Washington State’s defense looks sharp on Wednesday, while the offense has some areas to improve

PULLMAN – Normally, at the beginning of practice you can pick out a word from the defensive coaches that will define the day of practice on both sides of the ball. Wednesday’s word came from defensive coordinator Alex Grinch in the early going reminding his defense to “Be sharp!” The D took that to heart and made plays all over the field. The offense had several moments of being sharp, but there were also plenty of moments where they weren’t sharp enough.

Near the end of practice, head coach Mike Leach seemed displeased with the offense’s performance against the scout team, which was likely prompted by a fumble from Gerard Wicks, and Leach became vocal with them.

Asked it after practice, he said “I thought we had a good practice, the twos went out there and started slow and so, you know, we drew their attention to it.”

"Drawing their attention to it" involved up downs for the entire offense. However, other than the final part of practice, the offense seemed sharp with its decisions and execution.

The defense was en pointe throughout the day, and not just against the scouts. During the skeleton drill the defense’s success came from tight coverage against the wide outs. Kirkland Parker and Marcellus Pippins stood out the most as successful corners during the drill. Parker had two pass breakups against Dom Williams and Kyrin Priester. Pippins, on the other hand, seemed glued to his receivers on multiple plays causing a few pass breakups of his own.

As a whole, the defense did a great job limiting Luke Falk and Peyton Bender to several check downs or short throws, but there were a few deep balls Falk placed perfectly against the airtight coverage.

The offense had success with Falk and Bender each getting through their reads quickly and decisively, however a lot of times those completions didn’t go for many yards. Despite some great throws and catches, the offense did up downs because of the defense’s tenacity and several short gains or incompletions.

The defense rode the momentum from their skeleton drill performance into their final work against the scout offense. After struggling to strip the ball or get an interception in the beginning of practice, the defense turned it on in the final drill. During three straight plays the defense snagged a takeaway. Aaron Porter started the snatching with an incredible diving interception thanks to Paris Taylor’s quick hands to smack the ball into the air. Taylor followed that with an interception of his own off of Connor Ennis. Shalom Luani completed the interception hat trick of Ennis after he stepped in front of Kyle Celli to pick it off.

The defense added two more interceptions to close out practice from Parker Henry and Taylor Taliulu. Henry’s was a spectacular showing of athleticism with a one-handed snag that sent the entire defense into a frezy, while Taliulu’s came off a lofted throw from Ennis; James Williams was the intended target on the final two interceptions.

The team’s sharpness helped the tempo stay fast and clean throughout the day. Although there were moments where the coaches had to poke or prod to entice quicker play, both units were able to quicken their pace without sacrificing efficiency they had when going a little slower.


Notable Notes: Watch the video above for Wednesday’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 / Robert Barber

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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