Speed running deep at WSU safety position

PULLMAN - The first thing Mike Leach mentioned after practice was the speed with which the Cougars played Saturday morning, Day 2 of spring practice. Speed in the drills, speed in the 7-on-7, speed in the 1-on-1 and speed in the fights that broke out multiple times during practice.

Speed at the safety position looks as if it might lend itself to an interesting position battle heading into the fall. Running with the ones on Day 1, safeties Darius Lemora and Taylor Taliulu have experience on their side. Lemora and Taliulu played in 11 games during the 2014 season. Lemora enters his redshirt sophomore year, while it's Taliulu senior year. Both have experience playing with one another and Lemora stayed steady in the depth chart throughout last season.

During the first day of spring ball, both Lemora and Taliulu played with the 1s during team drills. Lemora was responsible for a big stop near the goal line while Taliulu was beat by sophomore receiver Robert Lewis for a touchdown.

Despite that, it was safeties Sulaiman Hameed and Isaac Dotson that were running with the 1s during Day 2 of spring practice. Although it is too early to tell how the depth chart will shake out when the season opener arrives, it's been clear the last two days that the safety position is in flux.

Hameed enters his sophomore year, Dotson his redshirt sophomore year. Dotson played the first two games of the 2014 season before sitting for the remainder of the season. Hameed played only half the season last year after battling injuries throughout, but appears to be back to form now. He gained 11 pounds and the added muscle has translated itself to the field quickly this spring. His athleticism showed on the second day of camp as he nearly intercepted a pass from Peyton Bender during the team drills and showed no problem going up against the first team receivers as he broke up multiple passes.

Now, they both have a new defensive coordinator in Alex Grinch, Hameed has a few games under his belt and they are both looking strong after the first two sessions of spring practice.

“For me, the biggest thing was being confident in yourself. Knowing your abilities, knowing your assignment, knowing your job. Just being confident out on the field that you are going to get the job done. Just coming into my sophomore year I feel a whole lot different than I did my freshman year," Hameed said.

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