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WSU notes from Day 6

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN -- It took until April, but the sun finally came out to stay for an entire WSU football practice. That's a first this spring. As usual, we have some notes, so read on.

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The biggest news today may have been the return of quarterback Connor Halliday, who practiced in pads for the first time this spring. He didn't participate in any of the team session, the coaches likely not wanting to risk any more freak injuries on accidental contact. But he took part in the passing skeletons and everything else for the first time since WSU's first practice of the spring. ... Linebacker Darryl Monroe, who sat out Saturday's scrimmage, was back in pads and didn't appear limited at all. ... Defensive end Jordan Pu'u Robinson was suited up, too, and participated fully after sitting out on Saturday. ... Mike Leach said WSU went through periods of high energy followed by some lulls, which is to be expected at this juncture. "I can’t think of anybody that took the day off," Leach said. "I can think of people that took plays off, and so we’re going to address that with them. I thought the execution was pretty good, the tempo of most of the drills were pretty good. It’s a point where, you want to get to this point where guys got to push through some stuff, as we’re a little over the third of the way in." In other words, the excitement over practicing has worn off a bit, and they need to push through the dog days period, so to speak. ... The Cougars have spent a good chunk of practices recently working on special teams. On one field, punt returners participated in a drill where each guy would start off with a ball in his hands as he received a punt from the machine. As the punt comes in, the returner flips the ball he's holding into the air, fields the punt, then tries to grab the other ball, too, before it hits the ground. It didn't look fun. Rahmel Dockery, Leon Brooks and Marcus Mason each mastered it at least once, though. Inside receivers coach Eric Morris didn't have as much luck. ... While this was going on, the rest of the team practiced special teams tackling drills on the other field. Eric Russell continues to remind the players that they ranked 11th out of 12th in certain special teams categories last season. ... Marquess Wilson was the victim of the two biggest hits of the day. The first was on an inside screen pass, which was blown up by linebacker Chester Su'a. (And hey, Brian Floyd was kind enough to pass along this .gif of the hit.) The second was after a completion near the sideline. Deone Bucannon came flying in and put Wilson on his back. He held onto the ball each time, though. ... Su'a also blew up a running play in the backfield, as did Darren Markle during a goal-line drill. Toni Pole recorded a sack during a goal-line drill, as well. ... Rahmel Dockery turned in the day's best catch, leaping over Damante Horton to haul in a long touchdown pass from David Gilbertson. Dockery and Horton wrestled over the ball, but it appeared Dockery secured it first. ... Practice ended with Andrew Furney and Mike Bowlin each attempting three field goals. Furney made each of his -- from 42, 37 and 39-ish yards -- while Bowlin made one from 39, missed one from 39 and drilled his final attempt, which appeared to be from about 45 yards, though I can't be certain because we were standing beneath the goalposts. Bowlin's makes had plenty of room to spare. He's got a big, big leg. ... It appears as if defensive tackle Justin Clayton won't be back for a while. After injuring his knee during Saturday's scrimmage, Clayton was on crutches Tuesday with a large brace on his leg. Other limited participants were: cornerback Nolan Washington, running back Rickey Galvin, running back Kruger Story, cornerback Spencer Waseem, cornerback Brandon Golden, cornerback Travion Smith, safety Max Gama, defensive end Adam Coerper, offensive lineman Wade Jacobson, offensive lineman Joe Dahl and defensive end Hamza Griffin.

All for now.

Christian Caple can be reached at christianc@spokesman.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple




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