Practice report: WSU offense rebounds

PULLMAN -- After a lackluster showing by the Washington State offense Tuesday, Mike Leach said there's always tomorrow. That came Wednesday, and the Cougar O picked it up and showed improvement. Meanwhile, the defense continued to practice at a high level, just three days out from the season opener against Portland State.

“Thought the offense did good today, they bounced around,” coach Mike Leach said.

First, the not-so-good for the offense: the starters competed against one another on just a handful of plays, but the defense had the upper hand. Of the plays pitting 1s vs. 1s, Kache Palacio had a sack and another tackle for a short gain. The offense fumbled a snap and couldn’t get a running lane on a different play. Finally, Peyton Pelluer hit Tyler Baker hard causing him to drop the ball.

Practice commenced with the usual 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 battles of the scout defense against the offense 1s and 2s. Meanwhile, the defense worked on their gaps without an O-line. Later the D broke up into position groups and worked on interceptions, stripping and recovering the ball and a separate drill focused on either scooping up fumbles or falling on the ball for recovery.

The offense moved on to throwing all different routes to the receivers while the defense continued in their position groups with specific drills for each group. The defensive backs worked on backpedaling and following the QB to get interceptions. The linebackers were ripping past dummies and the defensive line used their moves to get through the o-line. Finally the nickel backs and rush LBs worked on understanding block techniques.

The offense then started route combinations with several receivers and quarterbacks in different formations. The defense battled the scout offense with highlights coming from Shalom Luani and Charleston White; Luani had a swat, and White an interception. Ivan McLennan continued his solid play from Tuesday and erupted through the O-line on multiple occasions. Hercules Mata’afa had a nice play to tip a pass that went into the waiting arms of Palacio. Jeremiah Allison and Palacio also combined for several tackles off their quick reactions to the snap and throws.

The scout defense gave the offense some fits as well, but Keith Harrington showed great moves on a toe-tapping catch and a nice catch and run later. During the skeleton drill, the offense faced some scout defenders, and the second unit. Luke Falk had several good throws to Gabe Marks. Peyton Bender threw an interception during his time.

Team time started with the offense and defense’s starters going against each other, as mentioned earlier. After the handful of plays, the offense and defense took on the scout teams. The offense had several big runs from Gerard Wicks (pictured above), Jamal Morrow and Harrington. Robert Lewis caught a touchdown and Falk dropped a dime to Baker over the defense. The defense racked up several tackles for loss, two interceptions, and a few sacks.

“I don’t know that any back has separated themselves, they all do things the others can’t,” Leach said. “I think Morrow is the most consistent, Wicks is explosive carrying the ball, and Harrington is the best receiving back.”

Throughout practice, special teams worked on several drills. One included rushing on field goals and caused four misses and one block of Matt Abramo. Special teams also pitted scout punting against return team and a scout return team against the coverage team.

“We have guys that are starting on offense or defense who also play special teams,” coach Eric Mele said. “We’ve got a good mix of guys that play just special teams and guys that also contribute in other areas of the game.”

NOTABLE NOTE
  • Suli Hameed, Amosa Sakaria, and T.J. Fehoko were limited in practice. Also, couldn’t confirm, but it looked like C.J. Dimry was on a bike Wednesday.

    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: Charleston White
    FS: Taylor Taliulu
    SS: Shalom Luani


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