WSU Vs. Eastern Washington: Tuesday Practice Notes

Aug 30, 2012; Provo, UT, USA; Washington State Cougars quarterback Jeff Tuel (10) throws for a first down during the first quarter against the Washington State Cougars at Lavell Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

We'll make this quick, because Tuesday practices are kind of a grind. This isn't fall camp anymore, and practice time is more about scout work and getting in reps against the looks Eastern Washington will show on offense and defense. Basic things, really, though practice followed the same format every other practice does.

I told Jeff before he posted his quarterback opus that I was curious to see how reps were split. There was a fear that, perhaps, a look at practice might blow the whole thing up. Instead, things were just about as they were before the first game.

Jeff Tuel took the bulk of the first team reps, with Connor Halliday rotating in to get his chances. It was a pretty regular split of reps: The two rotated just about every other snap during drills for the quick game -- the focus is on tempo and short routes -- and Tuel took command of the offense during full-team drills as usual. If you're looking for a quarterback controversy, well ... you weren't going to find it on Tuesday.

More on that, as well as other notes from practice, after the jump

  • Tuel is the vocal leader of the offense, that much is clear. He's easy to hear out there, barking out commands and reminding the offense to keep the tempo up and push. This is his job, his role. And he's leading his offense like he always has.
  • As far as the reps go: Yes, Halliday did take a few more than he did last week. But it wasn't as if he was prepping to be the starting quarterback. They were fill-in reps, for the most part: Tuel would be the one taking first reps, and Halliday would take last reps. Pretty typical stuff.
  • When Mike Leach talked about the team playing like it practiced, it wasn't hyperbole. They looked good last week, just about a 180 from how they looked on Saturday. They practiced pretty damn well and played pretty damn not-so-well. But the offense and defense have picked up where they left off on the practice field and look solid once again. Any lingering effects from Thursday's loss just aren't around. They're going about their business, getting reps in and continuing to polish the system.
  • Xavier Cooper was out on the field again, getting more work in. He's still recovering from a high ankle sprain, but seems to be doing more work each day. That's most certainly a positive for the defensive line.
  • Speaking of the line, I talked to Joe Salave'a for a bit after practice, which is always a pleasure. We'll have more on that later, but he spoke a lot about wanting the defensive line to gel and play with a toughness. He's still looking for the right rotation, but said it'll be an ongoing search.
  • Niu Sale is back on the offensive line. They gave him a shot on the defensive side of the ball, but it sounds like he's better suited to be an offensive lineman.
  • Anthony Carpenter is still at cornerback, which makes sense on a lot of levels. Washington State needs help at the spot, and trying out Carpenter there can't hurt. Who knows, he may add depth or may be able to step in and provide a shot in the arm. Either way, there's little in the way of downside.
  • One non-football-related note: I missed the early part of practice while sneaking inside to talk to WSU SID Bill Stevens. I can't say enough about the job he and Bobby Alworth do and how accommodating they are. Bill is one of the best in the business, and being able to sit down and talk about life with him is a pleasure. Same with Bobby, who works his tail off while doing a lot behind the scenes that probably goes unnoticed by 99 percent of people. We're all incredibly spoiled by the Sports Information staff at WSU.
That's just about it from practice. We'll be back with more from a few of the coaches at some point in the future.
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