Washington State's defense has a plethora of takeaways during Wednesday's workout as they prepare for California

PULLMAN – Wednesday's practice was another day for the Washington State defense, as it dominated the scout team with myriad takeaways, while showing a heightened level of focus and determination throughout the workout. Nickel back Isaac Dotson also increased his workload as the Cougar sophomore attempts to return to game action.

The WSU defense ran to the ball with great speed and intent Wednesday. Though it was mostly against the scout defense, if they show up with this level of intensity Saturday, the Cougars will have a good chance to make Cal QB Jared Goff’s life a tough one.

After the usual early offense and defense drills, practice turned to some field goal work. It appeared to be a drill focused on rushing the kicker, but also could have been a chance to let Brett Schafer get some reps. The young Cougar kicker had one kick blocked and one fall short, as he went 3-of-5 overall.

Then the fun started.

The defense worked on a new scramble drill that started Tuesday. The scout offense QB dropped back and ran from side to side before he’d throw the ball to an “open” receiver; only problem is no one was open. Shalom Luani got one interception and Treshon Broughton dropped one.

The offense worked on route combinations with the receivers and running backs before going into 11-on-11 against the scout defense. Defensively during 11-on-11 against the scout offense, Dotson took a few snaps, but the real story was the multiple turnovers. Charleston White, Kirkland Parker and Marcellus Pippins all grabbed an interception during the goal-line portion of the drill. Broughton had an interception during open field. The last turnover of 11-on-11 came courtesy of Peyton Pelluer, who ripped the ball from a running back and Luani recovered it.

During skeleton, the offense and defense 1s and 2s battled, which the scout teams also clashed.

The 1s and 2s didn't produce much on the side of highlights, though one was Gabe Marks converting on a long touchdown pass from Luke Falk. On the defensive side, the scout defense added to the turnover total, as Deion Singleton picked off Tyler Hilinski with an incredible diving interception.

Finally, the Cougars came together to battle in 11-on-11, first pitting the No. 2 offense against No. 1 defense for five plays. Peyton Bender had a decent time completing three passes, one for a loss and two for big gains. Broughton swatted away one of Bender’s throws to Robert Lewis.

After the short team time, the offense and defense had about a half-hour of 11-on-11 against the scout team. There weren’t many highlights, from either side, but Chandler Leniu got an interception on a wild play against the scout offense. Hilinski handed the ball off to his running back, who had it stripped, Hilinski recovered the fumble and tried to throw it, but the ball popped up and ultimately landed in Leniu's hands.

The star of the end of practice was D.J. Thompson (pictured above). He had three Sportscenter-worthy receptions during the last drill of team time. He had a one-handed Odell-Beckham-esque catch over Darrien Molton. I’ve never seen a grab like that in person in my life. The entire scout offense erupted, and Kache Palacio started jokingly bowing to Thompson. Next, on third-and-19, Thompson snagged a bullet from Hilinski against tight coverage for a first down. Finally, Thompson caught another pass right in front of Taylor Taliulu, before the senior safety popped him.

Notable notes

  • Dotson participated in almost every drill Wednesday. He wore a non-contact penny, but received at least a handful of reps in every drill I mentioned in my report above.

  • Matt Abramo, Suli Hameed, Amosa Sakaria, T.J. Fehoko, and C.J. Dimry were limited Wednesday.

  • Special teams work included punt vs. the scout return team and the coverage team vs. the scout punt team. Erik Powell got some punting in, and he’s still got it. The hang time on his punts are really impressive especially with how deep they can go. Don’t think Zach Charme has lost his job; I assume they were just giving Powell some reps in case they ever need him.

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 (Daniel Ekuale also got reps with the ones) 

DT: Destiny Vaeao 

Rush LB –Ivan McLennan / Kache Palacio 

WIL LB – Jeremiah Allison 

MIKE LB – Peyton Pelluer 

NICKEL CB: Parker Henry / Logan Tago / Treshon Broughton 

CB: Darrien Molton 

CB: Marcellus Pippins / Charleston White (more 1s snaps for Pippins) 

SS: Taylor Taliulu 

FS: Shalom Luani  

Ken Wilson

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