Cornerback Pat Porter no longer with the Cougars, while Tuesday's practice includes a few scuffles

PULLMAN – Tuesday's practice ended with news that cornerback Pat Porter is no longer with the program. Porter wasn't listed on the roster handed out at practice, and Mike Leach confirmed that Porter has left the team.

Porter had the early look of a gem from the recruiting class of 2014. During his freshman season, Porter played in four games and started twice, getting nine tackles and two pass breakups. But the transition to a new defensive coordinator this season was rocky for Porter. He didn't play in any games prior to leaving the program. Porter was participating on the scout team last week in prepping for Oregon State.

It is unknown where Porter, from Alabama, is headed or whether he'll continue to play football.

As for Tuesday's practice, there weren’t any big plays or flashy moments, which is a story in itself, especially for a team with an Air Raid offense and an opportunistic defense. Now, that’s not to say there weren’t ANY big plays, but a far smaller number than normal.

But there were fireworks, in the form of a few dust-ups as some players lost their tempers.

Treshon Broughton and B.J. Salmonson got into it during one drill in the middle of practice. It took awhile to separate the two. Near the end of practice, the lines were battling one-on-one and Moritz Christ took exception to Devonte McClain, and off they went. This dispute was quickly separated, as Eduardo Middleton did a good job getting McClain away from Christ to avoid further confrontation.

One offensive player to stand out, in a positive way, was receiver Daniel Lilienthal. He seemed to catch everything that went his way, no matter who was covering him or what drill the team was working on. Specifically late in practice, Lilenthal was schooling DBs covering him during the one-on-one drill. One of Lilenthal's best catches came against the scout team, when he caught the ball for a short gain, made a beautiful cut move and took off for the end zone.

Just like Tavares Martin Jr. and Kyrin Priester have gotten more snaps lately, Lilienthal is proving that he deserves more opportunities.

The defense had a good day with turnovers, but also had their share of missed assignments. DC Alex Grinch showed his anger, and it was easy to hear, too. Shalom Luani continued his takeaway binge, with one pick during a scramble drill against the scout team. Other takeaways against the scout team: a Darryl Paulo-forced fumble which Peyton Pelluer recovered; Paris Taylor had a pick six when he jumped a Tyler Hilinski throw; Aaron Porter and Deion Singleton picked off Matt Jimison and Hilinski, respectively.

On defense, the depth chart got a workout. There were many players moving all over the place. Daniel Ekuale took the majority of the snaps at nose tackle with Ngalu Tapa backing up him up because Robert Barber was limited Tuesday. Ivan McLennan, Dylan Hanser and Logan Togo got snaps at RUSH linebacker. The WIL & MIKE spots also saw plenty of faces, including Frankie Luvu, Aaron Porter, Chandler Leniu and Taylor. Kirkland Parker continues to get second team cornerback snaps. Calvin Green, Hunter Dale and Willie Roach split reps at the backup safety spots. On the D-line, Jeremiah Mitchell, Kache Palacio and Reggie Coates got some work with the 2s.

The offense was successful against the defensive 1s and 2s in the receivers vs. defensive backs drill. There were few drops or incompletions during the drills, leading to the DBs doing up-downs. During the skeleton drill, the offense and defense went back and forth. Luke Falk made some nice connections with River Cracraft, Gabe Marks and Dom Williams. Peyton Bender had his moments of good passing, but he threw an interception to Marcellus Pippins. Also, Bender was “sacked” because he held the ball for about 10 seconds so the play was ruled dead.

Bender bounced back during his five plays during team time against the defensive 1s and 2. Bender was able to get some nice gains on passes to Jamal Morrow, Kyle Sweet, Daniel Lilienthal and Marks.

Mike Leach comments

  • On Morrow's progression: "He does a pretty decent job at all three things. He's decent at blocking, catching and running...Single strengths, I think the other backs have better single strengths, but overall -- all three phases -- he's got the best overall game. Wicks and Harrington at times rush it better than he does, Harrington catches real well, if he decides to block Wicks blocks well."


  • On Falk throwing without the laces: "He's not the first. I had another guy, Cody Hodges. He had size 16 feet, and his hands were the same size as his feet. He'd catch the snap with one hand, and I didn't like that, but he could do it.... I don't like when they put two hands on it, but Hodges did such a good job that I left him alone. He never dropped one, so it didn't really become a problem... It's handy on screens and quick throws when they have to get the ball out quick."

 

Notable Notes

  • Defensive back Kyle Torres is no longer listed on the roster.


  • Isaac Dotson was at practice for a few minutes, without pads, running sideline to sideline. This was the first time Dotson has been at practice since the week against Cal.


  • Martin Jr. was wearing a non-contact penny throughout practice on Tuesday, but appeared to participate fully; players were just reminded not to hit him during contact drills.


  • Barber was a new addition to the limited list Tuesday. The regulars still include Suli Hameed, Matt Abramo, T.J. Fohoko, C.J. Dimry and Amosa Sakaria.


  • Special teams work Tuesday included field goals (where Erik Powell went 4 of 5), kickoff vs. scout returners and kickoff scouts against the return team. Martin Jr. and Priester were the starting return men and Powell and Quentin Breshears kicked off. A lot of the practice seemed focus on making sure gaps were maintained.

 

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: Daniel Ekuale / Ngalu Tapa (in place of 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 / Charleston White

CB: Marcellus Pippins

FS: Taylor Taliulu

SS: Shalom Luani

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