WSU continued to pilfer the ball in Tuesday practice (against scouts); Cougars have 9 takeaways in 5 games, only 8 in '14

PULLMAN – The takeaway mentality worked well for Washington State's defense against Oregon, and it continued during Tuesday's practice. The Cougars, who have nine takeaways through five games after getting only eight through the entire 2014 season, worked over the scout offense in preparation for Saturday's game against Oregon State.

“(DC Alex) Grinch has preached causing turnovers since he got here, and that emphasis alone has helped us, as a defense, keep the mindset to get that ball,” Peyton Pelluer said at Monday’s press conference.

The defense was collecting interceptions or causing fumbles against the scouts all day - but let's emphasize this: it was against the scouts. And the scouts are often throwing off a card. A scout QB might throw to a WR who is not open in such a scenario.  

During the opening 11-on-11 time, the defense had a good showing in the goal line phase. Shalom Luani (pictured above) started with an interception after he jumped the receiver’s route.

In the open field, Luani continued to be a problem as Erik Anderson bobbled a catch and the junior safety smacked the ball, which found its way into the waiting arms of Darrien Molton.

To finish 11-on-11, Hunter Dale wrestled the ball away from D.J. Thompson for a strip and recovery in one full motion.

Throughout 11-on-11, Grinch continued playing with his lineups.

With the 1s the only notable movement was Robert Barber and Daniel Ekuale taking equal reps at nose tackle, the same as Sunday's practice.

For the 2s, there was more movement on the depth chart.

Treshon Broughton was the main nickel back here. At linebacker, Aaron Porter and Paris Taylor got reps with the 2s.

On the D-line, Hercules Mata’afa and Kache Palacio filled Destiny Vaeao and Darryl Paulo’s spots. Finally, Dylan Hanser got a handful of reps at the RUSH LB spot and Ngalu Tapa got reps at nose tackle with the 2s.

After spending time at nickel back last week, Calvin Green returned to strong safety, replacing Kirkland Parker. However, Grinch didn’t remove Parker completely, sliding him over to backup cornerback, which moved Pat Porter to the scout defense.

The defensive backs struggled against wide receivers during one-on-one competition. The receivers beat the DBs 19-7 both in the open field situations and the goal line portion of the drill. There was no score given by the coaches: I just tracked the receiver catches versus drops/breakups from the defense.

While one-on-one was happening, the O-line and D-line battled. The D-line won and the O-line did up-downs as the vanquished.

During the skeleton drill, the defensive 1s and 2s of the defense got the better of the offensive 1s and 2s. 

Luke Falk avoided the troublesome Cougar D in terms of turnovers, but the defense forced pass breakups and blanketed receivers for incompletions. Peyton Bender had even less success.

Broughton had two near interceptions, but solid pass breakups. Calvin Green snagged a beautiful diving pick that caused an uproar from the defense.

During a brief team time session Bender was picked off by Marcellus Pippins, who made a great play after falling down to grab the INT.

Finally, there was competition between the scouts against the offense and the defense.

The defense snagged a few more turnovers including two fumble recoveries, by Mata’afa and Luani.

Jeremiah Allison, Parker Henry, and Green all picked off the scout quarterbacks in the final drill, but Green’s was the most impressive -- a diving interception from the safety spot that looked eerily similar to pick of Bender during the skeleton drill. 

NOTABLE NOTES VIDEO (also available at top of page)


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: Kyrin Priester (Dom Williams not present, as mentioned in Notable Notes video)

Y: River Cracraft

Z: Gabe Marks

H: Robert Lewis


Defensive 1s

DE: Darryl Paulo

NT: Daniel Ekuale / Robert Barber

DT: Destiny Vaeao

Rush LB – Ivan McLennan

WIL LB – Jeremiah Allison

MIKE LB – Peyton Pelluer

NICKEL: Parker Henry / Treshon Broughton (Henry received majority of 1st team snaps)

CB: Darrien Molton

CB: Marcellus Pippins

FS: Taylor Taliulu

SS: Shalom Luani

RELATED STORY: Biggest hitter: Luani or Bucannon?

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