PRACTICE: Cougs get busy on special teams

PULLMAN -- Washington State, as is their custom on Sunday night sessions, practiced in shorts and helmets. But it didn’t take long for Washington State to get to work on special teams.

The defense first set up against a reduced scout offense to work on gap assignments. Following that, the two sides got together for the special teams work in the aftermath of WSU allowing a kickoff return (pictured above) and punt return for score in the fourth quarter of the win over Rutgers.

The team worked on shedding blocks on kickoff return defense and getting to the ball carrier. They also worked on kickoff return in setting blocks and wedge assignments, followed by punt coverage defense and getting to the returner (without a full return team), and punt return gunner blocking. During the special teams work, the quarterbacks worked on some throwing to stay loose.

The Cougars spent the last 30 minutes of their practice working on some 11-on-11 drills pitting the No. 1 offense and defense against the scout teams.

Quick Quotes
After practice I spoke to DC Alex Grinch and special teams coach Eric Mele. You can see the videos in their entirety in separate Cougfan TV articles but among the highlights:

Grinch on the defense’s performance: “If anyone was confused on the affect takeaways have on a football game, getting three takeaways was a great example of how it can affect a football game…The resiliency, the takeaways and winning the game in the fourth quarter that was big…”

Grinch on Logan Tago: “He pinned his ears back to go out there and make a play. He may have been a little too eager, but it’s good to see that out of a young player.”

Grinch on prep for Wyoming: “We’ll try to find a personality when preparing for them. They’ve done a lot of run and pass. They want to run the ball, but we’ve just got to prepare for both.”

Mele on return issues at Rutgers: “Different issues from last year, individual plays, you have to win every play. You can’t play well for three quarters and relax. The lack of execution is on me.”

Mele on Erik Powell: “Depending on the situation of course – where the wind is, at his back or his face – I think he’s got 55 (yards) in him consistently. We make every kick a pressure kick in practice so the game kicks aren’t as stressful. He went out there and did his job, took care of his one thing and executed.”

NOTABLE NOTES:
Matt Abramo, Suli Hameed, C.J. Dimry, Amosa Sakaria, T.J. Fehoko, Michael Cole and Mack Hopkins did not participate in the hour-long shorts and helmets practice.

Julius Yates-Brown is no longer listed on the active roster being handed out at practices.

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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