Washington State's defense wins the day during Tuesday's practice

PULLMAN – Tuesday's practice, five days out from a Northwest showdown against Oregon, featured something that's becoming a common theme: Washington State's defense having the upper hand. The Cougars offense struggled, while the defense, which had some depth chart movement, was involved in the preponderance of big plays.

Another day, another practice without Isaac Dotson. The starting nickel back was not seen at Tuesday’s practice, which paved the way for plenty of mixing and matching for defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. Among players who saw reps with the 1s throughout practice included Calvin Green (pictured above), Treshon Broughton and Parker Henry. It was interesting seeing Green out there. Just last week he was almost exclusively on the practice squad. Without getting to ask Grinch up front, I assume Green got the chance because of his great showing at last week’s Thursday Night Football.

At the beginning of practice, the defense broke into their position groups, and one really stood out. The defensive backs worked a drill that made the cornerback react to a wide receiver’s cut backs and moves, then try to tackle the receiver. This drill seems important considering the quick cut abilities of Oregon's receivers and backs. The corners looked ready and capable of keeping up and tackling their man.

The defense also broke out their scramble drill from a week or so ago. This is another drill that could be a huge key to success against Oregon. No matter who plays at quarterback, the Ducks will have someone who can scramble in the pocket. Tuesday, Shalom Luani and Jeremiah Allison had an interception and Hunter Dale swatted a ball away from his man during this drill.

During 11-on-11 time, Calvin Green saw his first snaps with the 1s during the goal line session. During open field, Green continued taking snaps, thought split time with Henry and Broughton. The defense caused one fumble during the open session of 11-on-11, a ball recovered by Aaron Porter.

During the wide receivers vs. defensive backs drill, Darrien Molton once played his man so well, he made an incredible interception against Peyton Bender. The most impressive catch came from River Cracraft. He caught a ball, but Willie Roach popped it out as Cracraft got closer to the sideline. Cracraft recovered, regaining possession while toe-tapping near the sideline to make sure he got credit for the reception.

During skeleton, the offensive 1s and 2s took on the defense’s 1s and 2s. Luke Falk had a tough day, throwing an interception and nearly another one. The scout teams also did battle, and had quite a few highlights. Tyler Hilinski threw a few beautiful balls to Kaleb Fossum and D.J. Thompson for touchdowns. Fossum also reeled in a ball with an incredible one-handed catch.

During team time, the No. 2 offense and defense went head-to-head. On the last snap before they split up, Bender threw a great pass to Keith Harrington, a ball I'm not sure how he located, but did. With the ball in his hands, Harrington made a move on Peyton Pelluer and beat the persistent linebacker to the end zone.

The offense and defense then battled the scout teams. The defense thrived, but did give up a big  play early, when D.J. Thompson caught a short pass and took off up field. Even here, the defense had a moment, as Kirkland Parker caught Thompson just before the goal line and poked the ball out. Charleston White tried to recover it, but the ball rolled out of the back of the end zone.

For the offense, it wasn’t a day to remember. Falk threw two interceptions against the scout defense, leading to up downs and rolling for dozens of yards back and forth. Tristan Brock had the first pick, who jumped a route. The second interception was just an amazing show of athleticism. Dakota Sinchak went full extension backwards with hands over his head and pulled the ball down to his chest, sending the scout team into full throat cheers.

Notable Notes

  • Matt Abramo, Amosa Sakaria, T.J. Fehoko, Suli Hameed and C.J. Dimry did not participate in the hour-long shorts and helmets practice.

  • Throughout practice special teams work was sprinkled in. The team focused on kickoff drills including kickoff versus scouts and kickoff scouts versus return team. Tavares Martin Jr. and Harrington were the return men.

 

Offensive 1s

QB: Luke Falk

RB: Gerard Wicks / Keith Harrington

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: Parker Henry / Treshon Broughton / Calvin Green (Cycle of 5 snaps per guy then switch to the next guy)

CB: Darrien Molton

CB: Marcellus Pippins

FS: Taylor Taliulu

SS: Shalom Luani

 

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