Cougar amp up physicality at practice with tough guy Stanford up next

PULLMAN – At the beginning of practice, Washington State D-line coach Joe Salave’a yelled one word that set the tone for the entire practice: “Physical, Physical!” he bellowed. The practice brought an extra oomph to an already physical defense, but will it pay off Saturday against Pac-12 bully Stanford?

If Tuesday is any indication of the increased physicality then yes, WSU will be ready for Stanford’s tough offensive and defensive lines.

Throughout Tuesday, the Cougar defense continued to flex its muscle, albeit against the scout team. Logan Tago really stood out, and was a force in the backfield. Tago made several tackles for loss, and he maintained great speed and discipline throughout practice.

Daniel Ekuale and Destiny Vaeao also caused havoc. Peyton Pelluer busted up several run plays and also made tackles for loss.

There were few turnovers against the scout team, but don’t think that means the defense wasn’t trying. With a run-heavy Stanford coming, the defense prepared for the third straight week on improving against the run. Naturally, they also prepared for the Cardinal's air game, but job one has to be slowing down Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey. The team’s physicality was impressive and intimidating throughout Tuesday’s practice.

Although the defense didn't forced any turnovers early against the scout team, they did cause two turnovers against Luke Falk and Peyton Bender. During skeleton drill, Marcellus Pippins fought off Daniel Lilienthal for a bobbling interception off a Falk throw. Later, during the five plays of team time, there was some Peyton Pelluer on Peyton thievery. Pelluer picked off Bender as the third year sophomore jumped — higher than I’ve ever seen — and came down with the ball.

Also during skeleton drill, the defense teed off with their hitting of the offense. I couldn’t tell who laid the hit, but River Cracraft took a shot (and immediately jumped back up), so the defense didn’t just lay the wood against the scouts. Finally, Pippins and Calvin Green had great swats against Gabe Marks and Lilienthal.

The defense was able to cause two more turnovers against the scout team to end practice. Pippins was able to pick off another pass, fighting off Erik Anderson. Later Tyler Hilinski lofted a throw that Kirkland Parker tracked down and intercepted in front of Alijah Lee.

Notable Notes: Watch the video above for Tuesday’s notable notes.

Offensive 1s

QB: Luke Falk

RB: Gerard Wicks / Keith Harrington / Jamal Morrow

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

DT: Destiny Vaeao

Rush LB –Ivan McLennan

WIL LB – Jeremiah Allison

MIKE LB – Peyton Pelluer

NICKEL: Parker Henry

CB: Charleston White

CB: Marcellus Pippins

FS: Taylor Taliulu

SS: Shalom Luani 

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