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Gerard Wicks runs wild in final practice at Lewiston

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Gerard Wicks went from being off the depth chart to looking like a key part of the WSU offense in just twelve days of fall camp. The redshirt freshman exploded for 94 yards on just five carries in a scrimmage on WSU's final practice in Lewiston.

Quarterbacks meet up before the beginning of the last practice in Lewiston
Quarterbacks meet up before the beginning of the last practice in Lewiston
Andrew Crookston

The Lewiston stage of fall camp has come to an end after an 85-play scrimmage on Wednesday afternoon. The day started much cooler than most with showers in the area until about a half hour before practice. By practice time, the sun was out and produced an unusually humid day by Palouse region standards.

By anybody's standards, Gerard Wicks turned in about as hot of a scrimmage as one could imagine. The redshirt freshman went off for a total of 94 yards rushing on just five carries in the second full-pad scrimmage of the fall camp. Mike Leach has praised Wicks' abilities throughout the camp and that praise continued after Wicks' big day.

"He's a good combination of strong and fast," said Leach still reluctant to assign Wicks a particular spot on the depth chart.

The scrimmage was somewhat difficult to gauge as the one offense worked mostly against the number two defense and vice-versa. Leach felt that the energy of the scrimmage was good, but that players might have been pushing too hard at the expense of detail.

"I thought we bounced around, had good energy. Sloppy at times. And when we were sloppy typically trying to do too much," said Leach of the overall effort in practice.

Leach also said that he was happy with what the team accomplished in Lewiston and hopes to return next year. The team is not scheduled to practice Thursday, but will be watching film, according to Leach.

Here are some notes at the different positions:

Quarterbacks - Connor Halliday and Peyton Bender both had huge days at quarterback while Luke Falk, the current backup, struggled with little protection to give him time to throw.

To this point I would describe Falk as a cerebral quarterback in that he is confident in the play and his reads which means that he rarely panics when under pressure. The second-team defensive line has clearly been getting the better of the second-team offensive line so Falk has seen more than his share of pressure throughout camp. On Wednesday that pressure became all the more intense as the second team offense went up against the first team defense.

Halliday put up the kind of numbers you might think he would with the many reps coming against the second defense. Leach seemed particularly pleased with Halliday.

"I thought it was one of his best days," said Leach on Halliday's overall performance.

And even though his reps came against the third team, Bender is well ahead of what anybody could really hope out of a true freshman in his twelfth official practice at the college level.

QB

COMP

ATT

YDS

TD

INT

Connor Halliday

12

18

185

4

0

Peyton Bender

12

14

108

2

1

Luke Falk

13

23

52

2

0

Ed note: We originally had Luke Falk's stats switched with Peyton Bender.

Offensive line - The Cougs lined up with the same starting offensive line they have for the past few days with Riley Sorensen at center. Sorensen has struggled with snaps throughout the week shooting the ball too low. That continued on a few snaps, but Sorensen held in there with the ones. At this point, I would call the job Sorensen's to lose.

Running back - Wicks was obviously the storyline of the day overshadowing a pretty nice day Jamal Morrow had running for 41 yards on ten carries and scoring two touchdowns. Theron West only saw two carries for nine yards. Marcus Mason and Teondray Caldwell each had three carries a piece and combined for -1 yard between them. The running back corps totaled five receptions for 19 yards.

Running back

ATT

YDS

REC

YDS

TD

Gerard Wicks

5

94

1

2

1

Jamal Morrow

10

41

2

5

2

Theron West

2

9

0

0

0

Teondray Caldwell

3

0

1

6

0

Marcus Mason

3

-1

1

6

0

Receivers - The big numbers of the quarterbacks meant big numbers for several receivers as well. There were several big touchdown receptions for the offense. Rickey Galvin caught a ball deep in the backfield on the first play of the day and was able to scamper off for a fifty-yard touchdown reception. Isiah Myers got vertical above Charleston White and pulled in a 38-yard touchdown pass. Dom Williams also caught a 28-yard Halliday pass in the end zone. Kristoff Williams continues to demand attention leading all receivers on the day with six catches including one for  touchdown. He is having an absolutely superb camp and will likely see a lot of reps at the Z.

Receivers

REC

YDS

TD

Isiah Myers

4

60

2

Rickey Galvin

2

55

1

John Thompson

3

55

0

Kristoff Williams

6

41

1

Dom Williams

1

28

1

River Cracraft

3

21

0

Daniel Lilienthal

1

20

0

Calvin Green

3

14

0

Tyler Baker

6

13

0

Vince Mayle

1

11

0

Drew Loftus

1

4

1

Zaire Andre

1

4

0

Defense - The defense also got their share of stats on the day including a total of eight sacks. Hercules Mataf'a recorded 2.5 with the third team. As one might expect, several first unit defenders recorded a sack going against the number two defense (Tana Pritchard, Xavier Cooper, Kache Palacio, and Destiny Vaeao). Robert Barber also got a sack in on the day. Taylor Taliulu had the lone interception of the practice on total of 55 passing attempts.

Special teams - Eric Russell has pretty much taken a look at every player on the team to play on his special teams units.That continued as the team spent several minutes on special team drills. Erik Powell and Quentin Breshears both looked pretty good in the warm-up to practice, but struggled in the scrimmage. Powell hit one from 41, but missed from 38. Breshears was 1-for-3 hitting from 37 and missing from 42 and 37. I talked with Russell after practice and he said that he was not overly concerned about the kicking game yet. As for who might be his kicker against Rutgers, Russell said it could come down to a game time decision by who looks best in warm-ups.

Gratitude - With the Lewiston portion of fall camp coming to a close, I would like to thank a few people that made the camp very enjoyable and a great learning experience. Bill Stevens and Bobby Alworth from the Sports Information Department were amazingly helpful breaking me in, getting information out, and arranging interviews throughout the camp. They both work tirelessly behind the scenes making sure the media and public are aware of what is going on around the football team. I also feel indebted to Jacob Thorpe, the WSU beat writer for The Spokesman Review, for his help in getting me oriented into the daily routine of covering a practice. Jacob is an incredibly dedicated reporter who has only been on the beat for ten months, but has done an excellent job continuing The Spokesman-Review's strong coverage of WSU athletics. And, of course, I want to thank Jeff Nusser and Mark Sandritter for their ongoing editorial support and entrusting me to go to Lewiston and tell you folks what I saw.

It was a great time in Lewiston. But at the end of the day, we're talking about practice. Not a game. Practice. I'm ready for the games to start. How about you?