Cougar D in a takeaway mood Wednesday

PULLMAN – Wednesday was a day for the Washington State defense, both the starting and scout units. Combined, the Cougar D forced 10 turnovers. It wasn't the best day for the offense, although the starters were responsible for two of the 10 picks.

Following the normal 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills, kicker Brett Schafer had a chance to against a live defense on field goals. Schafer hit 3 of 5 attempts, his misses being a wide right and a crossbar shot.

While the QBs and WRs worked on route combinations, the defense battled the scout team. Jeremiah Allison had an interception early on, albeit on throw from scout receiver Erik Anderson. However, that was just the beginning. Logan Tago split through the O-line twice to get tackles for loss. Also, per the usual, Shalom Luani (pictured above) had a big hit on a receiver.

“Tago is exciting to watch, he’s a little raw, but he sees the ball and goes. There isn’t a lot of indecision on his part,” coach Roy Manning said. I couldn’t find Isaac Dotson during Wednesday’s practice, so Parker Henry filled the nickel spot on most snaps. Tago also received a sizable number of snaps with the first team defense. Marcellus Pippins and Charleston White split reps with the 1s, and Darrien Molton took all the reps opposite those two. Kache Palacio and Ivan McLennan also split reps, but Palacio appeared to get more reps with the 1s. “Both [Palacio and McLennan] give us a lot of speed, which is very important when playing these running teams,” Manning said. “They’re both seniors, I expect both guys to have their best years.”

Once the scout defense joined the offense, there weren’t a lot of highlights (in the beginning) for the offense. The scout D did have a nice highlight when Skyler Cracraft picked off Luke Falk.

Later, the team split back up into offense and defense. The scout O struggled, but against the Cougar D that isn’t too surprising. White, Pippins and Luani each had an interception. Pat Porter had two interceptions, one that just floated to him, but the second one he really attacked. Pippins’ interception was one of the most incredible plays I’ve ever seen. Luani was helping on the coverage and missed the interception, and somehow Pippins found the ball just as it passed his helmet. For the offense, Falk did a great job reading the defense; he was patient and took what the defense was giving him. He recovered well after throwing the INT to Cracraft.

To end practice, the Cougars had team time. The second team offense and the defense battled for a handful of reps. Peyton Bender looked a lot better than past practices. He was patient, confident and hit Keith Harrington and Tavares Martin Jr. for big gains. Also, Peyton Pelluer laid a huge hit on Jamal Morrow that made him drop the ball.

Then it was scouts vs. the 1s. For the offense, Falk had a two nice touchdown throws to John Thompson and River Cracraft, but he did throw another interception as Taylor Comfort stepped in front of the pass. Bender also saw some reps with the first team offense.

The defense continued their turnover bonanza as Taylor Taliulu and White had interceptions. On the plays he was at nickel back, Henry played well and had a nice tackle for loss. Darius Lemora saw a few snaps with Dotson out, and Tago also got some reps in. Treshon Broughton even saw a handful of snaps at nickel back.

“We have confidence in all our guys. We don’t have any ones, whoever is in there, the expectation is they do their job,” Manning said. “I can throw just about any of our guys out there, and I know that they’ll get the job done.” The Cougars will have their final full practice with Thursday Night Football. The team has their normal walk-through Friday.

  • Matt Abramo, Suli Hameed, Amosa Sakaria, T.J. Fehoko, Michael Cole, Mack Hopkins and C.J. Dimry were limited Tuesday.

  • After being limited Sunday and Tuesday, Frankie Luvu participated fully.

  • When asked if the missing Dotson was a test or a lab, Leach said, “Yeah, something like that.”

  • The team got in some punt work, and Zach Charme showed great depth and hangtime on his punts. He also did some nice work getting the ball closer to the boundary, which coach Eric Mele mentioned Tuesday would be a point of emphasis. The Cougars also worked the scout team against the returners, and the receiving team was able to block two punts.

    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: Parker Henry / Logan Tago
    CB: Darrien Molton
    CB: Charleston White / Marcellus Pippins
    SS: Taylor Taliulu
    FS: Shalom Luani

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