3 takeaways: A fifth-year senior and a true freshman shine brightly in Cougars' practice session

PULLMAN – One is a fifth-year senior on offense, the other a true freshman playing defense. But both held starring roles in Washington State’s practice on Wednesday.

1.     Thompson making noise on D
-       True freshman safety Jalen Thompson on Wednesday had at least two interceptions that I saw,  including one against Luke Falk in the team period.  Thompson has been one of the big storylines on the team since the spring. Not only has he now solidified his role as the starting strong safety in fall camp, he looks to me to be one the best athletes on the field. He has a lot of raw talent. Speaking as a former DB at Washington State, Thompson’s footwork and technique are far beyond players his age.

2.     Marks with another big day
-      Starting Z receiver Gabe Marks got a lot of touches in practice today.  Coming off a 104-catch season, it’s no surprise WSU’s offense is geared around getting the ball into Marks’ hands – which is great, and having the other weapons on offense that the Cougs do is a plus. It should be another big year for the fifth-year senior receiver who is on pace to become the all-time leading pass catcher in Pac-12 history, and also to crush several WSU school receiving records.

3.     Hercules Mata’afa and Daniel Ekuale providing versatility
-       The defensive line doesn’t have a lot of proven depth, so what D-line coach Joe Salave’a has done is worked a few players in at different spots – including Mata’afa and Ekuale. After practice Salave’a explained why: “You have to be able to work when you truly don’t have a feel for your numbers. We gotta have some moving parts… and it’s not for everybody, but those guys seem to handle the work load. So the more they can handle, the better we can be.”

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