Washington State's offense improves after Tuesday's lackluster showing

PULLMAN – One of the most challenging weeks of the season for Washington State's scout team are the days ahead of the Oregon game. Simulating the Ducks' offensive tempo is difficult, but the Cougar scout team seems to be doing a decent job at getting up to speed. It's also challenging week for the WSU defense, as coaches were in a fiery mood Wednesday yelling out formations as they tried to replicate game conditions.

Isaac Dotson was absent again, but that didn’t stop the Cougars from having a good day at the nickel back position. Like Tuesday, Calvin GreenTreshon Broughton and Parker Henry received the reps with the first team. Green had the best day of the three replacements during the team’s final drill.

“[Green’s] shown the ability to make plays, and he’s a good athlete,” DC Alex Grinch said. “We’re trying to find the best 11 guys, and he’s shown well. As time goes forward, we hope he can find his way out there through earning reps and earning his spot.”

Similar to Tuesday, the defensive backs ran an individual drill to work on tackling, but with a twist. Oregon loves to get players on the outside with a receiver to help block, so WSU's corners worked on shedding the initial block and getting to the receiver. Also, the scramble drill made another appearance Wednesday. No interceptions this time around, but the D-line did well to chase and follow the quarterback’s movements.

The team’s 11-on-11 time gave the defense a chance to work against the scout offense, going with open field and goal line settings. There were a multitude of players seeing first team reps, including Reggie Coates, Daniel Ekuale and Hercules Mata’afa on the D-line, Dylan Hanser at RUSH linebacker and Green, Broughton and Henry at nickel back. When the second team took the field, Kirkland Parker snagged an interception and Frankie Luvu caused a fumble that Hunter Dale recovered.

During skeleton, the offensive and defensive 1s and 2s battled. Luke Falk improved over his Tuesday's performance. Falk had great reads, to River Cracraft and Daniel Lilienthal, but the most impressive play went to Gabe Marks. The Z receiver got a step on his defender, but soon the safety bore down on Marks. Falk threw a pass to Marks, who just put one arm up, and pulled in the ball in with one outstretched hand for an impressive touchdown catch.

During team time, the No. 2 offense and defense went head-to-head. Peyton Bender had a few nice gains to Marks and Tavares Martin Jr., but Keith Harrington had the lone score on a great cut away from the defense. Shalom Luani also picked off Bender, as he tried to almost replicate Falk’s impressive throw to Marks, but Marks couldn’t quite get to the ball this time.

The offense and defense split up to take on each other’s scout team. The defense had a good day as they pulled in three interceptions, and the offense scored a few touchdowns throughout the last period of practice. Hunter Dale and Green snagged an interception, and Green’s second pick was a thing of beauty. With Green at nickel he followed his receiver, and blanketed him as Tyler Hilinski launched the ball. As the ball started to come down the receiver knew he couldn’t get to it, but Green kicked it into another gear and came down with the pick. Linebackers coach Ken Wilson was pumped, giving Green a side bump in celebration of the receiver-turned-DB's great play.

Jeremiah Mitchell was pulling a little double duty Wednesday as he simulated Oregon D-end DeForest Buckner, and also saw some first team reps during the last session of team time with the defensive line.

The offense played better Wednesday, particularly Falk. Dom Williams caught a well-placed ball in the end zone and Robert Lewis made an incredible adjustment to make a great grab. Falk’s throws seemed more confident and calm than Tuesday.

Notable Notes

  • Matt Abramo, Amosa Sakaria, T.J. Fehoko, Suli Hameed, Mack Hopkins, Killian Page 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 punting drills including punt vs. scouts and punt scouts vs. return team. Erik Powell got in some practice punts.

  • During the field goal kicks Wednesday, Brett Schafer got the reps. He had a decent time, but one kick was blocked. Schafer hit a really deep kick, and receiver Gabe Marks was the first to greet him with a side/chest bump for the kicker’s strong efforts.

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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