With only five practices complete, and having seen none of them firsthand, it can be hard to determine whether or not the 2011 Cougars have improved from last season. However, based on Vince Grippi's practice report there appears to be a major improvement in at least one area.
First, let's take a look at the report Grippi filed after the fifth practice of the 2010 fall camp.
No matter what the emphasis Thursday, the defense seemed to have the upper hand. It started early when Mike Ledgerwood tipped a Jeff Tuel pass into the air and Myron Beck came up with an interception before outrunning the offensive players to the end zone. Casey Locker later picked off a David Gilbertson pass in a red zone drill and, when it came time to practice blitzes, the No. 1 defense went through its session without giving up a yard. Talking with offensive coordinator Todd Sturdy before practice, he knew that might be the case as it was a day the offense had put in a lot of new things, and the execution takes time to perfect.
Now, let's look at Grippi's post from yesterday.
The Cougars ended practice Thursday with a 51-play, 30-minute scrimmage dominated, for the most part, by the offense.
"Obviously, they moved the ball a lot," coach Paul Wulff said after the offense finished its first five possessions with either a field goal or touchdown.
In all, the offense had seven plays of 10 or more yards, something offensive coordinator Todd Sturdy is looking for with more consistency this season.
Last year at this time, the coaches were still trying to install the offense. Now the first, second and third string offenses are executing and making plays consistently. Improvement in the fifth practice of fall camp is a long way from putting up big numbers vs opposing defenses during the season, but I'll take this as a positive sign they are moving in the right direction.
Football Practice: Day 5 (Full Pads) - WSUCougars.com
Thursday afternoon marked the first practice in full pads for the Cougars, they worked out for 90 minutes at Rogers Field, focusing on special teams, mainly getting around blocks while covering kicks for the first couple sessions before holding a couple sessions with individual position coaches and squaring off in a 51-play scrimmage.
Cougars end day with hard-hitting scrimmage - Spokesman.com - Aug. 11, 2011
After four days of preseason practice the Washington State Cougars put on all their pads. And got after it.
Lots of hot seat games in Pac-12 - Pac-12 Blog - ESPN
Wulff keeps trying to convince us that the Cougars are getting better, but their record surely has not. They backed up 2009's 1-11 record with a 2-10 mark last year.
WSU Athletics posted not one but two videos from practice including some scrimmage footage.
Cougs in full pads! 8/11 (via WSUCougarAthletics)
Cougar Football: 1st Full Pads Practice Interviews (via WSUCougarAthletics)
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