playing the ball in the air, especially if it’s a vertical thing. The horizontal stuff he struggles with a little more,” Leach said.

Still, the Cougs have a deep shelf when it comes to wideouts and Lilienthal will need to have a good offseason and hone his skills on a more consistent basis if he's to seriously challenge for a starting job or significant turns.

The defense stepped up at times on Thursday, and when they were near an offensive player, they wrapped that player up more often than not.

A couple of blistering tackles were made, including one by Jeff Farrar, who also intercepted a tipped pass from Bender and who later dropped a sure pick-six off Ennis.

Leach said the 5-foot-11, 196-pound Farrar has improved as time has progressed, and that he plays tall and is built well. Although Sebastian LaRue did not do anything particularly noteworthy in Thursday Night Football this time, but Leach said he has been pleased with what LaRue has done this season. And "pleased" is probably an understatement.

“Sebastian’s played real well. Sebastian would have had a good shot of starting this year if he was eligible,” Leach said.

NOTABLE NOTES
  • McGuire said that Cody O’Connell, Sean Krepsz and Carlos Freeman have the best shots at competing for a starting or backup jobs on the offensive line in the spring based on what they've done this fall. He also said Andre Dillard has been the most impressive freshman on the line.

  • Gabe Marks, Nick Begg, Kevin Griffin, Nate DeRider, and Brett Bartolone were limited on Thursday.

  • Cyrus Coen made an interception against the scout team offense on Thursday.

    Primarily taking reps with the 1’s
    OFFENSE
    QB: Luke Falk
    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: Jacob Seydel

    DEFENSE
    E: Destiny Vaeao, Darryl Paulo
    NT: Kalafitoni Pole, Destiny Vaeao
    T: Xavier Cooper
    BUCK: Kache Palacio
    WILL: Jeremiah Allison
    SAM: Cyrus Coen
    MIKE: Peyton Pelluer
    CB: Daquawn Brown
    CB: Marcellus Pippins
    FS: Darius Lemora
    SS: Taylor Taliulu

    Primarily taking reps with the 2’s
    OFFENSE
    QB: Peyton Bender
    RB: Gerard Wicks, Theron West
    X: Dom Williams
    Y: Tyler Baker
    H: Robert Lewis
    Z: Calvin Green
    LT: Joe Dahl
    LG: Cody O’Connell
    C: Sam Flor
    RG: Eduardo Middleton
    RT: Cole Madison

    DEFENSE
    E: Lyman Faoliu
    NT: Robert Barber
    T: Daniel Ekuale
    BUCK: Ivan, McLennan, Frankie Luvu
    WILL: Tana Pritchard
    SAM: Paris Taylor
    MIKE: Darryl Monroe
    CB: Patrick Porter
    CB: Charleston White
    FS: Beau Glover
    SS: Sulaiman Hameed

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