Good morning, Cougar fans. As Sunday dawns, we stand just 27 days (hence the photo) from Cougar football in Martin Stadium. We also have real football to talk about today, as this year's version of the Cougs took to the practice field at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers on Saturday.
While it's always great to be able to talk about actual football taking place, there is the ever-present dichotomy when we're describing practice. If the offense had a great play, well, maybe the defense missed an assignment. If the defense makes an interception, well, either the quarterback made a bad throw or the receiver ran the wrong route. If the first practice was any indication, the defensive backs are markedly improved, and the offense needs every rep it can get before the season starts.
This portion of Jacob Thorpe's practice report would probably make any offensive coach cringe:
The second team defense really dominated the first team offense during the team portion of practice. This was also our chance to look at the depth chart as is stood today – maybe, or maybe they were just giving guys looks – and Kirkland Parker was opposite Pat Porter on the second team defense to start out. Roach and Bucannon were the safeties with Robert Barber at nose tackle, Reggie Coates on the end and Dylan Hanser at Buck.
Coates pressured Bender on the first play, forcing the quarterback to throw the ball away. What followed was a handoff to Keith Harrington, completed passes to Gabe Marks and Robert Lewis, and then it got ugly. The next sequence of plays was: Willie Roach pass breakup, Darius Lemora interception, completed pass, Ivan McLennan sack, nice run by Jamal Morrow, Molton interception, Lewis drop, incomplete pass, Jeremiah Allison strip sack. Bender then recovered, however, finishing the series with three completed passes, two of which were for touchdowns.
There's obviously a long way to go before the games start, and there are a few caveats to the first few days of pad-less practices, especially with sacks and the like. The offensive line is pretty hindered when it comes to blocking and contact in general, so the quarterback and running backs don't generally get a lot of space.
There is little doubt that the offense won't take long to re-assert itself, as there are too many good players over there to stay down for long. Still, hopefully the defense keeps the pressure on, since the offense will only get better by practicing against improved opposition.
There are some personnel matters to mention. A few players were missing Saturday, including the crown jewel of the latest recruiting class, Thomas Toki, and Treshon Broughton, who was/is expected to compete for playing time at defensive back. Signee T.J. Fehoko was apparently injured during the offseason, and Calvin Green was absent for an unknown reason.
Brett Bartolone has unfortunately been forced to give up football, and that's really a shame. Also, receiver C.J. Dimry had to leave practice in an ambulance due likely to a bad case of dehydration. According to the Kremlin, however, all players are on track and there are no issues with anybody. Fall camp resumes in Lewiston at 2:30 p.m.
Secondary shines as Cougars open camp - Spokesman.com - Aug. 8, 2015
It was an exciting day to be a Cougars defender. In just one 2015 practice, the defense more than doubled the three interceptions it totaled in the entire 2014 season. New defensive coordinator Alex Grinch gave every reason he could in one pads-less practice to think the unit will be improved this season.
WSU wraps of the first day of fall camp | The Spokesman-Review
It would not be accurate to say that quarterback Luke Falk was despondent after practice, but he wasn't exactly chipper, describing his play as sloppy and saying that the offense lacked energy.
Live WSU football chat: Transcript | The Spokesman-Review
SportsLink readers and I talked about WSU football before the Cougars hit the field for the first time this season.
Cougar Football Holds First Fall Practice - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Lots of interceptions, but Dom Williams made a great catch in the corner of the end zone as well.
Washington State IMG (Matt Chazanow: Gesser, Leach, Grinch, Falk, Taliulu) Fall Camp Report Day 1 by IMG Audio | Free Listening on SoundCloud
Washington State IMG (Matt Chazanow: Gesser, Leach, Grinch, Falk, Taliulu) Fall Camp Report Day 1.
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