A unique WSU practice report

PULLMAN – I’ve covered the Washington State football practices for since Day One of fall camp – a great, great many storylines have unfolded over the course of the last 108 days. But this practice report is going to be unique from all that have come before it.

A few weeks back, WSU made it clear all interview access to coaches and players would be denied if we continued to publish who is running with the 1s. A couple weeks before that, WSU informed CF.C and other media that interview access to the defensive coaches would be cut off unless we refrained in our practice reports from noting which players were limited in their participation.  CF.C concluded then the broader context of our practice reporting still offered plenty of meat on the bone and it would be a disservice to our loyal readers if we stopped covering practice. Not being able to talk with Mike Leach, Alex Grinch and others during the week  would be a far greater sacrifice to you, our loyal readers.

But things have changed with the injury to Luke Falk.

Indeed, trying to report on a WSU practice without mentioning the QBs is as improbable as Leach and Craig James exchaging Christmas cards.

Several obvious practice questions begged on Monday night: whether it was Falk, Peyton Bender or both taking snaps with the 1s; or whether Falk suited up; how/if the time with the 1s was divvyed up among the nCougar QBs; if the Wazzu QB backups, including redshirting true freshmen Tyler Hilinski and/or walk on Christian Jorgenson, saw more snaps than usual with either the 1s or 2s; and on and on.  And after all that, there's still the basic nuts and bolts reporting of how the Cougar quarterbacks actually looked in the practice session, and all the various visual data that go into said.

CF.C has therefore made the decision that this will be my final practice report of the regular season (we hope to be right back at it for the bowl game practices and will cross that bridge when we come to it).

Note: This doesn't affect our video interviews with coaches after practice - we're still planning to bring you those on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In the meantime on Monday night, the weather conditions during the evening practice must have made Leach smile -- if he was concerned at all about anyone stopping to watch practice from any of the public vantage points, the weather was on his side. 

The fog on Monday night was as thick as I’ve seen it all year -- at times it was dense enough to obscure much of the action.

That said, in general terms, here’s a very brief summary of what I saw Monday night: 1) a raucous Washington State defense; 2) an offense that clicked well at times and 3) crisp special teams work.  The offense and defense both had their moments and plays they would like to have back – just like the vast majority of practices I’ve covered this season.

The two deeps for the offense and the defense went toe-to-toe in two drills, as they do on Tuesdays* and from my chair it was a back-and-forth, hotly contested affair. (Tuesday’s regular practice was held on Monday because the Apple Cup this year is on Friday). The o-line and d-line in one-on-one matchups battled to a tie in my book.

We’ll have video interviews with Alex Grinch and Eric Mele up a little later on Tuesday.

Mele gave kicker Brett Schafer his customary shot in place of starter Erik Powell to kick field goals on Monday (again, usually he does so on Tuesdays). Schaefer went two-for-three.

The kickoff drill was the special teams drill of choice Monday. The Cougs worked on both kickoff and kickoff return against scout teams during different times in practice.

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