It's still hot as hell in Pullman and now the students are back. Fall at WSU is pretty fantastic, unless you're used to a quiet summer with a town that's sparsely populated. But hey, that means football is almost here. So that's exciting.
As for practice, it was the same stuff on a different day. The acclimation is over and now it's all about repetition. Practice was a lot of the same concepts and the same segments, all drilled into players head in an effort to make them second nature. In other words, things are starting to blur together.
But there were a few fun moments and some notable things to pass along. One of those is alluded to in the headline, so read on for more on the Gabe Marks Show.
- Yes, Gabe Marks continues to stand out. And yes, he's the most consistent newcomer. He's just polished and doesn't play like a freshman at all. He's got that swagger and when he's on the field, it's show time. You'll probably be seeing a lot of him this fall, so be ready for the Gabe Marks Show.
- What is the Gabe Marks Show? It's a term someone else coined, but I like it. As an example, Marks toasted Alex Jackson during skeleton, hauling in a deep pass in the back of the end zone, just in front of where we all were standing. He held the ball out for us and said "There it is! That's what y'all want!" And yes, that's pretty much correct. He's really good and has the play to back his talk up.
- And Marks' talk never really stops. He jaws at defensive backs or pretty much anyone put in front of him. If he burns someone, he'll let 'em know. Hell, even if he's just battling with a player, he's sure to let 'em know what time it is.
- Marquess Wilson also seems to have taken Marks under his wing. He's like a little brother in a way, with Wilson reminding him to work hard and staying after practice with him. The two spent time catching balls, working one-on-one and practicing different types of catches after practice. It was good to see.
- Speaking of Wilson, he ended practice by winning the team session for the offense. A long catch over the middle resulted in a touchdown and much celebration. Jeff Tuel came sprinting down the field with his arms wide open saying "THANK YOU THANK YOU." The offense didn't have to do up-downs, and the defense was left to take its punishment.
- Wilson also worked a little bit with the kick return team, along with Teondray Caldwell, Rickey Galvin, Leon Brooks, Ray Ford, Daniel Simmons and Alex Jackson. Not sure if it was just a scout thing, a temporary thing or if they were giving Wilson another look there.
- A couple guys that appeared to be scouts -- in Broncos, Dolphins and Browns shirts -- were out at practice. Going to assume they were there for the Marquess Wilson Show.
- Bill Moos was also hanging around practice and stopped to talk to Mike Leach for a bit.
- The offensive line, from right to left: Jake Rodgers, Wade Jacobson, Elliott Bosch, Matt Goetz and John Fullington. Guys were still moving around a bit, but this was basically the first-team line.
- Jeff Tuel took all the snaps with the ones to start team drills. Connor Halliday also got some time with some of the first-team skill players later in the drill, but Tuel had first reps and was out there for a significant amount of time.
- On the defensive side, the first team for the day was: Matt Bock, Steven Hoffart, Ioane Gauta, Travis Long, Eric Oertel, Jared Byers, Chester Su'a, Nolan Washington, Damante Horton, Taylor Taliulu and Deone Bucannon. The second team was: Destiny Vaeao, David Davis, Logan Mayes, Cyrus Coen, Darryl Monroe, Justin Sagote, Daniel Simmons, Tracy Clark, Casey Locker and Tyree Toomer. It was kind of a mix at the middle linebacker spot and at safety.
- Robert Barber went down with some kind of right knee/leg injury, which wasn't fun to watch. It's been interesting to see the interplay between Joe Salave'a and Barber. Salave'a treats Barber kind of like a son. He cares a lot, and it shows. Salave'a spends a lot of time encouraging Barber and working with him, so it was tough to see the kid go down. He was carted off after practice, but it's unlikely we'll know much more since injuries aren't discussed.
- I like Ray Ford a lot. He looks like he's got a ton of potential and now, after easing into the mix, his abilities are starting to show. He held it down and looked quite competent in the one-on-one drills, breaking up back-to-back passes, and was all over the place on defense. During the team drills, he had a great pass breakup that had everyone hooting and hollering. Jeff Choate even ran onto the field screaming and celebrating before coming up to give Ford a hug and a pat on the helmet. It's not as if he's running with the first- or second-team at the moment, but the man can play some ball.
- Kache Palacio lit up Drew Loftus on a screen. That's all I got. It was a big hit that de-cleated Loftus.
- Darryl Monroe also had a big hit on quarterback Connor Johnson during team drills. Johnson tried to block Monroe and ... well, it didn't work out so well.
- Kristoff Williams, Toni Pole, Xavier Cooper and Darren Markle were riding bikes for the day.
That's it for now. We'll be back with more on practice -- and something not really sports-related -- later.