Day 12: Big moments for Cougar offense, D

Twelve days into practice and just over two weeks until Washington State's season opener against Portland State, it's time to being to look the part of finely tuned. The Cougars did just that Thursday, as the offense and defense showed great competitiveness, with both sides displaying signs of strength.

The defense showed great speed and burst through the line for several sacks, and were in theft mode. The offense had good moments, too, with great throws, good placement and big catches. The offense won team time, but needed a comeback to do it.

“I think we’re more competitive this fall,” coach Mike Leach said. “One of the things I’ve been most pleased with how hard our guys are playing.”

The Cougars had a shorter practice Thursday. The team went through some of their normal drills including 7-on-7 and a little 11-on-11 in the beginning of practice. On special teams, Erik Powell went 5-for-5 on field goal tries, and the team worked on blocking for punt returns against the scout unit. In 11-on-11, there was an emphasis on running the ball and stopping the run.

The Cougars moved into skeleton and the defense had a great day. Luke Falk started the drill but didn’t find much success as the defense made quick stops or forced overthrown passes on each of Falk’s throws. Peyton Pelluer and Nnamdi Oguayo (pictured above) were around the ball on several plays. Peyton Bender had a little more success as he hit Gabe Marks twice for first downs. Falk returned and threw twice, including one to Marks for a first down. Bender finished the drill and hit Kyle Sweet with a beautiful throw over Darrien Molton, but in front of Isaac Doston.

Team time today was a tight matchup. The offense started with Bender, who wasn't sacked or intercepted. Bender almost had one pass picked off, but it fell between Jeremiah Allison and Frankie Luvu. Bender connected with Kyrin Priester with for a nice catch-and-run touchdown. Taylor Taliulu had a pass breakup against Dom Williams. Bender completed his final throw to Priester, between four defenders, for another touchdown.

Falk's turn in team time was a mixed bag. Hercules Mata’afa and Jeremiah Mitchell picked up two sacks, including one where Falk was pushed to the ground. The O-line, Falk and Gerard Wicks did up downs after the QB was sacked twice in four plays. After a missed throw to Sweet and a short gain from Priester, the defense had tied the team time at 15 apiece. The offense took command, though, when Falk threw two touchdowns to River Cracraft. On the first score, Cracraft found a little open space and slid for the first catch; his second touchdown, Cracraft simply lost the entire defense and set up in the back right side of the end zone for the easy pitch and catch. Marcellus Pippins helped rally the defense by swatting down a would-be touchdown pass to Marks to end the drill, with the offense winning 19-16.

“Today was a short practice, but we came in do our job and be crisp,” said Williams. “The receiving corps is deep and we’re all out there making plays.”

The Cougars will be off Friday, but return practice Saturday and Sunday in Pullman.

  • Powell hit five field goals (19, 32, 36, 43, 47 yards) at the beginning of practice with no rush.

  • Charleston White was in pads again, but was limited. Dylan Hanser was without pads again. C.J. Dimry was not in pads.

    Offensive 1s
    QB: Luke Falk
    RB: Gerard Wicks
    LT: Joe Dahl
    LG: Gunnar Eklund
    C: Riley Sorenson
    RG: Eduardo Middleton
    RT: Cole Madison
    X: Dom Williams
    Y: River Cracraft
    Z: Gabe Marks
    H: Robert Lewis

    Defensive 1s
    DE: Darryl Paulo
    NT: Robert Barber
    DT: Destiny Vaeao
    Rush LB –Ivan McLennan
    WIL LB – Jeremiah Allison
    MIKE LB – Peyton Pelluer
    NICKEL CB: Isaac Dotson
    CB: Darrien Molton
    CB: Marcellus Pippins
    FS: Taylor Taliulu
    SS: Shalom Luani

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